Oompa-loompas, baked beans and Farmer John

Kick back on Independence Day with good food and films

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” —Willy Wonka

July is National Baked Bean Month (seriously)
Rather than tell fart jokes (if you want some silly baked-bean flatulence humor, check out: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjXzzAMU9Zo), I decided to ask KZFR food-show deejay “Mama Rose” Febbo for a baked-bean recipe that’s a notch above your standard Fourth of July fare. Here’s Rose:

This is a recipe I’ve tried and is really good. I usually make it without the bacon, but of course adding bacon adds flavor to a lot of things. You can always start with canned beans as well if time is an issue.

1 lb. navy beans
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup sorghum (molasses)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Optional: 1/4 lb. cooked bacon

1. Wash and sort beans, discarding any stones or shriveled beans. Put beans in large saucepan, cover with water (about 3 cups), and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, adding more water if necessary (up to 2 cups), until beans are tender, 1–1 1¼2 hours. Drain, reserving water.

2. Preheat oven to 275. Layer beans, sugar, onions, sorghum (and bacon pieces), ending with a top layer of beans, in a bean pot or ovenproof dish. Stir in soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard, and salt to taste. Add bean water and up to 1 cup more water to cover. Bake uncovered for 5–6 hours, stirring occasionally. If beans start to get too brown on top, cover with a lid or aluminum foil.

Two really good movies
I’ve been watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (over and over with my 9-year-old)—that entertaining (and enlightening) 1971 film starring Gene Wilder. I’d never seen it until recently when we watched it on an outdoor screen at night at a Yosemite campground (I had read the Roald Dahl book upon which it is based).

Prior to Willy Wonka, my Netflix plum was a wonderful movie called The Real Dirt on Farmer John, suggested to me by KZFR programmer Peter Ratner.

This must-see 2005 documentary tells the story of a third-generation Illinois farmer—a somewhat eccentric, but devoted, visionary and endearing man named John Peterson—who survived the farm-debt crisis of the 1980s and vicious attacks on his character (among other things over the years) to head up the currently thriving CSA called Angelic Organics.

Kids’ summer-camp update
Last week, I mentioned that CARD’s Let’s Get Growing camps had a few spaces left. Not to exclude any of CARD’s other food-related summer camps, I called Ann Willman, CARD’s senior recreation supervisor, to see if there was room left in either the Farm Camp at TJ Farms, or in cooking-focused Camp Cuisine.

Willman said that Camp Cuisine’s remaining week-long camps are full, but TJ Farms’ week-long, hands-on farming camps for kids aged 6-12, which run through Aug. 6, still have a few openings.

For more info, go to www.chicorec.com or call 895-4711.

Props for Chico Squeeze
There’s nothing like homemade lemonade on a hot evening at the Thursday Night Market, and local family-owned biz Chico Squeeze sure knows how to make it taste great. Check out the wares from their cart—a variety of spins on lemonade with local-landmark-inspired monikers such as Bidwell Berry, One-Mile Mint and Strawberry Skyway. They just added two new flavors, Orchard Orange and Chapman Cherry. I tried them both. Delicious. And I love eating the pile of fresh-cherry halves at the bottom of the cup when the lemonade’s all gone.

Happy Fourth!