Steve Sando, bean impresario behind Rancho Gordo, outlines the steps from beans in a bag to glorious pot o’ beans. Dried beans may not be fresh, per se, but the ones you're using shouldn’t be more than two years old. Soak them first, and then use the soaking water to cook them. A quick, hard boil followed by a long, slow simmer will get them cooked up right. (Click here for Steve's bean-cooking recipe.)
All hail the ripe summer tomato, potentially a perfect food. Here, the inside of the tomato is the star: the juicy sweet-tart pulp adorns garlic-rubbed, toasted ciabatta, proving that simple food doesn’t mean boring.
Juicy summer tomatoes are the stars of this main dish salad—they’re even used in the tangy vinaigrette. Toss two kinds with whole-grain croutons, other veggies, and chicken for a hearty take on panzanella.