Sarah’s Bean Treatment

So, I have this friend who has repeatedly taught me how to treat dried beans so they don’t give everyone terrible… um, stomach aches. And every time she teaches me, I forget how to do it. So this time, I am writing it down so Ic an find it for next time!

1. Raise water to a boil

2. Add dried beans

3. Return to boil.

4. Keep at a rolling boil for 10-15 minutes (this kills the sugar that gives you gas)

5. After boiling, allow to sit in water until the beans are soft.
This can take anywhere from 1 to three hours. I poking around on the internet, I discovered that the California Dry Bean Advisory board recommends the above method, with the addition of an overnight soak and a thorough rinse before cooking. 75-90% of the indigestible sugars that cause gas will dissolve into the water and be rinsed away.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

Some time ago, I found a recipe to curry and roast a whole head of cauliflower. I have been dying to try it, even though Saul doesn’t like cauliflower, and this week a head of cauliflower came in the CSA box!

I forgot to take a picture entirely, but the final thing looked a lot like this:

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The picture is a link, btw, to the Paleo recipe I used as a guideline.

What happened was, when I found the recipe to curry and roast a whole head of cauliflower, I forgot to save it. So I spent quite a bit of time trying to find it. I gave up when I was reading a recipe in which the author pointed out that roasting the whole head made an amazing presentation, but breaking it up meant more surfaces got brown and crispy. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I went with it.

In a largish bowl I made a sauce, with about half a cup of mayo, some Dijon mustard, rather a lot of curry powder, a couple tablespoons of lime juice, a tablespoon or two of sesame oil, some salt and pepper, cumin, Mexican-style chili powder, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. I let it all soak together in the refrigerator for an hour or two. In the meantime, I peeled the leaves off the cauliflower, cut out the stem, and broke it apart into florets of more or less the same size. I was aiming for one bite per floret. The stems should be cut away as much as possible without causing the floret to fall apart.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Yes, quite hot.

I Poured the florets into the bowl with the sauce and stirred ’em around until they were as evenly coasted as you can manage. Then I dumped them in an 8×8 glass pan and roasted them, uncovered, until they were tender. I think it took about 20 or 30 minutes, but I don’t honestly remember exactly.

You could do this with the whole head if you wanted to have a more impressive presentation, or if this were the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal. Remove the leaves and as much of the center stem as possible, slather it with the sauce, and bake it until a paring knife slides in with little or no resistance. Don’t overcook, as it will fall apart!

I made curried beef and rice to go with this, but they were just okay. The cauliflower was the remarkable part, and the star of the show in my opinion.

TIP: Cauliflower has a bad rep for being stinky, and for making the house stink while it cooks. In fact, OLD cauliflower is stinky. Fresh cauliflower is perfectly creamy white, and the florets should be dense and so closely packed that they do not move or separate when you run your finger over them. It should have no signs of yellowing or browning. The leaves should be curled tightly over the head, and when you smell it, it should smell fresh. If it is at all stinky, put it down and choose another!

Cauliflower has a high nutritional density and vitamin C, but is low in fat and carbohydrates. It contains several compounds believed to combat cancer and improve DNA repair, which are reduced when the vegetable is boiled but are not affected by other cooking methods.

Wine-“braised” shortribs, glazed Japanese turnips and French radishes, and turnip greens salad

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The CSA box this week came with Japanese turnips and French radishes. Alone, neither were enough to be THE vegetable in a meal for three adults. But I found a recipe for Glazed Hakurei Turnips, which also said you could substitute radishes. And I thought, if this recipe will work for either, it will work for both at the same time. I used two tablespoons of sesame oil instead of 1/4 cup of butter, but other than that I followed it pretty closely. 

Note that Japanese turnips are milder, and more delicately flavored than purple turnips. You can get a similar flavor from purple turnips, however, by choosing ones that are small and smell sweet. 

French radishes are long and narrow, and also milder than the round radishes you usually find in grocery stores, which have a harsh sort of bite. I am not sure I would have liked regular radishes in this recipe; their biteyness might overwhelm the mild sweetness of the glaze. 

The recipe also tells how to wilt the turnip greens in the leftover glaze. It was a lot like steamed spinach, which I have always liked. I only wilted them for 2 minutes, because I liked them less soggy. If you want them really soft, wilt them for three minutes. 

I had three frozen shortrib steaks in the freezer, which I thawed in hot water in the sink. I sliced them very thinly, plunked them in a pot with some oil, and seared them. Then I added garlic and  and whatever other seasoning I felt like at the time. Salt and pepper, basil and oregano. Possibly some cumin? See, I need to write these down right away or I forget the details. Four days is apparently long enough for this to escape me. 

Almost certainly cumin. I like cumin. 

Anyway, I sauteed the meat and seasonings for a while, then added some red wine- just enough Edenbrook cabernet sauvignon to not quite cover the meat- covered the pot, and let them simmer a while. Well, a long time, actually. Probably about an hour. I kept checking, and when the liquid got a little low, I added more wine. I used about half a bottle. 

TIP: You can make any cut of meat tender if you cook it wet enough and for long enough. If you are cooking meat quickly or without liquid, then yo have to worry about whether or not the cut lends itself to that style of cooking. If you are making stew, however, get something cheap and simmer the heck out of it. 

Vocabulary: Braised. Braising means to cook something slowly, in fat and/or a little liquid. As such, I probably didn’t technically braise the short ribs. There was a larger amount of liquid in my pot, which I allowed to reduce into a sauce. Braising is usually done in the oven at a lower temperature, say, about 300 or 350 degrees, in a closed container to prevent the smaller amount of liquid from boiling off.