Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bean such a beautiful week...

Just gorgeous...bright blue skies, a little cooler air (come on down, temperature!) and a moon at night that is so beautiful, so magical. I just love looking at it. Woke up in the middle of the night and just gazed at it, mentally reciting my fave moon book, "Goodnight Moon".

And, that is not a typo in the blog post title. It is to remind me not to continue gushing at the moon's loveliness and share some other lovelies with you: beans. I do love them and eat them almost every day. They are a wonderful, inexpensive protein, packed with lots of other goodies, too, like fiber and B vitamins. Very alkaline, they give the body what it needs to heal. And, there are so many beautiful varieties...

Market in Mexico brimming with beautiful beans. "Hola, Senor...Yo quiero comprar todos!!"

Many people shy away from them due to fear of "issues". Here is what I have found. If beans cause you some gastric distress, it is your body telling you you are not eating enough fiber and so instead of stopping, keep eating beans! Once you have a better fiber intake, eating beans will be uneventful. Most of the problem anyway comes from sugar-y bean recipes. Beans have a lot of stored sugar of their own and adding lots of extra sugar can be trouble!

This week, I made a bean dish that I had first with Johnnycakes and then with brown rice and also made my fave bean chili. It occurred to me that I have never shared my easy peas-y way of cooking beans. Many people also shy away from beans because they think cooking them is hard, takes too long or requires a ham hock (not!). Last night's chili, from dried beans to these beautiful bowls, was done in a little over an hour.

Here is how I did it: Bean Basics

Wash and sort beans. Place in a large Dutch oven and cover with water about 1-2 inches above the beans. Let soak. (I start mine off soaking in the morning and just let them sit 'til I am ready to cook them...from 4 hours to all day). When ready to cook, do not rinse. Use soaking water for cooking.

Saute in olive oil some onion, garlic, carrots, green pepper, celery...whatever veggies you like, until they start to soften a little. Add to beans. Bring liquid to a hard boil, boil 5 minutes and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are done, from 1-3 hours depending on the bean. I usually add a couple of bay leaves to the water and often, Herbs de Provence. Make sure beans stay covered by at least 1 inch of water.

When beans are soft, add salt and season to taste. Do not salt in the beginning of the cooking process!! It will toughen the beans and you will go hungry or lose a tooth.

That's it...easy and fast as can be! Try it out this weekend and let me know how yours turned out. I go with heirloom beans when I can find them. The taste difference is amazing and they are such pretty beans. Plus... as with any heirloom, they keep the (bean) family magic alive. Happy Weekend! And a BIG "Thank YOU!" to all our veterans, today and every day.

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