A finicky guy's exploits in finding gustatory (and other) satisfaction in his kitchen, his neighborhood, and beyond.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Bulletin: Local Man Thaws Leftover Beans

How's that for an attention-grabbing headline, folks?  I hadn't planned, actually, on mentioning the beans again, but on Friday, I used some of the ones I'd frozen to make something so delicious, and so EASY, that I felt compelled to share.

In British detective fiction I've read, certain characters — particularly when the authors are wishing to convey destitution or a slipping to a pathetic level of existence — often resort to quick meals of what the English call beans on toast.  In our country, there is not really a tradition of bean sandwiches at all, but I can imagine that noses would be upturned at the very mention of the idea.  (I believe my littlest sister was astonished when her elementary school classmates did not share her enthusiasm for the hot-dog-and-baked-bean sandwiches she begged my mom to pack her for lunch.  Perhaps she will chime in with the complete story in the comments.)

How did this noble combination of foods acquire such an ignominious reputation?  Well, probably because most people are thinking of this sort of abomination:

Note: Not endorsed by blog host!
I am here to help boost the image of the humble yet nutritious and tasty bean sandwich, with the following EASY recipe.  (Well, it's super-EASY if you have the beans already prepared.  Otherwise, stick with PB&J if you're in a rush.)

Step 1: Toast a slice of sourdough bread and smear it with dijon mustard.
Step 2: Sprinkle with grated cheese — something salty and pungent
Step 3: Spoon over some heated beans (with or without ham)
That's it!  Doesn't look like much, but these were so good — hearty and rib-sticking.  And surprisingly complex, with the counterpoint between the sourness of the bread, the hotness of the mustard, the saltiness of the cheese, and the sweetness of the beans.  This counterpoint was practically Baroque — I think I'll call these Bach-ed bean sandwiches.

I'm throwing in the following picture of me and Freddy to show how similar our coloring is these days.  You can hardly tell where beard ends and Chihuahua begins:

Here's a better pic of the beard, which my aforementioned (darling and perceptive) sister said makes me look "rock star-ish": 

Maybe I do look a little like Pete Townshend from The Who:

Or maybe my sister meant that I look like Pete Townshend now:



  1. That does look more delicious than canned beans on toast for sure. I would absolutely eat a bean sandwich!

    You do have quite the hipster beard there Michael. You and Peter might have to move to Brooklyn after all.

    PS-I adore Pete Townsend/the Who.

  2. Beans on toast can be delicious if you do it in the right way - good quality wholemeal toast (no butter!), a dash or six of tabasco in your beans, a nicely poached egg (runny centre) and a scattering of a hard, mature cheese, grated over the top. I'm a realist about some British foibles, but this one I'll happily champion!

    That said, your version looks delicious... way to make the most of your leftovers!

  3. The other kids at the table would ask: "what is THAT?" and i would say it is a hotdog sandwich (beans were definately not cool).

    then i started asking mom to make the sandwich with JUST the beans when i noticed that was the part i liked. When I took that to school I covered the sandwich with my hand so no one could see it. and i ate it really fast. and when asked what it was I still said "hotdog" sandwich.

    i was not popular in elementary school.

    and as much as you look like a rock star with your new beard, Larry looks like an explorer with his.

  4. above post written by the littlest sister, sara.

  5. My theory is that anyone who ended up cool as a adult was unpopular in elementary school. I was positively reviled up until about 11th grade, so you can imagine how cool I am now.

    My ultra-cool sis lives in L.A. with her hubby, Larry, who was probably also unpopular in grade school.

    "Hotdog sandwich." LOL (at least in retrospect)

  6. I chortled over your Bach-ed beans. Classic.
    Never in a million years would I have made myself a bean sammich, but I am totally on board! Sounds scrumptious. Thanks for opening my eyes.
    Also, your beardlette is no more. Congrats on the mature, handsome, and early Townshendy beard, Mister Hanko!

  7. I was thinking more Clapton than Townshend, but your beard is coming in nicely. I've missed your posts the last few days. I hope all is well. Mom keeps asking me what that nice boy in New York is doing. We talk most mornings and I read her your blog. She had a computer but kept unplugging it to turn it off-lol!

  8. You may be right about Clapton vs Townshend. (But I've always had a soft spot for The Who.) Tell your mom the nice boy in NY says hi and recommends putting her computer to sleep — not turning it off at all — between sessions.

    I am totally charmed by the thought of you reading my words to your mom over the phone. :-)

  9. @Drew: Thanks for the compliments. I have to say, this beard is making me feel more manly than I've ever felt in my life. (Too bad I couldn't have grown one in elementary school — no one would have dared call me a sissy (or worse) then!)