sweet & spicy black bean quesadillas

avocado and onion




I’m about to talk about something people don’t talk about enough:


What a humble legume, one that is often the victim of food humor (“Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat them, the more you………… get the idea).

But beans, though. They’re a staple around here. I eat beans all the time, and I love them. Here are ten reasons why:

1. A source of protein

2. Countless types and flavors (garbanzo, black, red, cannellini…to name a few of my favorites)

3. A base from which to showcase many spices

4. A million different ways to eat them

5. They last forever in the pantry

6. Bang for your buck..they’re so cheap!

7. They are used in cuisines from around the world

8. Lots of fiber

9. High in antioxidants

10. Perfectly filling

With Andy out of town this week, I grocery shopped as simply as possible. Lots of tomatoes, avocados, eggs, and–you guessed it–beans (why is it so embarrassing to admit I’ve had beans everyday this week?!)

So here’s one way I eat them. Here’s my recipe for amazing sweet and spicy black bean quesadillas, which is basically my recipe for Tex-Mex-Fancy-Pants-But-Really-Easy Refried Black Beans. When I cook anything with even slightly “south of the border” elements, I have to have refried beans and rice. In fact, I consider it a major sin and will embargo any Tex/Mex restaurant that does not serve rice and beans with all its entrees. Period.

Here you go, my easy refried beans, also known as Y Not Tu Mama Tambien’s Refried Beans. Or Frenchie Takes On the Tex/Mex Beans. Anyway, you get the idea. Beans can be anything you want them to be, which is one reason I find them so desirable.

1 yellow or Vidalia onion, chopped

dash of sugar

15 oz. black beans, cooked*

2 tsp. salt, divided

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you like spicy, add more)

*For convenience, I used a small can of black beans. Cooking dried beans is easy and very tasty, but I always forget to soak them overnight. And it’s not worth cooking dried beans if you’ve skipped that step.

Chop the onion and sautée in olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and sugar on medium heat. If the onion starts to burn, lower the heat. It is really important for the onions to caramelize (the sugar accelerates this process). Once they are transparent and almost mushy, put them in a bowl to the side.

Keep the pan on the stove and increase the heat to medium-high. Put the cooked black beans in the pan and begin mashing them with a potato masher or fork. Add 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Once the beans are mashed and heated through, add the caramelized onions and mix so that all ingredients are well blended.

This week, I ate the beans in a simple cheese quesadilla topped with sour cream, tomatoes, and avocado. They also make a killer tostada topping (use the beans as the base, then top with chopped fresh tomatoes, and avocado–delicioso!) or side when serving tacos or fajitas.

Am I crazy for liking beans so much?

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Life goes by too fast, which is one reason I love Instagram. Capture the smallest moments. Those are the special ones. Wouldn’t you agree? Here are some of my favorites from life lately.

Left to right, top to bottom:

1. Studying at Octane in Grant Park. 2. A quiet Saturday morning at San Francisco Roasting Company. 3. Avocado toast. 4. Fresh mushrooms at the Morningside Farmers’ Market. 5. Spinach Apple salad, recipe from Shanghai Spice. 6. Mural outside of Nuevo Laredo Cantina. 7. Dream cars exhibit-inspired cocktail at Table 1280. 8. My sweet Hadley pup. 9. Summer nights, night lights. 10. Macaron from Star Provisions. 11. Crema Cuba at Pinewood Social in Nashville. 12. The barn at my dear friends’ wedding in Tennessee.

Find more on instagrampinteresttwitter, and bloglovin’.


a blackberry cobbler

I grew up in a home that instilled appreciation for good food from a young age. Both of my parents cook and do it well. As an adult, I still crave their cooking. My dad, on the one hand, can make an incredible sauce for any kind of meat; sauces that unify all the elements in a dish and prove he’s French. On the other hand, my mama is fearless and capable with the cuisines and ingredients she chooses to serve, from traditional to exotic.

I’ve repeatedly expressed to them my love for their home meals. So, for my birthday last year, my mom gifted me with two of the cookbooks she most often turned to for our family meals. One is the Southern Living 1999 Annual Recipes. The other is The Occasional Vegetarian. Best birthday presents ever.

I cook out of these books regularly and have never been disappointed. With summer in full force, a blackberry cobbler was in order. This one came out of the 1999 Southern Living cookbook, and it’s the first cobbler I’ve ever made. The result? Let’s just say that I’ve already had it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even Hadley was eager for a taste.


squeezing lemon juice

pastry dough

rolling dough

sweetened blackberries

lattice on a cobbler

blackberry cobbler in a bowl

hadley wants cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler

8 c. fresh blackberries

2 1/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

1 lemon, squeezed

Pastry, divided (recipe at the end)

1/4 c. butter or margarine

In a medium bowl, stir together first 4 ingredients and let the mixture sit 10 minutes so that the sugar dissolves. In the meantime, roll half of your pastry dough (recipe below) to 1/4-inch thickness; cut into 1 1/2 inch wide strips. Place the strips on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool. Break the strips into pieces.

Spoon half of blackberry mixture into a lightly greased 8×8 inch baking dish (the recipe calls for a 9×13 dish but I like my cobblers with more depth than width); top with baked pastry pieces. Pour the remaining blackberry mixture over the pastry and dot with butter.

Roll the remaining pastry to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 1-inch strips and arrange in a lattice design over the filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 c. shortening

2/3 c. milk

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a mixer until the mixture is crumbly.

Add milk, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture forms a soft ball (For the right consistency, I had to use about twice as much milk as the recipe recommended). Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 6 to 8 times.

Recipe from the Southern Living 1999 Annual Recipes

Lots more on instagrampinteresttwitter, and bloglovin’.