Le Creuset Baked Beans

Ugggggghhhh. Saturday was flip-flop weather and today, Monday, THIS:

WHAT IS THIS???

Here’s why Mark is great, or one reason anyway: Fortinbras was here last week and he and Mark went to the mall so Mark could buy a new computer. I refused to go because I despise the mall. When they returned, I was informed that once they got to the Apple store, Mark abruptly announced, “buying a new computer is stupid; let’s go buy Renae something instead,” so they went to Williams-Sonoma and got me a bean pot for no apparent reason. I hadn’t done anything to deserve said bean pot, especially a mere week after Christmas, when I got a Vita-Mix, but I’m not complaining because I’ve been wanting a bean pot, so yay!

The bean pot I suddenly came to own was packed with a couple of recipes so today I decided to make the included Oven Baked Beans recipe, which is slightly non-vegan with its can of pork and beans (and Worcestershire sauce, but since it’s easy for me to buy vegan Worcestershire, I don’t even register it as a non-vegan ingredient). So this is my adaption of the Le Creuset Oven Baked Beans recipe.

Le Creuset Baked Beans

1 1/4 cups dried kidney beans
1 1/4 cups dried baby lima beans
1 1/4 cups dried pinto beans
1 1/4 cups dried Great Northern beans
1 14.5 oz can vegetarian baked beans
1 medium onion, diced
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses (I used blackstrap; the original recipe didn’t specify a type)
1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp liquid smoke
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
hot sauce to taste – I used homemade sriracha
1 packet Goya artificial ham flavoring (optional, but it’s weirdly vegan, so if you want some of the hammy flavor you’re missing from the can of pork and beans, do it up)

Place the kidney, lima, pinto, and Great Northern beans in a large vessel. Cover with several inches of cold water and soak overnight (or all day). Alternatively, cover with several inches of boiling water and soak for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dice the onion.

Stir or whisk together the rest of the ingredients.

Drain the soaked beans.

Stir together all of the ingredients in a bean pot, Dutch oven, or large casserole.

Cover …

… and bake until done. The original recipe said to bake for two hours, and after two hours it was certainly edible, but I like my beans creamier so I added more water and baked for another hour.

Serve. This makes way more beans than you will probably need unless you are feeding 40 friends.

Moving on to completely off-topic items, the lovely Zoa asked to see some of the infrared pictures I took in Charleston and I can’t turn Zoa down.

Infrared filters work by blocking all visible light and allowing only infrared light to pass through to the camera. Because all visible light is blocked, the filters appear to be nearly opaque and you need to use shutter times of several seconds to many minutes, and thus you need a tripod. The images you make will appear very red with black detail. Usually you’ll convert this to black & white, where things that reflect a lot of infrared light, like foliage, will be more exposed, or lighter in tone, than they normally appear, which can give pictures an otherworldly appearance.

Here’s what a photo looks like before being converted to B&W:

This is the first infrared picture I ever took. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing and just held the shutter open for a random amount of time, so I don’t know how it ended up relatively well exposed. This is from Middleton Place. The South, with all that gorgeous Spanish moss, is a great place for these types of pictures.

Another from Middleton Place.

My tripod boy (Mark, acting as my assistant, is in charge of carrying the tripod) staged this photo. Can you find him? You can click for a full-size version if you need help.

From Magnolia Cemetery:

From Folly Beach:

We got a little silly by this time and started goofing off with the long exposures. This is me and Mark HAUNTING YOU.

Mark calls this one Portrait of an Artist as a Dead Man.

Okay, nothing too amazing, but I had a lot of fun taking them and am looking forward to playing around with the filter some more.

Comments (11)

Lima Bean Risotto

One of my favorite commenters, Josiane, managed to correctly identify and inquire about the lima bean risotto I made last week to accompany the “ricotta” butternut squash I mentioned in my last post. So I figured I’d make it again and post a recipe for her.

I thought I was lightly adapting the recipe for Risotto with Vegetables du Jour in Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, but when I looked it up, I was pretty much making it exactly as specified, other than adding some wine to the broth. In a side note she even suggests lima beans, which I thought was my own idea, as one of the vegetables “du jour”. I wish I had actually adapted it so I wasn’t posting an exact recipe, but honestly, it’s a very basic recipe and there’s not much to change. Another thing: I used a pressure cooker, as you can probably tell from the name of the cookbook I got the recipe from. If you haven’t made risotto in a pressure cooker, you have no idea how EASY it is. I highly recommend investing in a pressure cooker – or putting one on your wish list. And as soon as you have the pressure cooker, get Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure because it’s excellent. Because I’m always looking up pressure-cook times for various beans and grains, it’s probably my most-referred-to cookbook.

You can also make this the hard way, by standing over the stove, stirring constantly and slowly adding the the broth as it is absorbed. It’s up to you!

Lima Bean Risotto
very lightly adapted from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

1 large shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
large pinch saffron (Trader Joe’s sells this for a reasonable price, although that’s not very helpful for Josiane, who is in Canada!)
salt to taste (the recipe calls for 1 tsp; I find the perfect amount depends on the broth you choose)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup cooked lima beans (I had some leftover from another dish in the freezer)
2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
something green: thinly sliced scallions, chopped parsley or other herb, etc.

Mince the shallot.

Prep and measure the rest of the ingredients.

My broth is homemade and fairly concentrated, so I watered it down a bit so not to overwhelm the risotto. Here it is combined with the wine.

Heat some olive oil over medium-high heat in a pressure cooker (or medium-large pot if you are doing things the hard way). Add the shallots and cook until soft, then add the rice, salt, and saffron and stir to coat with the oil.

Add the broth and wine, put the lid on, take the heat up to high, and bring up to pressure. Then reduce the heat to low or medium-low (the lowest at which you can keep it at pressure) and cook for 5 minutes. Release pressure using a “quick-release” method.
(If you aren’t using a pressure cooker, get a book to read and a chair to sit on, and add the broth 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until it is absorbed to add the next dose. This will take about 30-40 minutes, if I remember correctly, but it’s been a very long time.)

There are three possibilities when you remove the lid of the pressure cooker: 1) the risotto will be a little dry, 2) the risotto will be a little runny, or 3) the risotto will be done perfectly. In the case of #1, add a little broth, as well as the lima beans and green stuff and return to medium heat just until the lima beans are heated through, stirring. In the case of #2, return to medium to medium-high heat to boil off the extra liquid, stirring and adding the lima beans and green stuff 2 or 3 minutes before it’s ready. If #3, just add the lima beans and green stuff and heat a couple of minutes until the lima beans are warm. Mine was a little liquidy.

I’ve added the limas in this picture.

After removing from the heat, add the lemon juice, adjusting the amount to taste. Adjust the salt if necessary.

And serve. This was accompanied by vegan “fish” in a garlic-tarragon sauce.

Josiane, I hope that helps – I’m sure you’ll add your own touches; let me know how it goes! As for the rest of you, any other requests?!

And now, Torticia.

Comments (4)

Lima Bean Soup

Thanksgiving is my father’s favorite holiday. My mother does not like to cook (and my father does not cook), so I think Thanksgiving may be her least favorite holiday. But no one wants to disappoint my dad, and no restaurants are going to have anything for me and Mark, so my mother continues to make Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, everyone’s problems would be solved if I were allowed to host Thanksgiving dinner since I love to cook and I love hosting dinner parties, but that’s a rather Renae-centric perspective because I’m pretty sure my father would counter there’d be the problem of a lack of a dead turkey. ANYWAY, I’m trying to help ease the burden on my mother and aunt by bringing whatever I can. This year one of the things I offered to bring was succotash.

Now, in prior years I would never have made such an offer, because lima beans, gross! But then a couple of years ago I found fresh lima beans at the farmers market and learned I do like lima beans. In fact, not too long ago, I made succotash – the single part of Thanksgiving I despised as a child – and loved it. So I said I could make succotash this year, IF I could use dried baby limas instead of the nasty frozen ones. But I’ve never made it from dried beans before, so today as a trial I soaked and cooked some of those dried baby limas, mixed a few with some corn and Earth Balance, and tried to decide if I thought there was a chance my family would eat it. It tasted fine, but I haven’t yet admitted to Mom that dried limas are white, not green like the frozen ones, so not only is it an extremely boring looking dish, it may be too different-looking to pass muster with my father. I’m thinking about adding some chopped scallions for Thanksgiving, though, to give it color.

That’s a very long way of telling you that today I had a mess of cooked baby limas and nothing to do with them. Actually, they’d have been fine just waiting for Thursday so I guess I didn’t have to do anything with them. But I like cooking a whole bunch of things at once for holidays, so I’d just as soon cook another batch of limas on Wednesday. (Is that weird?) Today’s limas went in…well, if you’ve been reading long enough, you know. Soup. If I don’t know what to do with something, it’s soup. Soup, soup, lovely soup. Oh 8-year old Renae, how I love to confound you with my lima bean creations.

Lima Bean Soup

8 oz dried baby lima beans
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped (I included some leaves, too)
3 medium carrots, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 oz white wine
14.5 oz tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Note: I cooked my lima beans separately from the soup because I was trying them in a different dish as well. You could also simply cook the limas in the soup, adding 30-60 minutes to the soup cooking time as needed.

Soak the lima beans overnight in cold water, or pour boiling water over them and “quick soak” for an hour or two. Drain, then cook in fresh water to cover until done. I think it took about 45 minutes for mine; maybe not even that.

Chop all the vegetables, then heat some oil in a Dutch oven and add the onions, celery, and carrot. Cook until soft, then add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Deglaze the pot with the wine. Add the chopped tomatoes and thyme and cook for another minute or two, then add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then add the limas.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. This is particularly good with a nice crusty bread and salad.

In cat news, Gomez gave us a scare last night when he didn’t appear for cat dinner. Mark searched the house while I went outside in the cold desperately calling his name. Eventually I went back inside in full panic mode and started randomly opening closet doors I knew Mark had already searched. I was talking to Mark and absentmindedly opened a dresser drawer…and out sprung Gomez like a jack-in-the-box! Which was both astonishing and a tremendous relief, although I’d like to know why he didn’t ANSWER US when we called him. Apparently he just sat in there in oblivion for 45 minutes. Well, other than the psychic “meow” he sent me. I had thought I heard a faint meow just before getting up to get their dinner, and I said to Mark, “Gomez is trapped somewhere!”, in fact, that’s why I got up to get their dinner. But Mark hadn’t heard it and didn’t think anything of it until Mez didn’t appear for his food. If Gomez HAD meowed from the dresser, I couldn’t possibly have heard him in the room I was in, so I guess my brain was just sending me a signal he was in trouble. It was weird. Here are some pictures of Gomez NOT trying to give me a heart attack.

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