Beans and Grains

Reife Sojabohnen
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Although I’ve eaten some amazing meals using beans and grains, most notably prepared by Vegan Chef extraordinaire Karola at the Cowley Club, I’ve not yet personally mastered the art of cooking and preparing beans and grains from the dried.  I want to change that.

The biggest problem for me has always been that need for PREparing. It’s easy to whip up a bean dish with a can of pre-cooked beans.  But those cans are much more expensive than the dried beans(though of course you do have to consider the cost of energy consumed while cooking) and not all canned beans are equal!   Some taste absolute rubbish!

Cooking from the dried food gives the consumer much more control over additives.  Also, at a gut level (no pun intended, but let’s run with it!)  I feel there’s something more wholesome and holistic about it.  

In any case, yesterday I put soybeans and wheat grain to soak and this morning got up and put them on the stove and went in search of cooking instructions and ideas and stumbled on this excellent soybean preparation page on Just Hungry and this excellent Soybean Hummus recipe.

Haven’t tried either, and haven’t yet searched for a wheat grain recipe, though both pots are boiling away as I write.

A wooden table containing: a ladle full of bea...
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Is this the second letter of the A-Z food challenge I wrote about just over a month ago?  B is for Beans, so it could be.  4 out of the 9 posts* I’ve written since the A-Z Challenge have been about food, so perhaps I’m warming-up for that challenge? Was also thinking if I write one a week, it would take half a year. Easier with food than one a day!  Ideas?  Comments?

As I finish writing this, both the beans and the wheat grain are cooked.  They are absolutely delicious just like that – straight from the pot, with nothing added. They would of course become very boring very quickly, or would they?  This is pure food.

*There has also been 1 about a cat, 1 about my mother (for Mother’s Day) and 3 about poetry.

Question for grammarians: When the verb has more than one object, and the objects are both plural and singular – as in the above sentence – which is correct: the singular or plural form of the verb?  What a silly question!  of course, the verb relates to the subject not the object, yet I’m still mulling this one over because “There Have also been 1 about a cat…” just doesn’t sound correct.  There is both singular and plural: There is a hat in the hallway. There are two hats in the hallway. There has been 1 about a cat.  There have been 3 about poetry.  Get the conundrum?  

18 thoughts on “Beans and Grains

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  1. I noticed when I rinsed the soybeans before soaking they created a lot of foam, so I rinsed them until they stopped foaming, soaked them overnight and cooked. They didn’t foam while cooking, not in the slightest. I used Infinity Foods organic soybeans.

  2. Thanks for using my link in your blog Alison! I’ve never tried making soy beans. That’s really ambitious. And they were good, huh? I wonder how you make soy milk…..must be made from the beans. That would be something fun to do!
    I’m going to have to try some of your recipes…….the scrambled eggy bread with mushroom sounds yummy!
    Cook on! (And thanks again!) 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Jennifer. I confess, I’m trying to find where I linked you! You’ve signed in from your militaryzerowaste blog, do you have another that I linked to? (Found it! GI Crockpot!)
      On recipes – the scrambled eggie bread needs more egg! Try the spinach/mushroom lasagne, it’s a good recipe. Worked today on a vegan burger recipe and took the burgers to a party where they were well received. Needs refining. Will post that when it’s more developed.

  3. The military zero waste one is my main one so it seems no matter what I say, it only shows that one. Sorry about the confusion!
    Veggie burgers? Yum! My vegetarian friends are always complaining I have too much meat on my crockpot blog. I need to invest in more veggie recipes I suppose.
    Yes, post about the burgers! They sound so good!
    So more egg in the eggie bread, got it. I’m going to try that one this weekend when my honey is home for breakfast. I just made lasagne last week that was just “okay”, not very cheesy—which I also made in the crock pot. So, I’m looking for another one to try. Spinach and mushroom lasagne sounds tasty!
    What is your favorite thing to cook?
    (The poem Handful of Stones is lovely, by the way.)

    1. Well, I was pretty impressed by what you’re doing there with your garbage! Keep up the good eco-consciousness.
      Favorite thing to cook? I don’t know. Maybe pasta ’cause it’s so darn easy. I also like cooking mushrooms, and just about anything with tomatoes. Red lentil soup. Garbanzo-spinach soup. Am pretty pleased with the potage I just made.
      Vegetarian is good Jennifer. When I visited the Crock-Pot blog I was surprised by all the meat. Turkey neck in the bean pot…not really necessary. Though it does take time to develop both a taste for, and a knack for cooking without meat. You can buy veggie oxo cubes. Something else you can do while you are transiting, is use oxo or chicken bouillon – so you still get the meat flavors you are used to. Those bouillon cubes are not vegetarian, so you can’t use them in a dish to serve vegetarians, but they can help you learn how to cook without meat. Miso is a great addition to veggie soups – though you can’t add till it’s in the bowl, as too much heat kills it’s food value.
      Handful of Stones is a widget in my side bar that I got form that website and the poem changes daily.

  4. Hmm. You know, I never knew how to make beans any other way. That’s how I grew up eating them. So I can flavor them with veggie oxo cubes or miso. What about your red lentil soup, for example? I tried making lentil soup once (with no meat flavoring) and it just tasted like water.
    Husband’s a hearty meat-eater but we both like vegetarian dishes, and I’m more than willing to learn. I have a feeling, I’m going to learn some tricks from you.

    1. Jennifer, The lentil soup needs to start with onions, garlic, and garam masala or cumin/corriander in hot oil, then toss in the red lentils and kinda scorch/brown them with the spices. Throw in a diced carrot, and a very small diced potato – toss that around with the lentils and spices then add the water and a little tomato paste and simmer till the lentils are cooked down. The potato and carrots should almost disappear too – well, you’ll have some bits. You can also make it without potato and carrot. The secret is in searing the spices and lentils before adding the water. Learned this from a weird Ecuadorian meditation teacher who learned it from an East Indian meditation guru.

      1. That is so awesome! I’m going to try it. I have so many recipes to try now. I’m going to be in the kitchen for days!! Thank you a million times Alison!
        I will be a cook.
        I will be a cook.
        I will be a cook. 🙂
        This is so much more fun than looking up recipes on line. I feel like I have a real live cookbook talking to me!

      2. I think I did something wrong.
        I cooked the lentils along with the onions, garlic and cumin in hot oil (I wasn’t famliar with the other spices so didn’t have them on hand but this seems to be my biggest problem. I don’t know how to cook with spices). I added the tomatoe paste and when the lentils looked scorched, threw it all in the crock pot with the carrot and potatoe and let them cook for a few hours with water.
        Though my husband said it tasted fine and we ate it all, it just tasted watery.
        I’m thinking if I used broth instead of water?
        I’ll try it again. I really like lentils. But every time I try to make lentil soup it just tastes watery. 😦 Does it make a difference if I use red lentils or not?
        My cousin gave me a great recipe from Chile and it turned out the same, and I made that one on the stove like you do. It has to be the water, right? Or is it lack of spices? Maybe it’s me….

    2. Jennifer,
      You do need red lentils. They are quite different from the others. Also, the onion, garlic, spices and vegetables makes a broth. You need to put the carrots and potatoes in BEFORE you throw it in the crock pot and BEFORE you add water. You stir them around with the spices and lentils in the hot pot. You might also try adding some celery. You need to get a kind of brown paste made from the spices and vegetable juice and gradually add water. If you make it again and it tastes watery, add more tomato paste or water ever kind of broth you use rather than serving watery soup. Also, maybe you’re adding too much water? The idea is when it all cooks down the lentils disappear and become the broth.

  5. thank you for all encouraging comments on my blog! I think I’ll get back to your food post the day I finally get interested in cooking … feel embarrassed about my beans on toast dinners … (I’m a can fan I’m afraid :=)
    Why don’t you do one food post a week and one more arty/philosophical post a week …?

  6. Alison, I put up my post about the lentil soup on my crock pot blog! Tell me what you think? I added your link so it should give you a pingback/trackback or something. Let me know if it doesn’t. I’m still trying to figure all this out! 🙂
    Have a good day!

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