Sunday, December 26, 2010

Odds & Ends Afterlife: Five Bean Soup

Last week I made a hearty. delicious soup while shooting the most boring 15 minutes of video footage known to man.  I kept the soup and scrapped 13.5 minutes of video.  I added salt to the remaining 2.5 minutes, and here it is:

video url:

Soup is a great way to use up little bits of grains or legumes that aren't enough for a full serving.
 If you consistently measure one or two cups of basmati rice or black-eyed  peas  and don't use the end of one bag with the beginning of another bag, you're going to end up with tiny amounts of lots of different kinds of rice and beans.  Soup is a great way to put all these things together.  The goal is to stagger adding ingredients to the soup in coordination with their required cooking times.  It's great if you have a flavorful base liquid like a stock (see below.)

The quick soak method involves bringing the beans just to a boil, then turning off the heat.  In this way your beans can soak for 20 minutes to an hour instead of overnight.

Bean tip: Do not add any acid or salt until the beans are soft.  You can add baking soda to help them soften.

Stock tip (not the NASDAQ kind): Keep a large zip-top bag in your freezer with scraps of stock materials.  For instance: vegetable skins, herb stems, celery or parsnip leaves, and fish or chicken bones.  When it is full and balanced, boil it all up and simmer for 15-20 minutes for cooked bones, more for raw.

Cool Soup to "Safe Range": Wash labels off empty water bottles and freeze with water or freeze blocks of ice in Tupperware and transfer to freezer zip-top bags and keep in the freezer.  Add to soup to get it to cool faster without watering it down.  It is unsafe to leave soup out until it is cool.  If you put it in the fridge when it is hot, it may heat your other food to unsafe levels.

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