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Pulses: beans, peas, lentils - love 'em? hate 'em?


Anna N

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From the Pulse Canada site:

"Pulses are a great tasting addition to any diet. They are rich in fibre and protein, and have high levels of minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorous as well as folate and other B-vitamins. In addition to their nutritional profile and links to improved health, pulses are unique foods in their ability to reduce the environmental footprint of our grocery carts. Put it all together and these sensational seeds are a powerful food ingredient that can be used to deliver the results of healthy people and a healthy planet."

What's not to like? Superfoods that pre-date such a concept. 

I grew up in the British Midlands and many an evening meal consisted of a can of heated Heinz baked beans on toast. My older brother skipped the heating and the toast and spooned them right out of the can.  I don't recall any objections to them from my point of view.

A woman who was my best friend for many years (she died some years ago), made an easy oven dish of lamb and butter beans which was to die for. 

 But somewhere in the intervening years I lost any connection to beans or lentils and in fact find them quite unpleasant.   No good telling me that I would like beans if only I found some good ones. I have been gifted Rancho Gordo beans and even though I have eaten them I cannot say they brought me much pleasure. 

I have tried to re-create the lamb and butter bean dish but I can never get that wonderful silky texture and lamby flavour that I recall. 

Why should I care?   There are plenty of other foods that I enjoy so I'm extremely unlikely to suffer much because I don't like pulses but read my quote!   I feel an almost puritanical need to learn to love these nutritional power houses.

So do you like beans and their ilk? Tolerate them? Hate them?  

 If you wanted to try and convince someone to love them what would you make with them?

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I adore them, but I can eat anything.

 

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I usually cook them very simply in water with herbs and a glug of olive oil.  Occasionally I'll add an onion studded with cloves.  Salt at the end.  I want the beans to be flavored as little as possible so that they don't overwhelm whatever it is I'm making.

 

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J'adore fava beans in particular.

 

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Fava bean salad with prosicutto, radish and mint

 

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Insalata di pomodoro e fave

 

This version had preserved lemon stirred in.  Dressing was lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper.

 

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Cooked Rancho Gordo Marcella beans, a type of cannellini bean.

 

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And I use them in everything from crostini to minestrone as you see here.

 

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It's cranberry bean season in the Bay Area, so lately I've been using them in brunch dishes.  Pictured are cranberry beans with chorizo sausage and heirloom tomato.

 

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Cranberry beans with roasted tomato confit

 

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BBQ sparerib and cranberry bean hash

 

Edited by ProfessionalHobbit (log)
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23 minutes ago, Anna N said:

[...] many an evening meal consisted of a can of heated Heinz baked beans on toast. My older brother skipped the heating and the toast and spooned them right out of the can.

 

All the same where I grew up as well.

 

24 minutes ago, Anna N said:

So do you like beans and their ilk? Tolerate them? Hate them?

 

Love them but now I generally — but not always — avoid sugars and starches as much as possible.

 

26 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 If you wanted to try and convince someone to love them what would you make with them?

 

Probably cassoulet.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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I like beans.  I saw your dish of beans and greens and thought it looked great - assuming I had some crusty bread to go with it.  I'm not sure I could come up with anything better so I don't imagine I will change your mind :)

 

That said, bean dips or spreads - hummus and the like - come to mind.  I would certainly start a bean hater on Heidi Swanson's white bean spread with rosemary and toasted almonds.  I love the way the garlic and rosemary are warmed gently with the oil to impart flavor but are strained out to avoid bitterness.

 

Continuing on the white bean theme, I've had a number of bean haters try and and come back for seconds of white bean and pesto crostini.  Toast some rustic bread, rub with a garlic clove, top with white beans tossed with pesto and either drizzle with olive oil or sprinkle with grated parm and broil or toast to melt.  

 

Some people who don't like a dish full of beans will go for them in a salad. The Christmas lima, beet and quinoa salad from Rancho Gordo's cookbook is really good, with or without the avocado.

 

Finally, the black bean seems to be a gateway bean for many.   The black bean chili from the Greens cookbook is so, so flavorful and can be served as a soup, a spread or smashed onto a quesadilla or crusty bread.  

 

Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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@ProfessionalHobbit

 

I appreciate your effort to tempt me with your very beautiful photographs but when I reached the end I felt much as if I had just been put through a session with a psychiatrist who was trying to get me over my fear of spiders.xD  I know I upset @rarerollingobject when I tried to explain how I felt being exposed to so much icing on her beautiful cakes. I surely do not want to upset you in a similar way. It's just the sight of that many beans at this stage of my recovery........:o

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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My responses mirror @DiggingDogFarm's: I love them, but mostly try to avoid eating starches, so bean-eating is a special occasion. For that reason, on the rare occasions that I cook pulses, they tend to be the main event rather than a side dish.

 

As for dish recommendations, it's hard to beat Martin's suggestion of cassoulet... but since I'm a Southerner, I'll plug for Hoppin' John. Sean Brock's recipe is great (and includes a tasty, blended-bean gravy sauce). Field peas and Carolina Gold rice from Anson Mills are a must.

 

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And, as if it needs to be said, I'm a huge fan of Rancho Gordo products. They sell some beautiful, beautiful varieties.

Edited by btbyrd (log)
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@Anna NI'm with you... not a fan of beans or pulses... it's not the flavor that I don't like - it's that grainy texture.  I've never had a bean/pulse dish that didn't have that grainy texture.... except once, but that was a rare fluke - especially because I have no idea what was done to make it that way.  It was about 6 years ago, when I was fortunate enough to go to El Bulli - one of the courses was called "Cala Montjol lentils" or something like that - which is named after the area where the restaurant was located....  Their texture was completely smooth - and they melted in your mouth... I imagine they pureed the lentils, and put them through a super fine sieve - like a superbag or something and then spherified them to look like lentils again... or something to that nature...

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9 minutes ago, KennethT said:

@Anna NI'm with you... not a fan of beans or pulses... it's not the flavor that I don't like - it's that grainy texture.  I've never had a bean/pulse dish that didn't have that grainy texture.... except once, but that was a rare fluke - especially because I have no idea what was done to make it that way.  It was about 6 years ago, when I was fortunate enough to go to El Bulli - one of the courses was called "Cala Montjol lentils" or something like that - which is named after the area where the restaurant was located....  Their texture was completely smooth - and they melted in your mouth... I imagine they pureed the lentils, and put them through a super fine sieve - like a superbag or something and then spherified them to look like lentils again... or something to that nature...

Yes!!! It is definitely a texture thing but also an inability to detect much difference in flavour from one bean to another. I recognize that as a sacrilegious statement for those who love their beans and can distinguish between this red bean and that white bean. Perhaps texture overwhelms taste for me. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I love any kind of beans or peas or lentils. Love them. Don't know that I've ever met a bean I didn't like. Some of my favorites -- red beans and rice, white bean and Italian sausage soup, Boston baked beans, field peas with ripe tomato relish, refried beans, edamame, succotash....I could go on and on. And on. I don't know that I've ever met the bean I didn't like.

 

And learning about Rancho Gordo was a revelation.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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@kayb

 

I am glad you chimed in but I am going to bed safe in the knowledge that at least one other person @KennethT doesn't like them. :)

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I find pinto beans to be the creamiest I have had.  Or, those shell beans from my garden were quit creamy.

of course using lots of olive oil in their preparation helps with the textural issue.  Many of those recipes that are 'healthy' bean recipes are problematic on a textural level due to the low fat nature of the recipe.  Also the texture is worse if the dish is a cold one.

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I like cooked dried beans but for me they are an occasional food. Since I started (4 years ago) growing my own beans for drying I just can't eat super market beans. I have never had the fabled Rancho Gordo beans ( and, due to cost probably never will) so perhaps they would be acceptable.

If the texture is a problem, try refried beans. Or hummus as @blue_dolphin suggested.

Or, simply say -"I don't want to eat these" - That is the nice part of being an adult. You get to make your own choices.

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I love them. I, too, have been known to eat them right out of the can or cold from the fridge. Pintos, kidney, white, etc. are some of my favorites.

 

When my husband and I were first married, he did not like any beans, except green beans. He said he did not like the texture. Over the years, he has gone from finding them okay to occasionly saying he really enjoyed them. But, if he was on his own, beans would not be likely to make it into his meal, other than green beans.

Edited by robirdstx (log)
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While I don't actively dislike beans, with a few exceptions I wouldn't care if I never ate them again.

 

Exceptions:

 

chickpeas/garbanzos especially in lamb, mint and chickpea casserole. And, of course, hummus. 

 

lentils, I love

 

when I was a kid canned butter beans were a regular "vegetable" side with many meals. I haven't eaten them for over 40 years, but would like a try.

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Love them.  Except maybe lupines and favas.

 

Black bean "cassoulet" is a regular for me going back more than forty years.  Beans and olive oil and tuna.  Mexican beans with almost anything.  Hummus.

 

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File me under "love" as well. I'll cheerfully eat them at any time of day, any time of year. 

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I love beans of all varieties.

 

I love putting some pintos and pork into the crock pot to slow cook all day for dinner. Ribs are my favorite cut for the bean pot, but pork chops or chunks of butt work great too. Thrown in a little jalapeno and onion toward the last hour or so of cooking and bake up a pan of cornbread or vegetable corn pancakes in the summer and dinner is done.

 

This time of year is when the fresh shell beans come in, and while I can't find any fresh, the Pict Sweet Company based in Bells, TN offers fresh frozen varieties in my grocer's freezer case. Speckled butter beans, purple hulls, black eyes, field peas with snaps (green beans), and baby limas were among the selection last time, and I picked up a package of purple hulls. I am hoping they will come up to the memory of the fresh ones I picked and ate in Louisiana.

 

I got ripped off one time at New Year's when I bought clam shell packages of black eyes in the produce department thinking they were fresh. They were not even as good as the ones I cook up from dry and much more expensive. If I had known what I was buying, I could have definitely gone with dry or maybe frozen. Either would have been an improvement. I found out on eG that they were most likely just soaked dry ones, and sure enough, on reading the teeny tiny fine print, that is exactly what they were. This really stung because it was for a holiday meal. I do not recommend this product at all, and I'll never get suckered again.

 

What is a Mexican dinner without frioles refritos?

 

I love canned and rinsed chick peas as a garnish for salads.

 

Baked beans with onion and whole canned tomatoes mixed with ketchup and mustard with bacon cooked on top low and slow is a dish I almost always fix to go with barbecued pork ribs. 

 

If you don't like beans, though, just don't eat 'em. Life is too short to try to choke down something when there are so many other things available that can be relished.

Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)
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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I forgot salted, black fermented soy beans (as used in black bean sauce). I always have those on hand. Couldn't do without them.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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@Anna N do you like edamame? I dislike beans and lentils as well. I will eat edamame and like it well, because salt. 

 

  Otherwise I think it's a textural and also appearance thing for me. Refried beans literally make me lose my appetite. Chickpeas are fine in smaller doses and in salads only. I like hummus though and would probably like roasted chickpeas. 

 

  Also, I grew up as a very picky eater and with the stigma of beans as a kid I basically refused to consider eating them. As an adult I am pretty much over things I previously revolted at due to stigmas, however I have zero desire to cook beans. 

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2 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

@Anna N do you like edamame? I dislike beans and lentils as well. I will eat edamame and like it well, because salt. 

 

  Otherwise I think it's a textural and also appearance thing for me. Refried beans literally make me lose my appetite. Chickpeas are fine in smaller doses and in salads only. I like hummus though and would probably like roasted chickpeas. 

 

  Also, I grew up as a very picky eater and with the stigma of beans as a kid I basically refused to consider eating them. As an adult I am pretty much over things I previously revolted at due to stigmas, however I have zero desire to cook beans. 

I am SO with you on the re-fried beans!  Nothing on the plate calls out to me if these "things" appear. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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