BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘beans

Chocolate Chili, with Local Beans, Local Grain

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Kronis Purple and Moon Beam chili beans from nearby Matt-Cyn Farms.

Plus Stahlford Seed's Wheat berries

It’s been wicked cold, windy and usually dry (until today) in Oregon this week. You want to stay huddled under the covers, wear a hat and gloves even in the house when you emerge and eat steamy soup for dinner. So a hearty batch of refreshingly vegetarian soup we cooked up this week. I first made this Wheat Berry Chili recipe from the Ten Rivers Food Web last year. It’s not the most flavorful or unusual chili I’ve ever had, but it’s a great canvas on which I could showcase the locally grown wheat from Stalford Seed Farms and for the first time, locally grown dried beans lovingly raised by the husband-wife team behind Matt-Cyn Farms.

Matt and Cyndie grow a rainbow of 20-plus varieties of  heirloom beans, including the Moon Beam chili ones and Kronis Purple kidney shaped ones that I used in the soup. Another secret ingredient: I substituted some spoonfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips for the cocoa power the soup’s recipe called for. It’s not that far-fetched when you think of spicy chocolate mole sauces and the fact that most chili recipes feature a tiny bit of cocoa. But I can’t claim credit for the idea. I conveniently heard Nigella Lawson talking up such a recipe on NPR. The chips imbued the soup with creamy flavor that remained subtle, not in your face. Things did get a bit too spicy with the addition of jalapeno peppers I didn’t de-seed enough. It’s amazing how much pepper to pepper varies in heat.

I’ll post the simple recipe here tomorrow, as I’m now nodding off to sleep. But considering the warming pleasure of barley-like wheat berries and dried beans, especially if local farms are selling these crops in your area.

The chocolatey chili.

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Written by baltimoregon

December 12, 2009 at 2:30 am

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Albacore Doesn’t Just Come in a Can

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Fresh albacore with tomato-ginger relish and Asian mustard butter sauce.

Fresh albacore with tomato-ginger relish and Asian mustard butter sauce.

Despite my neglect, the garden keeps providing.

Despite my neglect, the garden keeps providing.

What a difference a year makes. I never thought I’d feel at home in Corvallis (or blogging, for that matter) but here exactly a year later since the move and this project began, and I’m well at ease.

We’re frantically trying to weed and tame the yard this weekend after a summer and, well really, a year of neglect. But I’m at least adept enough to coax a few vegetables from the earth. The green (and purple and yellow) beans, tomatoes and remaining leeks are still abundant enough to source a meal.

Fresh albacore is the obvious reply to what to make for dinner this time of year.

Apparently there’s only about a week left in the season. The one-pound chunk we bought downtown today at Harry & Annette’s Fresh Fish just came in from the coast this morning. Fresh albacore is affordable, fleeting and so much more delicious and less fishy than the canned stuff. It’s not sushi-grade bluefin or yellowtail but it’s a milder still meaty fish that melds well with a range of flavors, particularly gingerly Asian marinades.

The most recent food column in the local Corvallis newspaper inspired me. Since we shy away from the grill, we roasted the fish at high-heat, 500 degrees. We whipped up our version of the fresh tomato-ginger “relish” and the hot mustard better sauce. I doubled the sweet onion in the relish since I lacked green ones. And some leftover lebni yogurt cheese stood in for whipping cream, yielding a tasty but curdled butter sauce.

My home-grown beans we steamed and sauteed with lemon, rosemary and chopped walnuts. Freshing but a tad bit bland, according to Dan. But overall a memorable meal.

I just wonder if cooking will continue to capture my attention in 2009-10 as it did, sustaining me, last year.

Written by baltimoregon

September 6, 2009 at 1:38 am

The Pleasure of Parmesany Polenta, Topped with a Toothsome Ragout

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Borlotti (Or Rather Pinto) Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta

For the rest of winter, I pledge to make more polenta: hand-stirred, coarsely ground corn made creamy with unsalted butter and a generous grating of parmesan cheese. Resist buying those ubiquitous fat tubes of prepared polenta. It’s not hard to make–really just yellow grits. Just sit by the stove with a book for 30 minutes of patient stirring.

This stick-to-your ribs tangy tomato sauce and polenta dish, from Heirloom Beans by Vanessa Barrington and Steve Sando is a real keeper. Pinto beans were a surprisingly fitting substitute for the borlotti (or cranberry) beans I couldn’t find. They have a similar speckled exterior that disappears upon boiling, though they cook up softer than cranberry beans. The sauteed fennel and grated carrot gave the tomato sauce a real sweetness that married well with the polenta.

Any other polenta dishes to suggest? I’m hooked. I’ll probably next tackle Mark Bittman’s polenta breakfast pizza.

Serves 4 to 6

Written by baltimoregon

February 23, 2009 at 2:31 am

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