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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Something Salty

Wandering our farmer's market, I chatted with a young man who had a beautiful table of fresh produce. I purchased some beautiful turnips and beets for roasting and a gorgeous bunch of greens for munching. And then, I noticed some small, white, shelled beans that I just could not identify. So, I asked him. "Soybeans, for tofu," he responded. Maybe it's time for me to confess that I'm not a huge fan of tofu. Well, I think it's just that, besides Hot and Sour Soup, I haven't really had much well prepared tofu. Maybe I'll try making my own someday, but that's a challenge for another day. I almost walked away at that point and then it dawned on me. I love those little roasted soybeans that you can get at the health food store and since I've roasted chickpeas before, I could probably do the same thing with these fresh soybeans.

So, I bought them, and quickly found out how to roast them on the Internet and decided to follow this spicy version. They're crunchy and salty and slightly spicy. Just the perfect Point friendly snack for those salty cravings. I hope you enjoy.

(I've always wondered, what would happen if you got caught in the salty/sweet cycle? It could be never ending if you think about it.)

Spicy Roasted Soybeans

1/4 cup equals 3 Points. While this seems a little steep, a small servings of these goes a very long way. You can add these to your own snack or trail mix or use to top a salad for some crouton free crunch.

Soak three cups of whole, dry soybeans using either the standard or quick soaking method (below). Spread them evenly over a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Spray tops of beans lightly with nonstick spray. Sprinkle generously with salt, garlic and chili powder (or your favorite combination of spices). Bake in a 300° F oven, shaking the pan every 15 minutes for about one hour or until soybeans are lightly browned and crisp. I thought it took more than 90 minutes. Cool in pan and store in a covered container or zip bag.

Soaking dry soybeans shortens the cooking time and improves the flavor, texture and appearance of beans. It's an absolute requirement before roasting.

Standard Soaking: In a large pot, add 6 cups of water for each pound of dry beans. Let the soybeans stand at room temperature for about six to eight hours, or overnight. It is unnecessary to refrigerate the beans during this process. Drain, rinse and roast beans.

Quick Soaking: Add 6 to 8 cups of hot water for each pound of dry beans. Heat the water to boiling and cook the soybeans for five minutes. Cover the pot and let the beans stand for one hour. Drain, rinse and cook the beans.

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