1Remove any dirt or pebbles from the beans, rinse in a colander, place in a medium pot, cover by 2 inches with cold water, and leave to soak 12 hours or overnight.
2Place bay leaf, parsley, thyme, oregano, and peppercorns in a large piece of cheesecloth and close with butcher’s twine to make a sachet bag. Set aside.
3After the beans have soaked, drain and rinse well. Return the beans to the pot and add remaining ingredients and sachet bag. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low so the mixture is at a simmer.
4Continue cooking until the beans are completely tender and no longer starchy, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5Remove the beans from heat and discard the sachet bag and chile. Season with salt and serve or allow the beans to cool in their liquid if saving for another use.
Note: Refrigerate cooked beans in their liquid in a covered container. They will keep for up to a week.
Most granola is a fancy twist on toasted oats—consider that when contemplating the exorbitant prices retailers charge for it. The thing is, granola is incredibly easy to make at home, and for a fraction of the cost. This recipe is a granola base to which you can add whatever dried fruit, nuts, or other tasty bits make you happy. Feel free to tweak this with other spices, a little less honey, more salt—it’s quite forgiving, and customizing your own blend is the fun of making your own. If you want to experiment even further, try using other rolled grains such as spelt or barley and wheat instead of oats. Read more.
Basic Chocolate Mousse
Simultaneously rich and light, chocolate mousse just requires a little bit of finesse, and the freshest, best-quality ingredients (eggs, chocolate, and cream) you can procure. Be sure to chill your cream very well and get every speck of water out of the bowl and whisk you'll use for the egg whites, then use a light hand when folding in the whipped cream, and you'll have a perfectly fluffy and decadent dessert. Read more.
Basic Cheese Nachos
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Whole hog is the the preferred BBQ in North Carolina, and Kentucky may be known for its mutton, but in Texas - beef brisket is king!
Basic Caramelized Onions
Caramelized onions add a great sweet and savory note to all sorts of dishes, from dips and salads to omelets and pizzas, and they're a must for good French onion soup.The only difficult thing about making them is the wait, but you can't rush deep golden-brown perfection. Read more.
Basic Whipped Cream
Homemade whipped cream is so easy, and so much better than the stuff in tubs and cans. Perfect proportions of heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla are whipped just until medium peaks form; easy to customize and ready to top any dessert or drink you can dream up. Get the recipe.