Recipes

Classic Smoked Ham Hock and Beans

Main Dishes

Classic Smoked Ham Hock and Beans

A friend’s daughter is involved with 4H and I offered to buy half of one of her pigs. I was not happy when I was told the head, ears and tail weren’t available but otherwise it’s been an interesting project. I always prefer my beans with just aromatics and vegetables but we know from a lot of customers that they love to cook beans with a ham hock. Maybe I’m nuts but I never do this. I was talking about it with Georgeanne Brennan one day and she told me she boils the ham hock with just a bay leaf...

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Christmas Limas with Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Main Dishes Vegetarian

Christmas Limas with Marinated Artichoke Hearts

I don’t want to pretend that this is a clever recipe that I slaved over. I had some cooked Christmas Lima beans and I had a jar of artichoke hearts. Ta da. I love artichoke hearts and the ones you find in a jar are perfectly delicious. They have a strong flavor so cooking with them isn’t always easy. I just heated the limas and the artichokes until they were warm and tossed them with chopped fresh parsley. There’s plenty of oil on the artichokes. No need for more, but I won’t judge if you do. I would think this...

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Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Olives on a Bed of Pureed Cassoulet Beans

clay pot cooking Main Dishes

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Olives on a Bed of Pureed Cassoulet Beans

Anissa Helou’s Feast: Foood of the Islamic World (Ecco Press, 2018) is a great book and you should have it in your personal library. It’s big, beautiful and full of recipes that are complicated and exotic along with much simpler fare. The common thread is celebrations. I’ve had the book for a while now and it remains a constant inspiration. The recipes work. I’ve taken a lot of liberties with her Baked Sea Bass with Tomatoes and Olives recipe from Morocco. She calls for a whole sea bass but my market had fillets of halibut. The all green olives were...

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Beans for Breakfast (with Mushrooms, Ricotta and Good Olive Oil)

Breakfasts

Beans for Breakfast (with Mushrooms, Ricotta and Good Olive Oil)

A few leftovers and some milk that was about to expire led to this really fine breakfast. Ayocote beans are runner beans (phaseolus coccineus). This family includes Scarlet Runners and Royal Corona. They tend to be big and go from starchy to creamy. They don’t mind a little rough handling, which makes them great for salads but Ayocote Negros (which I used here) have a really beefy broth that’s excellent on its own. Ayocote Morado are the purple version but once cooked, they’re pretty interchangeable. If your milk is about to go, heat it to 180F and then add some...

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Yellow Indian Woman Beans with Pickled Shallots and Goat Cheese

Main Dishes Vegetarian

Yellow Indian Woman Beans with Pickled Shallots and Goat Cheese

I hadn’t cooked Yellow Indian Woman beans for quite awhile. They’re small and dense but somehow creamy at the same time. I think they’d be great in a chili but as usual, a simplebowl with little garnish is my preferred way to enjoy them. Macerated shallots are my current obsession: a sweet little bite that adds acid, texture and flavor. It’s not as harsh as a plain onion would be. For this meal, the Yellow Indian Woman beans met with the shallots and a few crumbles of goat cheese. As the whole mess settles and melts you get what is...

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Bean Cakes with Chard

Vegetarian

Bean Cakes with Chard

From Julia Newberry, my co-author of The Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen, we have this great burger alternative. We tried a lot of bean burgers and this was the one that worked for us. I actually prefer these as smaller fritters. From Julia: "I started out thinking I would make little bean “fritters” but ended up making 3-inch patties and wrapping them in butter lettuce to eat. It turns out that the same basic recipe can be used whether you want to shape the mixture into a small ball (fritter), a small patty, or a large patty. I prefer these with...

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White Bean, Kale and Tahini Dip

Appetizers

White Bean, Kale and Tahini Dip

Leftovers are my best friends. I had made white beans and kale the previous night, and there was about a cup left. I added some tahini and lemon juice and pureed it with an immersion blender, and then I had this wonderful dip, but not before adding a healthy dose of really good extra virgin olive oil. I would have called this White Bean Hummus, but I don’t know if there is such a thing and I know how offended I am by creative martini drinks when a martini is gin and vermouth. Not being sure and not wanting to...

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Garbanzo, Tomato and Feta Salad

Salads Vegetarian

Garbanzo, Tomato and Feta Salad

From Julia at Rancho Gordo: I’ve developed a real love for summer-ripe Early Girl tomatoes. To me, they are the perfect salad tomato: meaty, sweet, and juicy, but not so juicy that they create a soggy salad. I’ve also developed a (possibly unhealthy) obsession with French sheep’s milk feta cheese. Every week I buy a big chunk of it, resting in brine in a plastic container, and crumble it over just about anything. Sometimes I eat it plain. It has a rich creaminess that I haven’t found in other feta cheeses. Chopped cucumber would be a nice addition to this...

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Cassoulet Bean Soup with Guanciale and Capers

Soups

Cassoulet Bean Soup with Guanciale and Capers

Leftover Cassoulet beans are terrific for soups. Many like to puree them and have a silky texture but I generally prefer a more rustic soup. I think I was the last person on earth to discover salt-packed capers. They are delicious and only a slight bother. You can rinse and soak a batch of them, then squeeze any liquid out and rest them in some good olive oil. They’re a perfect ingredient. Ingredients: 1 oz guanciale, chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 sprig fresh rosemary 2 tablespoons capers in oil (see note above) 1 garlic clove, chopped 1 cup bean broth 1 cup...

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Pancetta, Corn, and Bean Soup

Soups

Pancetta, Corn, and Bean Soup

Between the farmers markets, my own vegetable garden, and sloppy refrigerator housekeeping, I often end up with too many vegetables. This week it was too much corn. The result was a soup with pancetta, Rancho Gordo Cassoulet beans, and corn right off the cob. If you prefer creamier soups, you can obviously blend this with an immersion blender but personally, I love all the texture. I’ve made this with all bean broth and it was too “beany” if that makes sense. The pancetta and aromatics make such a delicious base that you don’t need much else as long as the...

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Flageolet Bean Salad with Roasted Peppers and Capers

Salads Vegetarian

Flageolet Bean Salad with Roasted Peppers and Capers

There is no shame in accepting a little help now and again. For me lately, this means indulging in jars of roasted red pepper. In the summer, when bell peppers are plentiful and a fair price, I actually enjoy roasting them, peeling them and then resting them in olive oil with some garlic. In the meantime, pulling one out of a jar works for me. They are a natural partner with beans and this salad is easy to like. This salad works at cold or at room temperature. I used brined capers but well rinsed salt-packed capers would be ideal....

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Tomato, Royal Corona, and Toasted Bread Salad

Salads Vegetarian

Tomato, Royal Corona, and Toasted Bread Salad

I remember when I first started gardening and I had the bright idea that direct-seeding tomatoes in the ground was the best idea. The plants were incredible and strong and the perfume they exuded made me want to bottle it. Have you ever rubbed a tomato plant just to smell? It’s worth it. The yields were nothing to be proud of but I had nearly a hundred plants so there were plenty of tomatoes, even with my poor gardening skills. The memory of that summer and just too darned many tomatoes makes me very happy.  Ingredients: 1 pound heirloom tomatoes,...

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