The next morning, drain and rinse the beans then put them in a 5 or more quart crockpot. Add 4 cups water, the smashed garlic and bay leaf to the Crockpot. DO NOT ADD SALT! Turn to the high setting for about 30 minutes, then turn to low setting and cook the beans about 8 hours or until they are tender. Spoon off any foam the forms on the top. After the beans have finished cooking, add 2 teaspoons salt or to taste.
* Partially mash some of the beans in the crockpot and spoon over cooked whole grain pasta. Top with freshly grated pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
* Thin the beans with a little vegetable broth or water and eat as a soup. Puree the beans if desired.
* Finely chop 3 zucchini and cook over medium heat in a large pan coated with a little oil. Add 2 cups (or more) chopped spinach or kale and cook a few minutes longer or until the spinach has wilted. Add several cups of beans to the cooked vegetables. Partially smash the beans and any visible garlic with the back of a spoon. Top with freshly grated black pepper.
Serve over grilled polenta slices, a bed of rice, or any cooked whole grain.