Recipes

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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Yellow Indian Woman Bean and Wild Rice Salad

Salads Vegetarian

Yellow Indian Woman Bean and Wild Rice Salad

This is a flexible salad recipe featuring some of our favorite summer ingredients. Adjust the ingredient amounts based on your preferences and how many people you are serving.  Ingredients: Cooked cactus paddles (nopales), see below Radishes, very thinly sliced Corn off the cob Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian Woman beans, cooked Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, chopped (see below) Rancho Gordo Wild Rice, cooked Banana Vinegar or white wine vinegar Extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper Combine all ingredients to taste in a salad bowl. Oven-Roasted Tomatoes The best tomatoes are “in season.” If you’re in a bind, use Romas. Cut tomatoes in...

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Cauliflower with Cassoulet Beans and Capers

Main Dishes Sides Vegetarian

Cauliflower with Cassoulet Beans and Capers

I somehow landed a copy of Omar Allibhoy’s Spanish Made Simple and while I wasn’t expecting much, several of the recipes have become favorites. It’s good! It isn’t a definitive guide to the Spanish kitchen by any means, but there’s fine inspiration for home cooks and dishes you don’t see all the time. The Coliflor con Ajos Vinagre y Alcaparras recipe has been served at my place several times and of course I feel compelled to improvise. I roasted the cauliflower instead of boiling it and what’s a good dish without beans? The addition of cooked white beans makes this...

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Carrot and Mayocoba Soup

Soups

Carrot and Mayocoba Soup

  As always, some of the best dishes come from trying to use up leftovers. I’ve been on a carrot kick. I like them. I want to love them, but they tend to go bad before I can finish them. I was determined not to let that happen this time! Ingredients ¼ pound pancetta, cubed 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus about a spoonful to garnish 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme) 2 bunches of carrots (approx 1.5 to 2 pounds), peeled and chopped 3 cups chicken or...

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Arugula, Fennel, Garbanzo and Shrimp Salad

Salads

Arugula, Fennel, Garbanzo and Shrimp Salad

After seeing a video of Asian shrimp being injected with some gross substance so that they’ll weigh more, I’ve turned to wild caught shrimp, both fresh and frozen. Happily, they’re more readily available and they taste much better. If you wanted to drop the shrimp, this is still a great salad combination, inspired by a recipe from Laura Giannatempo’s A Ligurian Kitchen: Recipes and tales from the Italian Riviera. The original recipe has you grilling shrimp and indeed you should, if that’s handy. I gently pan sauteed shrimp in tons of garlic with olive oil and added them to the...

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Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole

Main Dishes Vegetarian

Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole

Escarole is a rare and exotic vegetable for me. I'd been scared off with stories about its bitterness and frankly, there were plenty of other things to eat that struck me as more appealing. My greengrocer had it, I bought and now I had to use it. It looks like a head of butter lettuce and it is, as promised, somewhat bitter. On its own, it's unappealing but wilted by tossing in warm pasta, it's just great. You can go heavier on the beans if you like. For me, this is a pasta dish with beans and escarole. Ingredients 2...

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Royal Coronas with Italian Salsa Verde

Salsas and Sauces Sides Vegetarian

Royal Coronas with Italian Salsa Verde

This is one of those recipes where the title is basically the recipe. Wonderful big, fat white beans topped with an intense green sauce. I would recommend Royal Coronas but Alubia Blanca or Cassoulet beans would serve you just as well. Ta da. To make Italian salsa verde: Pound a clove of garlic with some salt and make a paste. Add chopped fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley (about 3 parts sage to one part parsley) and continue pounding as you add really good olive oil. I use a mortar and pestle but you could also use a mini food processor. I...

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Wild Rice, White Beans and Tomatoes

Salads Vegetarian

Wild Rice, White Beans and Tomatoes

As the best tomatoes of summer are winding down, I've been continuing my obsession with macerated heirloom tomatoes. I've been tossing them with fresh mozzarella over pasta and last night I made this very simple composed salad. Use leftovers or make the components especially for this dish: wild rice, macerated tomatoes, and creamy white beans such as Cassoulet or Alubia Blanca. This recipe is for one serving, but you can easily scale up the recipe if you are serving more people. Ingredients: 1 large heirloom tomato, cubed 2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling Salt and freshly ground pepper to...

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Cecilina: Italian Chickpea Dip

Appetizers

Cecilina: Italian Chickpea Dip

I saw this recipe in the old Dried Beans and Grain book from the the seminal Good Cook series by Richard Olney with Jeremiah Towers, among others. It seemed a little strange and forgotten and that’s very appealing to me. And it used two cups of cooked garbanzos. I love garbanzos but when I cook a pot, sometimes it seems like too much of a good thing. I love hummus. I love Caldo Tlapeño. But what do you do with that last bit? The recipe has you process the beans in a food mill or food processor. I love my...

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