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Foodie Friday: Beans

September 26, 2008

Kitchen

I am obsessed with containers. It’s a combination of being obsessed with order and with use of space – with a generous dash of the aesthetic. I am on a mission to make my kitchen both fully stocked and uncluttered. With only two cabinets, this means two things: stuff hanging from the walls (ex. knife magnet) and jars.

I’m a bit picky about my containers. First: glass only. Mostly, this is because i kind of hate the way plastic looks and feels, and it’s impossible to hand wash to my satisfaction. But also, be kind to your body – storing (and especially heating!) your food in petroleum products is extremely bad for you in the long term. More specifically, i am quite partial to these, with the snap-down lids:

They are lovely, satisfyingly snappy to open and close, and very good for keeping food in and bugs/mold/such out. They only work if the rubber gasket is still new and squishy. Those will last a few years, but eventually they start to get brittle, and no longer provide a proper seal. I had long assumed this was a conspiracy to make you go out and buy entirely new jars when your old ones would clearly last forever, but lo and behold! the Container Store actually sells replacement seals. Knowing this, you can take advantage of all those people who give their perfectly good jars with ruined seals to goodwill (et. al). In this way, my collection is getting close to complete Note: be sure to seriously wash – and dry! – them before you use them, whether new or used (i boil mine).

This has changed my kitchen food storage from bags of beans and pasta and makeshift tupperwares stuffed into a cabinet, and storing flour in the freezer into a very pretty array of similar (but pleasingly different) glass jars lining the back of my countertop (with a few bags of beans and pasta still unhoused and cluttering things a bit).

Cooking

Beans do make lovely decoration – though red lentils are my favorite – but what do you do with them after that?

Basic (vegetarian) Beans

2 c dry beans (i’ve been using pintos, but anything of the dry bean sort would work pretty well)
Water
1 onion
1 head of garlic
3 bay leaves
sprig of fresh thyme (or tbsp ish of dry)
4 cloves
1 tbsp piminton (so says the recipe – i’ve never seen it around these parts, so i use paprika – but the good stuff i get at the asian grocery, which has actual flavor. It adds a good smokiness without a ham hock =)
1 tsp allspice
salt and pepper

Soak beans for 6 hours in cool water. More won’t hurt. Peel the onion and stick the 4 cloves in it (makes them easy to retrieve at the end). Cut the top 1/2 inch off the garlic head. Drain the beans, put them in a biggish pot and cover with water. Add everything except the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add the salt towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t harden the skin of the beans. You can check if the beans are done by blowing on them – if the skins curl off they are at least near done – still taste them to be sure. Remove the flavorings as well you can (garlic, onion, bay leaves, thyme if you used fresh sprigs). Eat!

I particularly like these for breakfast as bean and cheese tacos. Having awesome beans made in advance means that i can stumble around the kitchen in a no-coffee-yet stupor and still feed myself well. Also fucking excellent with cornbread, because, well, what isn’t?

Lady Brett

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 30, 2008 7:06 am

    If only I would have known! I was just home in FL for the weekend and there were hundreds of these. I have a pile too cause I love them, but I could have brought you back a bunch. I have them all over my kitchen and bathroom!

    And I have some killer cornbread things to share when I get a second to find them, since we both share a great love for it too I see.

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