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27 Oct 2023 | Martha Quijano


Welcome to another week of Frijole Fridays.

This week's bean inspiration is brought to you by Gemma, one of my favorite customers at The Wine Country.

Now the next written part can be skipped. Its just my apology letter to the white lima beans. It's kind of upsetting but its what happened. So please excuse me while I look away in utter embarrassment.


Dear white lima beans, 

I want to thank you for your existence. In my last post on "Frijoladas" I emphasized how we have to respect the process of the beans. Every bean is different and unique to it's cooking process. And I want to be the first to say that in this weeks preparation for the lima bean dish, I got caught off guard with the preparation. I called you fickle and rushed the process. Thus leading to "Amateur Bean Moments", a new addition to Frijole Fridays.

I called you fickle and I didn't follow the pre-soak rules for you, lima bean. 

And for that I'm sorry. However, I did learn some new tricks along the process. So overall I think it's safe to say, it happened for a reason. You inspired me amidst my carelessness and for that I thank you lima bean. 

Kind regards,

Martha Quijano


So this week Gemma shared her very own recipe called Beans Alla Vodka.

It's a lima bean tomato dish that calls for fun ingredients like vodka and red pepper flakes. 

Reading the recipe I hurried to my kitchen and checked out my inventory. I already had some ingredients she called for but I still had to make a quick trip to the grocery store. 

When doing the shopping I was inspired by the fun ingredients she had listed, I was having so much fun that I ended up improvising a recipe of my own. This was all done at 8 am this Friday morning, I was on a time crunch because I had to be at work at 11am. 

That's when anxiety started rushing in, I forgot to prepare the beans.

Rushing to my house after the grocery store. I realized I forgot a lot of ingredients too.

So I started to improvise this new dish with the base elements of Gemmas dish, minus the vodka. Yup, you heard it, I forgot the fun ingredient, the vodka. Not to mention that I work at a store that specializes in spirits. What a rookie mistake on my end. 

So I started to pre-soak the lima beans. I didn’t pre-soak them overnight. I thought to myself, do I have time to even prepare A DISH, any dish will do at this point. So that’s how the “ Jazzy White Lima Beans” came into fruition. 

I will share my recipe first, and then I will share Gemma’s recipe for those of you who would like to try out her beautiful vibrant dish.. 

Later today, at The Wine Country, I will sample out “Jazzy White Lima Beans” from 3pm-7pm. Our Wine Specialist, Kevin Lepisto, will try out the dish today and prepare a pairing for us. I’m thinking Italian wine, but we’ll see. 


“Jazzy White Lima Beans”


  • Rancho Gordo Lima Beans ( Sold at The Wine Country)
  • Veggies suggested ( onions, carrots, and celery)
  • Yellow Zucchini (cause I had it at home, and why not?)
  • Tomato paste
  • Heavy cream, or substitute with milk and butter
  • Chicken stock ( Sold at TWC)
  • 1/4th cup of grated parm (whole pieces sold at TWC)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Garlic and pepper salt
  • Dash of French salt to top the burrata ( sold at TWC)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes ( sold at TWC)
  • Olive oil (3 tablespoons for sauce and a lil dollop to top dish/burrata) ( sold at TWC)
  • Small dollop of pesto ( to top dish) ( sold at TWC)
  • Burrata cheese ( sold at TWC)


Cook the beans following the packaging steps given. I pre-soaked the beans for 45 min. Not overnight. Observing this, I noticed that if I would have pre-soaked them longer the coat on the beans will wither away and start to split. When you see the beans after the pre-soak don’t freak out. They will swell up with water and take its form. Again, I don’t recommend an overnight pre-soak. Gemma recommends doing a 5 min pre-soak then cooking the beans right after. Pre-soak methods are a little tricky when it comes down to the type of bean you're pre-soaking. This was my first time cooking lima beans so I just went with my intuition on the pre-soak. 

The beans will roughly take more than an hour to cook, anything less will call for some al dente beans, trust me I know. While you start cooking the beans and start adding the veggies to the water you can get started on the sauce.

You add the olive oil to a pan. As it starts to heat up you add the tomato paste. I added garlic and pepper salt to the mix. Just a couple of dashes to taste. You also add the garlic gloves (sliced) for taste. Then come in the chili flakes. You mix until the tomato sauce changes color, you going to want a darker shade of red.

For this next part you add the heavy cream. The heavy cream was a key ingredient that I forgot to pick up while at the grocery store, so I used milk and butter as a substitute. You want to go for ½ cup of that. 

You then add the beans and ½ cup of water to your pan and 1/2 of chicken stock.

Simmer and stir, add a little more water if its dry or add more of the chicken stock. Then add freshly grated parmesan. 

And now its time to serve the dish.

You start by putting the bean mixture in a dish topped with grated parm, burrata, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dollop of pesto. And voila. Jazzy White Lima Beans. Enjoy!


Gemma’s “Beans Alla Vodka”

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of rancho gordo lima beans (including the veggies they suggest, onions, carrots, and celery)
  • 1 shallot ( diced fine)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Splash of Vodka
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of freshly grated parm
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil ( 3 tablespoons for sauce and a lil to top dish) 
  • 4 garlic cloves ( sliced very thin)
  • Small dollop of pesto ( to top dish)
  • Small dollop of ricotta ( to top dish)
  • A little lemon zest


Cook beans according to package including the veggies said. Gemma says she wouldnt pre-soak because some of the beans start to split, so if anything pre-soak for 5 min and then start cooking them. Once beans are cooked and soft enough to eat, start on your sauce. Gemma says the sauce is super quick!

Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan and add diced shallots. Cook until translucent and soft. Add your tomato paste in and cook this mix until your paste is darkish red. Reduce heat to medium low ( add more olive oil if needed). Add sliced garlic and chili flakes until fragrant around 1 min then add your splash of vodka and mix. 

Pour in ½ cup heavy cream and mix to combine. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 min. Add beans and ½ cup of water to your pan. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until smooth and glossy. Add a little more water if it’s a bit dry. Add freshly grated parm and a lil butter ( like less than a tablespoon). Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

To serve: put bean mix in a dish and top with grated parm, lemon zest, and a drizzle of olive oil, chili flakes, a dollop of ricotta and on top of ricotta a dollop of pesto. Serve with crusty bread that has been rubbed with garlic cloves. 

Thank you for reading. And a huge thank you to Gemma for sharing her “Beans Alla Vodka” recipe. Thank you Gemma!! Follow her personal blog for other great recipes!


And stay tuned for tonight’s “Amateur Bean Moments”, to be continued…

-Martha Quijano

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