It started with this article on Serious Eats, and a book on cooking called Ratios.
The most difficult part is really just remembering to soak your beans beforehand. I used some large white beans (forgot the actual name haha), soaked for 24 hours in the fridge, and it cooked to such a creamy consistency in maybe 40 minutes? I was simmering it on low, so you can probably get faster results. Texture: check
For taste, I cook the beans in their soaking water with a bay leaf, some peppercorns, garlic, some salt and vegetable broth bouillon. This is a pretty safe combination for cooking most things, it results in something savory, but lets the taste of the ingredient (here beans) to be the most prominent.
By now I'd already eat the beans by themselves. Not bad for something with less than a minute of active prep. But my motivation for these beans are to use them as pasta sauce...with some leftover squash.
This is where reading Ratios came in. That book really liberates the cooking process by focusing on the essence of what makes a dish. For example, a sausage is a sausage is a sausage as long as it has the approximate meat to fat ratio. Everything else is extra, and can be left to the cook's discretion. Another example, which I personally found most enlightening, is the difference between a pound cake and a sponge cake. They can be made with the same ratio of the same ingredients, the only difference is the technique. For a pound cake, you first cream sugar and butter then add flour and eggs. Conversely, for a sponge cake, you first whip the sugar and the egg, then add the flour and butter.
So with that in mind, I actually ended up with a creamy squash and bean soup, and added some pasta in there haha. The thought process went something like:
- The squash was boiled, so I have squash + squash stock
- The beans were boiled, so I have beans + beans stock
- Well there was too much liquid relative to the vegetables, so I guess I have soup now.
- Squash soup is usually creamed, so let's add some evapourated milk (I swear this taste better than just cream). This works with creamy textured beans anyways.
- Blend everything a bit to thicken the texture.
I'm also proud that I brewed my oolong tea well today. And that I finally optimized my pouring motion because I discovered I can hook my pinkie onto the lid of my kettle to remove the lid, then grab my gaiwan's lid with the remaining fingers of the same hand, and then use my other hand to pour the water. One fluid motion, instead of removing a lid, setting it down, repeat with the other lid, then pour.