Do You Soak Your Beans Before Cooking?

I do, but full disclosure: the reason I soak my beans is because my Mom (The Mother Unit) told me I should.

Let’s face it, the reason we do a lot of things in the kitchen is because one of our mentors told us to do it that way, or we are just copying the way they did it. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it does tend to limit our thinking. The way we cook beans is not immune to that: Should you soak your beans? When do you add salt? Why aren’t my beans getting soft? Guess what.  Like with most things, there is no right or wrong way. Continue reading “Do You Soak Your Beans Before Cooking?”

Get to Know Your Butternut Squash

OK, we’re not going to get into a big botanical debate. It’s got seeds inside of it so technically your butternut squash is a fruit. You’ll have to deal with that in your own way. 

Butternut Squash-Partially Peeled

While it may not technically be a vegetable, the ole “quacks like a duck” argument allows us to treat it like a veggie and that’s what we’re going to do. (BTW-those seeds are edible, raw or roasted)  Butternut squash is of the winter squash variety- the snobbish, uptown relative of its country cousins, summer squash. Other common winter squash members are acorn squash and spaghetti squash, but the list goes on and on and would make you sound like Bubba Blue in Forest Gump if you recited it. The winter variety has harder rind-like skin that needs to be removed while the summer variety’s skin is softer and can be eaten without being peeled. Butternut squash’s peak season is summer through autumn, although it’s not uncommon to see them in the grocery stores year-round.  Continue reading “Get to Know Your Butternut Squash”

Get to Know Your Ham

I just want a ham! Why are the labels on hams so complicated?

Well, labeling on hams, like most food products, is regulated by the U S Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect the consumer and assure that food safety standards are met. Using USDA standardized definitions, the label tells us what we are buying and how we need to cook it so we don’t end up ingesting food-borne pathogens. I hate when that happens. Continue reading “Get to Know Your Ham”