Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Another disgusting picture.  A foodie blog, this is not!  But it does provide an introduction to a couple of things I've been wanting to share for a while.

Chickpeas (chicken peas, my kids call them)
(there are also kidney beans, or "kid beans" in this salad, and although I love them, I was not particularly going to talk about them today.  I just wanted you to know how cute, or weird, my kids are, renaming everything)


Some of my favorite things:
crock pots

First, chickpeas.  I just love them!  Is there a more perfect food?  They are salad, they are chole, they are oven-dried and crunchy, they are hummus.  They are wonderful!  Oh, and if you buy them dried and cook them yourself, they are also cheap!  Which leads me to

My crock pot.!  Yes, (s).  I own 4 of them, none of which I actually purchased, btw.  You haven't done anything until you've stuck a crockpot under your jacket and snuck out of Target!


One was a wedding gift, one was a Christmas gift, was was part of my inheritance and one came from my mother when she downsized.  Two of them hold 5 quarts of stuff!  Those are my favorite!

So anyway, if you ever thought cooking dried beans was a pain in your bean, you have not cooked them in a crock pot!  If you have ever tried to read about doing it online and thought even they made it sound complicated, you have not cooked them in a crock pot.

Here is what you do:
Dump dried beans in your crockpot (it IS a good idea to rinse them and/or lay them all out on a cookie sheet first.  I really HAVE found little stones and little hunks of dried mud in my dried beans!  If you don't like the idea of that, pick them over first, like the bag says.  However, being lazy, I often skip this part.)

For a normal-sized crockpot, I'd start with a 1 lb. bag.  I buy mine in bulk and just dump until my eye says it's right.

Cover beans with water.  The water should cover them by an inch or inch and a half.  We have a water softener and I use soft water (the hot side of my kitchen faucet).  I think I've forgotten and used the hard water and it's been fine, but the soft water has never failed me.

Add salt.  I like salt.  I add a tablespoon or so.

Add bay leaves.  I like bay leaves.  I use 2 or 3.

Cover crock pot and turn on high.  Go away for 4 hours.  Actually, you should check it ever 2 hours or so to make sure there is still enough water.  If you need to add more, add HOT water.  It takes too much energy and time for your crockpot to heat up the cold water you dump in.

Taste beans.  Mine are usually done in 4-6 hours.

Drain well.  Dump in ziplocs and freeze.  I like to make sure they are spread out flat in the bag.  It makes it easier to break off a hunk if you don't need the whole bag when you take them out. Ta-Da!  Beans you can use anytime!  No muss.  No fuss.

I do black beans, pinto beans, white beans and garbanzos (chick peas).  I buy my kidney beans and red beans in a can.  Conventional internet research says if you don't heat red beans hot enough, there is a toxin in them that is harmful.  A crockpot wouldn't heat them enough, I don't think, so I just buy them canned.

Ok. Onward and upward.  What was next?

Tupperware.  Oh, I just wanted to mention the container that my ugly salad is in.  I bought a whole bunch of those containers when my sister, who was  Tware consultant, was ending her consultantship.  I got a great deal on them and I use them all.the.time.  Love my Tupperware.

And Owlhaven.  I have her cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week and it is seriously one of my favorite cookbooks!  There are so many recipes in it that I make all the time.  I can't speak to the $75 part, as I don't follow that part of it.  Can you feed your family for $75 a week?  She says you can.  Most of the tips in her book I already did before I bought the book so I guess they are good and useful!

But you should go buy her book so you can make Easy Pizza Rolls and Thai Chicken Curry (with homemade Thai Red Curry Paste, yum!), and Orange Chicken and Chili Corn Pone Pie and Chicken Pot Pie with Cheesy Biscuit Topping and Spaghetti Carbonara and she has crock pot recipes and rice cooker recipes and Cheesy Garlic Biscuits and oh!

And this ugly Chickpea Salad you see in my tupperware above.

It's only ugly because my chickpeas are still frozen, but when they thaw out, it will be so delicious!  This is the second time this week we are eating it.
My modified Owlhaven recipe:
Chickpeas (about 3 c.)
a can of kidney beans
a can of black beans
half a red onion, sliced
a whole mess of attracting-fruit-flies-sitting-in-a-pail-in-my-kitchen tomatoes (about 2 c. diced--yours do not need to have fruit flies on them)
a big handful of black olives, sliced in rings
1/4 c. or so fresh parsely, minced
1/4 c. or so fresh basil, minced
2 cloves garlic in the garlic press
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
3 T. lemon juice
1 T sugar
salt and pepper

Mix the dressing ingredients and pour over the ingredients that are not part of the dressing.  Let stand on your counter or in your fridge several hours to blend flavors.  YUMMERS!

yeah.  This is why she makes the big bucks writing cookbooks and I don't.  But try it!  This is so good!


NSG said...


thecurryseven said...

I cook and freeze dried beans, too, though I don't use my crock pot, I just cook them on the stove. I think I remember Mary (of Owlhaven) saying that she can't feed her family on $75 a week, but that the editors made the decision to say that based on a family of four.