Saturday, March 14, 2020

Life During Wartime: Beans Edition

We just got word that we are to work from home indefinitely because of the corona virus pandemic.   I have been looking forward to this announcement because I love working from home.   I can get so much more done when I work at home, and I can start my work right when I get up if I want, which is usually around 4:30 am.    I am a morning person, I do my best work before noon.     Hope the internet holds up!

I'm humored by all the people buying toilet paper and bottled water, but what really surprises me is people buying beans and rice.    Normally people just don't buy dried beans, even though Michigan is second in the nation IN TOTAL DRY BEAN PRODUCTION with 22% of the total; North Dakota is first.    There are eight different varieties of beans grown within Michigan that are sold throughout the United States and abroad:
Cranberry beans
Dark red kidney beans
Black beans
Adzuki beans
Pinto beans
Navy beans
Light red kidney beans
Small red kidney beans

I am a big fan of Michigan beans, and I hope that this corona virus scare inspires more cooks to try cooking beans.     I took a stroll through my blog to find some of my favorite bean recipes:

Busy Woman's Red Beans and Rice    I wrote this post when both of my kids were teenagers and too young to drive.   They were super active and we had to get them to places 7 days a week.    This recipe was one of my favorites.     I still love Lucinda Scala Quinn....any of her cookbooks are outstanding!

Baked Beans There's nothing better than baked beans made from scratch.    I enjoyed finding this vintage bean cookbook featuring bean recipes from politicians.    Also the Senate Bean Soup, which the Romney's claimed as their own.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup  I don't eat at Olive Garden very often, but when I do, it's this soup I like.    It's fun to make at home with Michigan beans.

Minted Bean Salad  Hopefully, this pandemic will be over by the time the fresh mint comes in.   But if not.....remember this recipe.    Or maybe you will still have those beans left over from your stockpile. 

Speaking of summer, remember this White Bean and Tomato Soup for when you have way too many tomatoes and the basil is about to bolt.  It is so good!

I love Bob Talbert's White Chicken Chili recipe so much that I printed it on cards that I ship with every sale of my soup  bowl cozies.     I can make you some soup bowl cozies in any college fabric you desire.   I could make a set to match your personality!  Let me know if you are interested.

If you can't lay your hands on that great UP treat, cudighi, you could substitute your favorite hot Italian sausage in this wonderful recipe for Cudighi and Kale Soup 

This recipe for Red Lentil Soup won my $50 from my rural electric co-op.    They even made a video about how to make it!

While I am looking forward to working from home, I sure hope that this pandemic doesn't impact too many of us.    I heard a podcast from Michigan famous guy Michael Moore, and he proposed we Michigan folks won't be affected too much because Michigan is a state of peninsulas.  Nobody drives through Michigan to get somewhere else.   It protects us!  I guess I never thought of it that way.   Be well, my friends!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Green Pasta with Shrimp

For as long as I can remember, I wake up most every night between 2 - 3 am.  These days, I use that time to watch things on PBS.   It's really the only time I watch TV, so at least it's educational.   When I was pregnant with Jane, I did stray from PBS to watch reruns of thirtysomething on the Hallmark channel.   I loved that show so much when I was a twentysomething.    Wonder if I can stream it from somewhere?    Anyway a couple nights ago, my insomnia led me to watching Jamie Oliver's Quick and Easy Food, and he made this vegetarian pasta dish with kale in in it that looked fantastic!

I found the recipe online, but decided to make some changes to it and put it into units we Americans can understand.    I decided to add shrimp to it, too.    Here's how I made it:

Green Pasta With Shrimp
serves 2 people

8 oz. bucatini
1/2 a large bag of chopped kale
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 oz. grated parmesan cheese
3 T. olive oil
lemon juice from half a lemon

In a large pot, cook bucatini according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. In a large dutch oven, fill half full with water and bring to a boil,  add kale and garlic and cook for 5 minutes,  drain.   Add reserved pasta water, kale, garlic 2 T olive oil and cheese to blender,  and liquefy.    In dutch oven, add remaining oil and saute shrimp until pink, remove from pan.    Add kale sauce to put and season with salt and pepper to taste.   Finish with lemon juice.   Add cooked pasta, top with shrimp and more parmesan cheese, if desired.    Great Lent friendly meal! 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Curried Chicken Soup

I have been keeping this blog since January 16, 2006.   My first blog post, which I thoughtfully entitled Scottish Food, totally reflected where I was in that point in my life.   I have always enjoyed good food, but as a mother of two young children (Jane was 11 and Eddie was 9) I often found myself at the drive thru at McDonalds,    I rarely find myself there now, but I do admit a fondness for McDonald's french fries.    I'd go there right now and get some but we are about to have an ice storm and so I might as well stay in and make some chicken soup instead.

I'm a fan of the shredded rotisserie chicken you can get at Meijer.   I buy it almost every week - it is very often a quick snack or an easy lunch ingredient.  This week, I found myself at Costco, even though I rarely use Costco for much more than gasoline, toilet paper and vodka.   (yes, their vodka is outstanding and well priced).   They offered up some shredded rotisserie chicken as well, at a price comparable to Meijer.   Consumer warning: it is rare that Costco prices can beat Meijer prices.   They trick you because you need to do math to figure that out.   Don't fall into the trap that Costco is cheap.  It most often is not.  I bought their chicken and found it to be subpar.   So I had a bunch that needed to be eaten and when I saw a recipe in Cook's Country for curried chicken noodle soup that sounded like it might work. 

Given the ice storm, I wasn't going to go out to get the rice vermicelli and the Thai basil leaves required for the recipe, so I decided to adapt.   Here is what I came up is outstanding!  Feel free to use up a cup of whatever pasta you have kicking around in the pantry.   And of course, you could poach some chicken breasts instead of the shredded rotisserie chicken.   This soup was so good!  Let the storm begin!

Curried Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
6 cups chicken broth (3 cans)
1/4 c. dried pasta
¼ cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 small can mushrooms
2 T dried hot peppers
1 c. frozen peas

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, salt, and pepper and cook until vegetables are just softened, about 4 minutes. Add broth, noodles, coconut milk, and sriracha sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until noodles are softened, about 12 minutes, depending on your pasta.  Stir in chicken and mushrooms and cook until chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and heat until bright green. 

Serve with lime wedges

This soup would be perfect for someone with a cold!  It is spicy.    So good on a cold, wet day like today.   My kids are grown and gone now, but I am willing to bet either one of them will make this soup.    Stay warm, my friends!