The Women of Today founder puts her favorite food critic to the test while social distancing at their Austin home

By Topher Gauk-Roger
May 09, 2020 10:00 AM
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Camila Alves McConaughey makes it a family affair in the kitchen!

In a video shared exclusively with PEOPLE, the Women of Today founder is joined by her favorite food critic: her mother-in-law Kay.

The clip finds Kay taste-testing Alves McConaughey's famous "Big Batch Beans," a recipe first shared on her Women of Today website, while social distancing at their Austin home due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Find the recipe down below.)

"My mother-in-law is not much of a chef," Alves McConaughey reveals. "I'm going to tell you what she's really good at, which is coming around when I'm cooking and giving all kinds of opinions."

"I cooked when the kids were young and when they all left, my husband took over the cooking," Kay admits.

"And then she's usually the taste-tester," Alves McConaughey assures as she invites her mother-in-law to give her take on the beans, which the 38-year-old makes with ribs.

"Let me see how hot it is. I can't do a lot of hot," Kay, 88, comments as she takes her first bite. "That's not too hot."

Alves McConaughey awaits her review as Kay thinks over her first bites.

"I'm saying that's very good," she says. "It's a shame I don't have anything I can add to it. They're very tasty."

"It's approved! It's mother-in-law approved," Alves McConaughey cheers. "She's being really nice today because she usually is more picky about this stuff."

RELATED VIDEO: Camila Alves McConaughey and Mother-in-Law Kay Face Off in an Epic Ping Pong Match

Alves McConaughey's tip for making her beans so delicious? Soaking them overnight. "You know, beans can be really bland," Kay says. "That's a key for them to be so tender."

Kay also reveals her secret to great cooking — having a glass of wine at the ready! "Sometimes I even put it in the food," she jokes. "Think about that one for a minute."

"Let's just say, I cook with tequila," Alves McConaughey responds.

"It makes it just a little bit more friendly," Kay says.

Alves McConaughey has been social distancing with husband Matthew McConaughey and their three children, and says it's been an amazing experience having Kay spend this time with the family.

“I love that my mother-in-law is lighthearted and helps to keep the laughter alive when we’re together," Alves McConaughey tells PEOPLE.  "Her feistiness, positive attitude and confidence at 88 years old is a daily reminder of mind over matter and that is so important during these times.”

RELATED VIDEO: Matthew McConaughey and Family Play Virtual Bingo with Senior Living Home as Residents Self-Isolate

Alves McConaughey is thinking up unique ways for her and Kay spend this Mother's Day.

“I am trying to come up with a creative way to celebrate the day," Alves McConaughey says. "Maybe a drive to an empty field for a picnic with her favorite wine and my favorite tequila!"

Kay also shared her tips for those who aren't able to spend this Mother's Day with their own mom. "If you could Skype, that would be really nice, and a good 'ol phone call," she says. "You kids out there, you give your mother a phone call and tell her how much you love her and appreciate her."

  • 2 lbs dried black beans
  • 2 bay leaves

If you have meat in your freezer:

  • 2 lbs pork ribs ("I used small baby back, but any kind of pork or meat can be added," says Alves McConaughey. "This just makes a little more of a hearty meal.")
  • 1 lb smoked sausage (Your preference: cut into bite size pieces or just sausage if it's all you have)

Vegetarian-style ingredients:

  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic or some garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil (or what you have on hand)
  • You can also add some Italian dressing to this mix if you've got a good one
  • Salt and pepper to taste and any other spices of your preference
  • Jalapeno or some crushed red pepper for heat

INSTRUCTIONS

Directions for the night before:

  1. Sort and wash the beans well, removing any that don’t look good
  2. If using ribs, soak (brine) them in salted water eight hours or overnight in the refrigerator

The next morning:

  1. Drain and rinse the beans and add to a large pot and cover with water with approximately four fingers width of water above the beans. Add bay leaves. Cook the beans alone until just tender, adding water if needed

For the meat version:

  1. Add in the soaked ribs and cook until tender. Once tender, add the sausage pieces and cook thoroughly. The beans will be seasoned from the meats and you can add seasoning to taste at the end if more is needed
  2. If you only have ground meat, you can sauté it with a little seasoning and add once beans are cooked — or make little meatballs with the kids and toss those in. It’s a free-for-all. Get creative!

For the vegetarian version:

  1. Cook the beans until soft, seasoning with a little salt and the bay leaves. In a separate pan, sauté onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and tomato (if using) and your extra spices to taste and sauté until cooked and a little browned and reduced. Drain the amount of the beans from the pot that you want to eat that day and add to the sauté pan
  2. Toss the beans in the pan on medium heat until they absorb all of those flavors. Add some of the cooking water if needed to get them to a nice consistency for serving
  3. Serve over rice or quinoa, add that fried egg, avocados, or whatever you like or have! I would love to see what you do with beans so please share with the WOT community. Whatever you don’t eat, they will freeze very well for a second meal

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