Thursday, February 09, 2012

Cookin' Beans and Breakfasts

Not the best focus going on here - another shot of obsidian dark beluga lentils (the picture doesn't do them justice - I love these lentils), a heritage piebald bean (can't remember what it is) and the golden zuni bean.

How to cook beans, and a photo collection on breakfasts

Get a big pot of water going – 3 to 5 quarts/litres. Throw in 3 cups of any bean or lentil. Or throw in a bit more – or less. Remember that cooking times differ for the size and type of bean or lentil. Generally French green lentils take about 20 minutes, white navy beans take about 40 to 50 minutes, while black turtle beans take about a half an hour.
That said, if the beans are old, they take longer to cook. I think most dried beans are really old. Maybe I am the only one who buys them around here.
So those times are not much help.
Cook whatever legume you have chosen at a slow simmer. Throw in a bay leaf and whole peeled cloves of garlic. You can also throw in a few sprigs of thyme if you like. A chili pepper too, if you want a little heat. Leave the chili whole so you can pull it out easily. Do not add salt.
Cook until tender. Then, throw in a teaspoon or so of salt. This kind of firms up the skin and seems holds the bean together a bit. I have made that up – but that seems to be how it works, so that’s what I think you should do. No matter, the legumes always taste better with the salt.
Drain in a colander, take out the twiggy bits, and if you like, drizzle with a nice quality balsamic vinegar. The warm beans suck up the vinegar – the better the vinegar, the more divine the results.Also, if you happen to have a thwack of butter soft, roasted (or oil simmered - see an ancient post on cooking garlic in oil on the stove) garlic, smash it up a bit and stir that into the beans. 
By the way, one should always have a bit of butter soft, caramel coloured roasted garlic around. Get on it!
Then you can toss these beans into whatever you like. At this stage I usually use a handful in something then pop the rest in the fridge to use for breakfast, soups, salads….

Here are some breakfast photos demonstrating how I throw breaky together. Between my hunger and the steam they are shite shots.

This is a poached egg over kale, bacon and a splash of balsamic

Easy over egg with white navy beans (tossed in tons of smashed roasted garlic) and spinach. That is my long double espresso with cream - also part of my slimming regime.

Turkey sausages (from Oyama - the best!) with white beans (see above) and a really good salad mix of baby kale-like greens...chard, spinach and other unknown greens. They carried this at my grocer for about 2 weeks, now its gone!

This is another easy over egg over spinach and crumbled falafal - I like this for a change from beans. I keep them on hand for snacks too.