First off, Thanks Lynne!
Several years back, I had a subscription to Saveur. Beautiful magazine… kind of Travelogue meets food. One issue in particular really got me excited about cooking white beans, rustic Italian style. I tried several of their recipes, for Riboletta, and others from super simple to more involved… and none of them came out well. Nothing like watching gallons of food, and a lost weekend go in the trash – while the place smells great, but you’re HUNGRY!
The articles had me hooked, and really wanting to like these recipes, but they just didn’t work. I couldn’t tell if the recipes were good or bad, because the beans never cooked! I double checked everything, don’t think I missed a step… Even after cooking the riboletta (meaning, literally reboiled) – for two days, this delicious sounding soup just didn’t work! ARGH!
Discouraged, I gave up on the entire magazine. Friends of mine had good things to say about the magazine, but I didn’t want to hear it. Sure I wanted to like it, but it just wouldn’t let me. Vegetarian Times and Cooks Illustrated treated me much better.
Fast forward several years (and lots of successful, and other mediocre meals later) to the latest radio show/podcast for The Splendid Table… one brief little bit about cooking beans, I think it was an answer to a callers question, with a note to avoid overcooking them by adding the acid (lemon juice, tomatoes, whatever) when the beans are done. They’ll stop cooking – as in they won’t get any softer – good advice for me today, as I make a nice garlicy cranberry bean soup (a “good soup for the sick”) … I also picked up a couple pounds of dried cannelloni to try something new with.
And then the realization just dawned on me… I can go back to those old recipes… and make sure I add the tomatoey bits at the appropriate time! Mmmm bread, tomatoes, garlic and beans with just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Bread soup here I come!