We visited Arizona this last December on the way back from seeing family in California. I had always wanted to visit Tuscon and love that its not hot in the winter months, however it was actually quite cold and wet when we were there, I suspect spring is the best time to visit. When we landed in Phoenix our entry point to hire a car, we visited the Heard museum cafe to sample some Native American cuisine on the advice of my sweet twitter buddy and fellow dietitian Monika of Hip Veggies. I had a Tepary bean salsa with Indian fry bread. These beans are native to the South east and have a long history they are nutritious and grow well in dry conditions. On my return I couldn't find these beans locally in North Carolina so used Northern beans.
But often you may find old bean varieties in your area that are often overlooked here we have cow peas, october beans and pinto beans.
- one cup of Northern beans, or any small white bean.
- 1/2 a red onion, thinly chopped
- 1 celery stalk thinly chopped
- 2 small sweet peppers diced
- one small tomato diced
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic sliced
- a pinch of cumin powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- a little chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup of corn
- saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil for 4-5 min.
- add the cumin, celery and peppers
- meanwhile pressure cook the beans for one whistle after an overnight soak.
- add the tomato and let it reduce down, then add 2 cups of water, cumin powder, sweetcorn and the beans, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15-20 min. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.
Tuscon was beautiful and I liked the feeling that folks there were more at peace with living in the desert than Phoenix I saw less green lawns and non native trees. There was more desert landscaping and buildings that seemed to suit the surroundings.
We stayed at Hacienda del Sol, a wonderful historic property with great staff an amazing garden complete with citrus trees and a stables. Our girl really wanted to go horse riding on the trip and this was a big factor in choosing this hotel. It was a great experience and we even got to sample some barrel cactus along the way and see a bobcat cave.
Another great tip from Monika was the Arizona Sonora Desert museum this was a beautiful drive outside of Tuscon in the middle of the desert the museum featured trails, animals and wonderful facts about life in the desert a must visit.
I highly recommend a visit to Tuscon, we hope to return and have more time a weekend was not enough but we got a good taste for more.