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Consider the lentil, to take one example. Discover it first in a delicious slather, Lentil Tapenade. Then in half a dozen soups, including Sahadi’s Lebanese Lentil Soup with Spinach, Kerala-Style Dahl, and Crescent’s Very, Very Best Lentil, Mushroom & Barley Soup. It then turns up in Marinated Lentils De Puy with Greens, Baked Beets, Oranges & Walnuts. Plus there’s Jamaica Jerk-Style Lentil-Vegetable Patties, Ethiopian Lentil Stew, and Lentil-Celeriac Skillet Sauce. Do the same for black beans—from Tex-Mex Frijoles Dip to Feijoada Vegetariana to Maya’s Magic Black Beans with Eggplant & Royal Rice. Or shell beans—Newly Minted Puree of Fresh Favas, Baked Limas with Rosy Sour Cream, Edamame in a Pod. And on and on—from starters and soups to dozens of entrees. Even desserts: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies and Red Bean Ice Cream.
Introduction: How to Know Beans IX
Chapter 1 Bean Basics 1
The A, B(ean), Cs
A primer for all things bean. Everything you've ever wondered about selecting, preparing, cooking, and storing dried beans, fresh beans, shell beans, canned beans, and dehydrated beans-including, yes, a revolutionary method for making beans more belly friendly.
Chapter 2 Hummus, Where the Heart Is 23
Small plates and sumptuous bowls beckon nibblers, grazers, and feasters alike. From rich dips like Newly Minted Puree of Fresh Favas (page 43) and the exotic Marrakech Melange (page 36), to surprising party munchies like Gotcha-Hotcha Sweet-Smoky Cocktail Peanuts (page 28), these satisfying starters are the pillars of any appetizer spread.
Chapter 3 Soulful Simmer 51
Soups for Spirit and Substance
Explore the globe with bean soup, the very potage our ancestors-even the biblical Jacob and Esau-made for thousands of years. Ladle up the flavors of the Middle East with Syrian Zucchini-Chickpea Soup (page 61), then journey to Kilimanjaro for Tanzanian Black-Eyed Pea & Coconut Soup (page 72). Nourish and soothe with Noodled Japanese Broth with Tofu & Bean Threads (page 79); turn up the heat with India's Kerala-Style Dahl (page 85); and trace the bean's journey through Europe with belly-filling Pasta e Fagioli (page 96) and garlicky Caldo Verde (page 102). End in the New World on a high note: rich, golden, avocado-and-egg flourished Fanesca.
Chapter 4 Cool Beans 127
Salads for Every Season
Crunchy or tender, hearty or light-here, green beans and dried beans dance together and apart. The cool bean takes many forms, from sprightly starter salads-Sugar Snap Pea, Orange & Spinach Salad with Citrus-Mint Vinaigrette (page 134)-all the way to full-meal salads, like Dragon-Style Dan-Dan Noodles with Baked Tofu, Bean Sprouts & Crisp Vegetables (page 147).
Chapter 5 Chili Weather 157
Chili spans the color spectrum: from Brown Bean Chili with Sweet Potatoes (page 180) to White Chili with White Beans, Poblanos & Hominy (page 182). You'll find chili variations from all cardinal directions, and, of course, their go-to go-withs: cornbreads, fixins, even salsas.
Chapter 6 Superior Stews, Companionable Curries 185
The plot thickens, or, rather, the soup does, enticing us into the realm of luscious curries and satisfying stews. Whatever you choose to call them, these hearty bowlfuls-like Dorothy Read's Yellow-Eye Beans Redux (page 190) and Mellow Coconut-Tempeh Curry with Spinach, Zucchini & Sweet Potatoes (page 206)-will surprise, tempt, and sustain you.
Chapter 7 Bountiful Bean Bakes, Comforting Casseroles 213
Bubbling and beckoning, these oven-baked beauties are truly hot items. Old-Fashioned, Down-Home All-Day Baked Beans (page 216) with Steamed Boston Brown Bread (page 219) and Vegetarian Cassoulet (page 234). Baked Beans Brazilian with Olives & Cheese (page 230), several methods for oven-baked tofu, and Summer Garden Potpie with Cheese-Herb Drop Biscuits (page 240). All are served up golden-brown and piping hot.
Chapter 8 Home on the Range 251
Simpatico Skillets and Stir-Fries
Stovetop beans are one-pot wonders: They can be both contemplative, slow-cooked simmers and quick-fire weeknight dinners. You'll discover falafel, both Traditional (page 260) and Neo-Traditional (page 264); the so easy and so good CD's Beans & Greens Pasta with Lemon, Garlic & Chile (page 273); and nearly infinite variations on the stir-fry. There's even Socca (page 277)-addictive chickpea flatbread-to soak up any leftover skillet sauce.
Chapter 9 Beans and Grains 299
Earthy Soul Mates
It's a perfect marriage: Beans and grains complete each other in traditional dishes like Mjeddrah (page 301), Dragon-style Dancin' John (page 312), and two-styles of Red Beans & Rice (pages 306 and 308). And they delight in imaginative'-bean-grain two-steps like Maya's Magic Black Beans with Eggplant & Royal Rice (page 314). All are heavenly matches made on earth.
Chapter 10 Sweet Beans 319
In Which Legumes Dessert You
Let's champion the versatility of the legume! Julie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (page 322) are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. So, too, will the tart Lime Tofu Mousse-Custard (page 330) and the luscious spiced navy bean custard that fills "Don't Hurt Yourself Bean Pie (page 327). And of course, this dessert chapter wouldn't be worth a hill of beans without Red Bean Ice Cream (page 339)-a delicious ending to our leguminous journey.
A Few Last Words 343
Basic Beanery 344
Luscious Lentils & Other Lovable Little Legumes 354
Conversion Tables 370
Posted March 10, 2012
I have seen other reviews of this book, and my curiosity was peaked. My family doesn't eat lot of beans, but I would like to incorporate more of them into our diet. (I like black beans, refried beans, kidney beans, white beans myself.)
This is a comprehensive book about beans. The author starts with Bean Basics, discussing the many variety of beans and the basic cooking methods for each type: what to look for in a good green bean, shell beans and how to cook them, soaking beans- whatever you need to know about beans is covered here, no more need to fear them.
The ten chapters cover such topics like Hummus & Starters, with such recipes as Gotcha-Hotcha Sweet-Smoky Cocktail Peanuts, Hillbilly Hummus (made with peanut butter!) and Greektown Dip from Chicago's Greektown.
Soulful Simmer Soups is a great chapter that covers the world of beans literally. There are Middle Eastern Bean Soups (Spicy Syrian-Style Lentil Soup), African Bean Soups (Nigerian Seed-Thickened Beef & Shrimp Soup Stew), Asian Bean Soups (Thai Hot & Sour Soups), Indian Bean Soups (Sambar), European (Hungarian Green Bean Soup), and the Americas (Day after Thanksgiving Turkey, Wild Rice & Rattlesnake Bean Soup).
Of course there are many chili recipes, curry recipes and a chapter on skillets and stir fries that contains an interesting vegetable hash recipe I want to try.The last chapter has desserts, with Julie's Peanut Butter Cup Brownies that looks good and I never would have thought I'd find in a bean cookbook!
I like that each recipe has symbols next to it that states whether it is compatible for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free diets or has meat in it. That makes it easy for anyone with dietary restrictions or preferences to quickly see if the recipe is for them.
The only negative I have is that there are no photos of recipes in the book, but it is a substantial book, and I guess that photos would add to the heft of the book.
If you like beans or would like to add more beans to your diet, this is the cookbook to pick up. I can't imagine that there is any information about beans that I would like to know that is not in this comprehensive, 175-recipe book.
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 17, 2012
This is a fun recipe book that combines interesting notes and commentary with detailed and diverse bean recipes from all over the world. If you are interested in increasing the use of wholesome beans in your diet, this is the book for you. One note - the recipes are very hot and spicy. The author's name isn't Dragonwagon for nothing. The emphasis is on the "dragon". Her idea of just a little warmth is my idea of as hot as I can handle. If you like hot and spicy, try these recipes - even if you weren't interested in the beans!
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 24, 2012
I'm a big fan of Crescent Dragonwagon's books--do get the encyclopedic "Passionate Vegetarian" for a ton of terrific recipes! This book has all the humor, information and darned good recipes I've come to expect from CD. Please note that this is NOT a vegetarian cookbook--that is to say, several recipes do contain meat. However, there are far more that are meatless, if that is what you are looking for. (Personally, I don't mind a little turkey bacon with my beans!)
Beans are packed with protein, good carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins. They're affordable and planet-friendly. If you just don't know what to DO with them, this is an excellent place to start. Chapters include Bean Basics, Hummus, Soups, Cool Beans (as in salads--the first recipe I tried was a sugar snap pea, spinach and orange salad), chili, stews, baked...and more! There's even a chapter on...DESSERT!
This is a good book! Buy it and enjoy!
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 4, 2012
The recipes are very good and reasonable to prepare; they are not all vegetarian, but mostly. Interesting commentary. Hyperlinking the recipes in the index would much improve ease of use.
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Posted May 2, 2013
I am a Southern gal that grew up on beans. Pinto beans and cornbread were absolute staples in our house. We grew--and ate--all kinds of beans. Some I loved and some I would be happy to never see again. Beans are so healthy and such a great source of protein that I am incorporating more of them into my family’s diet after several years of not cooking them very often, so I was so excited to dive into this book. I must say, the cover is very deceiving. It portrays all kinds of dried beans, but the bean that seems to get the most attention from the author is actually green beans with nearly 30 recipes that use them. You only get 6 recipes each for Great Northern or Pinto beans, which was a disappointment as I love cooking with both of those and was hoping for recipes for new dishes.
I cannot wait to make several of the recipes including "All-Day Baked Beans" and "Red Bean Stew", but there really isn’t a huge amount of recipes I will use. Some of the recipes have a crazy amount of ingredients, or odd combinations that do not sound appetizing to me. Many recipes have ingredients that you will only be able to find online or in a large city or someplace like Whole Foods, so that could be a definite issue for some people. I was disappointed that, though she included two different recipes for cornbread, both contained sugar. I don't need a recipe for cornbread as I've been making it from scratch since I was 12, but not everyone knows how to make it, and not everyone likes sweet cornbread. I didn’t realize this was primarily a vegetarian based cookbook, so I wasn’t expecting quite so much tofu, either. That really cuts down on the number of recipes I’ll cook as we don’t eat tofu.
There is a “Bean Basics” section in the front of the book, and a very nice glossary “Basic Beanery” covering all the different types of beans and their origin & characteristics, soaking & cooking, availability, substitutes and usage which is nice. Each chapter begins with a little history of that type of cooking. Various notes and tips are scattered throughout the book, some of which try to convince you to switch to non-meat products such as tofu, seitan, etc. but manages to walk a fine line of not seeming judgmental to those of us who like and eat meat. I really appreciated that. This book may not be for everyone, but I think many people could find recipes in this book they would thoroughly enjoy.
I received a copy of this book from Workman Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted March 24, 2013
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