Saturday, April 27, 2013

Outside the Bean Box - April 27, 2013

I love beans.  I grew up eating red beans and rice with my family on the Mississippi Coast.  Later in life I married a Texan and learned to love black beans with rice and now my Kentucky husband has taught me about soup beans which need a little doctoring up, but are great with some onions, cornbread and green tomato relish.  Today I was in the mood for beans or peas.  Specifically, I wanted Hoppin' John or the spicier version Hoppin' Juan, but I looked in the cabinets and had all the ingredients except black eyed peas. well, that was o.k. because I did have a can of Garbanzo beans.

As I said, I grew up eating red beans and rice, but my mom loved lima beans, so her mom (my grandmother) started making the same exact recipe, but replaced the red beans with limas.  Later in life, I had a friend who showed me that you could make pork and beans with any type of bean, not just pintos.  So, why not Hoppin' Juan with Garbanzos instead of black eyed peas.  Here is the simple recipe.  I think they might have been  a bit too spicy for most folks, but what a great way to address a craving and use up what was in the house:

Hoppin Juan

1 T. Olive oil
1-2 pieces bacon
1 chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 chopped cloves garlic
2 chopped Jalapenos
1 can (15 oz.) beans, drained
1 can tomatoes or tomatoes with jalapenos
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. cooked rice

Heat oil in pan with bacon and cook until crisp.  Add onion. peppers and garlic and saute.  Add contents of tomatoes and beans as well as spices.  Cook until flavors are through.  Add rice and enjoy.

One year ago - Granola and Canadian Biscuits

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Egg-ceptional Breakfast - April 18, 2013

John and I went to our vacation place in Pendleton County last weekend.  We haven't been there all Winter which meant turning on the water and cleaning out spider webs, but it was a very nice weekend.  It also meant we had to bring anything we planned to eat because we had cleaned the place out last Fall when we turned off the water and headed out.  We brought what we could think of the first night, but woke up hungry the next morning and had limited options for breakfast.  We had made our own pizza the night before and had most of a red pepper and we had thought to bring eggs and bacon.  I also had some frozen bagels but no other bread.

We decided to try a trick we saw in Rachel Ray's magazine.  We cut the pepper in rings and placed in a pan oiled with olive oil (You could have used the bacon grease instead.)  Then, we cracked an egg in each ring.  I think our pan was a little too sloped for the number of eggs we cooked because the egg started to seep out around the edges.  But the eggs cooked perfectly and tasted delicious with the red pepper coked in.  I sliced the bagels thin long ways and toasted and they were great for dipping in the egg.  Definitely a successful breakfast on a cool Spring day sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee!

One Year Ago - Asparagus Risotto and Broccoli Stem Pickles

Friday, April 12, 2013

Eating the Whole Carrot – April 12, 2013

Like many others, I heard a crazy story on NPR’s Weekend Edition where Diane Morgan told about making carrot top pesto.  Once again, it made me think about who decided what is food and what is waste and when should I question all these standards.  The problem is that I’m just not that big a pesto fan, so that is where I left it.  Then, I got my farmer’s box on Friday and it included a bunch of fresh carrots with really healthy green tops.  I decided it was a sign and looked up the recipe on line.  Another sign, I happened to have all the ingredients already.  So, I decided to give it a try.

Carrot Top Pesto

1 c. lightly packed carrot leaves (stems removed) (about 6-8 big carrots)
6 T. olive oil
1 large garlic clove
¼ tsp. salt
3 T. pine nuts
¼ c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 T. lemon juice

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.  Place nuts in the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.  Toast 5-10 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.  Now, add leaves, oil, garlic and salt in food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.  Add pine nuts and pulse again. Add the cheese and pulse again. 

So, I tried the pesto just like this (as Ms. Morgan meant it) and liked it but didn’t love it.  I remembered that Oliva Bella makes a pesto I do love and their secret is to blend a whole lemon in the pesto.  So, I added a T. of lemon juice and really liked the addition.  I think you could also just add half a lemon, but I didn’t happen to have one.

I served my pesto on some Lotsa Pasta handmade saffron wide pasta noodles.  But, you could also use the pesto as a dip with the actual carrots that went with your carrot leaves or other veggies.  It is also good on bruschetta with goat cheese.

One year ago – Wilted Dandelion Greens

Friday, April 5, 2013

I Only Eat My Mom’s Potato Salad – April 5, 2013

It’s true, there are as many potato salad recipes as there are families and everyone loves their mother’s best.  It was certainly true for me.  I grew up in Birmingham, but my mom made the recipe from her family famous for the use of dill rather than sweet pickles and it was all I would eat.  Now, I have a new mom, my mother-in-law, and she has taught me to love another potato salad so I can finally eat two.  Regardless of how you like it, potato salad allows you to make great use of potatoes and eggs in many inventive ways.  We headed to a basketball watching event on Saturday which gave me a great excuse to try it out.

For me, the first rule of potato salad is 3 to 2.  For every three potatoes, I use two eggs.  I start by boiling the eggs in one pot and the potatoes in another.  The eggs are easy.  You bring to a roiling boil and turn off.  Let them sit for 20 minutes and they will be perfect to peel and chop.  If you really want to make sure you get the best use of your eggs, you can do something I learned from Shopsin’s Deli in New York City.  Peel the eggs while still warm and remove the egg yolks.  Mix these warm yolks with the mayonnaise, then mix this with the other ingredients for a more eggy and creamy salad.

The potatoes boiling in their jacket must cook much longer.  I just keep sticking with my fork until it pokes in easily.  Place the potatoes under cool water.  The skins will come off easily so that you can chop and add with your eggs.  Then, you can choose one of my family recipes below, or adapt to your own taste. 

Harris Potato Salad

6 large boiled potatoes, chopped
4 boiled eggs, chopped
½ c. Miracle Whip
¼ c. Durkee’s Famous Sauce
1/3 c. minced shallot or onion
1/3 c. sweet relish (I used watermelon pickle, but have used sweet cucumbers or tomato relish)
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Hutcheson Potato Salad

6 large boiled potatoes, chopped
4 boiled eggs, chopped
½ c. Mayonnaise
¼ c. mustard
3 diced dill pickles
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

One Year Ago – Peach Sangria and Moonshine Jelly