Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bean Loaf

Oh yes, the family classic is finally making an apperance on the blog! This recipie has been a staple for family gatherings for a good decade and a half - a product of my mother's work in sustainable agriculture. The concept came from a community food project in Minneapolis, MN - and was lovingly tweaked over the years by my mother - happy to have something to please two vegetarian daughters come Thanksgiving. You can also go hog wild on molds here too - mom has tried a number fun shapes and sizes over the years. It's hard to beat the basic loaf pan, but have fun with it.

A note on beans - though some have predicted that beans will be the food of 2009 - it's hard not to appreciate the humble bean's enduring value to human kind. As a former staunch ovo-lacto vegetarian I can tell you, beans are your friends! Yes, even if you need beano to safely consume them in mixed company. Rice + beans = a perfect nutritional protien, what omnivores get from animal protien, you can get from non-animal sources (and lower calories per serving to boot!). These days especially, it's easy to appreciate the bean's stellar nutritional value and earthly prices. They also have a much longer shelf-life.

Even though I now eat organic, sustainably raised foul, I will always have a very special place in my heart and gullet for the humble and delicious bean.

Bean Loaf

4 c bread crumbs (fresh bread pulsed in food processor or blender is ideal)
3 cans of beans rinsed and drained (kidney, black, pinto, navy, butter beans all acceptable)
2 c shredded chedder cheese
1/4 c non-hydrogenated shortening or butter
1/2 c onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 eggs

In food processor or blender, pulse beans until smooth. Empty into large mixing bowl. Add bread crumbs, cheese, onion, egg, salt and pepper to taste and stir till combined. Pat down into well-greased loaf pan. Bake at 375 F for about an hour - melt the 1/4c butter or shortening & baste the loaf halfway through baking. Bake until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack, then turn over onto plate.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jambalayah and Bread Pudding

Publish Post

With temperatures the lowest they've been in a decade here, it seemed about time to warm things up in the kitchen. Why not with a flavorful taste from New Orleans? A great end to a day with a windchill close to zero!

adapted from recipe

2 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
2 (12-ounce) packages pre-cooked spicy Italian chicken sausage, sliced diagonally
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green, 1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups rice
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 (1-pound) bag frozen shrimp, thawed, tails removed
Hot sauce for serving


In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned. Remove from pot and set aside. Add remaining oil, celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook until softened. Stir in tomatoes, broth, water, rice, thyme, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 35 minutes, stirring now and then. Add frozen okra and reserved sausage. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add frozen shrimp and continue cooking until heated through. Taste and season with more salt or cayenne if desired. Serve with hot sauce.

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

adapted from the Silver Palatte cookbook

1/2 loaf stale whole grain bagette
1 c heavy cream
1 c milk
3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tbs vanilla

Slice or crumble bread in bite-sized pieces into large bowl. Soak bread in milk and cream for at least an hour. Combine sugar and eggs and vanilla in separate bowl. Once bread is soaked, pour egg mixture into bread and milk mixture, stir till combined. Pour into a well greased 8 x 8 baking pan and bake at 325 F for about an hour and 10 minutes or until browned and set.

Whiskey Sauce

1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 egg
4 Tbs butter
Whiskey to taste

Melt butter and sugar together in a double boiler over medium to medium-high heat. Once both are melted and very hot, remove from heat and add egg, stirring constantly. If the mixture gets lumpy, don't fret!* It's pretty forgiving. Add the whisky and stir till combined. Serve over warm bread pudding. Delicious!


* A trick I learned from an early Moosewood cookbook saved my tukus in college the first time I ever attempted to make a custard sauce (when preparing it for over 40 people!). Use your handy-dandy food processor or immersion blender to smooth! It's that simple, and the texture comes out perfectly!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Millie's Cornbread

One of my mom's gradschool roommates has been a long-time friend of our family. She also happens to work in the world of sustainable food systems. This is one of her recipies that has become a family favorite. It is luscious, moist, with a golden gorgeous crumb, but a fraction of the fat and calories most traditional cornbreads have.

3/4 c cornmeal
1 c unbleached white flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
t tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 c sugar
2 Tbs unhydrogenated vegetable shortening or butter
1/2 c low fat sour cream or yogurt
1/4 c milk
1 egg, well beaten

Combine dry ingredients. Work shortening or butter in with a pastry cutter or your fingers till combined. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Gently mix wet ingredients into dry until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX or bread will be tough. Smooth into 8 x 8 pan and bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until golden brown and solid through.