Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Bean soup and a couple great links
But I took advantage of a nice day sandwiched between yucky weather to run errands today. We had to stop by Culligan to pick up two forty pound bags of water softener salt and make a trip to my pharmacy... all on "the other side of town".
While we were out, I treated Hubby to good coffee and a pecan roll at Panera, thanks to a much appreciated gift card. I had a strawberry and cream scone and we split one of their baked egg souffles. (Being rather frugal people, we fill up our "to go" coffee cups on the way out with decaf coffee for an afternoon at home treat.)
I thanked God for the Christmas gift card from my friend, the food, and that insulin now comes in a pen form that makes it easier to enjoy a rather large scone while running errands. ;)
Thanks to a lesson learned in An Everlasting Meal, I have bean soup simmering on the stove. It has ham "stock"* and drippings (I had frozen from our last ham dinner) and added to the beans once they were almost tender. Oh, my... delicious!
I have to admit, I used to throw this part away. I always saved the ham bone and would usually freeze it to be used in bean soup later but I learned from the book to look at the value of every part of our food.
Well, I knew the drippings and "stock"* was what some cooks used to make red eye gravy but I never used it for that purpose. This time I froze it in a container for later use (with the ham and bone used right away for bean soup). Never again will I throw away that source of flavor!
There is always something new to learn and experience when it comes to cooking and baking.
You have to appreciate my "processed food" thinking when yesterday I wanted to make chili but I didn't have any canned chili beans... pintos, kidney beans, or red beans.
Here's how the book has affected me, too. I remembered I have quite a few packages of dried pinto beans in the garage (like... duh) and all I had to do was throw them in the small stock pot, cover with water, put the cover on... and leave it out overnight.
I drained them this morning, added more water, and let them simmer about an hour before covering them and turning off the heat so they could "steam" further while I was away from home.
That way it only took about another hour before they were nice and tender enough to remove the beans I want to use in chili tonight and prepare the remaining beans as soup.
Now, I'm a frugal cook but that book has taken my thinking to a whole new level. One does not need to be a homesteader to use more of the pig-cow-chicken, etc. ;)
I will prepare chili for tonight's dinner. The bean soup is ready for tomorrow night. With plenty of leftovers.
Now for the links:
I came across a wonderful new-to-me cooking blog called Downton Abbey Cooks. The blog is lovely and fun to read.
For a link that takes you to her Guide to Afternoon Tea post, click here. I plan to spend the next snowy afternoon going through the archives.
One of my favorite writers is Randy Alcorn. He has a blog post today about his devotional habits and the books he is reading. He always has great suggestions... here.
* To have a good amount of ham "stock", bake the ham covered through all or most of its' cooking time. I put about a cup of water in the bottom of the baking pan before covering it with aluminum foil and check it after an hour or so to see if it needs a little more water.
I have found if I don't cover the ham, drippings and stock tend to burn on the bottom of the pan instead of forming a "stock".
Picture: John-Bull-Cooking-Housewives; allposters.com