Refried Beans - you just take beans and fry them, right? Actually I am not so sure.
We had tacos the other day, and didn't have any refried beans, and I really really wanted some. Consider it a craving, and the only answer is to find refried beans. No other option exists. I popped into the pantry and found some kidney beans.
"I think I got this," I said to myself.
Potato masher, big spoon, bowl. I drain the kidney beans of most of their water. I mush them all up. I heat up some olive oil in a cast iron, and add the mush. I add some paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and black pepper. I stir. I taste.
They taste like refried beans! But more importantly, they remind me of the dried refried bean mix you can buy at bulk food stores that I used to eat while camping.
In 2004, I hiked the Long Trail the length of Vermont with a great friend. We joke that even though we felt pain for each and every single step of the 272-mile hike, it was still the greatest experience. We had ravenous appetites. We hiked with two other men, who for some reason, could handle the 12 - 15 mile days with nothing more than a Lipton soup packet and a granola bar.
We, however, had to eat at least 6 full meals to feel satiated.
The point of the story, however, is that dried refried bean mix became our dessert. Our after dinner treat. Our last chance before bed to pack on the calories. So we ate the mix, spoonful by spoonful. Dry. My trail-palate thought it tasted like Doritos. But each time we'd gorge on these Doritos, we'd then drink a lot of water and those Doritos would double, maybe even triple, in size in our stomachs. It led to some massive stomach aches.
I recreated them in my kitchen, years later. This time without the stomach aches. I'll call that a success.