Beans and other exciting things!

by SmithorJones on July 3, 2008

in Around the House, Cooking, Hobbies, Smith

Grandma's roseWhen I was a child, we ate beans three or four times a week.  I loved my mother’s beans! Now, my mother was anything but a gourmet cook. But what she cooked, she cooked good, and her beans were gooooooood. But she could never quite tell anyone (or wouldn’t) what she did to make them that good. This was also true of her biscuits, cornbread and other culinary delights for which she was known.

When I left home, I vowed I would learn how to make these things. And after hours and hours and hours, I can truthfully say, that I match to a reasonable degree the flavor of my mother’s beans (and her biscuits and cornbread!).

Although I FINALLY mastered the recipe – as it turns out, I actually don’t make beans that often. I simply do not have time to cook beans, as they require tending throughout the day, and I am either gone working or at home working, but in any case, cannot give them the attention they require. (Cathi also makes good beans, but the same is true for her. She is busy working, and beans require a person’s attention.)  True, it’s not like you sit there and watch them cook, but when attention is needed, you pretty much have to take care of it, or you could have a mess on your hands. So the long and the short of it is, I miss my beans. You know, canned beans are okay in a pinch, but they just are not the same.

Well, as many of you know, we just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. Cathi’s mother (Mama) sent us a nice gift check, and our friends, the Brazils, also sent us a gift card. With these two nice gifts we were able to purchase a Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker and also replace our toaster oven (thanks again you guys!) with a new one.  The toaster was really needed, but the pressure cooker … well, we’d been wanting to get one for some time.  We didn’t want one made of aluminum – even though they’re relatively inexpensive – as that does concern us to cook in aluminum. So, we waited until we could buy the stainless steel model.   We decided to try it out by making beans.

So we did!  (I did not add all the ingredients that my mother used … mostly because I didn’t have them on hand.  But even without doing this, these beans were just good.)  All we had to do was put the beans in water to soak – did that around noon yesterday (you know the reason for this right?) – then around dinnertime we dumped out the water and gave the beans a quick rinse and then threw them back into the pot, covered them with liquid, added a bit of EVOO to keep them from getting all frothy when they boiled, and then cooked them. Ten minutes from the time the water came to boil they were done. Ten minutes! And once the water was boiling the heat on the stove was turned down to the lowest setting.  So, this was 10 minutes on simmer.  The pressure cooker cooked them perfect. Not too soft, not too hard … just right!  And the best part is it cost less than 75 cents to make enough for two, and possibly three meals. Good and cheap! It doesn’t get any better than that.

Now granted – it’s obvious that it doesn’t take much to entertain us – but you gotta admit it’s not every day you end up fed AND entertained for less than a buck these days.  Right?

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