Cherish life. Nourish it.

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Cannellini Beans, Tuscan Style

Cannellini beans

Cannellini beans

Rancho Gordo beans are exquisite: heirloom varieties that offer depth of flavor while being budget friendly. A rare but welcome combination.

Today I used cooked up a big pot (5 pounds!) for a community gathering. They were a hit.

Here is a redux of the recipe in a more family friendly size:

  • 1 lb cannellini beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 medium onions, cut in half, each half studded with 2 cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 celery stalks, 1/4 inch doce
  • water, to cover by three inches
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced or presssed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons EACH minced fresh Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme
  • 1 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

In a heavy dutch oven or bean pot, place the soaked, drained beans, onion halves, bay leaves, carrots, and celery. Add enough water to cover by at least 3 inches.

Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that accumulates at the top of the beans. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, cooking gently, for 1 hour. Add the salt, and continue cooking without the lid for 30 minutes or until the beans are tender and cooked through. Discard onion halves and bay leaves.

Remove the beans from the pot to a bowl, and measure the bean broth. Reserve 3 cups of the cooking liquid. Rinse and dry the bean cooking pot.

Add the olive oil to your clean, dry dutch oven or bean pot and heat on medium for 1 minute. Stir in the minced garlic and stir quickly so that it doesn’t burn. Add the beans, reserved cooking liquid, herbs, and cheese and bring to a brisk boil. Stir every couple of minutes so that it does not stick. The sauce will gradually reduce and thicken. A few of the beans may split, but they will help thicken the sauce. The sauce should reach the desired consistency in about 10 minutes. Add cracked pepper and salt to taste.

Tastes great as a side or main dish, or on crostini as an appetizer.

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Yellow Squash, Indonesian style

photo (9)

Vadouvan is a spice blend that combines Indian and French influences. Like curry powders, each blend is a little different. Many contain sugar and corn (maltodextrin), and should be avoided by those with sensitivities. Also, it’s much easier to control seasoning if a salt-free blend is used: then you can add salt to personal taste. My favorite ready made spice combination is from Williams Sonoma, and contains 11 ingredients. This spice blend is rather delicate, and some of its subtle flavors do not hold up well to prolonged, high heat cooking.

Makes a nice side for meat eaters. I had mine over leftover red quinoa.

Serves 6-8 generously

Oven 425 Degrees F


This goes together in a flash and roasts in the oven while you prep other things.

2 lb yellow squash, washed and ends trimmed, cut on the diagonal

2 cups sliced celery stalks

1/4 tsp cracked pepper

salt to taste

2 teaspoons fruity olive oil

Toss the above together and cover. Roast for 20 minutes or until squash is barely tender and celery is tender-crisp. Remove from oven and stir in:

2 T Vadouvan spice blend (widely available, I used Williams Sonoma brand)

Re-cover, and roast 5 more minutes. Remove to a serving dish and top with:

2 T minced Cilantro leaves