Posts Tagged ‘Beans


Cowboy Dinner Tree (To Do List & Very Full Belly)

Many years ago, I heard about the Cowboy Dinner Tree. I wrote down the name on a piece of cardboard and pegged it to the wall over my garage work bench. It was something to do someday.

Every few years, I would mention the possibility of going there and each year there was a conflict, interruption etc. You know how it goes. Well, this year, out of the blue, my wife suggested we go to the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Amazing suggestion. I made the reservations for not only the restaurant but for one of the two little cabins near the restaurant. The plan was set and we recently ventured to central, Southern Oregon to fulfill this long time quest. It was a very wonderful outing.

The drive was about 5 hours with all the usual stops one has to make. The pace was easy going and we arrived just before the 3pm check in time. I had scheduled dinner for a bit later. 

The days/hours vary with the season so you definitely want to check in advance at the Cowboy Dinner Tree site or call them.

The rustic image is from a nice collection, spreading, of ranch life stuff. Don’t let the remoteness, decor or oddities confuse. Abundant hospitality and grub awaits inside.

We dined with about a dozen other diners this evening. You pretty well sit by yourselves and take in the interior decor, the low light and the amazing service from Connie…such a sweet, hard working woman. You can review the site for info re the meals, but suffice to say you can choose either from a whole roasted chicken or a large sirloin butt steak that ranges from 26 to 30 ounces. A salad, fresh baked rolls with a beverage choice starts you out (no alcohol here).

You are hungry so the salad goes down easy enough along with a few rolls. Then a large serving bowl of beans arrives with ladle. This blend of spices, pinto and black beans is some of the finest I have ever tasted. Simple, hearty and wait, you ate that whole bowl of beans! Hmmm. Before you can fully contemplate the beans, here comes your over flowing plate. My wife and I chose the beef. Next time we would do one chicken and one beef. It is a shockingly big cut of beef. You anticipate this because you’ve heard about it or read about it. But, no it is actually big. Count on left overs. Bring a cooler, ice and a container for inside the cooler. 

The meal is finished off, well you are finished off, with a nice reasonably sized dessert and you are done. It is immensely tasty and if you pace yourself and allow for left overs you will survive it just fine.

There is a gift shop but it was closed for repairs while we visited. It looked to have some art work, the usual T’s and other keepsakes to show you were there. I grabbed a cap from the restaurant.

The Beans. I love a good pot of beans. The combined pinto and black beans had some nice blend of spices plus something sweet? I had to add ground pepper to mine.

Ms. SwittersB with half a cow (actually I believe it is a Top Sirloin Butt Steak).

My steak and a perfect baked potato. There is a rub put on the meat. No steak sauces are offered. You don’t need it, but I guess you could cart in a small bottle if you had to have it. I opted for some sinus shattering, ear tweaking, eye closing, face making horseradish. A little dab ‘il do you! Butter and sour cream for the bakers. The rolls were perfect.

At this point, I was so full and almost delirious that I forgot to take a pic of the dessert, a little strawberry, sauce and cake affair. 

Now the whole dinner is admittedly over the top quantity wise, but this is a left overs situation. Plan on this so a goodly amount of food does not go to waste. There will be enough meat for several days of ‘normal’ eating.  Ok, you are done. So, don’t just rush to your car and drive away. If the weather allows walk around the grounds a little bit and take in the old ranch equipment and take some photographs.

The weather had cooled off considerably and a front was pushing in to the NW. We made our way down the road, a short distance, to the “small cabin”. It was a perfect shelter complete with a small fridge, coffee maker, wood burning stove, indoor plumbing and the world’s smallest hot water heater & a shower…hurry! Electricity, a heavy quilt and it is a cozy place to contemplate your stomach.

The morning was a bit chilly. We probably didn’t need a fire, but I got up early and made my way to the wood stove I have prepped the night before. It took the edge off the chill….especially after that hot water heater empties out fast!

The Cowboy Dinner Tree (south of Silver Lake, Oregon) was an enjoyable adventure. It has been around for 20 some years and has a devoted following. Any hearty carnivore should venture there once, or more. 


COWBOY BEANS @ Heritage & Trail Cooking

As the season starts to change, it reminds me that one of  my favorite Fall/Winter foods is a pot of beans. I came across this great how-to recipe on making beans at Heritage & Trail awesome site.  Explore the interesting info re recipes and cooking in general.


Beans, Beans the Musical Fruit………

The cold weather absolutely prompts this urge to cook a pot of beans. My dad always craved a pot of pinto beans, cooked plain. After cooking the pot of beans, he would add, on the side, corn bread or white bread and bacon. Plenty of pepper was dashed upon the top of the beans.

Every time I watch some old western movie, the camp cook slops a spoon full of beans on an old tin plate and the ranch hand is seen scooping in spoonfuls of beans into their mouths followed by them mopping up the bean juice with some bread or tortillas…that is more than a spartan meal to me. It is comfort food.

I have admittedly adorned my beans with more than my dad did. More seasonings, more meat, more types of beans. And, like him, I seem to make enough for the neighborhood. You, of course, may add many more seasonings to your beans. I keep it fairly simple. Wait on any tomato based additives until the very end.

Beans Soaking (SB)

You can soak your beans for about 6 hours over night or quick soak them (bring beans to a boil then turn off and let soak for half the time). I usually rinse the beans, inspect for grit and a pebble or two and then soak over night. That requires some forethought so if you are sitting there at mid-morning and get a hankering for beans go for the quick soak and get busy.   BEANS

I cook up 2 pounds of lean ground beef for less fat and better texture. You could use other meat that suits you, but I opt for ground beef. I drain off any fat and season the meat with chili powder, red wine and cumin. I set it aside and only add it to the beans near the end.

The beans are cooked  in a large pot. I pay attention to not scorch the beans and to pay attention to the water level. Growing up, I recall my mom would get busy with chores, gabbing or a nap….and boy howdy, burn the beans! So cooking the beans requires a little attention to the water level. This will also determine whether your beans are thicker or more soup like.You can even add a touch of rice.

Not Just for the Beans (SB)

I always follow the portions technique of ‘if a little is good, then more is better’. Hence, I end up with large portions. But, I must admit, I will eat many bowls of the beans over the weekend. Once the beans are cooked, I stir in the already cooked beef and let it simmer for a bit. Once it is served up, I add the obligatory black pepper atop the beans.

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit……………

Oh, to avoid discord: try to limit spattering grease, dried bean juice, and dirty pots and pans. I, once again, didn’t do very well re that.


Cold Weather and the Yummy Bowl (Beans, Chorizo & Brown Rice)


Yummy Bowl

Yummy Bowl

Beans, Chorizo, and Brown Rice

Beans, Chorizo, and Brown Rice
from Just Eat Food

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small red/white/yellow/whatever you want onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 pound chorizo (depending on if you buy it in casing or fresh, you can slice it or break it up like you would ground beef, which is what I did)
1 15 ounce can no-salt-added black beans, mostly drained
1 15 ounce can no-salt-added pinto beans, mostly drained
A dash of hot sauce, to taste (I did 3-4 dashes)
Brown rice, cooked according to package directions
Shredded cheese, chopped scallions, sour cream (optional, for garnish)

1. Add the oil to a large sauce pan and turn to medium heat.
2. Toss in onion and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. 3. Add cumin, chorizo, hot sauce and beans. Smash some of the black beans with the back of your cooking utensil to give them a nice, “been cooking all day”, kind of feel. Cook for about 10 minutes to make sure everything is heated through and that the chorizo is cooked.
4. Serve over brown rice and garnish with shredded cheese, scallions, more hot sauce, sour cream.

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