Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My name is not Julia. Or Julie.

I once exploded my stove.


We'd been in Brazil for a whopping one day. We were hungry. I was feeling adventurous and fearless and very BRAZILIAN, so I decided to make ... spaghetti. (Quick. Easy. And like four ingredients.)

I had the radio on, didn't understand a word of it, and was singin' it scat style OOOOOO BEE BAAA BOOO DAAAAAAA! Baby Little Prince on the floor next to me, My Man on the phone with family, assuring them that we did, indeed, arrive alive.

Then I moved a pot. And


Turns out my lovely Brazilian stove was not, in fact, a chic-y glass top stove like my mommy has.

It was, instead, more or less like this:


See that lid? The glass lid that I was supposed to lift UP? And instead, like some American idiot, cooked right on top of it?

Yeah. That's me.

The pot moved, a sonic boom that broke the sound barrier, and glass, glass raining down all over the kitchen.

Luckily I said my prayers that morning, and neither I nor LP were hurt.

(And I believe we went out to eat that night.)

Truth is, I learned a few things in Brazil. Things like the LESS water pressure you use in the shower, the HOTTER the water. Or Every Price is Negotiable. Or bundle up your kid no matter how freakin' hot it is outside, or the Grandma Police will be on your tail.

I also learned how to make beans.

Do you know how to make beans?

Since the days of the Great Depression in the United States, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has encouraged its members to be self-reliant through building up a year's supply of stored and preserved food and other necessities. We hear it every six months in General Conference, and intermittently throughout the year. Food storage! Food storage! Store food! Does everyone have their year supply? Free bird!

There's all kinds of information on the internet, including a Food Storage Calculator, telling you exactly how much peanut butter YOUR FAMILY would eat in a year. (Although they're woefully ignorant of chocolate chips.)

According to this handy-dandy device, my family of five (I didn't even include baby #4) needs to store ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY POUNDS OF BEANS.

Again - do you know how to cook beans?

It drives me crazy when I hear women say, "Oh, well, if I'm hungry enough, I'll figure it out." NOT. It took me a solid year to cook beans good enough to eat. I burned more than a few pans. (And at least one stove.)

So now I'm going to teach you. BEANS.

First things first. Pick through them. Pull out all the cracked, shriveled, peeling, and generally icky ones. Then cover in water and let soak. (The longer you soak them, the faster they'll cook. Plus it extracts all the "gases" that make beans so famously musical. I usually soak mine an hour or so, because I'm not very good at thinking ahead.)

Alright. Now drain the beans, and refill the pot.

IMPORTANT!!! GO OUT RIGHT NOW AND BUY A PRESSURE COOKER!!!
They run $35 to approximately a million dollars. I bought a super cheap one, and it has served me well for many a year now. Go cheap.

If you DON'T buy a pressure cooker, then expect to cook your beans for about a week before they're ready to eat. Seriously.

Alright. So put your presoaked beans in the pot and FILL with water. You want at least one middle-finger length of water ABOVE the beans. This is crucial.

Now let the cooker cook. DO NOT ADD SALT OR SEASONING YET. IT WILL MAKE YOUR BEANS TOUGH.

(No one likes tough beans.)

It'll take a few minutes for the pressure cooker to get hot and the top to start spinning. Let it spin for 30-45 minutes, and then do whatever you have to do to release the pressure. (Every pot is different.)

Keep it on the burner, but don't put the lid back on. Just let it keep boiling without any pressure. (Add more water if you need to.)

In a separate skillet, saute some onion, fresh garlic, and chopped bacon and/or kielbasa in oil. Amounts completely depend on taste. I LOOOOOVE me some garlic, so I really go to town. Add oregano, cumin and cilantro. (This is what I do - you can season it however you darn well want to.) Once the onion is soft, add it to the beans, as well as about a tablespoon of salt and a bay leaf. (Again - this depends on taste. I like it rather salty. I also cook a lot at one time, then freeze in small quantities.)

Let it continue boiling, stirring occasionally, for another 30-45 minutes. The longer you cook it, the thicker the beans, and the stronger the taste. I like me some thick-ish beans. Everyone's different.

Feel free to taste it every now and then and add more of anything. (Salt! Always more salt ....)

Serve with rice, and you got yourself a complete protein for pennies.

Just make sure you lift up the lid before you get started ....

38 comments:

Annette Lyon said...

This is an exceedingly valuable post. I must print it out and keep it for future reference.

And then teach my husband to eat beans.

Joni said...

Tough Beans!!!

Love it when a light bulb goes off and an idiom suddenly makes sense.

I'm sure my husband would LOVE it if I cooked up some nice beans.

My kids. Hmmm... So far jelly beans are the only successes we've had.

susan said...

Exploding stove, nice!

I have been experimenting with black beans in my pressure cooker for a few months now. So far I have created a flavorless black blob. a black geyser of steam, the residue is still on the ceiling above the stove. I did however wash the naughty words I said, as I watched bean juice drip off my ceiling, out of my mouth.

Thanks for the great tips, I'll keep trying.

Deb said...

We are bean eaters. I may attempt it. And it will all be thanks to you.

Deb :)

janel said...

I love me anyone who knows how to make tasty beans and is willing to share the recipe. Here's to 190 pounds of beans becoming a reality!

Becca said...

So, at our enrichment we had this thing where people brings things about themselves and you guess who ti belongs to. One lady brought only a can of baked beans. She said she loves her beans and can make an entire meal from them. We laughed, but I was a little jealous.

My husband hates beans. I blame his mother. She let him be way too picky as a kid.

Anyway, I know how to cook my beans. I prefer to cook mine in the crockpot though. Start a soak the night before, turn it on first thing in the morning, hot beans at dinner. I also freeze a few 2 cup containers every time I cook them so I have them on hand. It is much cheaper than canned beans and we have no pressure cooker but we have 2 crockpots. Yeah, I have strange issues. If you want to know good recipes with beans, give me a holler.

Mommadj5 said...

Ok - you neglected to mention a couple of things that I learned just from watching you. (Thought I knew how to make beans - but wow, what a difference watching an expert - same with rice - you guys should see her make rice!!!) Your recipe works on any kind of bean - navy, northern, white, black - but you can alter the ingrediants according to what taste you are looking for. Also - OB alone would eat 190 pounds of beans in a year!!! Oh - one other things FYI to all - I am that girl's mom - not the person posting as MommyJ - she is someone else entirely!!

gigi said...

I really appreciate you telling us how to make beans, You know I have never made dried beans before and I have probably 300 pounds. I was hoping to figure it out one day too. Now I'm going to really try this, thank you!

Julie said...

Well, my name IS Julie and I STILL can't cook! So don't feel bad (cuz you can cook beans and I can't).

Rocketgirl said...

I remember the stove explosion story :) And when I was taught how to make beans, I was told we pick through them to get rid of the ROCKS. I found a few in there...

Tobi said...

Thanks for the awesome tips! Must add Pressure Cooker to my birthday wish list.

Erin said...

I LOVE refried beans from scratch. (I don't like the canned ones.)

I bet it was a bear to clean up all that glass.

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

I will most definately practice this soon- My son returns from Campinas in a week- and now that he will eat beans, I will for darn sure make them-

Tamra Watson said...

I don't think I could eat beans even in times of famine.

Becky said...

My dad grew up in Kentucky and practically lived off of beans and cornbread. So I know how to whip me up some beans. Have you ever tried them in the slow cooker? Works well that way, too.

Kim Loudon said...

K, I am STILL trying to get the bean thing down. WHY do my beans have a great consistency...UNTIL I take them off the heat. Once the heat is off, the caldo turns into thick paste and they look like refried beans!?!?!?!? What am I doing wrong? HELP ME, my Betty Crocker friend!

Kimberly said...

Err...I WANT to be thrilled to have this info (I know my husband would be if I actually remembered it long enough to cook accordingly), but I dinna like beans. =(

Of course, maybe the ones I've had weren't properly cooked...

Kristi said...

YUMMY!!! I love and adore beans! I have only made them in the crock pot but decided to try this tonight and even made the hubs stop at Target for a pressure cooker on his way home from work! I will let you know what we think!
BTW - My hubs has been trying to convince me to pressure cook beans since we got married (thx Brazil) but I have been intimidated because of the potential hazards of pressure cookers! ( I don't know what they are... my Mom just told me they are scary and she never used them!)
I am excited to give my crock pot a rest! THX!

WILLOW TREE said...

I will never eat beans again, someday I'll write about the shelves of them in the shelter... but until then I have to say Thank You for the amazing laughs I got out of this post! So glad you were okay when the stove went boom... I would have done the same thing, lol.

Blessings
Carolynn

Rachel Sue said...

Is it bad that I love that you blew up your stove? (Because it is so something that I would do. . .)

I've made beans a few times in soup and they turned out okay. Just making beans to eat, that is another story.

I wonder what I would have to do to make my husband eat them . . .

Kazzy said...

So how often did you eat arroz e feijao? mmmmmmmmmmmmm

i like whispering too said...

THANK YOU!!! When I was in Brazil, only for about a week, and not knowing much of any Portuguese, a family we ate with after church showed (showed is a key word since I had no clue what she was saying, but kept nodding my head anyway) me how to make beans, and then I got back and couldn't really remember it! I love some good rice and beans.

Now I need a pressure cooker...

Julie said...

My name IS Julie, but that doesn't really mean anything.

I like you.

That is all.

Lara said...

This is an awesome lesson.

Thank you.

I will show it to my husband so he can make beans for us. :)

I burn through too many pans. But we do own a pressure cooker.

Jill said...

Yay! Thankyou.

Megan said...

Okay....so I have been making black beans and rice this same way for a while now. My parents got the recipe from a Brazilian that my dad worked with. However, I just haven't gone out and bought a pressure cooker yet. So, for all those who don't have a pressure cooker....you can do it in a big pot, however you have to start simmering (after the soaking of the beans) in the morning so that they can be ready for 5pm. Enjoy!!

jess said...

Thank you sooo much.. I never really learned how to make beans while in brazil but I sure do crave them!!

Stepper the Mighty said...

I began to respond to this post - but it turned in to a novel; plus - I had to spread the bean love! So i posted my comment on my blog and linked to yours so that everyone I know who loves beans (as I do) and has no clue how to make them (as I do) can borrow your experience.

Minus the exploding stove.

Hopefully.

(though an excuse to get a new stove might be...?)

janae said...

Oh yeah. That is SOOOOO something I would have done in a foreign country. I wish I had an awesome story to share right now, but I can't come up with one. But I know I've had my fair share of language mishaps (the best of which should never be written down), grocery store humiliations, and neighbor blunders. Oh to be foreigners!

Brittany Ann said...

MMMMmmmm....k. I'll be honest this all sounds pretty confusing to me. I guess I better get better at the bean thing. Lately, I've been learning how to cook from food storage with powdered eggs, and I can honestly say it makes virtually no difference in taste or texture, I like this. Thanks for the instructions, though....next step, beans!

The Wingnut's said...

Ha ha...Am I the only one to complain that it sounds like an awful long time in the kitchen? I love bean dip. I love that you probably spent three hours posting the directions, but I will remain the one and only who will open the can of beans that was on sale at the grocery store!

Absolutely love your blog!

Dorothy said...

This is a pretty fancy-pants way to make beans. I usually just throw 'em in the slow cooker for a few hours.

I love you blog, by the way.

kerri said...

Maybe not today, because I owe my kids some attention & might forget by the time they're in bed, but someday I'm gonna post in my blog a link to this post, if that's okay, 'cause this is more or less how I do it but I've never written it down & it always seems like I miss something when I'm trying to explain it to people. Hmm... "something" is an understatement. I think I usually tell them, "Use a pressure cooker."

Joan Novark said...

I'd like to get a pressure cooker too, but I was too put off by all those Brazilian churches I visited where people had left pressure cookers that had exploded without killing/maiming/blinding anyone, as a sign of God's miracle.

LavenderSecret said...

Hmmm....I guess I'm in the minority of cooks who slow cook all their beans for 8-12 hours or so....hehe.
I love my crockpot!
I love to make southern black-eyed peas(also called a bean) like that, or just about any bean really. I've never once burnt them, and never had left overs go bad. One day when I get a pressure cooker from Santa I'll try it that way too. :)
OF course it should be noted that my grandma firmly believes the only way to make beans is in a pressure cooker or in a crockpot. :)

JustRandi said...

I just barely figured out that I can make beans in the crock pot. Now you're telling me I can use my pressure cooker, too?

I'm in heaven, and my food storage and family thank you!!

Terri said...

Thank you!!!

Katy said...

I realize this post is quite old, but on the off chance you get emailed comments, hopefully you'll see mine.

For a total novice's sake do you have any measurements? Even general (like 1 lb beans to 6 cups water) would be super helpful.

Thanks!

Katy (krossgen AT yahoo DOT com)