Last Week I realized I let myself get low on some rather important supplies. So Thursday I placed a call to my supplier and told him what I would be needing and arranged to pick it up on Saturday.
He spotted me as soon as I walked in, and the conversation went something like this:
"You know that stuff you wanted... I got it for you"Mikey looks at me kinda curiously and says, "What is it?"
"Yeah, it's under the counter in that paper bag. Mikey, grab that bag for this guy - It's some stuff I'm holdin for him."
"Never you mind. Just put it on the counter for him.... I'll ring him up."He looks at me a little sideways,
"You know, everybody's almost out. You're lucky I could get a hold of any that wasn't all trash."
"So it's good stuff?... no rocks and crap?"I grabbed the bag, tucked it under my arm and handed him the cash.
"Na, I checked out all the bags, they're clean."
"Cool. Whadda I owe you this time?"
"Three-fifty a bag, cause you know... it was kinda hard to locate."
Just then I happened to catch a slight gasp from the woman standing next to me. As I turn, a look of disgust... revulsion... mild horror was on her face. Timidly, she asks:
"Um, what's in the bag?"She made a little Eek! sound, dropped her purchases on the counter and left.
"Um... beans? Dried Beans"
"No, not drugs... beans. Wanna see?
I kept thinking odd... why did she assume it was drugs? All the way out the store, across the gravel parking lot to my car parked in the shade next to the (for amusement purposes, only) outhouses, it rolled around in my head... Then it hit me.
I laughed almost all the way home.
Beans?? I'm feeling gassy... Take me to The Recipe
I poke around other blogs a bit when I'm getting ready to write a post, (mainly because I just want to be sure that there aren't 500 blogs all talking about the same thing) and came across one in particular that said they'd NEVER use a pressure cooker... they just scare the crap out of them. Now, I can imagine if you were using your Great Aunt Bertha's pressure cooker from the 1930's, with the gauges, clamps, and suspiciously projectile looking release valve - that would be the case. I'd even be afraid to use one of them. Those things are just a long night in the ER waiting to happen.
But there really isn't any reason to fear the newer models - if you look for 4 important features:
The Lid Seals on the "Inside" of the Pot. This puts all the accumulating pressure onto the construction of the pot.The lid has a measured groove fitted with a gasket that matches a corresponding nib on the pot opening. Once pressure builds, the two parts are locked together.
The Handle has a Spring Loaded Catch. This locks the lid handle to the base and puts additional tension on the pressure seal and eliminates any chance of a malfunction.
The Pressure Valve is Free Floating. As pressure builds, steam is released... that has to go somewhere. By having a free floating release (the thingy on top that whistles), you run little chance of something boiling over and clogging the valve. You could talk to my Aunt about clogged pressure valves. Before they decided she "probably" would be better off in a facility, the ceiling of her kitchen looked like a Jackson Pollock... there was all kinds of stuff up there hanging in little splatters and stalactites.
There is a Built-In Pressure Release. You want the pot to come with something that allows you to tile the floating release and step away while the pressure vents. It's High Pressure steam being released, and you really don't want to be anywhere near it.. that's just good sense.
My pot is a Fulgor 4 Quart Pressure Cooker - and unless you're canning, it will probably suit just about anyone's purposes. The only place I've seen them available is at the International Markets.
I have seen that Hawkins does make a domestic version that is an inside lock.
Don't be tempted to buy any pressure cooker with a "Twist / Clamp Locking Lid". The lids can warp if you aren't careful, and making sure the lid is locked in place can be tricky.
|Clockwise from top left - |
Soup Mix, Pinto, Anastasi,
Blackeyes / Kidney / spotted / Split Pea / Black,
Beans... Yes, you can do the whole wash - soak overnight (8 hours) - precook (15 minutes) - boil (45 minutes) - reduce (15 minutes) thing if you want to. But, a pressure cooker allows you to have fresh dried beans, from start to finish, ready in just about an hour and a half.
Cooking any dried bean (or pea) is going to be the same procedure - it's all a matter of ratios.
4 Parts Water to 1 Part Dried Bean = 4 cups to 1 cup
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Bay Leaves
As Much Meat Flavoring (if Desired) as Water - 4 Cups Water = 4 Ounces Flavor Stock
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Place the beans in a strainer and run cold water - Pick out and pebbles, dirt, trash from the beans
- Place a measured amount in the pressure cooker
- Add 4 times the amount of beans in water to the pot
- Add the salt, pepper, bay leaves and flavoring (I've used a 4 ounce Smoked Pork Chop)
- Seal and place on the stove set to high
- Bring to a boil
- When the release starts whistling, reduce the heat to medium low (4 on an electric range) and let cook for 45 minutes
- At 45 minutes - Set off the heat, release the pressure until the whistling stops
- Without opening - Place the pot under running cool water directly on the lid for a full 2 minutes
- Open and Check the beans
- If there is little to no liquid left, add another cup
- Check the beans for tenderness -if they mush easily with a fork, they're done - otherwise, Reseal and cook for an additional 15 minutes
- Serve with Cornbread, Chow Chow and Rice - as a simple dinner - or add them to your regular dinner menu