Cooking Dried Beans Is Not Scary.
I’ve been vegan for over 3 years (feels like longer) and was vegetarian before that for around 2 years, and I just learned how to cook dried beans last month. Feels like the start to a meeting of Bad Vegans Anonymous, doesn’t it? I don’t know why, but the task always seemed so daunting to me. I was afraid. Afraid that I would forget to soak the beans (which I actually did one of the two times I made beans last month, but that is why it is handy to have a helpful semi-vegan boyfriend around). Afraid that the beans would, like, never really cook. You know, that they would stay hard and inedible. Afraid about how long it takes to cook the darned things (1 1/2 hours? Before I can even really start the recipe? Shew!). But you know what? I sucked it up, and I’m glad I did, because now I get to eat things like this:
And completely fear-free. Listen, beans aren’t hard to cook. People have been telling me that for years, and I never believed them. Kind of like how I never believed my mom that practicing yoga would really help my outlook on life. But then I tried these things, and I’m (seriously) a better person for having done so. Yep, cooking dried beans makes you a better person. There. I said it. Ok, I don’t know, but it does make you an economical person who makes things from scratch like it ain’t no thang. And I really want to be that person all the time. Above you see the Cuban Beans from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Cooking. (Again and again I will tell you that this book does not get enough play from the vegans out there…it’s full of great recipes that are easy and yummy!) They are wonderfully spiced, and taste pretty amazing with a couple of dashes of hot sauce. With it you’ll see an ugly hunk of a cheezy broccoli and millet casserole that I made on the fly that actually tasted pretty good, despite taking way longer to cook than I initially planned for. The week before, I made the black bean soup from Veganomicon. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting (you know, the black bean soup you get in restaurants) because of the addition of thyme, but it was darned tasty. I made it for a couple of friends, and they both kind of went gaga over it. It, too, was made better with the addition of hot sauce (and next time I’m just gonna go ahead and take out the thyme and add more cumin, because I’m a stubborn old soup curmudgeon). I followed the recipe tip and pureed part of it with my immersion blender, so it would be creamier. (No pics because we were drinking a lot of wine that night.)
Ok, real talk: Beans cooked from scratch taste better. Truth. They take a while to cook on the stove top, but it’s not like I don’t have time on my hands. And I’m sure that a bunch of you have time to put beans in a pot on the stove and forget about them for an hour and a half. (And you can totally make them ahead, then refrigerate [or freeze!] until you need them.) Listen to a new believer.
What sorts of things do you not cook because of stupid fears? See you all at the next meeting of BVA.