How to soak, cook and freeze dried red kidney beans

I work a 9-5 type of job so Saturday & Sunday are my days off and I tend to use them for food prep.  This includes the soaking and cooking of dried beans which tend to take more time than I have to spend on dinner on any given week day.  I like to buy more beans than are called for in whatever recipe I’m tackling, cook them all, and freeze the unused portion for another meal the following week.  This way I get twice the bang for my single buck of time.

For kidney beans I buy about a pound of dried beans, put them in a container twice as big as the bean content, cover them with water, put the lid on, and pop them in the fridge overnight.  When it’s time to cook, strain the beans out of the soaking water (as it has oligosaccharides in it which were released by the beans during soaking and can lead to digestive discomfort).  Place the strained beans into a pan at least twice the volume of the beans and add about ten cups of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and put on a timer for 40 minutes.  At that point try one bean for doneness.  If there’s still a tiny bit of crunch to it, let them continue to cook for a minute or two (or five- whatever it takes).

When the beans are cooked to my liking I shut the heat off and add about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, give them a stir, and let them sit for just a couple more minutes to absorb some of that flavor.  Next, strain out the cooking water (make sure to check your recipe to see if you need to reserve that flavorful H2O) and place the cooked beans in storage containers in the fridge or freezer.  This method results in a firm (I hate mushy beans!) bean with a hint of salt that is great in soups or stews or even just to snack on.

If you are going to eat the beans as a side dish where they are the star of the show, rather than in a soup or stew where there are lots of other flavors coming together, consider cooking them in stock rather than in water.

Miso-ginger wild rice with carrots, cabbage, daikon and turnip

New Year’s Day provided us with a freebie day off in the middle of the week.  Besides random household chores, I decided that the best use of this time would be to cook a few dishes that we planned to eat in the coming week so that we buy ourselves time in the evenings for the next few days by having dinner already prepared.  The bigger benefit being that these dishes are ones that get better with time- the kind that soak up dressings, and age with grace.  A soup, some roasted vegetables, a dressed rice dish….


  • 1 1/3 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 medium carrots, quartered and sliced thin
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 1 leek, sliced thin
  • 1 3-inch piece daikon, halved and cut into thin strips
  • 1 small purple-top turnip, peeled, halved, and cut into thin half-circles
  • 1 cup thinly cut cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower (or other mild) oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon barley miso (we found a great 3-year dark handcrafted right in Conway, MA by South River.  Organic too!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  • Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium pot, add the rice and return it to a boil
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through, about 50 minutes
  • Meanwhile, bring a large fry pan up to a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and all of the sesame oil, then toss in the carrots, celery, leek, daikon and turnip and get a nice brown on them.  If they begin to get too dark, turn down the heat and cook them until they’re al dente
  • When the veggies are cooked, add in the cabbage.  It’s cut nice and thin so it should soften up quickly
  • While that’s cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, remaining tablespoon of sunflower oil, ginger, miso and crushed red pepper until blended
  • When the rice is cooked, add it to the pan with the vegetables (or, if you’re out of space in the pan you can do this in a large serving or mixing bowl) and pour in the dressing, stirring to incorporate all ingredients
Miso-ginger wild rice with carrots, cabbage, daikon and turnip

Miso-ginger wild rice with carrots, cabbage, daikon and turnip

Sautéed Radishes in Orange Butter Sauce

This just became my favorite warm salad.  A bite of this dish sports that earthy flavor of the cooked radish- which is somewhat akin to a roasted Brussels sprout, the saltiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the orange juice, the slight bitterness of the radish greens, and it makes mouths happy.

My favorite new way to cook bacon is in the oven.  If you have a thin cut, you want to use a lower heat, like 250 degrees, and thicker cuts can withstand 350 degrees.  You place a baking rack inside of a jelly roll pan and the fat just drips right down as the bacon cooks, and scrapes out easily once it’s cooled.  In my opinion the bacon still requires a patting down with a paper towel the remove the extra fat, but it’s much less significant than when it’s pan-fried.

And while we’re on the subject of bacon, may I just say that my entire life I have eaten commercial bacon- whatever was available in the standard grocery store.  Recently I bought into a couple of meat CSAs and have received bacon in my shares and Whoa!- what a difference.  Farm bacon is noticeably less salty and even the smoked varieties are much less smoky.  I love it!  You can typically also find farm bacon at farmer’s markets, and even at some farm stores which are set up inside of barns.  You aren’t going to find it on sale for $2.50, but your taste buds will thank you for the upgrade.

For more information on local MA organic farms, check this link out.


1/4 pound bacon, cut into a 1-inch dice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 bunch of radishes with their greens—radishes quartered lengthwise and greens chopped into ribbons

Salt and black pepper

3 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sugar or honey

1 cup orange juice


  • In a 350 degree oven, bake the bacon to perfection on a baking rack in a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes.
  • In a cast iron frying pan place 2 tablespoons of butter and melt over a moderately high heat
  • Add the radish greens, season with salt and pepper and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes)
  • Scrape the greens into a bowl and set aside
  • Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet.  While the butter is melting, cut your cooked bacon into a 1-inch dice
  • Add the radish quarters and let them start to brown up in the pan, solo, for a few minutes

  • Add the shallots and bacon chunks and cook over a moderately high heat, until the radishes are golden brown (5- 6 minutes)

  • Add the sugar (or honey) and cook for another 2 minutes, until it’s completely dissolved
    Add the orange juice and bring it to a boil, stirring a few times, until the radishes are just tender and the sauce is slightly thickened (about 2 minutes)
  • Stir in the radish greens, season with salt and pepper and serve


We had this warm salad as a side to butternut squash soup and it was lovely.  The soup was very mild so the sweet and salty tones of the salad really stood out.

The inspiration for this dish came from this recipe in Food and Wine.


Spinach, Red Lentil, and Green Bean Curry

If you’re in the market for a warm vegetable stew with luscious spices which will reheat well, then I’ve got a dish for you. This is a very mild curry (which you could heat up with some cayanne and/or crushed red pepper if that’s your preference) and it has notes of cinnamon from the garam masala. If that’s not your thing, you could use your favorite pre-made curry spice mixture rather than what’s listed here. This dish can easily stand on its own as a vegetarian main, or be served alongside some lovely spiced yogurt chicken (as Neil and I had it).



1 cup red lentils

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon ground dried turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 cup mushrooms, sliced thickly

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, grated

4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained




  • Rinse the lentils well and place them in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Drain and set aside
  • In a bowl, stir together the tomato puree and yogurt. Season with garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and chile powder
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Add the onion, green beans and mushrooms; cooking until the onion begins to brown
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and stir for a minute- until you really begin to smell them
  • Stir in the spinach; cook until it’s dark green and wilted
  • Add the yogurt mixture and stir until incorporated
  • Mix in the tomatoes and cilantro
  • Stir the lentils and garbanzo beans into mixture until well combined and heated through, about 5 minutes

The inspiration for this dish came from this recipe.

Steamed Butternut Squash with Ancho Chili Dressing

Between entertaining out of town guests, exercising my right to a social life, training for the next big race (we have our mile down to 9:28- yay!), and living life in general I have neglected my blog.  For this I should be ashamed.  But it is not for lack of cooking, or trying out new recipes.  There is just not time enough in the day to get them all out on the internet 😉  That said….

We are entering the fall season very soon (9/23 to be exact) and with this new season come a whole load of new crops from the farmers.  Our October CSA shares will boast of goods such as: beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, collards, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard greens, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, cool-weather spinach, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, turnips and squashes.  As I tend to cook with what I have in the fridge, I’ll attempt to keep you stocked with interesting ways to use these fabulous ingredients.

This particular recipe was inspired by World’s Healthiest Foods and turned out quite lovely.  It fills the house with the warm smell of cinnamon and sweet onion while it simmers.  The finished dish is naturally sweet and the squash has a creamy consistency.


1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into cubes

1 medium red onion, cut in half and sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon & 1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


  • Steam the squash cubes for about 6 minutes

  • While the squash is steaming, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of broth for about 3 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently
  • Add the garlic and spices and mix well

  • Next, add the remaining broth and begin to simmer
  • Add in the steamed squash and cook together for another 3-4 minutes

  • Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cilantro, and serve

We had this as a side to a chicken from our meat CSA which we had put on the rotisserie smothered with herbs de Provence.