Because I Can!

I love my crock pot, but as I mentioned a few days ago, I never thought about cooking beans in it.  Remember all of those beans I bought last week?

I decided it was time to do something with them.  Black beans are probably my favorite, but I’ve  mostly only ever had them from a can.  In fact, when Ralph saw me getting things ready to cook them myself, his question was “why when you can buy them in a can?”  My answer was…” because I can!”

The helpful bit here is that the bags of beans come with the directions for cooking in the crock pot, which I don’t think they used to have.  I’ve used beans a lot in soups but never simply to cook the beans as I mentioned so I was happy to have SOME direction in this project! 🙂

You still need to soak them over night.  It says 6 hours will do it, but for me overnight is just easiest.  So I soaked these little babies…

Note to Self:  Next time DO NOT soak the BLACK beans in the WHITE pot!! Actually after about 5 minutes with the SoftScrub the pan is white again, but why make extra work for myself! 😉

Next morning they traveled to my wonderful old crock pot…

As I was getting these ready I was thinking about my “old” crock pot.  Now when I say old, I mean old.  It’s got to be at the very least 30 years old.  I’ve had it forever and it’s seen a lot of service.  I also had a wonderful larger crock pot, but unfortunately it has disappeared into the abyss.  I thought I had lent it to Ele, but she doesn’t have it only, the one that she has just like it…hmmm…maybe she lost “hers” and the one she has is “mine.”  Just thought of that possibility…just kidding Ele:-)

Here they are!

Pretty, huh?  Now the bag tells you to cover with water and cook on low for 10 hours.  I think this really depends on your crock pot.  Mine very often cooks things more quickly than a recipe suggests so I think this might be an individual thing.  This was my test pot.  I started at 6:30am on low.  I got impatient around noon and upped it to high.  The beans were finished (in my opinion) at about 2:30pm.  My opinion was-when they were soft, they were finished.  So that’s when I turned it off.  The directions don’t actually tell you how much water to put in, it just says “cover with water.”  I didn’t know if it meant “just” cover or more than that.  I put in about 6 cups of water which brought the level to about 2 inches above the beans.  It seemed to work well and I ended up with these beauties…

Time for your closeup!!

Strangely, they look “frosty” in the picture and they are a little paler than the ones in the can, but they taste the same! 

Not sure what I’ll be making with them.  When I was still working one of my favorite lunches was black beans mixed with salsa and corn and a touch of green chile Tabasco.  I would then just put that over lettuce with a little shredded fat-free cheese to make a delicious and filling lunch.  I was watching Rick Bayless last night on “Mexico-One Plate at a Time” and he mixed them with olive oil, sautéed garlic and them mashed them up to make a spread for a “torta.”  Looked good!  It probably was, only sadly his beans came out of  can…:-(  Maybe I should give him a lesson in beans… OH,Rick…

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