theorems and corollaries contrived in the kitchen
I have only been here a week and classes start tomorrow, and yet I have already fallen in love with quaint little St Andrews, Scotland. The crowds of people and dense stone buildings in the center of town don’t make it feel like it should be called little, though. There is so much enthusiasm and energy embedded among buildings and beaches that seem in their nature to be quiet, ancient, and serene. The contradiction is strange.
After countless people warning me about the meat-and-potatoes-centered food culture of the UK, I was gleeful to meet a colorful vegetarian and local-food-focused community! This week I happily blackened my hands with rich Scottish soil at the community garden (see the fruits of my efforts below!) and met some excellent people at multiple picnics and potlucks. This weekend I will be shipping out with the Canoe Club kayak leaders to tackle some whitewater. Amid all this adventure, is there time for experimenting in the kitchen? Of course there is!
I am in love with the idea of baked-to-a-crisp beans as a flavorful and fun snack. I have made spiced chickpeas many times, but last week the question occurred to me: why not try another kind of bean? Chickpeas are generally ideal for this kind of recipe because they are quite sturdy in that they do not split and crumble while baking. Thinking of how some other beans behave when boiled, I decided to try baking kidney beans. I love the smooth taste and texture of kidney beans; I have caught myself sucking on them when eating chili sometimes. I was a little disappointed when these kidney beans split open in the oven anyway, but they still worked well and tasted delicious. Replacing chickpeas for the kidney beans in this recipe would also be just grand.
When you are baking these spiced beans in the oven, the idea is to aim for a level of doneness that yields morsels that are pleasantly crunchy with just a little bit of chewiness in the center. It is easy to overcook and burn them, so make sure to check and stir every 5 minutes after the first 15 minutes of cooking.