Inspired by this post, I made beans for Saturday supper. Before we went to a fancy event that morning, I put beans in the crockpot on low with a few garlic cloves, a bit of sage, and some olive oil. I was betting that we wouldn't be very hungry or energetic at suppertime, but still need something.
I was totally surprised at the success of the supper! I think it's going to be our standard Saturday supper! Cheap, easy, customizable, delicious.
We had the beans in soup plates with more olive oil and salt. Then there was good sourdough bread (from the market), thin slices of Parmesan, and sliced tomato. It was so perfectly, elementally balanced.
On other Saturdays, I could swap out the fresh tomato for a home-canned tomato in the soup plate, or a wedge of fresh crunchy cabbage or even a dish of dried figs. Something pickled would be delicious here, or even a bit of prosciutto or salami.
The fancy lady even put down her Bible and joined us.
More Details on How I Cooked the Beans:
I do not buy commercially canned beans. I put 2 cups dry beans in my slow cooker, add 5-6 cups water, and turn it on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours (this varies depending on the time I have and the age of the beans - I don't know how old the dry beans are, but I've read that older ones take longer). Then I let the whole cooker cool until I have time to portion the beans/liquid into jars and freeze them. This is a habitual task in my kitchen, but I see that I have barely blogged about it! I will try to remedy that. (Here are simple black beans, starting with dry beans also).
These supper beans were a variation on the basic method I just described. I started with the 2 cups dry pinto beans and water, but also added 3 whole garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp. dried sage, and 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil. A few hours later, I stirred the beans and added some salt. At the table, we added more salt, pepper, and more olive oil. The simplicity of the beans meant that they were a great base for whatever accompaniments I had on hand. It's lovely to mop up the salty bean juices and olive oil with bread.