For years, Reva Ogilvie and I cooked together--she is the late wife of my friend Charles, mentioned often in these pages. We would fix good, homestyle dinners for our families and eat on the porch of their ranch house, overlooking a small lake. At sunset, it may be the closest I've ever come to heaven.
Reva and Charles had a series of guest cottages on the ranch, and the Alters always stayed in the first one, about a quarter mile from the main house. To get there and back, we passed a pen where Charles kept a steer named Houdini, so named for his ability to escape. The kids loved Houdini, stopped to talk to him, and pet him. One night at dinner, Charles asked, "Kids, how's your meal?" They responded with various versions of "Really great, Uncle Charles." And then he said, "You're eating Houdini." I think appetites went out the window.
Several of the recipes I got from Reva, before Alzheimers took her out of her kitchen and our lives, are in my cookbook, Cooking My Way through Life with Kids and Books. One of my favorites was what I call "Reva's good beans." I haven't fixed it in years--it serves an army--but I took it to a pot-luck dinner in the neighborhood Sunday night. Monday morning I called Charles to say that I had fixed it and everyone loved the beans. Well, he waxed eloquent about how much heloved them and how he hadn't had them since Reva stopped cooking. So this morning I took him a styrfoam cup of Reva's beans and a plastic spoon to eat them. At ten o'clock in the morning he ate them right then, exclaiming about how good they were.
Tonight for supper I had Reva's beans and steamed spinach--a great dinner.
So here's how you do it (so easy):
Take one of the super-large cans of Ranch Style beans, rinse, drain, and put in crockpot
Add one 28 oz. ( or is it 32 oz.?) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 chopped onion
1/2 chopped green pepper
Simmer all day in the crockpot, stirring occasionally
This is absolutely the only recipe in which I put green pepper--I don't like it, my stomach resents it--but in this recipe I don't taste it, and my stomach doesn't seem to object.The other night there were 20 people for supper, give or take, including middle school kids who seemed to eat a lot of beans. I made a double batch, and both Christian and I took home good-sized servings. One batch really will serve Cox's army