Archive for the ‘Quick Post’ Category

Cooking Beans, the Long-Soak Way

So, I have a thing against canned beans.  Anything that’s been sitting in a can for that long scares me.  I would love to use my own beans, but cooking a batch each time I want to put them in a recipe is not exactly easy and fast.  In his book, Mark says that cooked beans freeze well and recommends several ways to cook them.  Since I wanted them to soak as long as possible and cook as quickly as possible, I chose the Long-Soak method on page 582.

I soaked a whole pound of navy beans in water overnight and cooked them in the morning.  After a 14-hour soak, I swapped out the soaking water to minimize any gas produced by them. They took about 30 minutes to cook.  I added salt during the last 10 minutes when they were almost done.  Then, I let them cool in the same pan for the next 6 hours, and split them up into can-sized portions (2 cups or so).  I added a splash of vinegar, as Mark recommends to keep them from getting mushy in the freezer and stuck them in there.  Now I have 4 “cans” of cooked beans in the freezer and I did it all myself.  I’m almost tempted to cook all the dry beans I have and just keep them in the freezer.  Unfortunately, I dont have that much room but next time I need beans, I’m cooking more than I want and sticking it in there. They’re such pretty little beanbags!  AND I saved a ton of money: a pound of beans costs the same as two cans but I got four!


Great vegan/vegetarian recipes from this month’s Food & Wine

Not eating meat and subscribing to Food & Wine may seem like a bad idea.  Most of their recipes tend towards “chicken stuffed with beef wrapped in bacon.”  Hell, just a few months ago the magazine devoted the entire issue to the “not so humble anymore!” hamburger.  But I have to say, they have been trying lately… or something.  May it’s just a coincidence but I’m noticing a whole lot more vegetarian and even vegan recipes.  Mind you, they never label them as such but it’s nice to get recipes from really great chefs that you don’t have to alter to suit your tastes.

This issue is particularly great, because of the 4 recipes Joe Bastianich offers (yes, as in Lydia’s son and owner of a dozen high end Manhattan Italian restaurants, including Mario Batali’s Babbo), 3 are fully freakin’ vegan (as long as you make the easy sub of agave for honey in the desert.)

I am particularly psyched to try this soy milk rice pudding.  They’re all available online. And even though I cringed when I read the last line of that story (“Still, Bastianich eats steaks and lardo often. “Running so much makes me worry about getting enough calories,” he explains.”), I’ll take his recipes and eat them, too.

Buckwheat Groats

Tonight, I got to enjoy a treat I rarely eat:  buckwheat groats. Here I am revealing my Soviet upbringing again, but buckwheat porridge is one of the key dishes of Russian cuisine.

This is what buckwheat groats looks like raw:


They might look familiar to you if you’ve ever eaten kasha in any form (random bit of trivia: kasha is actually the Russian word for porridge).  The difference between buckwheat groats and kasha is that kasha is toasted and groats are raw.  You cook them like rice: 1 part groats to 2 parts water.  Put in a small pot, cover, bring to a boil and then put on the lowest flame you can.  It will take about 20 to 30 minutes for them to cook.  Here’s what they look like done:


The traditional Russian way to eat them is with a bit of butter, salt and a glass of milk.  You can veganize that by substituting a good margarine and some soy milk. Mark talks about other buckwheat groat recipes in his book.


But sometimes the simplest thing is the best.  Buckwheat is an excellent whole grain, has tons of vitamins, minerals and lots of protein.  Enjoy!

Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

I also just made this AMAZING pie from by Elise Bauer.


It was amazingly delicious and I recommend it to anyone.