Friday, January 22, 2010

Something Different

Welcome to Friday – the beginning and the end of the week’s divides. I always look forward to Fridays since before Paul it meant time with Guy and my friends, and now avec Paul, it means we get to play house for a few days. It also gives me an opportunity to try a new recipe.

Everyone has their likes and dislikes, but Friday is when I get the thrill of making something to impress my sweetie. He has a particular palate and this challenge gives me an excuse to make something that both of us will love, and that will bring us closer together.

This week’s Something Different Friday is about a meal I cooked on Tuesday. For Paul’s birthday, we decided to stay in and spend time alone (with the pups of course.) I wanted to make something new for him and found an interesting recipe in my recently arrived Penzey’s catalogue. Money is tight and I needed to keep even this meal in budget so I challenged myself to make something from things in my pantry and freezer that would still be special for this day. The Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe was perfect. I had a turkey breast in the freezer, rice in the pantry and broccoli in the fridge.

Unfortunately it wasn’t one of my favorites. Paul liked it though, at least he said he did and even had seconds. The accoutrements were good. I finally made rice that didn’t stick (rinse it thoroughly first) and broccoli roasted with walnut oil and topped with roasted walnuts (he loved this.)

Since I wasn’t so happy with the recipe, I decided to make another new recipe this week Stewed White Beans with Tomatoes and Rosemary, this one from one of my favorite recipe blogs, Noble Pig.

I didn’t want to wait when I saw the luscious photo, so I altered her take on this a touch using canned beans and the Mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) to mix in with the tomatoes. You can check out her beautiful recipe at the link above, but here is my faster rendition. BTW – it was delicious.


Stewed White Beans with Tomatoes and Rosemary
Adapted from Martha Stewart and Noble Pig

2 cans Great Northern beans drained and rinsed
1 onion, 1 half finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 carrot, cut into discs
3 or 4 celery stalk tops chopped
1 dried bay leaf
1 can (28 ounces) whole plum tomatoes, with juice
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 sprig rosemary
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Pulse tomatoes, with juice, in a food processor until coarsely chopped.  Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add chopped onion, celery, carrots, red-pepper flakes and bay leaf.  Cook until tender and add garlic the last 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add this mixture to the processor, discarding the bay leaf and pulse until chunky smooth. Put all the veggies into a pot and add rosemary and thyme.  Bring to a boil.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomato sauce thickens, about 15 minutes then add beans and go another 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, I felt it needed a decent amount of salt for flavor.  (Beans can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)  Serve warm and drizzle with oil and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

If the stew is made in advance, be sure to remove the rosemary sprig and let the beans cool before refrigerating.  It should be reheated gently over medium-low heat.

I also want to try a recipe posted on Grumpy’s Honeybunch, Blueberry Pound Cake. A Cooking Light recipe that I missed, but Ms. Honeybunch found and now I am so excited about making it. This will be a Sunday effort to be served to Paul on Monday as his birthday cake (I love dragging out birthdays for a whole month.)

What’s a new recipe you tried this week? What was your inspiration? Check out these sites to find out more things to keep you busy in the kitchen.

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