Sorry for the lack of posting. Let's just say wicked Shakspearean art project. Ok back to the beans. My family loves them!!!! The coolest thing is soaking them overnight in the crockpot, rinse in the morning and cook all day. Its the easiest (and one of the healthiest) methods of one pot cooking ever. Our favorite accompaniments are cornbread, salad, biscuits, sopapillas, jello, greens, homemade bread. My secret: liquid smoke. This is powerfully good stuff. It makes the beans have a smoky flavor without adding any meat. Brown sugar is great with pintos and white beans for sweetness. The two combined is a tummy filling heaven.
The basic idea is to throw in the pot whatever you have. I found these recipes and adapted them to what I had in my kitchen:
Basic bean cookery notes:
1. Always soak your beans! Some people say you do not have to do this but I disagree. It really makes cooking them easy, it helps you to plan a bean meal and it doesn't require anything but time.
2. Cook them a long time. The crock pot or pressure cooker are your best bets. I'm a little afraid of my pressure cooker so I am still tentatively using it. The crock pot is your bean's best friend. Slow, even cooking, no work in the kitchen and delicious smells, not to mention it doesn't heat up the house in the summer.
3. Cook beans in just broth all day and then jazz them up to go with dinner. They can be frozen in 2 cup amounts to be used whenever they are needed. I did this with a batch of black beans because I wanted to be able to feed them to the baby and didn't want any seasoning. I took out a couple of cups of beans, added them to a skillet with a can of diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, and 1/2 pound of ground beef...there were 0 leftovers.
4. Rice and beans actually go really well together but there are other ways. Look for soups, wraps, casseroles, even breads. We also love chalupas Kirk family style. Fry tortillas in oil so they puff up, spread with mashed pintos (or canned refried if pressed for time)and cheese and bake for about 10 minutes. Then we cover with all the fixin's: lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, bell peppers.