Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Blame "K"

Normally the way I make garbanzo beans (chickpeas) is to open a can, drain, rinse and serve. A while ago I bought a bag of dried beans and figured I'd try to use those. It's cheaper and healthier and better for the environment and blah blah blah blah. I'm pretty sure that bag was in my cabinet for a year.

Two days ago, I was running low on food and didn't have time to go grocery shopping (but did have time to order Chinese Food!) and decided to make the beans. The instructions on the bag said I could soak the beans in water overnight, or boil them for 2 minutes and let them soak for an hour. -I did the latter. One hour later, they were still too tough. No problem. I let them soak for another hour. Still too tough. I decided to try option #1 and let them soak overnight. The next morning they were still too tough, so I decided to cook them until they softened up.

I cooked them for 30 minutes (checking every 15 minutes because anything I leave unattended in my kitchen for longer than 10-15 minutes always spontaneously combusts.). Still too tough. I continued to cook them for 45 more minutes (again checking every 10-15 minutes.) At this point they'd been boiled for 2 minutes, soaked for an entire day, and had cooked for an additional hour and fifteen minutes. -And they were still a bit raw.

My friend K stopped by that day and I explained my situation to her. She told me her black beans had to cook for 2-3 hours before they were edible. I later asked my neighbor M and she said, without hesitation, that garbanzo beans had to cook for 3-4 hours! I was really surprised. I said to both of them "Really? THAT long? This is too much darned work!" I'd figured a night of soaking and maybe an hour of cooking tops.

I can't cook something for 3-4 hours. It's not safe for me to cook anything that long. Really. If I can't cook something in 15 minutes or so, I don't -unless I'm sitting in the kitchen, the entire time, doing something (like preparing the rest of the meal.) And I never cook, not even for 10 minutes, without setting a timer. Never. Once I step out of the kitchen... strange things happen. I think the food waits until it knows I've left the kitchen, and then goes "poof!"

Now having said this, I'm a good cook! But I have to be in the kitchen cooking! I am not good at putting something in the oven, setting a timer, and then going into another room to fold laundry, or to work on the computer, or return phone calls (or whatever), until the timer goes off. If I do those same things in the kitchen, everything goes well. If I leave the kitchen to do those things, THE FOOD KNOWS!

I was trying to figure out my next "move" regarding the still slightly raw garbanzo beans, and was thinking that maybe in a couple of days, when I could be home all day, I might put them in a crock pot and set it on low for the entire day. That's generally safe. But my friend K said I was making things too complicated and worrying too much. She said to put the beans in a large pot with a lot of water, cook them for 4 hours instead of in a crock pot for an entire day, set the timer for every 45 minutes or so to see if the water needed topping off, and to NOT WORRY ABOUT IT SO MUCH! I tried explaining to her about how "the food knows when I've left the kitchen" etc. but she told me I was making a big deal out of something relatively simple.

This morning, I decided she was right. I got a big pot, put in the small layer of beans, filled the pot with water, started to set the timer for 15 minutes, then decided to do as K had suggested and set it to 45 minutes, then I put the burner on "low" and...

Let's just say I was on the phone when my smoke alarm went off, and now every window in my apartment is open and I have two fans going. -And yes, of COURSE I've already called K and left a message on her machine telling her that it's ALL HER FAULT! :P



MP said...

...Yeah..I think open the can, drain and heat is a MUCH easier way to cook beans..

Kendra said...

bwahahaha! That is precisely why the computer is IN the kitchen of our house :)

(btw, new post about template troubles is up..lol)

Hillary said...

I'm sure all the smoke filling your appartment is good for the envorinment, too! (tee hee hee!) Yup, go for the can! :P

But seriously... that's so weird! Was there not enough water? How can bean soaked in water start smoking? You forgot the water, didn't you! nyuk nyuk nyuk!

Ok, I'm being a brat.... and after all those lovely comments you left for me, too! Heh!

Kat said...

Hi, Nice to meet you & your blog. Thanks for the tip, I'll stick to the cans!

Where did you get the html for your Hiro NaBlo survivor badge? I need one of those!

momof3gr8kids said...

Since the food knows when you leave the kitchen, I can't help but imagine a little cartoon garbanzo bean whispering to his friends, "Okay, guys, she's gone. Time to put our plan into action!"

Melissa said...

I am SO going back to cans! The only problem is I have half a bag left.... I haven't decided yet whether to try the crock pot route, or just give it to my neighbor.

As for the smoke... my apt still smells like smoke. And it's also really COLD in here! Why? Because since my apartment still smells like smoke, my roommate keeps opening the windows, -and it's 3 degrees above freezing outside! I don't really blame her. I just think the place is as aired out as it's gonna get. The rest will eventually dissipate on its own.

Was there enough water... Apparently not! ;) I filled the darned pot, and put it on low but it still boiled off too quickly. I'm telling you, my food KNOWS...

-And no I did not *FORGET* the water :P~~~~~~~

momof3gr8kids (which I still read as mom of 8 great kids ;) ) I think that's *exactly* what happens!

Kat: I'm going to add that info to a post as soon as I'm finished leaving this comment. Then, I'll add a link to the post with that info under the badges in the side bar. Check there in the next hour or so. -And thanks for stopping by! :)

Nora Bee said...

I am impressed that you even attempted to cook dry chick peas. I cook other kinds of dried beans but I'm scared of the garbanzo for just the reasons you describe. :-)
Glad you have a smoke alarm!

Vanessa said...

Hey, maybe she'll believe you now!