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The Magical Fruit

The paradox of my palate is that I'm a pretty adventurous eater. And yet, in my day-to-day life, I'm happy to eat the same thing for dinner all week long, or the same breakfast forever. My theory is that if I'm just eating for fuel, as long as I find something palatable and my body feels good after I eat it, it's fine. It leaves decision-making and creativity in play for things that are more important, like writing and artwork.

In the winter months, my go-to lunch or snack is bean soup. It's really satisfying, I seem to like preparing it, and it's cheap to make.

Lately I've been having some lousy luck with my beans. I simmered some split peas for about two hours (because I was busy writing and didn't pay attention) and figured they'd be mush, only to find they were semi-mush, with chunky hard bits. Now, the main thing with beans is that you have to add an acidic element after they're done cooking. If you do it too early in the cooking process it will toughen them up. I don't know if this is the same with split peas, but anyway, I've decided my main problem is that in the store where it's convenient for me to shop, they're probably just old.

I was at Whole Foods last night and got some fancy-people black beans. Fingers crossed they're fresher than what I've been cooking with.

What about you? Like beans? Hate beans? Favorite recipes?

I've never been able to figure out a good lentil soup, if you have a good one, I'd love for you to share. Or maybe lentils just aren't to my taste.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2015 01:06 pm (UTC)
I don't much care for beans. I might get a hankering for them once a year, but that's all. Btw, I think you're supposed to soak beans overnight before cooking. Maybe the same goes for lentils?
Jan. 29th, 2015 07:33 pm (UTC)
Lentils and split peas are the ones that supposedly don't need soaking.

I think an old bean is a disappointing bean.
Jan. 29th, 2015 03:10 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I've never been fond of lentils, so can't help you there.

I bought some Faro yesterday. Thought I might try some of that as a grain alternative. I'll probably cook some up today or tomorrow and see what I think. I do enjoy black beans and pinto beans though, maybe I'll soak some and cook some in another week or two...

- Erulisse (one L)
Jan. 29th, 2015 07:35 pm (UTC)
Black and pinto seem to be my favorites. Last time I made navy beans or black eyed peas they had that same hardness issue...then again I bought them from that same dubious store.
Jan. 29th, 2015 08:31 pm (UTC)
I absolutely love beans. In fact, I'm working on breeding my own new varieties, starting here: Bean Variety Trial 2013.

I took some of the variation I found in 2013 and grew out samples in 2014. Results are promising (though I haven't posted a summary yet).

For dry beans with excellent flavor, I recommend Rio Zape, Good Mother Stallard, or Mayflower. They can all be ordered online. More expensive than regular grocery store pinto beans, of course, but I consider the flavor to be worth it.
Jan. 29th, 2015 10:23 pm (UTC)
WOW, this is exciting stuff! I used to try growing heirloom beans but my green thumb was limited, and now I live in an apartment. I see Rancho Gordo is a big name in specialty beans and a local big co-op carries some. Experiments will need to ensue.

Thanks for the tip!
Jan. 29th, 2015 09:45 pm (UTC)
I love a really good bean soup. I grew up with my grandmother & mom making it from the jarred Northern Beans. Recently I will freely admit to buying Honey Baked Ham's bean soup mix. The directions are simple, the spice packet included is perfect and I add some extra veggies to change it up a bit.

I have never tried lentil soup myself but the mix I use has lentils in it.

I've had bean soup made out in restaurants where the beans have that hard texture and MAN is it a HUGE turn off :((( I don't know if it's because they didn't soak them long enough or what the problem was, but I'm always hesitant to order it in a restaurant for that specific reason.

Jan. 29th, 2015 10:23 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna try getting some better beans to start with. That's bound to help.
Jan. 30th, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC)
Split peas will fail if they are old and stale. My grandmother made a killer split-pea and ham soup, using left over Sunday ham. I don't make it much anymore because my husband has a serious aversion to split-peas. But... yeah, if they are old and stale they cook up funny.

I LOVE black beans. I love them more when you buy a bag of them at the store (I don't bother with Whole Foods, but we don't have those in Green Bay, anyway). But... I tend to not plan my meals very far in advance and you have to soak them overnight... and that kills it when I have a sudden, "I could really go for bean soup for dinner tonight" thing. Which is why I also stock up on Goya canned black beans when they are on sale. Sadly.

I also like black beans cooked and then mashed up like you would a refried bean paste. SO GOOD.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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