First off, I need to hang my head a little bit today. For the past month, I’ve been trying to set myself a goal of a minimum of one blog post a week, posted on Tuesday.
Obviously I missed that target this week. So, I’m hanging my head a bit and resolving to get my act together next week.
Other than that, this last week has been good. I’m finally starting to get over that stupid cold I caught a while back. And we’re starting to see consecutive days abover freezing here in Montana. Heck, we were in the high 40s and low 50s this weekend! 🙂
(And then we were freezing with light snow yesterday . . . *sigh*.)
On to the recipes!
Last week I wrote that I was going to try a ham-and-beans recipe I saw in the Garden and Gun magazine. Around Wednesday or Thursday, I did try it (with some modifications from the original — authentic Creole and Cajun food uses an amazing amount of salt) and it was delicious. So here’s the modified version I came up with.
And I never got around to making any rice for it, it didn’t last that long, so I’m leaving out the rice part of the recipe entirely.
Ham and Red Beans
- 1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or 2 cups homemade chick stock
- 14 cups water
- 1 lb dry red beans
- 1/2 lb good smoked ham, diced small
- optional, but preferred — ham bone or ham shanks or pork shanks
- 1-1/2 – 2 cups diced yellow onion
- 3-5 celery ribs, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried jalapeno pepper, or a whole fresh jalapeno diced
- 6 cloves garlic
- Bay leaf, 1 fresh or 2 dry
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- dash of black pepper
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Put bean in a pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, let boil two minutes, then take off the heat and let sit for 1 hour.
Drain beans, put back in pot, refill with chicken broth and remaining six cups of water.
Add in ham meat, ham bones or shanks if you have them, celery, onion, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil, let boil a minimum of two hours or until beans are done. Four hours is preferable if you have ham bones or shanks.
Once the beans are done, take out the ham bones or shanks. Remove and discard any fat, gristle or skin. Slice off and dice up any meat that is still on the bones, return the meat to the pot. Discard the bones. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
While still hot, but no longer boiling, add in parsley and Worcestershire sauce.
This next recipe comes from Bon Appetit magazine, and I have to be honest — I love Bon Appetit, but some of their recipes look crazy.
But at the same time, some of their crazy recipes do work.
This is a modified version of the Buttermilk Spice Cake that appear in their March 2010 issue. While not real sweet itself, it is very tasty and goes very well with fruit or berries.
Buttermilk Spice Cake
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup 1-minute oatmeal
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground pepper
- 1 3-inch long piece of vanilla bean, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, or 1/2 – 1 teaspoon (depending on your tastes) vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar, turbinado or demerara preferred, although you can use white sugar too
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lime zest or lime peel
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
Grease and flour a nine-inch pan. This isn’t a very large recipe, so I used a 9-inch pie plate.
In one bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, beat butter until it is pale and fluffy. Beat in sugar a little at a time, then beat in eggs. Mix in lime zest last.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter and sugar mixture, in four batches for the flour and three batches for the buttermilk. Mix thoroughly after each addition.
Pour batter in cake pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
And last is a new website by the American Dietician Association — www.eatright.org. It has information on nutritional aspects of various popular diets, how nutrition interacts with (and sometimes can cause or exacerbate disease) and all types of other interesting stuff.
(And if you are cooking a lot, nutrition is something to consider. You don’t have to go overboard and get a Ph.D. in it, but it helps to pick up little bits here and there and incorporate it into your cooking. Diet and nutrition concerns are some of the reasons why I try to add as little salt to recipes as possible, and also why I substitute 1-minute oatmeal in for 1/3 of the flour in most baking recipes I try.)