In just a few short days it will be Easter. Lent is drawing to a close and another season of simplicity and fasting will give way to abundance and feasting.
This year the reality of my life has been unusually in tune with the season. On Ash Wednesday I had surgery to reassemble a broken wrist. While the healing has been remarkable it is a process that takes time. Throughout Lent I have had to approach even ordinary tasks with special care. I have had to give up some of my usual activities and take other things more slowly. Cooking has been a particular challenge, especially where any chopping or knife work is required.
Adapting has been a challenge, but not a painful one. I have relied on help from friends and family, explored new convenience products, taken advantage of some prepackaged items and fallen back on an ongoing quest for simplicity.
Welcoming Old Friends
Sometimes limitations invite us to become reacquainted with old friends. The first dinner I cooked after my accident was actually an old favorite and perfect for Lent. With my arm still in a massive splint I carefully poured a bag of dry white beans into a large pot and covered them with water. The next day I slowly drained them, added more water, maneuvered the pot onto the stove and stirred in a spoonful of bouillon. There the beans simmered until they were tender and silky.
Simple White Beans
1 lb. bag of dried white beans
1 Tablespoon vegetable base (I use Better Than Bouillon)
Rinse the beans in a colander. Sort through them carefully to remove any dark beans, small stones or other debris.
Place the rinsed beans in a 4-quart cooking pot. Add water to a level several inches above the top of the beans. Cover and set aside to soak overnight (or for eight hours or so).
Drain the soaked beans and return them to the same pot. Add clean water to a level 2-3 inches above the top of the beans and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms on the top of the water.
Reduce the heat and stir in the vegetable base. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender (1-2 hours). Adjust seasoning to taste, adding a little salt and/or pepper as you like.
Serve and enjoy!