Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Recipes | Basic Beans

Okay so I'm finally getting around to posting about something I'm really super passionate about - food and cooking! When I first decided I wanted to do a blog, I wanted to heavily feature recipes and food experiences. Midterms has made it difficult to actually have the time to cook, but now that they're over, I actually made dinner tonight!

Okay, so that's not all we ate. We had chicken and corn, too, but these are what I wanted to talk about.

I don't come from a family of cooks. At all. So I'm a completely self-taught cook. I learned by watching the Food Network and by Googling the fool out of recipes and any question I could think of. Something I didn't really know anything about?

Black-eyed peas and lima beans.

In my family, the cooking technique for these guys was simply dump the can into the pot and boil for hours. Which meant a pile of mush at the end, which meant I was never a fan of eating them.

But now that I'm on my own, I buy these babies frozen (they taste fresher this way). They look like this:

Anyway, the point of this (longwinded) post was to offer up how I prepare these everyday staples. It's absolutely nothing fancy and definitely nothing outside of the box, but I never knew how to do this and so I figure that maybe some beginning cook out there might be wondering the same thing I did when I first bought these, which was:

How the heck do I make these not taste like mush?

Basic Black-Eyed Peas
2 cups frozen black-eyed peas
4 cups water
1 slice of raw bacon
2 tbs chopped white onion
2 tbs chopped green bell pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste

In the pot you'll be boiling your beans in, go ahead and dice up your uncooked bacon and toss it in. When it's mostly cooked, dump in your onion and pepper and cook for about 1-2 minutes more - until the onions are turning translucent. Next, add in your beans, mix to combine them with the onion/pepper/bacon mixture and then add in the four cups of water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.

I live by the "fork-tender" rule here. Cook them until the water is mostly evaporated and then check the beans. If they're fork-tender (you can easily slide a fork through them), they're done. If they aren't, just add more water and cook them down until they are. Salt and pepper to taste (and, if you're like the BF, add in a healthy dose of hot sauce) and voila! Black-eyed peas that aren't mushy and bland!

Basic Lima Beans
2 cups frozen lima beans
4 cups water
Salt & Pepper to taste

This recipe is even easier than the previous! Just dump the beans into the pot, add the water, and bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Use the fork-tender test again here - just let the water cook down, check the beans and if they're fork-tender, they're done and if they aren't, just add water and let them cook down some more. Once they're finished, add salt and pepper to taste (I add a little white pepper along with the black).

And there you have it! Hopefully these recipes will help someone out there.

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