Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Most Delicious Beans - the Tooting Comes with the Territory

These are the most delicious beans you will ever taste.

I eat less meat all the time. I still eat it, but the portions may be just a few bites compared to what's on the rest of my plate. Tonight, it was a strange array of leftovers, fruit and rice. The leftovers were a few bites of pork and fish-stuffed calamari that the DH brought home from a potluck. (This is what happens when you're last to leave the party - the remains are thrust upon you! It was a gathering of cigar smokers. Yes, it was outdoors, but I can't take more than 2 or 3 hours of this, and he was there for SEVEN HOURS.)

ANYWAY! The fruit was slices of insanely honey-sweet melon. The rice was also leftover, combined with beans I'd cooked. The ratio of beans to rice was one cup of beans - with some of the cooking liquid - to 1.5 to 2 cups of rice. I served it with the remains of a jar of Newman's salsa to which I added a handful of chopped cilantro, a small chopped tomato and the juice of 1/2 a lime.

When I was packaging the beans - some to eat later, others to freeze - the last Ziploc bag slipped from my fingers, and I lost a third of the pot of beans I'd cooked! I spent a moment mourning them, as they truly are the MOST delicious beans you will ever taste! Here is the recipe:

Basic Cooked Pinto Beans
Based on a recipe from cdkitchen.com

  • 1 lb. pinto beans
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 7 to 8 cups stock
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
Quick-soak beans by covering with water, bringing to a boil, then cook at a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and leave for one hour. Pour off water, rinse, then place beans in pot with liquid (water is fine), onion, garlic, bay leaf and oregano. Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, adding liquid as necessary. This may take up to 1-½ hours. Remove from heat, add cumin and salt and stir well. Let sit for 15 minutes. The recipe calls for draining the beans well - I don't, I keep the liquid. Makes about 6 cups of beans.

If you're adventurous, and want to make a healthy and delicious dip, try the following recipe:

Pinto Bean Hummus

  • 2-1/2 cups basic cooked pinto beans
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomato strips, soaked in water to cover
  • 2 cloves garlic, zapped one minute in microwave in tomato soaking water
Place drained tomato and drained garlic in food processor bowl and run until chopped. Add basic cooked beans, lemon juice, green onions and sesame oil and process until smooth enough to your liking. Add tomato or bean liquid if it’s too solid. Turn into a serving dish, top with a little extra virgin olive oil and edible herbs of your choice. Serve with multi-grain pita cut into wedges, carrot sticks, cucumber slices and celery sticks. Use remainder of beans in soup or with rice, or freeze.

Epilogue: A Short Meditation on Beans

I'm very picky about the ones I'll eat. Growing up, the only beans we saw were kidney, lima and green. Often the kidney beans and/or the limas were cooked with a lot of sugar and served as a very sweet side dish. I'm not sure if this is a phenomenon peculiar to Hawaii or local Japanese. The green beans came from a can, the freezer or were string beans served with pork or a pork product (Spam or Treet luncheon meat) and shoyu. 

As I started to taste different foods, and began to cook for myself and my family, I found that garbanzos (aka chickpeas or ceci), black-eyed peas, soybeans, black, azuki and pinto beans were the ones I liked best. I find that all of these have better texture and flavor than the other beans, IMO.

To this day, I still can't bear to eat a kidney or lima bean!

BTW, the tooting comes with the territory...

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