Marinated Beans with Celery and Ricotta Salata*

Recent cooking magazines have had so many great spring salad recipes in them.

Even if the title doesn’t sound like something I can totally eat or the quick glance of ingredients doesn’t seem right because of my lactose intolerance, I always see how I can alter it. So many times olive oil can be substituted for butter, or there is only a splash of cream that can be nixed.

This one sounded so good, and was so quick and easy! And in this one, for instance, it calls for Ricotta Salata. I thought of ways to change that content. I have, in less than a week, made this recipe twice. Once with no cheese, and once with goat (or Chevre) cheese. Both were awesome!

So, this recipe is Marinated Beans with Celery and Ricotta Salata from the May issue for Bon Appetit.

Note: the recipe is for 8 servings, and it’s a hefty 8

Ingredients

  • 4 15-oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, navy beans, and/or black-eyed peas, rinsed
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped thyme, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 oz. ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), crumbled (used Chevre from
    Trader Joe’s)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

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Preparation

  • Toss beans, celery, oil, vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. thyme in a large bowl to combine; season generously with salt.
  • Just before serving, transfer beans to a shallow bowl and top with ricotta salata, pepper, and more thyme.
  • Do Ahead: Bean salad (without celery and ricotta salata) can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Non-Cheese:

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Cheese:

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Definitely keeping this recipe around and will make it several times this summer. Just so delicious. I also nearly doubled the amount of celery to add more veggie content.

 

Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger and Lime

Got together with friends to make a feast recently and found a tasty-sounding Bon Appetit recipe to try — Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger and Lime.

Made a couple changes in the recipe because of nuts, lack of beans, and other stuff.

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2 pounds mixed snap beans (such as green, wax, haricots verts, and/or Romano), trimmed — used straight frozen green beans from Trader’s Joe’s
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ large shallot, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely grated on a Microplane
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts — used cashews vs. peanuts
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped — I went to 4 stores, including international markets, and couldn’t get these.  The guys at both the Mexican markets and Asian markets laughed at me.  I thought that was comical myself that they didn’t carry them.
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving

Preparation

Working in batches by type, cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 1–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and pat dry.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium and cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high. Cook peanuts, tossing often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside 1 Tbsp. peanuts for serving.

Whisk kaffir lime leaves, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil into shallot mixture. Add beans, remaining peanuts, and ⅓ cup cilantro and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with more cilantro and reserved peanuts.

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It was good, but nothing that exciting.  Don’t know if the lime leaves are what would totally bring it in.  Glad I made it, would not discount making it again, but not top of my list.

Chaat (Black Chick Pea Salad)

I was going to an event recently and there was a food theme to it.  I had to do some research and a friend gave me a great recipe for a Pakistan Black Chick Pea Salad, known there as Chaat (which also refers to many snacks).  Check out the Wikipedia info on it.  I’d had a bite of this salad from my friends’ fridge the weekend before and it was delicious so I had to get the recipe.  It was awesome to get this and translate it because it came from his mom so he was getting the true, true specs while speaking to her in Urdu and bringing it to me while applying some of the thoughts they have in the Middle East that they still use while cooking here to preserve the food.  I have brought it down to simple stuff (only took a couple things out).

Ingredients:

Two cups dry black chick peas/garbanzo beans

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper or red pepper flakes

1 lemon

1 tomato, chopped

1 avocado, cut into small pieces

1/4 packet “Chat Masala” from an Indian Store

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 medium thin skinned potato with the skin removed after baking or microwaving

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Go to a local Indian Store to get (two cups of dry) black chick peas. Rinse several times and then soak in a bowl of water overnight.  In the morning, boil until they are the desired consistency and chewiness (about 1.5 hours in boiling water is needed after an overnight soak).  If there is a time element, use regular Garbanzo beans/chick peas from a can in place of the black chick peas.

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IMG_0539Directions:

While the boiling is taking place…

Bake potato (I nuked it for a couple minutes) and chop into small pieces.

Combine salt, pepper, red pepper, jalapeno pepper, and chat masala in a medium sized bowl.

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Get out a second bowl and add the chick peas (once done), tomato, avocado, lemon juice, chopped cilantro. Mix together (hands work well to do this). Add the potato.

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Mix the second mixture with the first mixture and adjust salt, pepper, red pepper, to taste and add lemon juice.

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This salad was awesome!  It can be enjoyed warm or cold, I prefer the latter.  So fresh and so many flavors.  Would be great for tailgaiting!!!

Mushroom & White Bean Crostini

A cold afternoon can only get better with the amazing aroma of mushrooms and fresh herbs!  I was having some friends over the other day and we always enjoy hummus as one of our snacks so had to do something different.  I came across a new recipe that has one of their favorite foods in it — mushrooms — and then it has the beans of hummus, too.  Perfect!  So I whipped up a Mushroom & White Bean Crostini.  I made a few changes to the original recipe based on what I had on hand and lactose intolerance.

Ingredients

1 (French) baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup garlic infused olive oil — just used the regular stuff and sprinkled the bread with garlic powder
1 Tablespoon butter — didn’t use any
1 Tablespoon olive oil — ‘some’ — accounting for no butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms, cleaned and patted dry — picked up a pack at Trader Joe’s
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch Kosher salt
1 15.9 ounce can Bush’s Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed — used Cannellini Beans
2 Tablespoons Italian Herbs — went with flat leaf parsley and fresh rosemary — totally more than 2 tbsp
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese — nixed that for my own reasons — let me know how it tastes

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Time to cook!

I put the slices of baguette under the broiler — translation nice and quick vs. extended toasting.

Next, per the recipe, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, <butter> and mushrooms. Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until mushrooms release their moisture and begin to shrink. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.  The kitchen started smelling so good!

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Then, get those herbs ready!  Now, aroma overload.  This is one of the reasons we cook!!!!Mushrooms&stew 003

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Next, add minced garlic, salt, herbs and beans. Stir and cook over medium heat until mixture is heated through.

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Finally —

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I served this in a bowl and let guests dish it onto bread on their own or just put it on their plate and eat it with a fork.  Otherwise the recipe mentions…To assemble each piece of Crostini, place a spoonful of mushroom bean mixture on top of a slice of toasted bread. Top with shredded baby swiss cheese.
This was so, so good.  Would be great to serve at upcoming parties and can be easily transported if not served on bread if you want to take it somewhere.  You can easily make it ahead of time and heat it up when you arrived at required location.