How to Spot Insect Infestation in Dried Beans with Pictures

whole soaked bean with insect hole

A few days ago, I wrote about the reasons that beans may not get hard after cooking. Today I’ll address a different issue that also relates to beans that may have not been stored carefully: infestation. To avoid problems of infestation of grains and legumes, first follow the suggestions in my earlier post on how […]


Why Are My Beans Still Hard after Cooking?

Have you ever soaked and cooked a batch of beans, only to find that they never really got soft? The main reason for beans that are still hard after cooking is the quality of the beans. Drying beans preserves them for a long time, but not forever.  Even if you just got them, they may […]


Jerusalem Artichoke Adventures

Jerusalem artichoke with olive oil and garlic

Jerusalem artichokes actually originate in North America, although they grow well in any hot climate. They contain inulin, a dietary fiber that may help diabetics. Inulin can also cause gassiness. “Jerusalem” is probably a corruption of girasole, which means “facing the sun.” Sunchoke, the official name for the tuber, probably led to the artichoke misnomer. […]


Colombian Food Adventures and Pan de Yuca

Yuca cookies

At my recent visit to Colombia, I was served yuca bread by my cousins in Bogota. They explained that the egg-shaped concoction is a traditional Colombian bread made of yuca flour and cheese. . I had never heard of yuca, but after some research I learned it is made out of the starchy root vegetable […]


How to Cook Fresh Spinach in the Microwave

I love to write about vegetables everyone hates. I’ve been getting latest favorite, spinach, nearly every week. Spinach has a reputation for being very healthy, and  contains large amounts of iron and calcium. Unfortunately, spinach also contains oxalate, which prevents you from absorbing much of those minerals. The good news is that spinach also contains […]


Is Eating Local a “Green” Thing to Do?

I’ve started listening to podcasts, especially when I’m cooking. One of my favorites is Freakonomics, where economists and others debunk common assumptions that affect the way we make decisions. This intriguing episode, You Are What You Eat 2, asked whether eating food grown locally will help the environment. Santa Barbara is in the top one […]


Does Rice Need to Be Washed Before Cooking?

Tonight I cooked the Brown Rice with Leeks, Carrots and Black Lentils. Actually, it had onions instead of leeks and burgul in addition to the brown rice. I’m mentioning this because of a comment by reader Ariela, who asks why I washed the rice and lentils. Fortunately Ariela is a loyal reader. Even though I […]


Video: How to Cook Fresh Artichokes

fresh artichokes being prepared for cooking in pressure cooker

Fresh artichokes are in season in the northern hemisphere. They look funny and take a certain amount of effort to prepare, but if you make a few at once it’s worth it. Here’s the video I made explaining how to prepare artichokes for cooking. Artichokes are a classic food for pressure cookers because they cook […]


11 Great Ways to Cook Beets

beet roots for cooking or roasting

Are you afraid of beets? First of all they’re bright red, and the color seems to bleed all over the place! Then there is a fear that their color and flavor will intimidate other dishes. There’s no reason to fear. You can learn to love the color, and taste, of beets. Many beet recipes call […]


8 Great Ways to Cook Fennel


I was bringing my daughter home from the library when I noticed a bag of fennel bulbs on a low wall near the school. They had been out in the rain all day, so I decided to salvage them. When my fourth-grader visited the community farm with his school, he brought samples home every week. […]