Here are a few basic tips about cooking with beans (specifically dry beans):
Beans are very easy to prepare, so long as you allow enough time and use enough water. Don't be scared of them!
There are a lot of kinds of beans, but most of them are pretty interchangable. For example the classic "beans and rice" that is served in most of Central/South America is prepared similarly in most areas, but different regions use different beans, according to what grows locally. In Sao Paulo they use pink beans, but I've used the exact same recipe with pinto beans, and my sister prefers it with black beans. SO, if the recipe calls for one kind of bean and you don't have it, get adventurous and substitute in something that you do have!
Use LOTS of water. Having a bit extra won't hurt anything, but having too little can make a scorched, stinky mess. The recipes rarely give specific measurments, so I just put in the beans, then water to twice the height of the beans, then check in on them every so often, and add more water if it gets below the level of the beans.
Beans take a loooong time to cook. I prefer to cook them overnight in the crockpot, but if you want to do them in one day make sure you allow at LEAST 3 hours for preparation. I still recommend letting them soak overnight beforehand, but there are "quick preparation" methods which can be done in just a few hours.
Beans grow a lot when cooked--the average bean (or lentil) will more than double in size...so 1 cup of dry beans will go a long way!
The average bean is fairly bland, which is why you can get away with making them into foods ranging from a main dish to a dip to even pie! As a main dish, I like to serve them with something more flavorful--either some kind of sauce, or something cooked in a good bone broth. When I make beans and rice, I cook the rice in broth which adds flavor to it. I suppose you could cook the beans in broth but I've never tried it.
I do hope to learn a bit more about the various types of beans, and when I do I will add those specifics to this post (which ones are best for various recipes, etc)
Finally, it IS on my blogroll, but if you're interested in more bean recipes, visit my friend Katie's Beans & Rice blog. ☺