Last week I described Vivian Howard’s book This Will Make It Taste Good and her Community Organizer, a melange of bell peppers, garlic, onions, red wine vinegar, and tomatoes cooked to a fare-thee-well, meant to be used as a sauce or a dip or a braising liquid. I used it for from-scratch baked beans last week. It worked.
I soaked a pound of navy beans overnight. Early the next afternoon, I discarded the water and boiled them in fresh water for about an hour. I mixed them in a casserole with a cup or two of Community Organizer, along with the remaining tomato sauce from the canned tomatoes I used. I intended to cook them for three hours at 300 degrees, but they took about an extra hour, with the temperature increased to 350 degrees at the end. I also added water intermittently.
The result was tasty. I won’t be making it again soon, because we eat baked beans only occasionally, and it was a lot of trouble. I’m glad to have prepared baked beans from scratch once in my life.
I’m sure that eventually you’ll be able to find the recipe for Community Organizer online, but I don’t feel right sharing a recipe from a brand-new cookbook, and, as I said last week, your library owns This Will Make It Taste Good and will lend it to you. We used the remaining tonight as spaghetti sauce. In the meantime, my friend Kathie sent this recipe for Heirloom Beans, which I relied on for reference in my baked beans project. It warns you, for example, that the beans are going to take awhile and that you’ll have to be adding water.
In the meantime, I see Vivian has a new online hustle. She’s offering all of her “flavor heroes” from the book, including Community Organizer, in small batches online. You can order them and compare them to your own attempts, or just order them and save yourself the trouble of cooking.