Black Calypsos and Epazote

Heirloom Beans: The Black Calypso
Chiffonade of Epazote
Olive Oil, Garlic, Mexican Lime Juice, Kosher Salt

The epazote used in the previous post, Beef Short Ribs with Poblanos, seemed to spark some curiosity. This Mexican herb with usage that dates back to the Aztecs rocks! I keep putting it up to my nose to inhale the wonderful strange aroma. In this bean dish, I cut it into a chiffonade, just like I would with basil.
The best way to keep epazote fresh is in a mug with water in the refrigerator, and trim the stems first. The bunch pictured here was all wilted in the market, but perked up overnight with this storage method.

Black Calypso Heirloom Beans are also known as orcas or yin yang beans. Some say they taste like a baked potato. With that in mind, the next time I make them, I’m going to finish with butter, sour cream and chives. If you are a fan of heirloom beans, you might like this Yellow Eye Bean recipe too.
Perhaps you’ve participated in Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook’s Legume Love Affair event? February marks the Eighth hosting. I am sending my Black Calypsos over to Susan along with hearty congratulations for her on-going super successful event. Oh, plus this month there is a special bonus, Cynthia Nelson’s terrific new cookbook My Caribbean Cooking Tastes Like Home will be awarded as a prize. Bean aficionados, come join us in all the fun!

When the Black Calypsos are cooked they turn to shades of brown, but retain their markings. I soaked the beans for several hours, rinsed, then cooked them in water with a bay leaf. I find it important to taste several beans to determine if the batch is cooked properly. Once cooked, the beans were drained of any excess moisture. Meanwhile I warmed up a good amount of olive oil and added plenty of minced garlic. The garlic cooked for about a minute. The beans were added back to the pot and tossed gently. The dish is finished with a squeeze of Mexican lime juice, a sprinkling of Kosher salt, and a chiffonade of epazote.

Carnitas on Corn Tortillas
Black Calypsos with Epazote
Salsa Verde
This simple bean dish is interesting enough to stand on its own. The ingredients would work great with any kind of bean. And here, Black Calypsos with epazote added another dimension to a pork taco.
OK…I’ve been humming a tune all day. I don’t think I’ve heard it in years, decades maybe. All it took were some beans to resurrect it from my memory banks. Written by John Denver in 1975, Calypso is a tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his famous marine conservation research vessel Calypso. Have a listen.
To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean
To ride on the crest of the wild raging storm
To work in the service of life and the living
In search of the answers to questions unknown
To be part of the movement and part of the growing
Part of beginning to understand

CHORUS
Aye Calypso
The places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso
I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you
So long and so well

Like the dolphin who guides you
You bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be true as the tide
And free as a wind-swell
Joyful and loving in letting it be

Do you remember Aye Calypso?

28 thoughts on “Black Calypsos and Epazote”

  1. Somehow, you manage to make photos of ANYTHING look great – love the lime green pot of beans spilling over onto the counter.

  2. I love heirloom beans, I haven’t tried this variety before. I love yellow eyes, and the scarlet runners are good too. This recipe looks great!

  3. Thank you for coming by today for a glass of bubbly! I don’t know what I was thinking… I should’ve asked you to help create yummies for the party… NEXT time!
    You make such wonderful things!
    YUM!
    Fifi

  4. i have looked for epazote in it’s fresh form for awhile now – no luck. i can get plenty of dried epazote, but no fresh. i read that you really don’t use dried epazote the way you do with the fresh kind. regardless… this dish looks really nice. those beans are gorgeous or, as my husband just said, “posh beans”.

  5. This looks great! I’ve never seen epazote available in my area, unfortunately, but if I do I’ll definitely try this recipe.

  6. Beautiful black and green beans.

    The only song I know about Calypso is this Suzanne Vega one:

    My name is Calypso
    And I have lived alone
    I live on an island
    And I waken to the dawn
    A long time ago
    I watched him struggle with the sea
    I knew that he was drowning
    And I brought him into me…

    My name is Calypso
    My garden overflows
    Thick and wild and hidden
    Is the sweetness there that grows
    My hair it blows long
    As I sing into the wind
    My name is Calypso
    And I have lived alone

    It's a sad & lovely song!

  7. Yes, all legumes, beans,lentils and split peas, are nice to have for a meal and are badly neglected. When a recipe calls for them, most cooks reach for the canned product: bad mistake. Cooking your own from dried legumes is not much more work if you plan ahead. Beans needs soaking to shorten cooking time, lentils, peas don’t.

    Check out my latest (Nov/08).
    Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen—Secrets of Making Great Foods

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  8. I’ll drop my coffee and come right over, those beans are too tempting! 🙂

    Reading about Suzanne Vega in Foodrambler’s comment and the bean dish here remind me of a novel I read, written by Suzanne’s stepfather, Eduardo Vega-Yunqué, with the longest title that starts something like “No matter how much you promise to cook … ” 😉 I’d say, no matter what you cook, I would eat it!

  9. Ohhh, I am intrigued by those beans. I am a bean lover ! I am going home for a visit leaving tomorrow and dried beans are on my list. (well peas to me). I will have to see if I can find Calypso here also (in UK).

  10. Lori Lynn, I love that beautiful photo of the beans. Simply stunning. And thank you for introducing me to epazote. I’m going to do a quick google now. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to find some here. Good to know though 🙂

  11. Holy MOLY – This sounds exceedingly excellent. Epazote is not used enough, and hard to find at conventional grocery stores. Your beans look amazing. And carnitas…when can I come over?

  12. If those beans taste like potatoes, I’m going to need some. They sound great.
    I’ve heard of epazote, but I’ve never seen it before. I’d be interested in trying it.

  13. Wow,you amazed me.I never had those beans (looks pretty)in fact I know just a little about Mexican cusine
    Wonderful post Lori Lynn

  14. The recipe sounds amazing, but I have to especially compliment your photography. Gorgeous work here. Just fantastic.

  15. Ah, you’re making me so jealous! I’d love some heirloom beans like these beauties; alas, our customs people would not let them in. Mean, no?

    AND Epazote – now, I might just have to try and grow some of it myself. Deborah Madison s a huge champion of it as a herb and, until now, I’d never seen an image of it. Lovely post, Lori Lynn.

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