Category: Andrew

Italian White Bean Soup with Rice

I’m pretty sure I used the last jar of my grandma’s tomatoes. Or maybe it was salsa. She made that sometimes. Regardless, the tomato based and that’s what I was looking for. We have this habit of saying “Thanks, grandma!” out loud anytime these jars get opened. There aren’t many left.

This came about in a fit of “I don’t know what I want to eat, but I don’t want to go get anything.” I manage to surprise myself with whatever I have in the pantry. It never feels like much until I start digging into it. This is perfectly acceptable peasant food, and for some reason it has me thinking of An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. It’s still sitting on one of my grandma’s bookshelves. I should get that back one of these days.

I thought about going the pasta route, but I need to really be in the mood for pasta and beans. It feels like too much a lot of the time. I went the canned route, even though I did finally make a batch of beans from scratch for the first time at Christmas. What a difference. That would be exceptional here, but canned work. I’m not going to pretend I’m going to go all-homemade-everything around here. That’s a resolution I’m just not making [as I have my first batch of homemade almond milk in the fridge…]. Speaking of resolutions, these cooking resolutions are inspiring. I’ve already got my eye on this pot roast and to freeze some leftovers. That kind of meal planning is unheard of in our house. The fact that I even remembered to take the last of the steaks out of the freezer is worthy of a pat on the back.

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of cannellini white beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery, cooking it until soft. It should take about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for 30-seconds. Add the stock, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil before stirring in the beans and reducing everything to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the rice before serving. Top with grated Parmesan.

Roasted Sausage, Beans, and Greens

After talking about how much I’ve been lusting after Cheese Club at Cyril’s, I went! They had to reschedule December’s pick-up party because of the weather, so I could make it happen. It was better than I could have imagined. I picked up a block of Rocket’s Robiola from Boxcarr handmade cheese, tasted four others [two of which were also Boxcarr’s], and had a pairing with Clay Pigeon’s 2013 pinot noir and a beer from Occidental that I can’t remember now. A couple of the bottles of pinot came home too. They were having a 25% off sale. Can you blame us?

Simplicity has been the name of the game since the weather has been crap, we’ve been busy, or there have been holiday leftovers in the fridge. Recipes like this are what I want. Protein. Greens. Fiber. Put in a pan. Roast. Eat. Cheese not optional. This works with pretty much any combination.

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 16oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1lb sausage [about four], cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded parmesan, optional

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Tear the Swiss chard leaves into bite size pieces. You can not use the stems if you want, but I chopped them up and used them.

In a large baking dish or ovenproof skillet, combine the chard and beans. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, paprika, and olive juice. Drizzle over chard and beans. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Nestle the sausage pieces into the greens.

Nestle the sausage pieces into the greens. Roast for 20-25 minutes. The chard should be tender and the edges crispy. If your sausage isn’t precooked, it should no longer be pink.

Top with shredded parmesan before serving.

Beans and Greens with Sardines

It’s really hard to get a decent photo of an egg salad sandwich, so there isn’t one for you. If you have any interest in the salad of eggs like I am, you should make this one. It was so good. I promise you can’t really taste the anchovies other than a hint of saltiness. I toasted sourdough and topped it with some mixed greens.

The thought of sardines may make some your nose crinkle, too. In that case, you have my blessing to add whatever else sounds good here. Anything would be good here. Nothing would be good here. I’d gladly eat collards and white beans most days [which is pretty much all I bought at the store tonight]. It’s a comforting kind of wonderful. Sardines added a nice little saltiness and protein that you wouldn’t have otherwise. You probably see all of those red flecks of crushed red pepper. You’re not surprised anymore, are you? Add more or less. I added even more after I took the photo.

I’ve been toying with making beans from scratch, but I’m afraid. Afraid I’ll never want to eat them out of the can anymore, and I never plan ahead to soak beans overnight.

beans-greens-sardines

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, thick stems removed, and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 4.2oz tin of sardines in olive oil [I used Matiz Gallego]

Preparation

Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper. Stir often until the garlic starts to turn colors. Add greens by the handful so it’ll all fit into the pan. Toss to cover in the oil. Add the broth, cover, and simmer until the greens are tender. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Add the beans and simmer uncovered until the beans are warmed and the liquid is mostly gone. Stir in the vinegar. Add salt and pepper.

Chop the sardines into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the greens.

Thai Sausage with Bok Choy

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a steamer basket, but it’s just one more thing to add to the already cramped kitchen cabinets. I have been known to cheat the system and use the microwave, a bowl, a little bit of water, and a plate over the top. That seems to work ok. This time, I used a metal strainer in the pot of water. It meant the lid couldn’t be on that great, but it seemed to work. It definitely requires batches because the strainer isn’t that big, but it worked. It was far superior to the microwave. I’ve used it a couple of times now. I’m still toying with a steamer basket just so I can do more in one batch.

This whole thing was a vehicle to try the new Thai sausage, Sai Ua, from Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker and Olympia Provisions. It was just as good as I imagined it would be. Ricker doesn’t half-ass anything, and there hasn’t been an Olympia Provisions meat that I didn’t like. I sliced it into coins and sauteed it in a wok. The fragrance alone is enough to transport you back to Thailand.

[An Asian food aside: I just finished up Rice, Noodle Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture. Officially craving Japanese food full force.]

This NY Times recipe was the base for these greens. I’ve used it a couple of times now. The first time in the wok and the second time in a large saute pan. The wok was superior, but it can be done either way. I don’t seem to have rice wine, only vinegar, so I went the dry sherry route instead. Take the time to get some broth together instead of water. I tried the water method the second time, but realized it lacks so much more flavor that way.

thai-sausage-and-bok-choy

Inspriation: NY Times

Ingredients

  • Two sausage, any variety will do, sliced into coins
  • 1lb of sturdy greens, any variety [bok choy for me]
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minuced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

Preparation

Trim the bottoms off the bok choy. Cut the stalks in half, if they’re large, and cut into 2″ pieces. Bring an inch of water to boil in the bottom of a pot, place a large strainer inside just above the water, add the greens and cover with a ltd. Steam for a minute before removing and squeezing out the excess water. Feel free to use any steaming method of choice if you have one you’re more comfortable with.

In a small bowl, mix together the broth, sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Keep it it near the wok, or large saute pan, along with the rest of the ingredients.

Heat the wok on high heat. Add the oil. Add the sausage and sear on all sides. It’ll release a bit of oil to the existing oil. When they’re browned, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir for about 10-15 seconds. Add the bok choy. Sprinkle iwth salt and sugar. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir for another minute. Fold the sausage into the greens. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bourbon and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking is still not my forte. It drives me crazy. Every time I break out the mixer and grab a cookie sheet, I think “this is the time.” But it isn’t. There is such an exact science to this whole baking thing that I miss. I think I enjoy the process a whole lot more than the final product. I’m a lover of dough, of batter. The final product? I could take it or leave it. Look at this picture compared to the one at Bon Appétit and you’ll get what I’m talking about. They still tasted great, but aesthetics be damned. Style points matter when it comes to baked goods.

The combination of flavors here is pretty incredible. The second you start throwing rye into something, I’m intrigued. Bourbon is also my drink of choice. Mix them together with some dark chocolate? I’m ok with that kind of dessert. The key here, among other things, is do. not. over. bake. I cannot stress this enough. Even if they aren’t quite brown on the edges, I wouldn’t go much longer than 15 minutes if I like a soft chewy cookie, and I do. They are still delicious. I am such a self-sabotager, though. I follow the rules. The rules said you’ll start seeing browned edges, and I didn’t. So I kept going, and I never ended up with browned edges. I did, however, end up with some dry parts of the cookie. Devastating. Not so much for Andrew if you’re a dipper of cookies in milk. I’m not so much.

whiskey-rye-chocolate-chip-cookies

Inspiration: Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • Sea salt flakes

Preparation

Whisk both flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. This takes a good 3-4 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and bourbon. Beat until incorporated. With the mixer speed on low, slowly add the dry ingredients. Once incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 16 evenly sized balls. Transfer them to a rimmed cookie sheet. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least three hours.

Prior to baking, preheat the oven to 350°. Divide the dough balls on two parchment lined sheets about 3″ apart. Flatten each ball to about 3/4″ thickness and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges. This should take 14-18 minutes, but I still didn’t have it at 18. Let them cool before moving them to a wire rack.