Cooking

Many Recipes

Lots of Recipes with Little Success

A gratuitous out-of-season photo of my cranberry sauce, looking like a lovely snow-capped mountain.

A gratuitous out-of-season photo of my cranberry sauce, looking like a lovely snow-capped mountain.

When we were in Arizona, it was my quest to find the Anasazi beans that I really like. I had zero success, but I did find¬†several other heirloom varieties that I wanted to try. Not black, pinto or kidney beans. Different. Unique. I’m probably the only person who goes on a road trip and comes home with beans as a souvenir. Now all I had to do was look for recipes. And, you know, actually cook.

Beans

The first variety we tested were Jacob’s cattle beans with bacon and sage. These were excellent, and I’d make them again in a heartbeat. They tasted substantially smokier and meatier than you’d expect from five thin slices of bacon.

The second variety was the peruano (canary) bean cooked in a yellow curry. The beans themselves had a good texture, and are worth exploring in other recipes. I used my yellow curry paste,¬†which has good flavor. I’m just not sure that beans work well in the curry. Your mileage may vary, but I wouldn’t rate it as a success.

I also tried the Yankee Magazine baked beans made with soldier beans. I even went out of my way to track down salt pork to make them authentic. They were… unremarkable, not nearly as rich as I’d expected baked beans to be.

And last but not least on the bean front, the gorgeous orca bean. They were beautiful, held their shape fairly well in cooking, and were good in this Cajun style orca bean recipe. This was my second-favorite bean of the four.

Starter

I’ve also started my own sourdough starter. I don’t know why I always thought starter was some mystical San Francisco thing. It’s perfectly easy, as long as you remember to feed it daily. I’ve had varying levels of success with sourdough recipes, however.

The first thing I tried to make was, naturally, sourdough bread. I had visions of the lovely loaves at the Boudin Bakery. What I ended up with were two unleavened sourdough loaves that tasted kind of like sourdough, but were as flat and heavy as granite paving slabs.

I also made sourdough oatmeal muffins. These tasted good — I used coconut oil and added in coconut and cinnamon — but they rose strangely. Have you ever seen a muffin do this? An Australian friend suggested that they might actually be Yorkshire puddings in disguise.

funny-muffin

But the real winner in the sourdough sweepstakes were the sourdough waffles from Serious Eats. They were brilliant. Great flavor, nice outer crust sheltering a fluffy inside. I would have taken photos, but we ate them too quickly. These will definitely be on my go-to breakfast menu.

Other stuff

I had some leftover cranberries in the freezer, so I made my favorite cranberry sauce. I cut the sugar from 1 cup to 1/3 cup and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference.

And finally, at the request of The Assistant, I made a great cacio e pepe pasta from Chowhound.

What have you been cooking?

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