Not quite yet back to work, in a last minute effort to jam as much frugal skill as possible into my natural kitchen habits, yesterday I worked on strengthening my bean-soaking abilities.
Observation: Culinary Square Piece succeeds at the sort of kitchen ventures that require the ability to ignore projects for hours on end. How did I make cream cheese? I ignored the sack of yogurt that hung overnight. How did I make goat cheese? I ignored the sack of goat curds that hung overnight. How did I make yogurt? I ignored the cultured milk in the mason jar as it incubated overnight. And how did I make an awesome split pea soup yesterday? Well, it started with me ignoring the split peas as they soaked – you guessed it – overnight.
Apparently, I’m quite gourmet in my sleep.
A bag of dried beans costs a little bit more than a can of beans. But with the dried, you’re getting, like, I don’t know, a million times more (or some figure like that). I once made the mistake of thinking that soaked beans would be edible in the morning. This is not true. Soaked beans are just ready to be cooked in the morning. A few years later (and obviously much wiser), I’m now cashing in on this knowledge.
The question I had to ask myself was, “Why am I not using more beans? They’re so good for me. They’re inexpensive. They’re easy. And I’m gonna be cooking a meal anyway, so I might as well make it bigger with some beans!”
I mean – Sheesh! – if I can brush my teeth at night, surely I can dump two cups of water on one cup of beans and walk away, right?
While I didn’t measure a darn thing that I tossed in the crock pot for my split pea soup, I did come away with a few Ah-Ha’s that I’d like to share:
- Ah-Ha: A while back, I tossed some chicken bones into the freezer with the intention of making more chicken stock when I accumulated enough bones. Well, being that I didn’t have enough broth for my soup today, I just bundled a bunch of bones (after a little roasting in the oven) and tossed them into the slow cooker to help flavor the meal. Genius! Totally cuts out the stock-making step!
- Ah-Ha: Regular sewing thread DOES work in a pinch. I was concerned that it might disintegrate into my soup, but I didn’t have any kitchen twine. As it turns out, I fretted for nought.
Once the soup was done cooking, I carefully removed my bone-and-rosemary bundle (I have so much rosemary!) and used an immersion blender to give the soup more creaminess. And you know what else gives soup creaminess? CREAM. So I blended some of that in there, too.
All right, who’s coming over for leftovers? Is there a small army out there who needs a meal? ‘Cause now I’ve got split pea soup comin’ out the wahzoo!