White Beans can Crostini

My next recipe comes from Light and Healthy and is a continuation on the crostini recipe I wrote about months ago.

This recipe challenges you to not be a basic with your tiny garlic bread and instead asks you to be extra vanilla with white beans and arugula.

I’m not so sure that joke worked. Maybe I need to get my money back from that comedy class I took.

What you’ll need

  • 1 large baguette, cut on the bias into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, one un-cut and two minced
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 shallot minced (3 tablespoons worth)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ounce of arugula, chopped (1/2 cups worth)

The first step is to mix the beans, oil, lemon juice, and 2 garlic cloves in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. It’ll look a lot like hummus by the time you’re through.

Next, combine this mixture in a bowl along with the cayenne and shallot. Feel free to also season with salt and pepper as well.

Once this is combined, cover the bowl and allow it to rest under room temperature for about an hour.

When you’ve got 10-15 minutes left waiting for that mixture to settle go ahead and prepare your crostini by following the crostini recipe I mentioned earlier.

When that basic recipe is complete, your bean mixture should be well settled. Take a tablespoon of the bean mixture and spread it on each slice. Then sprinkle arugula on top and you are finito!

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This is a little larger than crostini, but the taste will be the same

As you can see in the photo, I purchased bread that was little bigger than what is called for. You’ll actually want to select a baguette that’s about half the width of what I ended up with.

If you want to be a goody two shoes and follow the rules that is. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter. I can assure you it’ll still taste great.

So how is the taste?

Pretty damn good. As I mentioned earlier, the bean spread reminded me of hummus and that follows through in regards to taste as well, but my favorite part of this recipe is the arugula.

I love arugula. It’s springy and tastes so fresh and green with it’s slightly nutty flavors. Combine that with a bean spread and you just feel…I don’t know…one with nature I guess.

Like you’re just meeting mother nature and your nonna for a light picnic. That’s the best way I can describe it.

So go ahead, plan your fantasy picnic and be one with the universe.

 

 

 

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Smoke on the Sausage Salad

I was surprised when I opened up The French Farmhouse Cookbook for my next recipe to find that putting sausage on your salad is a thing.

I’m an omnivore who enjoys the fine cuisine of sausage, but never have I ever had a sausage salad.

Then I thought about it more. Why is that such a surprise? I mean why not put sausage on your salad? We put steak, chicken, and even seafood on top of beds of lettuce and call it salad. Yet, this was a shocker to me.

What was not a shocker, spoiler alert, is that it’s quite good.

What you’ll need.

  • 2 smoked sausages, such as kielbasa
  • 2 cups of white wine, such as Sancerre Blanc
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 7 ounces of escarole or curly endive leaves (8 cups loosely packed), rinsed patted dry, and torn into bite-size pieces

Our first step is to cook the sausage in that fine white wine you bought and are hopefully drinking as you cook because why not? Crazier things have been done.

The cookbook says to add water until the sausages are covered with liquid. It also says you can use all of the wine. I took this as for yourself, but it might have been about the sausage.

Oops…

Anyway, bring the sausages to a boil, then reduce the heat to allow it to simmer partially covered for 20-30 minutes.

As the sausage is simmering, go ahead and make the salad dressing which consists of whisking the vinaigrette, salt, pepper, shallot, and olive oil together. Next, add this dressing to the escarole and toss.

When time is up for the sausages, remove them from the pan and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. It is also suggested that you create a rosette pattern with the sausage bits.

I have to say that I appreciate this authors dedication to beauty and creativity.

Serve your sausage piece of art alongside bread and that wine that you may or may not have drunk while cooking.

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My final result turned out to be another simplistic dish that satisfied the pleasure centers of my tastebuds. The combination of juicy plump sausages soaked in white wine and bitter vinegar soaked escarole left me wondering why I never tried it before.

So, yes I do recommend sausage on a salad and look forward to others making this discovery as well. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Portlandia Chicken Wings

Theme cookbooks from movies and/or shows are generally considered a novelty item, but I would encourage anyone who receive such gifts to actually take the time to cook from them. It’s entertaining and you’d be surprised how good most of the recipes are.

That has been the case for me when it comes to the Portlandia cookbook and I’ve had rewarding experiences with other themed cookbooks as well.  In the case of Portlandia, I have to say this is my favorite so far. So pay attention and try this one out!

What you’ll need.

For the wings

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper (feel free to add more if you’re a spice freak like me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (I used McCormick Asian powder myself if you can’t find Chinese 5-spice)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 large chicken wings (about 3 pounds) split into wingettes and drumettes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • sliced scallions, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

For the duck sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of minced and peeled fresh ginger

Our first step is to pre-heat the oven to 425, so go ahead and do that. You just turn the knob on your oven to the number that says 425.

While the oven is pre-heating, in a large bowel combine cumin, red pepper flakes, powder, salt, and flour. Not much else to say here, just mix it around until everything looks even.

Next prepare a space where you can coat the chicken with the oil without causing a mess. Be sure to rub the oil evenly so that when we mix it with our spice mix it does the same. When the oil looks even, add the chicken to the spice mix and toss until every piece is coated evenly.

We are now ready to place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do so and brush lightly with more oil before placing in the center of the oven.

Once in the oven, allow to cook for about 50 minutes with one or two breaks to turn the meat over for even cooking.

Even is word of the day for this recipe as it is for most. Cooking is kinda socialist like that what can I say?

While the chicken is roasting, go ahead and make your duck sauce. To do so, combine all duck sauce ingredients in a food processor with a 1/4 cup of water. Blend until it’s smooth and then heat it up in a saucepan over low heat.

The goal is to reduce the sauce to about a 1/2 cup size. Once we reach that goal, you can remove from the heat and display the sauce however you wish.  I displayed by placing in a small white bowl as you can see below.

If your wings happen to be done by now, remove them from the oven, garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve with your duck sauce for dipping on the side.

If you enjoy that, of course. No pressure from me to actually eat them that way, but I like both garnished items myself and the dipping sauce is easy to make, delicious, and can be stored up to a month in your fridge.

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Look at this colorful, appetizing display of chicken wings! Trust me, it’s as good as it looks. I cannot recommend you try this recipe more.

You read the earlier passages, you can suss out how easy this is to make. It’s been Rachel tested and approved with the easy meal stamp.

If you do, I highly recommend you go all the way and make that duck sauce too. It’s so easy. This whole thing is easy. Don’t be lazy! You’ve got this.

If you don’t, though, I won’t judge. I follow the philosophy of the dude and the dude abides.

Frita de Tita

Frita de Tita is a tomato and bell pepper salad from The Scent of Orange Blossoms. If you’re wondering where the term Tita comes from well that just means auntie and I’m pretty sure frita means salad but I couldn’t get a fact check on that one.

I love that the authors of this book include family recipes. Who doesn’t love a revered dish from a relative? Personally I have many loved dishes from my aunties and uncles, but my all time favorite dish comes from an uncle who makes a chicken and noodle dish from scratch.

I loved those noodles so much that during Thanksgiving, as a child, when it was time for round 2 I’d come back with a giant plate of just noodles. I was fine with one round of everything else you see. My family thought this was funny and teases me about it to this day.  That side of the family never forgets…

What you’ll need

  • 4 bell peppers, roasted and seeded (Feel free to use a variety of bell peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika

The first step is to roast your peppers. Do so by pre-heating your oven to broil and lining a baking pan with foil. Place each pepper in the pan and boil for 10-12 minutes. turn them over about half way to make sure they blister evenly.

Once the boiling process is over, place the peppers in a bowl and wrap with plastic wrap. Let this cool for 15-20 minutes and then peel the skin and remove the core and seeds.

Once this is done you can cut the pepper into 1/2 inch strips. There will be a lot of juice as you cut so store them in a colander to drain until further notice.

This next step can be done while the peppers cool and/or broil and that step is peeling and seeding your tomatoes.

The first step in this process is to cut each tomato lightly with an x on the base. Then place the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Once time is up, drain the water and allow the tomatoes to cool. Once they have cooled done enough to touch, peel off the skin and cut the tomatoes in half. Once halved, you can gently squeeze out the seeds and dice them up.

Once those tomatoes are ready we can combine them in our skillet along with olive oil, garlic, sugar, and tomato paste. Cook this mixture until the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates. This should take 12-15 minutes.

By now the peppers should be ready to also be added. If not wait, waiting until they are is advised. Add them along with salt and paprika. Then cover this mixture and stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes. We want this mixture to thicken and once that goal has been attained remove the lid and cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

This should also take around 10 minutes.

Once everything looks good remove from the heat and allow the salad to cool to room temperature for serving!

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As you can see this pepper salad is quite the colorful beauty and the looks match up to the taste.

It is intended to be eaten as a side dish but the cookbook mentions it can be enjoyed with poached eggs as a light meal. I opted for light dinner with that in mind and it was quite good. I’d describe it as a bell pepper version of Huevos Rancheros without beans and tortillas.

Speaking of Latin American food fare, this would make an excellent fajita topping.

I’m getting ideas here folks. I’ve seen Indian and Mexican fusion as well as Korean and Mexican, but what about Jewish Moroccan and Mexican? Seems legit right?

Whether you decide to fusion it up or not, I recommend you try out this dish. Aunties everywhere will be pleased that you did.

Farm Fresh Sweet and Sour Beans

The actual name of this dish from The Italian Mama’s Kitchen is Sweet and Sour Green Beans or in Italian Fagiolini all’Agro.

Early in the recipe for this it was mentioned to use French beans. That got me thinking, are these French-Italian beans and if so, who is the sweet and who is the sour? Cultural stereotyping tells me that both can be such, but just like a Japanese eggplant and Chinese eggplant are both eggplants, they are also not the same.

So, I did a quick investigation and what did I find? Agro in Italian means sour, but it also means countryside. Given that Agro was capitalized in the naming of this dish, it would appear to be going for the countryside term, but this is also a truly sweet and sour dish.

I’d like to think the Italians were being clever when they named this since the naming means both. If we were to do a direct translation to Californian we’d call this Farm Fresh Sweet and Sour Beans, but’s that’s long right? So Italians were like, it’s from the farm, it’s sweet and sour. Let’s just called it all’Argo so people get that it’s both!

Still doesn’t explain the whole French bean thing, but maybe that’s just a side note anyway.

What you’ll need

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 10 1/2 ounces of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • pepper
  • Lemon wedges

The first step is to fill a saucepan with salted water and bring it to a boil. Once boiled add the beans and cook for about 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain the water and set the beans aside.

We are now going to mix our sweet and sour dressing. Do so by mixing in a small bowl the lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar with your to taste addons of salt and pepper. Once everything has been properly mixed pour it over your beans and toss.

The beans should have a nice glossy coat and you should be ready to serve and eat with lemon wedges on the side.

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Lemon wedges not included

This is another dish that turned out well! It’s amazing how a simple dressing can transform a vegetable into something delectable.

This is exactly what’s happening here. The olive oil gives the beans a smooth silky texture and the lemon juice and vinegar give it a slight kick that dances around your tastebuds.

If you need a simple side dish for dinner then I highly recommend you give these beans a try!

Penne with Angry Sauce

According to Classic Pasta at Home red pepper flakes make pasta sauce angry.

Look Williams – Sonoma, I’m here to tell you the sauce isn’t angry, it’s just talking! And boy does this Penne with Spicy Tomato Sauce love to talk!

What you’ll need

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes aka angry flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 pound of ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • salt
  • 1 lb of penne
  • 1/2 cup of grated pecorino cheese

Your first step is to heat some olive oil over medium heat in a nice large saute pan. Then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. The actual cookbook has a see note asterisk for this. This said note is basically letting you know that if you don’t use the full 1/2 teaspoon of flakes then you won’t be like a Roman.

My reaction to this note is represented below,

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I guess Ron and I are just “angry”

A 1/2 teaspoon is not that much sissies! I’d put at least a whole tablespoon.

Ok, I know. I’m being a spice snot. I will get over my spice elitism and advise you to adjust to whatever level you desire. Afterall, I did a ramen spice challenge this past weekend and none of my friends could handle it. One even asked me if I had magical powers.

If that is a power, well you can enlist me in The Mystery Men.

Seriously can someone do that for me?

Once you’ve determined your spice level, saute for about a minute and then add the parsley. Stir that for a few seconds and then add the tomatoes. Kick the burner heat up to medium-high to allow the tomatoes to simmer until they break down. Stir occasionally as you wait for this to happen. In about 15 minutes they should break down into more of a sauce consistency. Feel free to add water to thin out the sauce if necessary and salt to taste as well. Once you feel satisfied with the sauce texture, reduce the heat to low.

We are now ready to cook our pasta. Do so the usual way with boiled water and such. Follow your pasta box instructions for cooking time and when it’s time to drain the water, keep about a 1/4 of a cup for later use.

Combine the pasta and sauce together and toss to allow sauce to cover evenly. Then add the cheese and do the same, adding the reserved water as you toss.

Once the cheese and reserved water has been mixed evenly you are now ready to serve!

Do so by placing each serving in a pasta bowl and then topping with some cheese and parsley like below.

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Angry pasta with crostini

I was quite satisfied with the results of my angry pasta. It was simple, fresh, and “angry.”

Normally I love thinner and longer pastas like linguine, but the chunky tomatoes added to the texture of the penne making it juicy with just the right amount of chewiness. Also, there’s something about how the parsley and cheese fall into the grooves of the penne that make it bellisimo.

If you enjoy a little kick to your meals and want an easy, light pasta meal then this angry little pasta is your man!

Crostini, aka tiny garlic bread

My next recipe comes from Light and Healthy and the good news is that mini garlic toast doesn’t need much tweaking if you need to lay low when it comes to food consumption.

The only tip Light and Healthy has given us is to use olive oil spray so one can control the amount of oil and avoid infomercial level embarrassment like below

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We’ve all been there

Other than that this is your standard garlic bread recipe which consists of rubbing garlic on bread.

In case you don’t know how to do that, here’s what you’ll need.

  • 1 large baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • olive oil spray
  • salt and pepper

The first step is pre-heat the oven to 400 and place your rack in the middle.

Once the oven is heated, place the toast on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. You’ll want to turn them over half way through this process as well.

When baking time is up, take them out of the oven and immediately rub the garlic on each toast. You only need to do one side as well.

After the garlic rub, spray each toast with oil, lightly season with salt and pepper, cross your fingers, throw salt over your left shoulder, and then you should have some mini garlic bread.

For those of you who are not aware of my sarcasm, you don’t have to do the last two steps.

My point with the jokes is that this is elementary cooking my friends and I have faith each and every one of you can make this.

It’s so easy that I don’t know how to elaborate more on this or how to even end this post. So, on that note, check out this cute cat plate with crostini and have a good day!

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Crostini makes kitties happy