Tag Archives: beans

fresh lady creamer peas

 

creamer peas-finished

at the risk of sounding unpopular, sometimes due to the extreme heat, crushing crowds, and added expense of it all, i just have to take time off from the farmer’s market. don’t get me wrong, i love to support local growers, organic or otherwise (you’d be hard-pressed to find any farmer’s at the market who use chemicals or sprays, anyhow), but i am not a competitive person by nature, so sometimes all the nudging to get at the best tomatoes, peaches, and eggs can get a bit much for me. but after a break from it a few weeks back, i come with new eyes and spot some fresh lady creamer peas. this is exactly the type of thing that makes each farmer’s market unique: the distinct nature of the local produce. this, of course, begged the question: what to do with them? after poking around online and coming up with with virtually nothing about this very specific item, i had my suspicions about where to turn for assistance, robb walsh‘s ‘the texas cowboy cookbook’. robb has become an expert in regional cooking, including cowboy and tex-mex cooking styles, real texas barbeque, texas gulf specialties (like oysters, etc), you name it. if you love anything texas, these books are for you.

creamer peas -book

these  peas, which are interchangeable with any fresh field peas such as black eyed or purple hull peas in their cooking style, are a cinch to make and compliment a great texas summer meal. we had ours with grilled pork loin and summer squash, and cornbread.

creamer peas

fresh lady creamer peas (serves 4-6 as a side dish)

1 pound shelled lady creamer, black -eyed, purple hull peas (about 3 cups)

2-3 slices bacon, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups stock (preferably homemade chicken or veggie)

salt & pepper

hot pepper sauce of your choice (i prefer cholula, the best hot sauce on earth, that’s just me)

rinse and drain peas. in a large skillet over low-medium heat add bacon to pan. remember you are rendering the fat from the bacon. it’s important to cook it on the slow side, otherwise you end up with most of the fat still clinging to the meat of the bacon instead on as liquid in the pan. when bacon is crisp, remove meaty pieces and set aside to drain on paper toweling. alternatively, you can leave them in the pan, but since i prefer my bacon a bit crisp, not limp, i take it out and add it back in at the end of cooking. add diced onion and cook until softened and translucent. add stock and peas. bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer peas until desired tenderness, about 15-20 minutes, checking liquid level and adding more stock (or water) as necessary. i like them a little firm, but this is not the usual texan way. add bacon back in (if removed) and season with salt & pepper. serve with a little pot likker (some of the cooking liquid, i know it’s not greens but, hey…it’s good), hot sauce, and corn bread to sop it all up.

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smoky goodness

smoky-baked-beans

looking around for something to compliment a slowly smoked sunday brisket,  I came across these super smoky beans that caught my eye, not to mention teased my palate. plus i had just about everything i needed already on hand, with the exception of the barbeque sauce. we often make our own, but i was feeling lazy so went and picked up some stubb’s barbeque sauce at the corner store. lucky us, living in texas. we LOVE barbeque. we even had our wedding catered by the salt lick.

it starts off with freshly cooked beans. use canned if you must, but the toothsome-ness of  homemade really makes this dish. you can read about the virtue of making homemade beans and get a primer on quick-soaking and cooking beans here.

raw-small-white-beans

the next step requires the services of small can that packs a big wallop: chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. these are red jalapenos that have been smoked and packed in the spiciest, smokiest, sweetest tomatoey sauce that you can imagine.

chipotles

add in some other goodies and the whole mess gets popped in the oven for about an hour. it should look a little soupy when it goes in, like the picture below, or else it’ll end up too dry in the end. there were only a few of us eating, so i halved the recipe and still had enough for the meal and 3-4 lunches.

unbaked-beans

hot & smoky baked beans (adapted from bon appetit)

3-4 bacon slices, finely chopped (we used our own! will be posting soon!)

1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups your favorite barbecue sauce

3/4 cup dark beer-i used saint arnold winter stout

1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1-2 minced canned chipotle chilies, depending on your taste*

5-6 cups (1 lb dry) fresh cooked  great northern or other white beans (or 4  -16 ounce canned beans, rinsed and drained)

*be careful– for half of this recipe, i used one pepper and a bit of the sauce from the can of peppers and one taster proclaimed it as “a little too hot”.

 

preheat oven to 350°F. cook bacon and onion in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. add next 7 ingredients to bowl and whisk to blend. whisk in chipotle chilies, depending on spiciness desired. stir in beans. transfer bean mixture to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.

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yes, soup for you!

library-25631

 we have had some absolutely gorgeous ‘winter’ days here in texas lately. somewhere between 65-75 degrees and sunny constitutes a near perfect day in my book. although we don’t have as many of those here as my days in california, i do love them more than because they are now precious and few. with this sunny and clear weather, we also have some pretty chilly nights, hovering somewhere just above freezing. the first culinary thought that comes to mind during this time of year is a big batch of homemade soup. i love making soup and pasta e fagioli (literally ‘pasta and beans’) is one of my faves.

learning how to make soup is more of a method than a following a recipe. you can make a soup thicker by cooking it down without a lid, pureeing a portion of the ingredients in a blender, food processor or by hand, or adding a ‘slurry’ of flour mixed with water. and you can thin a soup by just adding some more water or stock back into the pot. you can make soup out of just about anything; veggies, meat, beans. the most important thing is to just use the freshest and best ingredients you can afford. and when you combine that with a few do-ahead activities (such as making your own stock and beans), the results are phenomenal.

white-beans-uncooked3

i did hear the collective groan with the mention of these (supposedly) labor- intensive jobs, but in reality, the stock takes about 30 minutes–make it on the weekend and keep in freezer in 1-2 cup portions–and the beans took just just over 2 hours, mostly inactive and i made them the day before. after picking through 1lb of dried great northern beans to get rid of any rocks or old shriveled up beans, i covered them in cold water and used the quick soak method of preparing them to cook. then i covered them with fresh water and cooked them without a lid after adding 1/2 a chopped onion and a few bay leaves.

this what your beans look like after you cook them for about 45 minutes-1 hour:

white-beans

 get your ‘porky trinity’  ready (onion, garlic, bacon):

porky-trinity

i also added a bit of celery and sauteed it all in the bacon fat which had been rendered. if you watch anne burrell on the food network, she’ll tell you what we’ve all known for years, that “brown food is good food”. so true, and so this pot of goodness stayed on low to medium heat about 5 more minutes before the tomato paste and stock were added. 

library-25511

add your homemade stock like this:

library-2553

 then you will add the remaining ingredients over the next 10-15 minutes. with some do-ahead prep all told you’ve been in the kitchen for less than 45 minutes.

 

pasta e fagioli (adapted from gourmet)

serves 2-4

    

ingredients

  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small rib of celery, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 1  1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups fresh cooked white beans or 1-16 oz can white beans rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup tubetti or other small tubular pasta, like shells or elbows
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • freshly grated Parmesan and good quality olive oil as an accompaniment

preparation

in an unheated heavy saucepan cook the bacon over low-medium heat, stirring, until it is crisp-the cold pan and low heat will allow all the fat to render off the meat–i.e. melt and flavor the rest of your dish. pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, and in the remaining fat cook the onion and the garlic and celery, stirring, until softened. add the tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute, then add the carrot and the broth and simmer the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes. in a bowl mash 1/3 cup of the beans, stir them into the bacon mixture with the remaining whole beans, and simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. stir in the tubetti, simmer the soup, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente, and if desired thin the soup with water. check pot every few minutes and add water or broth as needed-you don’t want it to run out and scorch your dinner. let the soup stand off the heat, covered, for 5 minutes, stir in the parsley, and serve the soup in bowls sprinkled with the parmesan and drizzled with some of your best olive oil.

 

yesterday was rocket’s birthday. he slept through most of it, but did manage to get a few treats down, however.

rocketboy1

 

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