Looking out my window at cold rain, I find myself desperately clinging to the memory of an Easter Sunday in 2003 when the temperature soared up to 96 degrees! It happened once, it can happen again. Plus, I totally believe in miracles.
Cold weather requires hot comfort food. One dish which always puts me in a zen-like state of acceptance is Baked Beans. There are almost as many recipes for Baked Beans as there are beans, but this is my winter (Spring?!?)comfort food recipe, as opposed to the more zesty summertime baked bean recipe.
A secret ingredient which adds both flavor and nutrients is homemade chicken stock. Next time that you roast a chicken, toss the remains into a large pot, add a chopped onion, several peppercorns and a chopped carrot, fill with water, and let it simmer away for a few hours. Strain the broth, pop it in the freezer, and you will have a superb flavor booster.
If you are really fond of roast chicken and have lots and lots of chicken stock on hand, you have the makings for the finest pasta anywhere. Cook your spaghetti or any other type of noodle in the chicken broth! Honestly, it transforms an otherwise dull basic into instant gourmet status.
Barbara’s Cold Weather Baked Beans
The night before;
Clean, sort, and rinse two pounds of Navy Beans. Put into a large stock pot and add plenty of water, enough to allow for the beans to plump.
The following day;
Rinse the beans in a colander, then return them to the stock pot and add;
one meaty Ham Bone
Chicken Broth, enough to cover the beans- don’t let any beans cook dry!
bring to boil, then turn the heat to very low. Let simmer for at least one hour, longer if your beans aren’t fresh.
If you used too much chicken stock, pour some off unless you want to make bean soup.
Using tongs, remove the ham bone. When it is cool pick the meat from the bone and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile cook for five minutes;
one large chopped onion
two cloves of chopped garlic ( the stuff in the jar is fine)
Add to the bean pot and then add;
one small can of tomato sauce
two thirds cup of dark brown sugar
one third cup of molasses
one fourth cup of apple cider vinegar
three tablespoons Dijon mustard
one teaspoon paprika- you may want to add more
one teaspoon salt
one half teaspoon pepper
chopped ham, to taste.
Stir together and continue cooking for another hour. Check for tenderness of the beans and adjust your cooking time, if needed.
Now- if you plan on serving ham for Easter dinner and the weather is still cold- make these beans and you won’t mind another rainy day!
This next recipe is a wonderful Easter side dish, especially if you are serving a ham. I know that the ingredients sound unusual, so it may require a leap of faith for you to trust my judgment. Even my most skeptical guests have ended up asking for the recipe, so I share it in full confidence that it will become a tradition.
Southern Style Easter Side Dish
Mix together and put into 8 X 10 baking dish;
eight thick slices of day old bread cut into cubes, French bread is best
two cups of lite or unsweetened crushed pineapple
two cups of grated cheddar cheese
Mix together and pour over ingredients in baking dish;
one half cup ( one cube) melted butter
three fourths cup of brown sugar
four eggs, beaten
Bake at 350 degrees for forty minutes
While you are happily cooking, turn your radio on to 91.5 KGHI , our new community radio station. Much of the broadcasting day is filled with the best classical music of all times. Best Hits like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons!
Make plans to head to Tokeland this Saturday for the Tokeland/ North Cove Studio Tour, one of my favorite Grays Harbor events. Just about anything happening in Tokeland will lure me over, but this is the best! From 10am until 5pm the local artists welcome us into their studios for a casual look at diverse and high quality home produced art of all kinds. The venerable Tokeland Hotel is the center of activity, get your map of studios there, and enjoy a homestyle lunch too.
Come by the Hoquiam Farmers Market for a hot bowl of soup ( Deidra’s famous Chicken Curry soup today) and Nancy’s fresh baked Cardamom Bread. We offer a haven of wholesome goodness and peace in an otherwise hectic world.
Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager of the Hoquiam Farmers Market
1958 Riverside Open 6 days a week- closed Tuesdays Ph. 538-9747
‘like’ us on Facebook !! Daily updates and specials! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Grays-Harbor-Farmers-Market