Since we've several very nice bean recipes already, I'd just like to post one
hint: If you microwave the beans, covered with water [about two inches over
the tops of the beans], on high for 15 minutes and then let the beans stand
covered in the microwave container for another 15 minutes, you can cook them
immediately. I just put a plate over the beans when I take them out of the
microwave for their last 15 minutes. Be sure to pour the soaking liquid off
afterwards and use fresh water for cooking (it's said to prevent gas, who am
I to argue?).
Saves a lot of time & means a "last-minute" person such as myself can enjoy
beans more often.