Bean Soups

Soups fill our winter evenings, and the most filling ones start with beans. Get bean soup recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Soups fill our winter evenings, and the most filling ones start with beans. I love cooking with dried beans and tend to store many types in quart jars—which means I often have jars with just a scoop of beans left that I want to use up before I restock. Mixed-Bean Soup is the perfect option. You can use just about any bean in it, including lentils and split peas; the more variety, the more color and texture in the final soup. I often start by emptying as many jars as I can and then adding whatever beans I have in larger quantities, 1/2 cup at a time. Sometimes I even toss in leftover pearl barley.

In many ways, a soup with many types of beans resembles the bean soup mixes you can buy prebagged and tied with a pretty ribbon. But you’ll spend a lot less money if you buy the beans separately in bulk. You’ll also save money and have more control over the salt content and other additives if you started with dried instead of canned beans. And once you start cooking with dried beans, you’ll discover plenty of other uses for them, including—on this blog—pinto or kidney beans in Red Beans and Rice, black beans in veggie burgers, and chickpeas in falafel and this week’s other recipe, a Moroccan bean soup.

Learn to make Mixed-Bean Soup and Harira

Advertisements

Sourdough Rye Bread

I craved tangy rye bread long before I started working with sourdough—or discovered a meatless Reuben. Get sourdough and vegetarian recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I was on a mission to make a tangy rye bread long before I started working with sourdough. It all began when I arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia, on one of the coldest days on record. I’d just come from Norway, where I’d fallen in love with gjetost, a whey-based goat cheese that’s the color of caramel, has the richness of fudge, and melts on your tongue. Before leaving the country, I splurged on a log so large you can’t find it in the States. It was usually served with dry crispbread in Norway. Once I was settled in Russia, I discovered my favorite pairing for the cheese: Russian black bread.

The rye bread I ate in Russian bore little resemblance to what’s typically labeled “Russian rye” in America: no instant coffee, no cocoa powder, no caraway, no corn syrup. It was simply flour, water, and salt, all leavened with a sponge or starter. In other words, a sourdough bread. The problem was getting a recipe. Bread was subsidized when I was in Russia; a rye loaf cost 33p (about $1), and no one I met in the city was making it at home. The bakers where I bought my bread clearly thought I was a crazy American when I asked for the recipe: they started spouting ratios I could barely understand that seemed to start with about 50 pounds of flour.
Learn to make Sourdough Rye Bread and Gorgeous Grilled Cheese

Sourdough Naan

I bake sourdough because it’s delicious. But many people find its tangy flavor because they have problems digesting other breads. Get sourdough recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I bake sourdough because it’s delicious. But many people discover its tangy flavor because they have problems digesting other breads. Studies have found that sourdough—particularly homemade, long-ferment sourdough—is not only easier to digest but may have bonus health benefits. It makes sense if you think about it: You feed your sourdough starter flour. It eats it, turning it into more wild yeast and healthy bacteria. When you use it to make a bread, the longer the dough sits, the more it predigests the flour for you. As it does this, the sourdough bacteria release micronutrients, neutralize phytic acid, and stabilize blood sugar levels. And this all makes the bread twice as tasty.

The upshot is that if you have a gluten sensitivity but have not been diagnosed with full-blown celiac disease, you may be able to eat homemade sourdough breads. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, so you should discuss this with yours, but there’s disagreement on whether gluten-free products, particularly commercially processed ones, are better than their homemade, wheat-based counterparts if you don’t have immune reactions to gluten.
Learn to make Low-Gluten Sourdough Naan and Spiced Red Lentil Dip

Eggs

Custards and puddings let fresh ingredients shine even as they use leftovers. Get simple pantry dessert recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
For this month’s recipes on cooking from the pantry, I use the word “pantry” loosely: it encompasses foods you keep on hand in your cupboards, your freezer, your refrigerator, and perhaps even boxes under your bed. With these basic ingredients, you can pull together dishes with little notice or effort, whether for breakfast, dinner—or now dessert.

Baked custard is a childhood favorite. My grandmother made it as an afterschool snack for me and my sister—and apparently for my mom, because I have it on an old recipe card in her first cursive writing. Custard needs such simple ingredients that even though you can make it from the cheapest milk and eggs on the shelf, local farm-fresh ingredients will take it to another level—one you can taste and see, thanks to a golden yolk. Rice pudding, a more filling variation on the custard theme, has the added benefit of using up leftovers.
Learn to make Golden Baked Custard and Baked Rice Pudding