A few weeks ago I spied some odd looking beans at the market. Of course I did the right thing and snapped them up - it is not about needing them or even having a use for them, rather it is about something new and interesting to cook!
If you are not aware of what they look like here's a shot:
See what I mean, how could you pass these by?
I found a promising recipe online for a delicious braised bean recipe. Paul made it one day when I was at work and I arrived home to the most wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. The smells did NOT lie - the taste was even more amazing.
I cook a good deal with dried beans. I soak them for hours, cook them slowly in an attempt to make them taste like fresh ones. I know now that they will never happen - they are good but nothing like these fresh beans that Paul whipped up.
Braised Cranberry Beans with Oregano and Rosemary
Note: Some recipes state that fresh cranberry beans are ready in 20
minutes – mine took upwards of 45 minutes – so check in at the 20 minute
mark, as you don’t want mushy beans.
1 lb cranberry/borlotti beans in their pods
2-4 T olive oil
3 strips bacon or pancetta, diced (optional)
1 diced onion
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small tomato, seeds removed & diced (optional)
1 sprig fresh rosemary, stem discarded & leaves chopped
1 sprig fresh oregano, stem discarded
1/4 t – 1 t aleppo pepper or crushed red chili flakes (amounts depend on your own personal taste)
1/2 c chicken stock
1 1/2 c water
pinch of kosher salt & a good grind of black pepper
Shell your beans and set aside.
In a heavy pot, add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the bacon
med-high heat until the bacon gets crisp. Add in the onion and saute
for 5 minutes until wilted. Stir in the garlic along with the tomato,
fresh herbs, and aleppo pepper. Add beans. Pour in additional olive oil
if necessary to give the beans a good coating. Pour in water and chicken
stock. Cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer
for 30 minutes to 45 or until beans are tender (not mushy) and most of
the liquid has reduced. If I find the liquid is still plentiful, remove
the lid and turn up the heat to a boil to help evaporate the excess.
Taste and add in salt or pepper, if needed. Drizzle with a good, fruity
olive oil if you want to up the richness. Serves 4.
You may wonder why I travel to Naples today - here's a hint, Hallowe'en is in two days. . .
I knew that there was an odd mix of superstitious beliefs with
Christian religion in the many ways the people of Naples worshipped the cult of
the dead. Knowing it was one thing, seeing it yourself, another.
I became quickly aware that skulls, bones, and skeletons were on
ready display in this city. Bronze skulls, rubbed repeatedly by those
passing by for good luck were in front of churches.
It wasn't a recent
phenomena as we saw in the mosaics excavated from Pompeii. The saints
most commonly depicted with skulls and bones were very popular in
We even noticed skull motifs appearing in graffiti.
Be sure to pop on over to Sandi's blog to see what else is happening on Travel Tuesdays!
All I can say about this dish is WOW. Goat cheese and basil jammed
into poultry and then cooked over an open flame is one of the best
things that will come off of your grill. This grilled goat cheese and
basil stuffed chicken is a really easy and quick grilling recipe.
Paul pulled this together a few weeks ago while I was at work -what a treat it was to come home to everything all prepped (he resourcefully visited youtube for a quick lesson on how to properly cut a pocket into a chicken breast) and ready to grill. It wasn't long before we were sitting down to one of the tastiest meals we have had in months.
Because we had ginormous chicken breasts we only did two (even though the recipe calls for three) and it all worked out. The only problem is that we didn't double the recipe - I suspect the leftovers would have been brilliant!
Grilled Goat Cheese and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese 2 green onions, sliced thin 2 – 3 tablespoons of fresh basil chopped fine Kosher salt Ground black pepper
Create a “pocket” in the chicken breasts by slicing them
length-wise, but not all of the way through. We don’t want to butterfly
the chicken, just create a large pocket to hold our gooey goat
Mix the goat cheese, green onions and basil together in a bowl and divide into 3 equal portions.
Stuff the pocket on each chicken breast with a portion of the
stuffing. Roll up your sleeves and use your hands to work the stuffing
into the pockets and then press the ends together on the chicken to seal
Rub the outsides of the chicken breasts with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Light the grill on high.
Place the stuffed chicken breasts on the grill and grill direct for
about 5 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked all the way
Food Truck Eats, the ongoing series of wildly popular and successful event celebrating Ontario’s
burgeoning gourmet street food culture held its first annual Food Truck Eats in Jordan wine country … at one of our favourite wineries - Sue-Ann Staff!
Saturday was a wash for us as it was cool and wet (literallya wash! *smile*). Sunday was still cool but the rain was gone so we hopped in the car and headed to Jordan.
Food trucks from across the province of Ontario were there celebrate Southern Ontario’s flourishing street food scene. Participating trucks included Niagara’s own El Gastronomo Vagabundo plus Buster’s Sea Cove, Itty Bitty Pie, Gorilla Cheese, Tide &Vine, Rome’n Chariot, Rudy’s Paletas and a a host of others.
A good number of Sue-Ann's favourite wineries were there pouring large tastes of their wares.
We had some great food, tasted some brilliant wines, met some really nice people and had an amazing time!
We in vented this martini for our Thanksgiving dinner cocktail. We wanted something that screamed 'fall' to us. Not only did this do the trick but it also screamed bloody delicious!
Rosemary Pear Martini
1 cup water 1 cup granulated sugar 3 sprigs rosemary
Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat,
stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add rosemary; remove from heat. Let
stand 30 minutes. Discard rosemary. Let cool completely. Syrup can be
refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
2 oz pear vodka 4 oz pear nectar 1 oz rosemary simple syrup 1/2 oz lemon juice
Mix all ingredients n a ice filled martini shaker. Shake until chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
I know that it has been a week since we celebrated Thanksgiving but things have been a titch hectic since we returned from the finger lakes!
Once we knew that it would be just Paul and I for Thanksgiving the idea of cooking a whole turkey was tossed out of the window. We bought boneless, double breast roast, flattened it out, stuffed it, rolled it up. Covered it with a lattice of bacon, and tied it. I tossed the whole thing in a ginormous zip lock bag and froze it. We we headed out on Friday morning it put it in the cooler - it was the world's best ice pack!
We also cheated a bit with the gravy. I knew a breast roast would not yield a lot of drippings with which to make gravy so I bought a mix.
Now before you fall over laughing I shall point out that it was a Williams-Sonoma turkey gravy concentrate that set me back almost as much as the bloody turkey breast roast. I also made what may be one of the best turkey gravy I have ever had!
Since I am confessing to store bought things on the menu - I used ready made cranberry sauce. GASP Not a can of Ocean Spray mind. This also hailed from Williams-Sonoma and was a lovely mixture of cranberries, apples, orange, and rosemary.
I think that might have been it for ready made.
The dinner was further complicated by the fact that when we got to the rental house we discovered that only one of the burner worked on the stove. With that some choices had to be made -we roasted more veggies and bought store-made mashed potatoes.
As I was managing the cooking on the primitive stove, Paul set the table.
We brought the napkins and place-mats with us. The rest of the stuff we found on the side of the road or bought on our travels.
We decided to have drinks and appetizers on the terrace overlooking the lake.
Cheese and crackers, meats, and a Rosemary Pear martini.
I also roasted some local grapes with rosemary and balsamic vinegar which we served with brie.
After nibbling and sipping we moved inside for the main meal.
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.