Tag Archives: vegetarian

How to cook beans

See those shriveled little guys in the cup? They’re cheap, and they turn into those plump, delicious beans still steaming in the glass container.

This is so easy you’ll be amazed you never thought of it before.  After that you’ll taste freshly made beans and only keep canned for the times you forget to soak some in advance (which, shamefully, is quite often for me).

All you need to cook beans is a pot, a mixing bowl, beans of choice, water and a dash of oil.  Some beans, like black eyed peas (beans) and adzuki beans, don’t need soaking.  Today I made garbanzos, so I’m going to use those as the example.

Start by scooping out about a cup of beans into a mixing bowl.  Check for any discolored beans and toss those.  Fill the bowl with water until it’s about 3 inches above the beans.  I cover mine with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight.  Beans should soak 6-8 hours before cooking — there are other ways to accomplish this, but the results are just not as good. One cup of dry beans yields 2.5 to 3 cups cooked and is the equivalent of roughly 8 oz at the market (I usually buy just over a pound to be sure I’ve got at least 2 cups). Continue reading

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PDX Vegan Bakery/Other Food Roundup

Well, if this doesn’t prove how much I enjoy food, nothing will.

Just back from a couple of weeks in Portland, Oregon, where people really know how to eat.  We had strawberries from the Montavilla Farmer’s Market that were the best strawberries we’ve ever tasted (proof: we demolished 2 baskets between my husband and I and the little kid — in one sitting).

There is a worthwhile Farmer’s Market just about every day in Portland.  The biggie is on Saturday’s at Portland State University, where lots of cheese, produce and bakery make for some seriously easy meal planning.  They also have the best tamales I have ever eaten ever ever ever from Salvador Molly’s.  Ever.  Not mealy, wet and tasteless — sweet, baked perfectly, with a lovely array of veggies inside.  Wish I could have one right now.

But no trip would be complete without a review of bakery, with a special emphasis on vegan bakery, because it’s more of a challenge, healthier, and it can be either really good, or awful, with little in the middle.  Rather than slam anyone for what they don’t do well, I’ll leave out the awful altogether and point out what each bakery does well.  Here they are:

Best overall vegan bakery: Dovetail Bakery (Alberta and 30th).  Morgan Grundstein-Helvey knows what the hell she is doing — she makes cornmeal scone-like I-can’t-remember-what-they-were-called-s with rhubarb/apricot/pink sprinkled sugar that are perfection – and I mean texture, too.  Often vegan bakers get the taste but the texture is wayyyy off.

Last night I was out in L.A. and ate something billed on the menu as “The best vegan cheesecake ever”  It tasted like overcooked, overmixed yams mixed with the Creamy Lemon Di-Gel tablets my father used to take.  Let this be a lesson in overconfidence.

Dovetail would never commit such a sin.  The cookies are huge and flavorful and are crispy on the outside and tender in the middle — not undercooked but genuinely tender.  We tried a variety of things (um, twice) and they were all just amazing.  If you like molasses lace cookies, try the Trail Mix cookies — the perfect mix of nutty, sweet and salty.  Snickerdoodles so good even I ate some.  Throw in the lovely aesthetic of the place Continue reading