Weight & Wellness

Basic Beans + Flourishes

Given the uncertainty regarding the health risks posed by BPA and the actual amounts of BPA in any given canned food (canned soups appear to be the worst culprits), it may be prudent to reduce the frequency with which you consume canned goods.  There are some companies, such as Eden Organics, that have begun to remove BPA from their products.  It is a slow process, but other companies are following suit.  In the meantime, look for products labeled "BPA free".

Beans require nothing but time and a few bay leaves.  For really really basic beans, all you need to do is dump about 2 cups of rinsed dried beans into a pan (I like to use a 12" frying pan with a glass lid, so I can see if the beans need any liquid while cooking), cover with about 2" of water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until soft, adding more water as necessary.  O.K., that's the basic cooked beans, but, I like to add 3 or 4 bay leaves, a few cloves of chopped garlic, a healthy dose of extra virgin olive oil and any fresh herb, sage, rosemary, cilantro, parsely, whatever you like.  O.K., that is the more than basic cooked beans.  Want to get fancy?  Try adding any of the following:  chopped onions, carrots, celery, leeks, rutabagas, fresh tomatoes (you get the idea), meat or vegetable stock, a few tablespoons of tomato paste and/or red pepper paste (see "special ingredients") or you could add cooked vegetables or meat to the beans after they are cooked.

Cooking times for beans depend on the age of the beans.  I usually buy organic beans in bulk from Whole Foods, sometimes they cook in an hour, sometimes, they take considerably longer.  If you start them at the beginning of the 1 o'clock football game on a Sunday, no matter how old, they will surely be done by the end of the 4 o'clock game - just in time for dinner.

Oh, I forgot, beans freeze very well.