Here's dinner. I wonder if the girls think everyone takes photos of their dinner. I plan to tell them yes if it comes up. The lentil soup is from Ina (I think I have posted about it before) and the bread is from the book, and is the rye loaf. A new loaf I tried, the oatmeal loaf, I will write about soon, but I need to focus right now on beans. I am trying to keep my posts about 1 or 2 items (except for when I don't) so I can remember what I was going to write about.
Beans. I have been cooking beans on the weekends and am really digging it. I got some e-mails a bit back about soaking. I feel like I change my thoughts on this every time I do it. At first I soaked all my beans in the fridge overnight before I went to bed. Then in the morning I would cook them. The soak was about 8 hours. Then Mr. Rick Bayless mentioned in one of his books that no one in Mexico soaks beans and throwing out the soaking water is lame. (Not his words.) So I stopped too, and since we eat mostly black and pinto beans, this has worked well because they are a bit more sturdy and seem to deal with a long simmer just fine. More importantly, they are still great if they accidentally get overcooked, so I don't stress about it.
When I made a white bean soup however, I did go back to soaking because I didn't want the longer simmer to break up the beans. Some recipes even call for baking them in a casserole to keep them intact. This works well too. I then did a search last night on Chowhound about soaking beans and holly molly. There is a whole lot to say about this (more than 2500 discussions about it) and Rick Bayless's book is mentioned along with 1000s of comments, which leads me to where I have started—I cook them differently depending on how I am going to use them. Of course, lentils you would never even soak, you just throw them in the soup. I find it so comforting that the minutia of my life, like bean soaking, can have more than 2500 discussions somewhere. That's awesome.
I freeze my black beans in smallish quantities (about 2 cups) with a little of their cooking liquid. Then when I need them, I either defrost in the fridge a few hours before, or thaw them in the microwave. I have only frozen black beans because that's what we eat the most of and seem to always need them.
And thank you so much for the merbaby love and the plethora of information about hair rinses!! I want to try the hair rinse tea recipe real bad. I realize now I was using way too much vinegar. After greatly reducing the quantity and adding more essential oil, it's all good. I no longer feel all foody and pickled in the shower. And, for those of you skeptical about this with long hair, my hair is past my shoulders and I have had no tangle issues.