I visited a farmer's market this afternoon where I stumbled upon cranberry beans, a vegetable that's almost too pretty to eat. When you buy them fresh, these brilliantly pink beans are encased in a cranberry and white pod like a snap pea. Once shucked, the beans resemble a cannelini bean and are just as versatile. I made a simple salad with spinach (fresh from my mom's garden!), cranberry beans, walnuts, and a lemon dressing. The cooking time is pretty long but there's really no effort involved. Sadly, the beans lose their brilliant color once cooked but they are still quite tasty.
For a basic preparation--
1. Shell the beans and place in a heavy bottomed pot. Cover with about 2 inches of water (do not salt)
2. Bring water to boil, then reduce to simmer.
3. Cover pot, and cook under beans are tender (about an hour)