Cooking, more often than not, is comprised of inspiration and improvisation. Such is the case here. Several years ago, I encountered a dish titled “Cowboy Beans” or “Frijoles Charros.” My research led me to wildly divergent recipes—so, I borrowed a bit from one and a bit from another, and in the end developed a recipe which I am happy with and call my own. The base for all of the recipes included beans (of course), and I prefer pintos or cranberry beans. There also always seems to be pork and/or sausage, and my version includes both uncured bacon and chorizo. And need I say that you must include some onions, garlic, and jalapenos? This is a great dish for the slow cooker—throw it all in the pot in the morning and let it gently simmer all day while you are at work.  When you get home, all that is left to do is steam the rice, bake the cornbread, and prep the garnishes. And the ice cream dessert with the minty topping provides a soothing end to a spicy menu.

Cowboy Beans with garnishes of salsa, cilantro, cheese, lime, and sour cream
Eddie’s cornbread muffins

House-made vanilla ice cream with a topping of chopped peppermint bark