Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What you're having for dinner

you'll have to excuse the fact that I took that with my cell phone, because it is delicious. Now, perhaps you read my last post about the soso-pork "stew" I made for dinner last week. If you did, I'm sorry. Don't make it. I can't imagine why anyone would go through all the bother of making that one, when this one is so much more satisfying and so much quicker. Skeptical? This recipe has 120 positive reviews at epicurious. You can't go wrong-- its got all the makings for perfect-- slightly smoky from the ham, rich and tromato-y, with a lil tiny kick form the arugula. All inside 20 minutes.

Fast White Bean Stew
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes ( I used diced)
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (3 cups)
  • 1 (1/2-pound) piece baked ham (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag baby romaine or baby arugula (10 cups loosely packed)
  • 8 (3/4-inch-thick) slices baguette

Cook garlic in 1/4 cup oil in a 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Coarsely cut up tomatoes in can with kitchen shears, then add (with juice) to garlic in oil. Stir in broth, beans, ham, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted, 3 minutes for romaine or 1 minute for arugula.

While stew is simmering, preheat broiler. Put bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until golden, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Serve stew with toasts.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dear December,

I'm sorry I've been gone so long. It's been nearly two months, I know. But I have a note from my mother. It reads:
Dear Bogosphere:
Please excuse alli for her lack luster blogging. She has been very busy sleeping on the couch,

putting her aunt's dog in her sister's purse,

and having her parent's over for dinner and feeding them chicken in Riesling, made entirely from Detroit farmer's market purchases.

The Mamma

It's true. December was busy. But I wouldn't want to deprive you of my December cooking adventures simply because I am a solid mixture of lazy and overbooked. So.

First, I want to tell you about Maria's Grandma's scramble.

If you look carefully, you can see a big bag of it sitting in the corner there. I'd suggest you pop over to gastronomical three and read Maria's scramble story, as it's particularly lovely and warm and nostalgic. My story about it involves multiple very very slow drives around Ann Arbor to gather the necessary ingredients in lots of snow and even more traffic, which was warm, but not lovely or nostalgic.


4-6 cups Cheerios or other multigrain “O” cereal

4-6 cups Wheat Chex

4-6 cups Rice Chex

4-6 cups thin pretzel sticks

2 lbs. mixed nuts

2 cups canola oil ( I used olive oil, because I ran out of canola and the idea of taking 45 minutes to make a 5 minute drive for the second time in a day was too much to bear. It was a noticeable change, as cereal soaked in olive oil tastes like olive oil, but it was a change I enjoyed immensely.)

1 T worchester sauce

1 T onion salt

1 T garlic salt

1 T celery seed ( I did not use celery seed, for the same reason I did not use canola oil)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Combine cereals, nuts and pretzels in a large roasting pan. Whisk together oil, worchester sauce and spices. Pour over dry ingredients and mix gently. Bake for two hours in the oven, stirring occasionally, until aromatic and crispy.

* * * * *

Summer Christmas Stew

What do you do with something that calls it self stew but contains 6 CUPS of chopped parsley? Well, first, you should read the entire recipe, particularly the bit that says "serves 12-14 as main course." If you don't, that's ok, you'll just have to eat pork soup for the rest of the week too.

Everyone who ate this thought they liked it. Which, is a pretty fair evaluation of it. See, it's not really stew at all, because it's not nearly thick enough. Also, there's relatively little seasoning, which isn't necessarily bland so much as soft. Then, there is 6 cups of parsley in it-- which makes it taste Clean. Clean like new converse and puppies after baths and your teeth after the dentist. What I'm trying to say is, while it's nice, it sort of unnatural clean. At least, for being soup in the middle of December's issue of Gourmet it is (it is festive looking however, what with the parsley and tomatoes). My mom is adamant that this turned out exactly the way it was intended, and while I don't doubt her, it was not at all what I had intended. (I'm so sorry; I apparently love italics today). So my fix? Cheese (parmesan or mozzarella) and lots of lemon juice at the end. It gives it the richness and kick it's lacking, and is much more pleasing. And while I maybe haven't done the best job of selling this, I'd love it if you tried it your self and told me what you thought.

Cannellini with Pork

NOTE: amounts included below are intened to serve 12-14. I'd reccomend halving.
  • 2 pounds dried white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern (4 3/4 cups), picked over and rinsed
  • 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 cups flat-leaf parsley (from 3 bunches), very coarsely choppe


Soak beans:
Combine beans with enough water to cover by 2 inches in a 4-to 5-quart pot. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, while you cook the pork.

Cook pork while beans soak:
Bring pork and water (4 quarts) to a simmer in an 8-to 10-quart heavy pot. Skim any foam, then add bay leaves and oregano. Simmer, uncovered, 1 1/4 hours.

Cook beans and roast tomatoes
Drain beans and add to pork mixture along with onions, garlic, rosemary, and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are just tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

While beans simmer, preheat oven to 475°F with rack in upper third. Toss tomatoes with oil and spread out, cut sides up, in a large 4-sided sheet pan. Stir together sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and sprinkle over tomatoes. Roast until tomatoes begin to shrivel and caramelize on bottom, about 45 minutes.

Finish Stew:
When beans are tender, scoop out about 4 cups beans with a slotted spoon and coarsely mash.

Return mashed beans to stew along with tomatoes, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer 3 minutes. Discard bay leaves and season stew with salt and pepper.