Top | my kitchen

Bean there

(post, Kim Carlson)

By choosing not to open a can of beans, I may have opened a can of worms.

 Last week, I followed Martha Rose Shulman's delicious-looking baked beans recipe in the New York Times pretty much to the letter — using cannellini beans that I had purchased a few months ago at the farmers' market. 

 I soaked the beans overnight and started cooking at noon, to be sure the dish would be ready for dinner. It wasn't

 In fact, my lovely beans cooked right through the dinner hour and on until bedtime. Finally, I turned off the oven and hoped the beans, still a little firm, would soften by lunch the next day — which they did, more or less. In fact, everyone loved them, but as the cook, I was a bit frazzled by that time.

 What had gone wrong? I consulted Kelly Myers' timeless instructions for cooking beans — and read through the comments, too. Was salt the culprit? The tomato paste? The cast-iron cooking pot? If you have ideas for me, you can leave them here.

 A few days later, coincidentally, our recipe editor introduced me to an Emeril Lagasse recipe for quick beans and kale. I'm looking forward to trying those next, maybe adding a crunchy blanket of bread crumbs.

  But I'll go back to my old ways of cooking beans on the stovetop.