Rachel Wilhelm has been a long-time friend to Randall Beans, but recently she has been doing some big stuff behind the scenes. Always a talented photographer, Rachel has begun running our Open Spigot Farm and Powered By Beans Instagram accounts, providing our fans and us with gorgeous photography!
Now, Rachel has begun developing new, delicious recipes for us to share with all of you as our newest recipe developer! You’ve no doubt been dazzled by her photography and you’ll soon be seeing her new recipes on our recipe page, so why not give her a little intro? We can’t wait for you to try all the wonderful bean dishes she is cooking up.
Who taught you to cook/How did you learn to love cooking?
I grew up in a big family on a dairy farm in the midwest and loved watching my parents cook. We didn’t eat out very much, so we had a ready supply of veggies and herbs from our huge garden, fruit from our orchards, fresh milk and meat that we butchered ourselves. Farm-to-table is an understatement. My grandmother was also a great cook and I would learn traditional German recipes from watching her in the kitchen. I tried to learn to bake as well as my mother, but that’s a challenge for me as I have a hard time following a recipe exactly as it’s written!
What is your favorite kind of food to cook?
I work full-time for a resort with numerous James Beard awards that is known for its farm-to-table southern cuisine, and being raised on a farm is a huge influence. I like KNOWING my food. I’m also known for my love of spices if you ask my friends and family. From Cajun and Creole to Thai and Korean, the more spice varieties, the better! I like to see my food as somehow traveling somewhere I’ve never been. And I love to share that with friends and family. I have an entire cabinet dedicated to my spice collection.
Do you have a favorite or “go-to” recipe?
I have two, and they are very different from one another. My go-to showoff recipe for a group of friends is a creamy creole pasta dish that highlights spicy andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, spinach, garlic and spices, with a goat cheese enriched alfredo sauce over rigatoni. But, a recipe that’s very close to my heart that I made for my boyfriend when we moved into our house incorporates hand mixed, rolled, and cut German spaetzle. My grandmother taught my mother to make them when she married my father, and then she taught me how to make them. My grandmother passed years ago and I think about her every time I’m mixing the pasta dough. There are only 4 ingredients but making the spaetzle is very time consuming, so you only make it for people you really care about. Sauteed with sweet onions and fresh green beans, and served with pork tenderloin with a cherry and port wine reduction, it’s pretty darn good!
What’s your favorite way to incorporate beans into recipes?
They are so versatile! I have turned to trying a more plant-based diet, so beans will usually take the place of meat. They can shine as stars of the dish, or incorporated into a delicious side. I love that they can also be blended into purees and snuck into deserts and unusual recipes for a nutritional kick.
What do you like to do when you aren’t in the kitchen?
I work with horses as a profession, but it’s also a passion. And if I’m not riding I’m likely in water somewhere with a fly rod in my hand. My photography shows a lot of both, as well as a fascination with micro nature photography. Living in the mountains gives me inspiration daily.
What do you enjoy most about running the Randall Instagram?
Being part of the Randall family has really influenced the way I look at my food. I’ve picked up better eating habits and in turn, have expanded my repertoire of recipes! The values Randall keeps as a company also fall in line with my personal commitment to knowing where my food comes from, caring for the environment, and practicing sustainable food practices. But I also love interacting with the community that surrounds our social media influence. Other food bloggers, chefs, farmers, producers, dietitians, athletes…it’s been such a cool journey so far! I can’t wait to see how it grows!
You can follow all of Rachel’s adventures on Open Spigot Farm on our Facebook and Instagram page, as well as the Powered By Beans Instagram. You can also learn more about Rachel and see her personal work on her website, She Strayed South.