Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Beans, Beans, and more Beans

Back in the olden days, when inflation was running at about 15% and Grandpa was remembering the Great Depression he told me about eating corn meal in one form or another for about a month. Three meals a day, mush, corn bread, fried mush....you get the idea. But he told me that if I ever needed to get through a winter and feed my family for almost nothing to get a 100# of beans. We probably have at least 100# of beans in #10 cans, and I don't think we have used any of them. Such is the love that Annie has for beans. :)

Well, it would be nice to have a recipe that would let you make and angel food cake from a pot of navy beans, but I don't have one, and I don't have one that will make cookies, pies, or short cakes, but there are a couple of alternatives to chilli.

It is OK to soak them, but not absolutely necessary. If you want to get them soft you will either have to cook them for a long time, or pressure cook them for about 35-40 minutes. Soaking has the advantage of making sure you don't overfill the pressure cooker as they swell quite a bit with either soaking or pressure cooking.

So now you have a batch of hot, cooked beans. If you have a ham shank, you can add some tomato, brown sugar, salt, onions (a few) and maybe some beef bullion and then cook it over a low heat, stirring to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Good with cornbread. :)

Actually you can use split peas, lentils or any kind of bean with ham. I used to make split pea soup all the time when I was in college and a small pot would last me for three or four days (lunches mostly). We aren't real wild about lentils... so much. They have a little stronger flavor than beans. Actually, I think they would make great pigeon food. And pigeons would make pretty good soup. A fair trade, don't you think?

Beans can be simmered into soup with virutally no meat, and with a little seasoning, it is pretty good.

You can also cook the beans until soft, cool overnight. The next day grind them into paste, again with some onions and maybe a little bullion if you have it. Add some butter or bacon fat or chicken fat and you have refried beans. With a little rice and home made tortilla's you can have a hearty and robust meal. Hearty and robust....kind of scary to describe a meal this way isn't it?

With a little planning you can sprout the beans and have stirfry..... again with rice, but we are doing food storage cooking. If you have several different kinds of seeds stored, your stirfry could be pretty interesting. I have taken my anaheim peppers, and the jalapenos too and chopped them up in the food processor until they are medium to small relish size, filled the jar with vinagar and added a little salt and hot water bathed them in small jars for about 15 minutes. You could put a few peppers preserved like this into a lot of different foods. They still have quite a nice pepper taste. I am going to have to buy some bell peppers and try it too.

But with a few canned peaches cut into chunks, a little bit of onion, some frozen or canned peppers, any thing fresh or crisp from a garden, like peas or green beans, possibly a carrot or two cut up small, you could make a nice stir fry. Some beef or chicken stock or bullion would be good to give it depth of flavor.

That is about the depth of my well as far as beans go. Sorry there isn't more. I will look around for other recipes. In Taiwan they make a sweet bean paste as a desert, but it might be an aquired taste.

1 comment:

pixiestylist said...

this is the infamous "oldest daughter" i think i might like this blog, despite its title, pretty interesting, even if it is stressful :)