Monday, September 22, 2008

Cool Beans

I've tried cooking with dry beans a bunch of times. They usually come out barely edible- sort of mealy feeling and not fully cooked, despite hours of soaking and cooking.

Earlier this year I saw this post on Cathy's blog http://growingcurious.typepad.com/growing_curious/2008/04/cathys-no-soak.html. I made some black beans and used them for soup shortly afterwards. And omg! It works- perfect beans.

I made some more beans this weekend, some lovely garbanzos. Delicious. I used them in a stew from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian.

This morning I picked up a bag of great northern beans at the store, love those and can't wait to make something with them. I was talking about cooking with my friend Maria yesterday. She asked why was I making beans from scratch, since good canned beans are so readily available. I wasn't really sure, except that I love a good cooking challenge, and it drove me bonkers that my previous efforts were inedible!

In other food news, Sam has been on a new food streak. Mind you, he hasn't really loved most of what he has tried, but hey, he's trying! He tried spinach and got a bite or two down by holding his nose. We just made it plain, but I bet he would like it made another way. We'll try again. He tried a grape. He didn't care for the skin; his sister helpfully asked if we could peel them for him. Um, no thanks. He tried a radish in school. He ate some sweet potato, and did enjoy that. Hooray! A week ago I bought an artichoke, at his request. I made it last night, and he ate a few leaves dipped in honey mustard dressing. He says he'd eat it again if we make it.

I think both of my kids eat pretty well, but Sam is definitely persnickety. But, hey, so was I.

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Hey - I know what you mean about beans. I made a bean soup in the slow cooker consistently last winter. Do you eat meat? I use a ham shank in my recipe. It was really good:

http://sassypriscilla.typepad.com/sassy_priscillas_craft/2008/01/whats-for-dinne.html

Thanks for the link to that Cathy's method.

I think artichoke is pretty impressive for any kid. At least Sam wants to try new foods.

cathy said...

I agree that eating an artichoke is an impressive accomplishment for a child. My husband won't even eat one. I grew up on them, though.

Three reasons to make beans from scratch:

--It costs much less.
--Current, renewed fears of some plastics include the plastic-coated lining used on the inside of cans.
--They taste fresher, and you can incorporate seasoning earlier to deepen the flavor.

I love, love, love garbanzo beans in stews. We eat a lot of hummus here and plain garbanzos in salads. Having them in a stew takes them to a higher level.

Btw, I sometimes make a "stew" in the oven (in a lidded casserole) with sweet potatoes (Sam's new vegetable), garbanzos, tomatoes, onions. I like it spiced up a bit with some chili, but D and E like it mild.

I'm glad that bean method is still working for you.

African Kelli said...

Yum, I love cooking with beans from scratch too. I'll have to try this!

Kiandra said...

is it bean season?

i made black eyed peas this past weekend and they were sooo good!

i never cook beans from a can, the taste is off to me, i guess that's because my mom always cooked them from scratch.

the way i cook mine is i soak them over night (twice) two days in total (rinsing them in cold water and changing the water in between), and then slow cook them on the stove for hours...with kombu ( a sea vegetable). i have to do this in order for me to be able to digest them, and the kombu also helps to tenderize them and give them more flavor. the think i've learned with cooking dried beans is that you have to cook them loooong and slow and low. i bring them to a boil, and than reduce them down as low as it goes...and let them cook all day (5+ hours easily) !

i will have to go check out kathy's link and see if i learn anything new.

my children are really...persnickety too when it comes to food...i'm impressed at the fact that he ate spinach and artichoke...my son is going through a horrible stage with eating any veggies...even corn! he used to love them all, even edamame...now all he wants is plain broccoli...with nothing on it...but butter.

maybe i should try sweet potatoes...he has a sweet tooth!