Saturday, 19 September 2009


I know there are at least 2 or 3 readers of this blog who wouldn't touch beans with a bargepole. However, for the more adventurous, health and economy conscious and, dare I say, grown-up readers, I thought I'd mention some of the ways I've found to incorporate beans into our diet.

  1. There was always Mom's favourite, beans and ham, cooked for hours on top of the stove. Instead, I use the crockpot. Variations are bacon or sausage for the flavouring. Leaving out meat altogether, I sometimes add onions or onions and a tin of tomatoes. This is usually served with rice or put into a rice dish. Very often I just cook the beans themselves and freeze for use in other ways at another time.
  2. I've long known about re-fried beans and the Mexican approach to wrapping up a variety of foods in a tortilla, sprinkling with grated cheese and nuking in the microwave. This is a great use for leftovers, including vegetables, scrambled eggs and potatoes. In my mind, leftovers are another name for convenience food.
  3. Not long after coming here to England, I learned about beans on toast, a delicious snack or lunchtime food. It sounds weird, I know, but it is very nice, belief me.
  4. A variation on this that I only met after coming to England, is hummus and bread sticks. In fact, I think I may have first eaten this on our first trip to Greece (after Italian, Greek food is my favourite). I make my own version without the tahini. I just blend up a tin (or a frozen batch) of chickpeas (AKA as garbanzo beans), mix in a little olive oil and salt to taste. We sometimes have this for dinner with veggie (carrot, celery, bell pepper, cucumber) sticks/slices and toasted bread sliced into wedges (the Brits call these 'soldiers', but that's another post).
  5. Most recently, I've tried recipes from a cookbook called The Bean Book (this is not the vegetarian bean book) and with a a few of those under my belt I discovered the basics: fry a diced onion and a diced clove (or two) of garlic in some olive oil. Then add a couple of cups of diced veggies and stir fry (I find that using the peeler to make carrot 'ribbons' helps them cook faster). When the veggies are about cooked, add a tin of drained beans and heat through. I sometimes experiment with cumin or chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, etc.
...where was I, I went away to see how to spell W. sauce and got caught up in all sorts of other things I'll tell you about later)...Nope, I think that's about it. Eat more beans -- they're delicious and they're good for you!

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