Thursday, January 22, 2009

Would you care for some beans?

I'm getting ready to go on a mini-trip tomorrow, not a terribly well planned trip since I'm headed to The Windy City where it's to be well, windy, and cold. I'll be the woman wrapped in the down coat. Anyhow, I'm having a bit of book stress today since I just finished two books and am in the middle of nothing! Not a good way to start a trip if you ask me. The third Simon Serrailler book of Susan Hill's arrived and I think that'll be a shoo-in since I'm already involved with the characters. But I feel I need something else, and since I'm nervous about traveling with books that are difficult to replace - Viragos, advance copies, books from the UK, I'm in a bit of quandary.

In light of all this packing and book decisions, I thought I'd share my black bean technique with you since we'll be eating the leftovers tonight.

I soak my beans overnight. In my opinion this keeps them more firm than the quick-soak method and reduces the, um, gassy qualities of the beans. I drain them, cover them with liquid (probably too much) and then bring to a boil with a cut up onion, a few cloves of garlic, bay leaves, and cilantro. You don't want to add salt now or the beans will have trouble becoming soft. That's what I hear anyway.

So bring the beans to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender! I have to keep them partially covered for this or they stop simmering. I start checking for doneness after 30 minutes or so, but they can take as long as an hour. It just depends on your beans, and mine seem pretty fresh since they never take quite as long as the books say. In the meantime I prepare this:

Sauteed onions, red pepper, jalapenos, garlic, spices - paprika and cumin, and throw in some cilantro towards the end as well as salt and pepper. I let this get pretty soft.

Since I usually cook my beans in too much water I remove the excess along with the other flavorings I added at the beginning. Add the onion mixture. There's a pretty high ratio of onion mixture to beans here; I actually started this thinking I had more beans to cook.

And that's it! Adjust the seasonings and you could serve these with rice, as a taco filling - mashing them a bit helps with this, or as an enchilada filling. They're yummy and my family is actually happy about this dinner.

I wanted to say, please forgive me if it seems I've not been around much lately. I've mentioned this before, but I have some problems with my right hand and they're flaring up pretty badly right now. I'm trying to rest it. I'm still reading posts, just not commenting very much.

See you next week!


Sandra said...

This seems like the perfect dish for this cold weather. I hope you enjoy The third Hill book. I've read the fourth in the series, The Vows of Silence. It's called The Going Down of the Sun in other editions and it's available in paperback, it came out in September. I see you've got After You'd Gone in your library, I can recommend that as a good read. I don't see any indication that you've read it. Her other novels are good too, especially The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. I hope your problem with your hand resolves itself soon. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on soaking the beans overnight - I never use the quick soak method. Have a great trip.

Iliana said...

This looks so yummy. You always post the most delicious sounding recipes Tara!

Take care of your hand... I went through some wrist issues a couple of years ago and that's no fun.

Hope you have a good trip!

Ti said...

I love a good bean recipe. Thanks for sharing. I also know what you mean about starting a trip without a book-in-progess. Right now, I am reading The Terror but it is close to 800 pages long. I love it, and I am making good progress but it's not the kind of book that I can read along with other books so my reviews have come to a halt.

I'm sorry your hand is flaring up. I have RA and Lupus and that's a problem for me too but I seem to be in some sort of remission right now so I haven't had to deal with it lately.

Nan said...

Oh my gosh, those look great! I'm going to copy and save it, Tara. Have fun in that windy city, though I can't believe it will be any colder than your home. :<) I'd be the same way about traveling with books. I'd be afraid I'd be miles from home or a bookstore, and not be liking the book I brought. My biggest fear of being on a desert island would be no books. I have loved seeing Sawyer read during lulls in the action on LOST. And getting those glasses!

Bybee said...

Oh, Tara...true deliciousness...thank you!!!

Carrie K said...

I hope you had fun in Chicago! And had just the right amount of books & titles.

Those beans look delicious.

Tara said...

Hi Sandra, I am enjoying the third Hill book - I have around 100 pages left, and the fourth is waiting in the wings! Thanks for the reading suggestion and your kind words.

bermudaonion, oh, good, thanks for the confirmation!

Iliana, thank you and thank you. It is no fun, is it!

Ti, now that is the sort of book that I am reluctant to carry around! I look forward to your thoughts on it. I'm glad to know your pain is less right now.

Nan, thank you! It was just about the same temperature I think, though I did manage to walk outside a bit which felt amazing. Fortunately in Chicago there are loads of bookstores, but I have a great fear of being without books, too! I love seeing Sawyer read too. I actually felt bad for him when Jack threw something he was reading into the fire.

Bybee, oh thank you - you are welcome!

Carrie K, thank you, I did, and they are!

J.L. Danger said...

I hope your hand feels better. Your beans look great. Beans are one of the things that I have been craving with this pregnancy. Specifically black beans!

Tara said...

J.Danger, thanks a bunch. What a healthy thing to crave!