I'm someone who strongly believes you need to listen to your cravings. And this weekend my tummy was loud and clear. It wanted beans.
It may have been the result of an 'intuitive' cooking session I led for a new client, Tamlin, last Tuesday. We met at her home in Park Slope and cooked only with what she had on hand. We did an inventory and brainstormed some possibilities, eventually deciding on a three bean chili, using the canned beans and canned tomatoes in her pantry as well as some fresh vegetables (celery, carrots, green pepper, onions, green beans) she had available. It came out so delicious that I was craving it all week.
But I think a lot of this craving also has to deal with the weather. And with the temperature in the twenties, my body starts to demand earthy, protein-rich foods like beans. And not just any kind of bean - the slow cooked kind, over a hot stove.
So on Saturday morning I decided to start cooking a fresh pot of beans, which I had soaked the previous night. I added plenty of water to the beans, brought them to a boil, and then cooked them slowly throughout the day. I'd check on them every 40 minutes or so. Maybe adding some aromatics (like onion, garlic, thyme, cumin). A bit of olive oil and Bragg's Liquid Aminos. I really had no plan.
Usually I'd cook beans for no more than an hour or two. This time I had my beans cook for almost five hours, only stopping because all the water had evaporated! It was truly amazing to taste these beans. They had become softer, richer, and more complex in taste. For the first time they tasted like beans I'd find in tacquerias and less like those from a can.
They were so good that by mid-afternoon I found myself having an early dinner of beans and rice. I couldn't wait! And on Sunday, influenced by the leftover beans I had cooked up, I made a black bean mushroom chili.
What a weekend!