Saturday, June 23, 2012

Franks & Beans


You're invited to a Saturday night suppah in Maine!


This post is dedicated to Mr. Bear,
who took bean pot cleanup very seriously.
I grew up in a home where baked beans, coleslaw and hot dogs were almost always on the weekly dinner menu.

In my neighborhood, you could drive by a grange hall on any day of the week and have a 99% chance of spotting a sign reading, "Baked Bean Supper, Saturday at 5pm. All welcome!" So, I think it’s fair to say that I know what a good baked bean recipe tastes like. I also know that it is far from the fanciest of meals. However, a really good baked bean recipe overpowers what the Maine delicacy may look like on the plate.

Recently, I was challenged to play around with the classic dinner...or, suppah, if you will, of Franks and Beans! If you are unfamiliar, traditional franks and beans is a one-pot dinner where hot dogs are cooked in the same sauce as the baked beans.

I spent some time googling (isn't that the synonym for going to the library?) traditional franks and beans recipes and I kept finding one common denominator: the beans used in the recipes were canned.

Well, I'm going to get a little fancy-pants on my franks and beans recipe and go gourmet. I don't really think gourmet is the first adjective that comes to mind when people think of franks and beans. But, everyone likes to dress up once in a while! And, I mean, this is a challenge. I must bring my A-game…or B-game, since we’re talkin’ beans.


Okay, let's not get too ahead of ourselves here...the beans aren't going to look any fancier (picture a bean tower made with a rosti ring, served with a caviar garnish) No. No, we aren't going in that direction, but their prep will be a little fancier, as will their ingredients.

Instead of using canned baked beans, we are going to soak the beans overnight, and they will cook all day in their sauce. And those franks, or as my sister used to say, "daw daws" are going to join the beans a little later and slow-cook along with them, adding an additional punch of flavor. We could almost call this recipe Franks & Beans Confit...almost.

A traditional franks and beans recipe is all about convenience, and maybe that's why most recipes list canned beans as the way to go. But baking your own baked beans can be so satisfying! The oven does most of the work and you also get to control what flavors you put in the beans. You can go as simple or as gourmet as you want. It's actually kind of fun!


My mom always served her baked beans with coleslaw, and that’s what I recommend you do with this recipe, as well.

It never fails that we have too much beans and coleslaw…
What do I do with the leftovers? I throw them in a sandwich, like my mom always did for our lunch. Think it's weird? JUST TRY IT!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Pasta Dough

A few seconds ago I was in my kitchen, whipping up a batch of pasta dough for tonight's meal, and thought, "OH!  How dare I not share this with you!" So, I started taking pictures immediately.  Lucky youuuu!

I found this recipe on Epicurious.com, originally printed in Gourmet's April 2008 issue. I've made a few changes to reduce waste (I include the egg whites) and removed a lot of the water (since I incorporate the entire egg), as well as added a little healthy glimmer in there for your hearts (whole wheat flour). I know, that is awfully kind of me.

My recipe is doubled from the original, which makes about one pound of pasta. You can roll the dough out by hand or use a pasta machine. Make spaghetti, linguine, lasagna, pappardelle, ravioli, you name it! Just remember, fresh pasta cooks in a matter of minutes! Oh, and salt your water, per favore :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Taco Seasoning

Anyone celebrating Taco Tuesday this evening?  If so, here's a quick post for a great taco seasoning recipe for those who are freaked out by what's in the little seasoning package at the grocery store (scarrry, I know).

Make it as mild or as spicy as you like! I prefer runny-nose inducing spice :)