I try my best to not check email and whatnot over the weekend so that I give myself some time off from responsibility. That’s all that the week is and lately I’ve enjoyed a couple of weekends in a row where I haven’t even had to shoot any photos for this blog because I spent a few weekends in a row working non-stop and built up a pretty good back log of photos and recipes. This weekend was the last one that I had to not work, though. I have, of course, burned through my log of recipes and I now have to get back into the swing of things. Nothing gold can stay, as it were. Not that shooting is so bad – when I’m on a roll I can happily bust out 4 or 5 sets a day – but it is tiring and I don’t realize how exhausted I am until I’m done and there are piles of dishes in the sink. Anyway, sometimes I feel like I need a break creatively or else you’d continue to have different variations on chicken and chickpea curries, ha. We’re kind of on between seasons anyway, so when I get back into recipe development mode this coming Saturday and Sunday, maybe I’ll even have some new stuff to work with. I walk through the farmer’s market each morning and every day things seem to get brighter and greener, so you know spring, with its warmer weather and bounty of produce, it just around the corner.
We had a good weekend not working, as anyone would. Friday night we went out with a big group of friends. We sat outside at the bar because the weather was above 40 degrees so we all wanted to get outdoors. We started at Noorman’s Kil and ended at The Grand. On Saturday, Kramer and I met up with a friend to go to the Hot Sauce Festival in the city. The festival was right on top of Penn Station, so the crowd was interesting to say the least. We waited in an unreasonably long line for drinks, then ran around sampling different hot sauces. We all had our moments of complete terror when we realized we had tasted something far too spicy. Thankfully there were pulled pork sandwiches, pretzels, and ice cream sandwiches to help us push through the pain. After the festival, we bar hopped a bit before eating at Fung Tu, a new fusion-ish Chinese restaurant that was absolutely wonderful. We had silken fish doufu, smoked mussels, bean curd terrine, mushroom and butternut squash buns, sweetbreads and more. We were ready to call it a day after our meal, but not before watching Hannibal, of course.
I was at Marlow and Daughters when I spotted these heirloom beans. I had never seen any that were quite this color, so obviously I had to buy them. Turns out they are called Florida butter beans, or baby Lima beans. They are hearty with a slight bite to them, making them ideal to stand on their own in a meal. I didn’t want to make anything crazy, just something tasty and filling that Kramer and I could eat for lunch for the week. I decided not to add my usual favorites, like curry paste or chili paste or whatever I am constantly throwing into a pot with vegetables. Instead, I did a variety of vegetables that I had in my refrigerator (carrots, celery, onion, garlic) along with a little bacon for flavor (duh), a cup of white wine and some stand-by spices, like smoked paprika, cayenne and rosemary. The end result is a big ol’ pot of beans that you can eat for a few days in a row without getting bored. Use them as a side dish, throw a fried egg on top or spoon them over mixed greens. I personally loved these butter beans doused in a healthy amount of Tapatio hot sauce, but that’s just me. The colors and flavors will keep you happy and full, plus you’ll only have to wash one pot at the end of the day. You’re welcome.
Kramer and Morgan getting cozy.
Thinly slice all of your vegetables.
Cook your bacon until crisp, then set it aside.
Cook your vegetables, then add in your beans and spices. Cover and cook for one and a half to two hours, stir in the bacon and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve warm with sliced scallions.
- 16 ounces Florida butter beans (baby lima beans), soaked overnight
- 5 slices bacon, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white wine
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Soak your beans overnight in cold water, adding more if needed and stirring once or twice, if you can. Drain the water and set the beans aside.
- Cook the chopped bacon over medium-high head in a large, heavy bottomed pot. When crisp (about 6 minutes), remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Drain all but two tablespoons of bacon fat. Add in the thinly sliced onion, carrots and celery and reduce the heat to medium.
- Cook until the vegetables have softened a bit, about 6 minutes, then add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until aromatic. Add in the soaked and drained beans, water, wine, lemon juice, bay leaves, salt, paprika, cayenne, rosemary and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every so often. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If the beans need 30 more minutes to be tender, place the lid back on and cook for 30 more minutes. Stir in your bacon and serve with a sprinkle of sliced scallions. This will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.