Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Beans and Bagels

A commenter last week asked me to post my bagel and black bean recipes. For the bagels, I use a recipe from allrecipes.com. I posted all about making bagels here.

For the black beans, I actually usually don't season them at all, except for some salt at the end. (Apparantly, if you add salt during cooking it makes the beans tough. At least, this is what I've read.) However, I have in the past added some onions and garlic to the beans for a little flavor.

I often hear people comment that they couldn't cook beans from scratch because they would never remember to soak them overnight. Well, neither do I! Instead, I use the quick-soak method. I put the washed and picked-over beans in a pot with plenty of water, bring it to a boil, and let them boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Then I remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and let it sit for an hour. After that, I drain the water, add new water, and cook as usual.

In case you are unfamiliar with using dried beans, "picking over" means to check the washed beans for tiny stones and bits of soil. Sometimes you don't find any, but I often do. You don't have to obsess about it; I usually just rake through them with my hand after I rinse them in the colander.

After the hour of soaking, it usually just takes about two hours to cook the black beans at a simmer on the stove. I also sometimes cook them in the crockpot, which takes an hour or two longer.

Cooking dried beans did used to seem so difficult to me, but now that I've started cooking and freezing them I rarely buy canned. Canned beans are not a super expensive item, but still, I would estimate that dried beans are about half the cost. Every little bit helps!

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