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beans/gas + Tuscan White Beans Recipe <tested>

This topic comes up on the list every year or so and I remember
reading that you shouldn't add baking soda to the beans. I can't
remember the reason though.

Someone suggested adding a strip of kombu (a type of seaweed that can
be purchased in a health food store) to the cooking pot. You can leave
it in for a few minutes while the beans are cooking. It will break
down if you don't remove it but if you are cooking light colored beans
or if you don't want little bits of green, you should remove it. I
don't have a feeling for how it works or when the best time to put it
in but I put it in once the beans have started creating the frothy
stuff. The kombu I buy does have a saltyness to it so you may not need
to add as much salt to the beans.

Also, make sure you don't add salt until the beans are almost done
cooking. Adding it earlier is supposed to yield tougher beans.

Here's a yummy, and easy bean recipe. The only downside is that it
takes a long time to cook. It might be possible to make this in a

       Tuscan White Beans

       Modified from "The New Vegetarian Epicure"
       by Anna Thomas.

       These beans are very versatile. They can be:
	     pureed for soup
	     served warm or room temp. as an appetizer
	     put on a salad 
		 (arugula + balsamic + beans + black pepper = yummmmm)
	     added to a pasta dish (maybe with some roasted red pepper?)
	     used in place of canned white beans in many recipes

      Tuscan White Beans

      1 lb small white beans, soaked at least 8 hours
      peeled cloves from a whole head of garlic
      bunch of fresh whole sage leaves (save a few leaves
	    for garnish)
      1 piece kombu (I used a piece that was about 5"x5" 
		    when stretched out)
      1 or 2 tsp salt

      If garlic cloves have any sign of green sprouts, slice in half 
	 and remove the sprout.
      Put beans, garlic, sage in pot.
      Add water to cover by about an inch.
      Bring to a boil.
      Add kombu.
      Cover pot.
      Lower heat to small light
      Stir gently only a few times while cooking. If you stir 
	   too much you will end up with mush. Let cook
	   until beans start to get soft. This could take 
	   a few hours. Add water if it all cooks away.
      When beans are a bit soft, add the salt and let cook 
	   till beans are soft but still holding their shape.

      All parts are edible but you may want to remove the sage leaves
      if you are going to puree the beans for a soup. You can add new
      leaves which will look a bit nicer.