Let’s Cook: Louisiana White Beans and Smoked Ham

Here’s a traditional Louisiana-style recipe for “White Beans and Smoked Ham.” Although the recipe, “Red Beans & Rice,” is commonly associated with Louisiana cuisine, white beans are served in the South, too. This dish is often found as part of “plate dinners” or on cafeteria lines. White beans are mild flavored — and combined with some seasonings the beans are quite tasty. Dried beans have many health benefits — they are high in fiber (the kind that lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar) and protein — so I’m trying to eat them more frequently. And a pound of beans makes a large batch — enough for several meals. Continue reading

Let’s Cook Something New: Anasazi Beans

Let’s begin the new year by cooking something new: Anasazi beans. These heirloom beans have an interesting history. The beans shown here are from a farmer’s market in Taos, New Mexico, which is the closest town to the Taos Pueblos. My brother’s family purchased the beans while on a cross-country driving trip from California. Along the way they visited several American Native Indian cliff dwelling sites and ruins. I made a hearty soup with the beans.

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The Vegetarian Epicure: Baked Beans à la Charente

This week I’m travelling back in time to a recipe from the 1980’s. While searching through cookbooks on my bookshelves, I rediscovered one that I purchased during those years. I’m a collector and never throw anything away — this cookbook is a good one. Glancing through the pages, I saw marks by the recipes that I had made; most had “excellent” by them and many had memories associated with them. And this cookbook has a story of it’s own. I decided to try to make a one of the recipes — “Baked Beans à la Charente”, a vegetarian bean casserole topped with fresh tomato and eggplant slices. A little cognac in the beans gave some zing. Yum. Continue reading