Queijadas de Feijão/Bean Tarts

img_4802I must confess…I have a problem…I collect cookbooks.  I haven’t counted them in a while, and I’m afraid to see how many I own.  Spanish, Portuguese, Azorean, canning, Dutch oven, the list goes on and on!  Those are the actual books… I’m not counting the e-books I have on my iPad! I have one Azorean cookbook, Food of the Azores Islands, by Deolinda Maria Avila, that  has some wonderful recipes including this bean tart.   I am always looking for bean dishes for the California Beans Bean Sack blog I write, and I found this wonderful queijadas recipe that uses beans.  We had something similar at Tasca restaurant in Sao Miguel in the Azores.  This recipe takes a while, but it is well worth the time.

img_4814Queijadas de Feijão
Bean Tarts

adapted from Food of the Azores Islands

2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups bean puree
1/2 Tablespoon butter
6 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1/2 cup ground almonds or almond flour

Soak 1 cup of white beans overnight in water. Drain and rinse beans. Put in a small saucepan with water to just cover and cook until softened. Drain beans. Put beans in a food processor and puree. Measure out 1 1/3 cups.
Bring sugar with 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan to pearl stage. Add bean puree and ground almonds to sugar mixture, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool a little. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix very fast so the yolks don’t coagulate. Butter and line tart tins or muffin tins with a pastry of your choice. Fill with the bean mixture about half full. If using individual tins place them on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from tins and cool. Makes about 20-24.

Pearl stage
Place pastry in tin
Pastry in tin
Fill 1/2 full
Perfectly golden!



Trip of a lifetime to the Azores!

Wow…sorry I haven’t posted anything for over two years! Time flies!

My husband retired in April of 2015 and soon after we took our kids and their significant others to the Azores Islands to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.  Both my maternal grandparents were born in the Azores, my grandfather in Terceira and my grandmother in Sao Jorge.  We started our trip by unexpectedly having to stay overnight on the island of Sao Miguel.  There was a terrible storm, and after landing and waiting for a connecting flight for over 5 hours, the airlines canceled our next leg to the island of Sao Jorge.  The airport in Sao Miguel is small, and we weren’t sure what to do, but we didn’t have to worry, SATA airline took care of everything.  There were several flights canceled, but the airline personnel found us all hotel rooms, gave us taxi and food vouchers for two meals each, all on the airline! I would fly SATA again! It turned out to be an unexpected bonus.  We were fortunate to catch the last night of a festival in Ponta Delgada!


Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, (meaning the Festival of the Christ of Miracles)

Our tour of the Açores included three islands; Sao Miguel, Terceira, and Sao Jorge. The Açores are in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and have a tropical climate.  We toured a pineapple plantation and a tea plantation.  The pineapples are smaller than the Hawaiian pineapples and a very sweet.

Lapas…delicious! Sao Jorge
Velas, Sao Jorge
Cracas (barnacles) eaten with a nail to dig them out. Street food at a bull fight in  Terceira.
Pineapple plantation, Sao Miguel
Tea plantation Sao Miguel
Sao Miguel
Caldo Verde
Fish and potatoes…amazing!

I had read about this small factory in Sao Miguel and knew I wanted to go get some Queijadas.  They were amazing.  Each is individually wrapped in tissue paper.  Queijadas are a custard tart.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of them…I was too anxious to eat them!thumb_img_7834_1024

These are the ladies that wrap and package the queijadas.

My next blog post will be a recipe for Queijadas de Feijão or bean tarts.



Basque Red Beans

Basque Red Beans


This was my sixth and last year cooking for our Basque club picnic in July. The first year I was terrified as I had hardly cooked beans, let alone 4-60 quart pots of beans. I was told I had to start them at 3:30 in the morning and stir, stir, stir. I am short…so to stir the beans I had to stand on a stool and stir with a wooden paddle. Basque men from other clubs would open the kitchen door and ask where the men were to stir the beans. There were no men that first year. Finally a taller woman took pity on me and finished stirring the beans. In those 6 years I learned a lot about cooking beans in such large quantities. (These also apply for smaller quantities)
1. Don’t add a lot of water to those beans. If you do they will disintegrate. You just want to add enough to cover plus a couple of inches. You can always add more if needed.
2. When you have a pot that is bigger than your burner make sure you can see the flame. If you can’t it might be too high and those beans will burn. (Happened more than once.) Nothing makes you cry more than a 60 quart pot of beans that are burnt at the bottom.
3. Make sure your beans are fresh. Two years in a row some of the beans didn’t soak and were hard when I went to cook them. Husband wasn’t too happy when I called him in tears at 4:30 a.m. to come and help me sort the beans.
4. Stir, stir, stir. Stirring produces a creamy texture that you need with these red beans.

After the first year I did have a man to help stir the beans. The 4th year, I along with my helper Jake decided we were never cooking beans again. This was after burning a pot.

It wasn’t until I was at a friends house and he was cooking a massive amount of beans for an FFA function that I changed my mind. Tom had these great Camp Chef cookers for each pot of beans. I immediately asked him to order some for me. What a difference that made! No burned beans and they cooked in a record amount of time. Instead of starting the beans at 3:30 a.m., I started them at 6:30 a.m. and they were done by 11 a.m. and we cooked them outside! I even got Jake back this year to stir!

This recipe is a smaller version of the one I made for the picnic. It’s a tasty dish and I hope you like it.

(All the photos are from the picnic.)

Basque Red Beans
Serves 6

1 pound dry red beans
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ pound chopped ham
¼ – ½ pound ham hock
2 Basque chorizo links, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

rinsing beans before soaking
Rinse beans before soaking.

Sort, rinse and soak the beans overnight in a bowl large enough to cover the beans with water plus a couple of inches.

After soaking and rinsing before adding water.
Covered with water.

Rinse the beans and put in a large pot and cover with water.

Bring to a boil and add the rest of the ingredients. Turn down to medium heat. Stir often.

Pots in a row.

As soon as they are soft and creamy they are done. About 2 hours or so.

Cooked and creamy.

Don’t forget to follow my other blog, The Bean Sack, at http://www.calbeans.org/blog/

Starting a new career at 60 years young!

I have been neglecting my Basque wife blog for sometime.  Let me share with you the reason why.   Along with the volunteer cooking I do for the Basque club I belong to I am now employed as a freelance writer!  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imaged starting a new career in my 60’s!   In the spring I was approached by an energetic young woman that I have know since the day she was born, to leave my comfort zone and embark on a new adventure.  Ali, along with my children, Julie and Martin, had been encouraging me to start a blog where I could share my recipes, thus was born The Basque Wife.    Ali owns Ali Cox & Company and her business is branding and marketing.  She asked if I would join the team for the California Dry Bean Advisory Board to write a blog promoting California dry beans. Being a little apprehensive, as I hadn’t really thought of myself as a writer, I put my fear aside and met the challenge.  As a bean farmers daughter I thought I knew a lot about beans, but I am learning more everyday.    I am still cooking, just using more beans and posting those recipes on the calbeans.org website.  I am also doing a lot of crafting using beans.   When I have a little more time I will post some recipes here on my blog.  I had every intention of posting a cookie recipe for Christmas, but the holidays seemed to fly by so quickly!  I would appreciate it however if you would follow the following social media for California Dry Bean Advisory Board.  And please check out the recipes on calbeans.org and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Thank you!!!


Instagram:  @californiabeans

Facebook: California Beans

Twitter: @californiabeans

Pinterest: californiabeans

In Defense of Pete Cenarrusa

We lost a great Idahoan, American and Basque recently.  Pete was one of a kind.  I wish more politician were like him.  I have chosen to post a blog from A Basque in Boise with her encouragement.  My husband and I met Pete on several occasions and he always would tell the story of how his parents, his father was a sheepherder and his mother a maid, met at my husbands grandmothers boarding house in Shoshone.  Pete was fiercely proud of his Basque heritage and of Idaho.  Idaho PBS did a documentary on Pete years ago where they followed him back to the Basque Country and to his families home.  I remember hearing the photographer said that it was like following a celebrity around.  Everyone knew Pete.

In Defense of Pete Cenarrusa: In Memorian (1917-2013)

Lamb Shanks

Every first Friday of the month, except for July when our Basque club has it’s picnic, we have a dinner open to the public.  We always serve lamb chops and I alternate chicken, pork, albondigas (meatballs) and fish for the other meat.  We also have lamb shanks, lamb ribs or lamb stew along with homemade soup, Basque rice, a vegetable, salad, homemade bread and desserts.  I never know how many people will show up, it could be 80 or 160 so I always try to prepare enough food and I always keep my fingers crossed. So far we have never run out…came close a few times but we have never run out.  There have been some mad dashes to the grocery store for more lettuce for the salad.

I made up this recipe from a couple of ones that I had tried and this recipe has become a regular on the menu.  I also use it for lamb ribs.  Lamb ribs can be fatty, but this combination goes really well with them. Don’t be alarmed of the large amount of lamb shanks pictured in the pan.  This was for the first Friday dinner and I made two large pans of shanks.

20130923-222320.jpglamb shanks

20130923-222341.jpgAdd minced garlic and chopped onion

20130923-222406.jpgAdd sliced carrots, can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 can of beer, cup of red wine, salt and pepper to taste.

20130923-222419.jpgCook at 350 degrees for about 4  hours.  This is an approximate. It may be more or less depending on your stove.

You just want to slow roast them.


Lamb Shanks

4 to 6 lamb shanks

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion chopped

3 carrots peeled and sliced

1-28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 can of beer

1 cup red wine

salt and pepper to taste

Put a little oil in the bottom of a roasting pan or a large dutch oven.  Add shanks, garlic, onion, carrots, tomatoes, beer, wine, salt and pepper.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees approximately 4  hours.  This may be more or less.


Super simple Chorizo, Pepper Sandwich

My husband usually makes his own lunch. He says when I leave to go on a girls trip or visit my mom that he doesn’t go grocery shopping and “lives out of the freezer”. He is the kind of guy that when he does go grocery shopping usually brings home cans of SPAM and chili. He says we need them in case of an emergency. I know SPAM is popular in Hawaii, but it would have to be the last thing left on my pantry shelf for me to even consider partaking of this canned meat.



We had a great crop of cubanella peppers this year in our garden. I think we had something like 40 plants and each of those had a great crop of peppers. The way we usually prepare them is to fry them whole in a little olive oil and then sprinkle some salt on them right before you serve them. My husband found a quicker way to cook them for his sandwich. IMG_0609 He just pokes a couple of holes in them with a fork or a knife then puts them on a plate and microwaves or “nukes” them for a minute. He then cooks the Basque chorizo in the microwave for a few minutes then combines them on either a tortilla or some whole wheat bread. Next comes some Monterey pepper jack cheese that goes on top and then back in the microwave for a few seconds til it’s melted.


Chorizo and pepper

IMG_0619I think this cheese got a little too melted. But you get the general idea. It’s not gourmet, but it’s simple and very tasty.



French Pear Pie

Thanks everyone that has viewed my blog! I appreciate each and every one of you!

The Basque Wife

When I was first married I met a great group of women in a club called Patte Kake. Patte Kake was an auxillary of the Children’s Home Society of California.  I had known quite a few of the women in the group, some from childhood, but  a few of the others were new brides that had moved into the area.  We were all in our 20’s and 30’s and used to meet at a different members house every month.  We always had beverages and desserts, some fancier than others but always homemade.   Most of the women where either married to farmers or their spouse was connected in some way to agriculture.  Some of the women I met in this group are still my dearest friends and I love them like sisters.

One of the fundraisers we had for Patte Kake was a cookbook that was made up of recipes from…

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French Pear Pie

When I was first married I met a great group of women in a club called Patte Kake. Patte Kake was an auxillary of the Children’s Home Society of California.  I had known quite a few of the women in the group, some from childhood, but  a few of the others were new brides that had moved into the area.  We were all in our 20’s and 30’s and used to meet at a different members house every month.  We always had beverages and desserts, some fancier than others but always homemade.   Most of the women where either married to farmers or their spouse was connected in some way to agriculture.  Some of the women I met in this group are still my dearest friends and I love them like sisters.

One of the fundraisers we had for Patte Kake was a cookbook that was made up of recipes from the members past and present.  It was a wonderful little book and after 35 years the one I have is well worn.   You can always tell the most used recipes in a cookbook, they are the ones with stains on the pages or the ones where the book opens up to the most used page.

Original Cookbook
Original Cookbook
Pear Pie Recipes
Pear Pie Recipes, definitely a used page..notice all the stains!
Pastry for Pie recipe notice the worn pages!
Pastry for Pie recipe
notice the worn pages!

Theresa was a childhood friend that invited me to join Patte Kake. Theresa was a fabulous cook.  Whatever came out of Theresa’s kitchen was always delicious.   I first had this French Pear Pie at Theresa’s house. I usually don’t like fruit pies, but I love this one.  It was originally from Theresa’s Aunt Amelia another fabulous cook!  My neighbor brought over a bag of fresh pears yesterday and it made me think of Theresa and her pear pie.  I haven’t made the pie since Theresa passed away and when I made the pie today my husband said it was the best one I have ever made.  I think Theresa was a little angel on my shoulder guiding me today.

French Pear Pie

4 or more fresh pears peeled and sliced

9 inch unbaked pie crust

3 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate


Put pears into crust-sprinkle with orange juice concentrate.

PearPie2Mix together the following and crumble over the pears.

1/2 cup granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup butter

PearPie3Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

It’s great served with whipped cream!

The pie crust I use is one that I have used since I got my Cuisinart food processor over 35 years ago.  The recipe came from a booklet that was in the Cuisinart box.

Pastry for Pies

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 stick (4oz.) cold butter

1 tsp. salt (less if you use salted butter)

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar (optional)

1/4 cup ice water

Use steel knife of food processor.  Cut butter into 7 or 8 pieces.  Put all ingredients (except water) in work bowl of processor.  Process til mix has consistency of coarse meal. (5-10 seconds)  In 20 to 50 seconds a ball of dough will form above the blade.

Use immediately or chill, if desired.