Sunday night, I bought a pound of dry black beans, and put them in a bowl, covered them with water and plenty of it, and let them sit overnight.
Monday morning, I chopped up some jalepenos, dumped the soaked beans and peppers and chicken broth, along with some spices, into the crockpot, and then turned it on.
The recipe I had called for four hours of cooking on High, and then two (or more) hours on Low. My crockpot, a hand-me-down from my mom, only had a manual switch for Off/Low/High. I was going to be at work and, because I was going to hit the treadmill after work, I wouldn’t be home for 11 or 12 hours. Did I want to leave the beans cooking all day on High? Would that overcook them? Is there such a thing as overcooking in a slow-cooker? Would it overheat, catch fire and burn down my apartment and the building it’s in?
I’m a worrier.
So I put the crockpot on Low, figuring 12 hours of that would be enough cooking. Then I left for work.
On my way home from work, starving and needing food because of my workout, I thought about ladling out some spicy black beans over some Spanish rice I’d made this weekend, and chowing down. So good. I got off the bus, trusty #70 12th Ave, at New Seasons Sellwood, for a brief pit stop to see if they had a cheap ladle, since all I had were spoons; but I’m not going to pay $9.99 for a freaking ladle, no matter how fancy and pretty it was.
Walked home from there, still hungry. Walked in the front door; the whole house smelled like spicy beans. Went in the kitchen, saw that the crockpot was bubbling, slowly. Spooned out some to taste.
Damn. The beans weren’t done. Still chalky and hard. Damn.
I guess 12 hours on Low is not the same as 4 hours on High, after all.
I settled for the Spanish rice, and put the crockpot on High again. Watched some TV, chilled, went to bed.
Woke up around 1 AM, suddenly worried about the crockpot. But when I checked on it, it was bubbling nicely, though the liquid was down a bit. Added a little bit more broth, then turned it to Low. Then thought better of it sitting like that all night, and unplugged it.
This morning, after making breakfast, I portioned out the beans and brought some, with more leftover rice, to work for lunch.
I still haven’t had more than a small taste. But it’s fun learning about cooking.