Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tart and Tangy Baked Beans with Cornbread

Beans and cornbread. No dinner could be much simpler...or more tasty! Again, from the wonderful New Moosewood Cookbook. So far, nearly all of the recipes we've tried from this cookbook have been smash-hits! The only exception was the samosas, which, though good, took AGES to prepare and were kinda boring in the end (not worth the trouble! opt for Indian take-out instead!). Anyway, I'm supposed to be writing about beans, the musical fruit! Only, did you know they don't have to be so "musical"? According to Mark Bitman's How to Cook Everything, beans contain carbohydrates called ogliosaccharides that are not readily digested, thus the infamous gas. Eating beans more often increases tolerance and reduces gas. For those of us not quite willing to suffer during the interim, hot soaking does seem to help. Most recipes that start with dry beans tell you to soak the beans overnight, a daunting prospect and not entirely necessary. There are cooking methods to get around the lengthy pre-soak, but a hot soaking will help reduce gas. The hot soaking method is as follows:
  • Rinse and pick over the beans.
  • Put beans in the pot and cover with lots of water (they'll absorb and expand, and they'll always need to be submerged).
  • Bring water to a boil, boil 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
  • Let pot stand (beans and water) for 1-24 hours.
  • Drain, rinse beans, and cook in fresh water according to recipe.
I used this soaking method for prepping the baked beans, and I have to say that we noticed no musical quality, if you get my drift.

This dish made TONS and would be a great option for feeding the masses (dinner guests). Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I used the right proportions. The recipe calls for 3 cups of dry pinto beans, soaked. I used that, but now I'm wondering if the 3 cups was before or after the soaking. I used what was 3 cups dry (a heckuva lot more soaked). Anyway, it was way yummy and I'd make it the same way next time. I even tried to trick the girls into eating it by pureeing the finished beans and serving it as bean dip. Ellie wasn't buying it, but the rest of us agreed that the bean dip tasted delicious!

I started typing out the recipe, but then I wiped it. I'm still vague on copyright when it comes to sharing recipes online. If I adapt or find something fairly author-less, I am happy to share, but things direct from a book...I dunno. I will have to build my confidence in that department. For now, I'll point you towards adding Moosewood to your cookbook collection. It's fantastic for meat-free goodness!

I will share my cornbread recipe, which ironically also comes from Moosewood. I say ironically because I just said I wouldn't share cookbook recipes and here I go doing it. The difference is I have been making this recipe for years, printed out from a friend. Only after I bought the cookbook did I realize the recipe source. Secretly, I still consider it mine, so I will share (and still point you to buy the cookbook).

Yummy Cornbread

butter for the pan
1 cup cornmeal (polenta for non-US cooks)
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt (I prefer buttermilk)
1 egg
3 Tbs sugar or honey (I prefer honey)
3 Tbs melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F/160C.
Butter 8-inch square pan or a slightly larger cast iron skillet (in my view, cornbread is meant to come from a cast iron dish).
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
Combine wet ingredients separately.
Stir wet into dry until just combined.
Spread into buttered pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until center is firm to touch.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. LOVE IT!

Variations: Stir in a cup of corn and half a cup of grated cheese for more savory, or a couple of handfuls of blueberries with a bit more sugar or honey for more sweet.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the hot soak method for beans works really well...and it is so much easier and less scary than soaking overnight!! The cornbread looks great! I'm still on the lookout for a good cornbread recipe, so I'll have to try it.

    As for posting recipes...I think that as long as you give credit, it's ok...and certainly if you change anything even the slightest bit, then you can say "adapted from" and give credit. It seems that there are other blogs out there that do that...I don't know. It is a gray area, and you should certainly not do anything that you are uncomfortable doing!