Instead of getting straight to Matt & Steve’s Extreme Beans, a little narrative…
Long before we had a room in the apartment that we now refer to as a “pantry”, there was that same space, referred to as the “booze room”. Don’t be sad by that implication: The wall of booze remains. An IKEA bookshelf is weighed down in three sections: One for beer, one and a half for wine, and one for spirits and such, with the top shelf of two being taken up by spirits and beer. It’s a big wall. There’s lots of obscure stuff in the wine and beer, stuff that comes from trips local and across provincial and country borders, to wineries, breweries and distilleries. Craft beers that we’ve picked up in U.S. supermarkets and liquor stores. We’ve also got some boxes of beer on the floor.
I’m telling you this because while turning “booze room” into “pantry” to hold not only alcohol but kitchen gear and food stuff – a feat that involved building floor to ceiling shelving on the other 3 walls, I found a bunch of jars of Matt & Steve’s Extreme Beans, which are pickled beans. The story I was told is this: Years ago Matt and Steve started a pickled bean company. Starting small, distribution was small. Jason had gotten them several years ago from a bar owner friend who added some extra to his own order. I was told “They’re hard to find.”
Here’s Matt & Steve’s Extreme Bean story: Matt Larochelle and Steve McVicker met while bartending. Like many inventions, the conception of their Extreme Beans came out of a gap in the market. You could consider Matt and Steve Bloody Caesar connoisseurs. They served many Caesars at their bars, and were fans of the Caesar, but were bored with the usual garnishes. Matt and Steve agreed that there had to be a better garnish than a celery stick. I agree. I’m one of those people who considers celery to be bland, and fibrous. Famous food writer David Lebovitz is with me on that. The exact quote that I vaguely remembered and had to look up is this: “it’s like eating green water held together with a lot of stringy, indigestible fibers” (I’ve made David Lebovitz’s Celery Root Remoulade that’s linked, and it was good).
And so, out of their 600 sq ft apartment, a new Bloody Caesar garnish was born. They chose a type of bean called The Kentucky Flat, which grows longer, sweeter and crunchier than beans you find at your local store. (“The Kentucky Flats” sounds like the name of a bluegrass band, doesn’t it?) Since then, Matt and Steve have added more products, adding B’nOlives – perfect for a dirty martini, The Extreme Bean Garlic & Dill, and Bloody Caesar/Mary Radical Rimmer. Other bartenders have thought beyond the “green water” too. You can get all sorts of pickled vegetable garnishes at bars, from pickled garlic scapes to pickled carrots.
So back to my own story, the beans sat on the shelf, and I was curious but didn’t do anything about that. I’ve got tons of food in jars that I forget about – and the beauty of canning is that the food inside the jars lasts indefinitely.
Then Matt and Steve’s PR person emailed me in early October to introduce me to the company.
This is the email:
Wanted to share an idea with you for Andrea the Gastronaut’s Cocktail Lounge. We would love to work with you on behalf of Matt & Steve’s The Extreme Bean. Not sure if you’re familiar with the boys; the creators (Matt & Steve) are two all-Canadian guys who developed a spicy pickled bean, perfect for garnishing Caesars or martinis.
We would like to send you a package of Matt & Steve products including The Extreme Bean and Matt & Steve’s B’nOlive – a giant olive stuffed with The Extreme Bean and their zesty rimmer – to introduce you to the brand and enjoy.
Besides garnishes for your Caesar and Martinis, The Extreme Bean and B’nOlives are also great to add to any salad, anti-pasto or just to snack on right out of the jar. With friends and family gathering for Thanksgiving weekend, we thought this would be a great time to share the perfect Caesar recipe: The All-Canadian Extreme Bean Caesar and garnish with your readers as well as share some ideas for putting together an easy appetizer charcuterie board for your guests to nibble on while the turkey is roasting!
If you like, we can offer a lucky reader a chance to win a gift basket with a selection of Matt & Steve’s products. The winner’s prize package will include The Extreme Bean product line: the original The Extreme Bean, The Garlic & Dill Extreme Bean, Extreme B’nOlive and Matt & Steve’s Bloody Caesar Rimmer.
More information about Matt & Steve products and where to get them check out the Matt & Steve’s website, Twitter or Facebook.
Please do let me know if this is something you believe your readers might be interested in!
Kudos to her for reading my blog before reaching out. I responded and told her that yes, I already know about Extreme Beans. I have some in my pantry! I hadn’t actually tried them yet. I don’t know what I was waiting for, but Jason did make them sound rare. I think they were only available in bars for many years.
Not so rare anymore. On their website, they list a number of stores, including Sobey’s, FreshCo, Longo’s, Loblaws and Fortinos, and recently I saw Matt & Steve’s products at Walmart. You can buy them from their online store.
When I did subsequently crack open a jar it was while camping over Thanksgiving weekend with our American friends Kim and Andy and our two dogs. Jason guessed that the beans we were eating were 7 years old. Kim proclaimed, “I could eat these all day.” And she can. Matt & Steve have an online store specifically for U.S. customers.
The recipe is simple. It’s basic pickling.
Of course we ate our beans in Caesars – aka “Bloody Caesar”, but while you might see the it on a menu, you never hear anyone call it that. We order and make Caesars with whiskey instead of vodka. I’ve heard of people using gin instead. Blogger Stella Yu (Food Junkie Chronicles) has a great recipe, in infographic form, in a blog post about Matt & Steve’s:
Kim makes Bloody Caesars at home now, which is a very Canadian thing. She could eat her Extreme Beans with a Bloody Mary when the Clamato runs out.
Thinking beyond the Caesar, what else could you do with Extreme Beans? Eat them straight up or use them the way you’d eat a regular pickled cucumber. Pickled Extreme Bean relish? How about an Extreme Bean Pickleback? The brine would go well in a dirty martini. Matt and Steve have made those in TV appearances.
What would you do with Extreme Beans?