How to Baked Beans from Scratch

 

While isolating during the Coronavirus Pandemic, I stayed with my sister.  I presumed she had good survival food in the form of baked beans.  I was wrong.  Instead, she had pinto beans.  I knew with this all hope was not lost.

A Makeshift Recipe:

I poured contents from the can in the pot, added a pad of butter, three generous squirts of barbecue sauce, a scoop of bacon fat, chopped red onion and two squirts of maple syrup.   Then the beans were slowly cooked on a low flame for 30 minutes.  It turned out well but ideally I’d bake it. – Crystal Johnson, Multi Cultural Cooking Network Editor

Let’s check out a more formal preparation for making the beans.

History of Baked Beans

Baked beans is a dish traditionally containing white beans which are parboiled and then baked at a low temperature for a lengthy period of time in some sort of sauce. This is the usual preparation of the dish in the United States when not using canned beans. In the United Kingdom the dish is sometimes baked, but usually stewed in a sauce. Canned baked beans are not baked, but are cooked through a steam process.[3]

Baked beans has its origins in Native American cuisine, and the dish is made from beans indigenous to the Americas. The dish was adopted and adapted by English colonists in New England in the 17th century and, through the aid of published 19th century cookbooks, the dish spread to other regions of the United States and into Canada. Today in the New England region of the United States a variety of indigenous legumes are still used when preparing this dish in restaurants or in the home, such as Jacob’s Cattle, Soldier Beans, Yellow-Eyed Beans, and Navy Beans (also known as Native Beans).[4]

Originally baked beans were sweetened with maple syrup by Native Americans, a tradition some recipes still follow, but some English colonists modified the sweetening agent to brown sugar beginning in the 17th century. In the 18th century the convention of using American-made molasses as a sweetening agent became increasingly popular in order to avoid British taxes on sugar. American Boston baked beans use a sauce prepared with molasses and salt pork, the popularity of which has led to the city’s being nicknamed “Beantown”.[5] Today baked beans is commonly served throughout the United States alongside barbecue food of various kinds and at picnics. Beans in a brown sugar, sugar, or corn syrup sauce (sometimes with and sometimes without a tomato base) are widely available throughout the USA.

Manhattan Clam Chowder Recipe

Clam Chowder originated in the Eastern United States, but is now commonly served in manhattanclamchowder21restaurants throughout the country, particularly on Fridays when American Catholics traditionally abstained from meat. Many regional variations exist, but the two most prevalent are New England or “white” clam chowder and Rhode Island / Manhattan or “red” clam chowder.

Introduction of the Tomato – Tomato-based clam chowders came about with the new-found popularity of the tomato in the mid-1800s and the large population of Italians in New York and the Portuguese fishing communities of Rhode Island.  By the 1930s, this tomato version had come to be called Manhattan clam chowder.

Check out this recipe:

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce (425 g) canned potatoes, or 2 small boiled potatoes
  • 28 ounce (794 g) canned tomatoes in juice, or 2 large tomatoes and tomato juice
  • 6.5 ounce (184 g) canned chopped clams, minimum
  • 2 stalks of celery

Procedure

  1. Core the tomatoes. Remove the pale parts and the seeds; the “meat” of the tomato will be what will be used. For canned tomatoes, a strainer will be helpful.
  2. Chop all non-clam ingredients to match the clams in size.
  3. Optionally add spices. Suggestions offered include dill seedbasilthymecelery seedtarragonmarjoram, and/or fresh cilantro. Alternatively, oregano can be used in lieu of the marjoram.
  4. Cook the chowder, without boiling, till the celery begins to soften.

 

Bananas Foster, A New Orleans Original Dessert Recipe

 

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Bananas Foster is an American dessert that originated in New Orleans made with cooked bananas served in a butter, brown sugar and rum sauce.

In 1951, with ever an eye for publicity and the promotion of his city, Owen Brennan challenged his chef Paul Blangé to create a dish featuring the fruit.  The dramatic, flambéed result is now the most-ordered item on Brennan’s menu; it is not unusual for guests who have dined elsewhere to arrive just for a dessert of Bananas Foster.

The dish was named for Richard Foster, a friend of Owen Brennan and the chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission, on which Brennan served.  See the Original Recipe from Brennans.

The New Orleans dessert of bananas Foster inspired this riff on a classic banana cream pie. It features a layer of rum-spiked sautéed bananas under the traditional pudding filling, plus a brown sugar-mascarpone cream topping.  See Recipe

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 A staple at the French Quarter’s legendary Brennan’s restaurant since 1951, bananas Foster is New Orleans in dessert form: bananas, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla ice cream, and rum, set afire for both taste and spectacle.

Bananas Foster at Stanley’s Restaurant, New Orleans.   Bananas Foster is a popular dessert for tourist to try and a number of restaurants offer it.

 

A Canadian Favorite: Poutine

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Poutine is a dish that includes french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy. It originated in the Canadian province of Quebec and emerged in the late 1950s in the Centre-du-Québec area. It has long been associated with Quebec cuisine.

Annual poutine celebrations occur in MontrealQuebec City, and Drummondville, as well as TorontoOttawa, and Chicago. Today, it is often identified as a quintessential Canadian food. It has been called “Canada’s national dish“, though some believe this labelling represents a misappropriation of Québécois culture. Many variations on the original recipe are popular, leading some to suggest that poutine has emerged as a new dish classification in its own right, as with sandwiches and dumplings

Manhattan Beach, CA: Homie Restaurant

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Homie is a restaurant I want to root for but there are some shortfalls in one major area…the food.   The cuisine by no means is bad or offensive but blah.  It doesn’t have a wow factor.  And a restaurant’s decor should not overwhelming exceed the core, the actual culinary dining experience.  My friend said his sandwich was bland and he would never dine here again.   So why would I want to root for this restaurant?   The location, location is great and the decor is eye-catching with the menu on the wall that even a 90-year-old could read the bold big letters.   The menu ideas are as ambitious as the beautiful decor and warm environment.  But no matter how chic the restaurant may be or how friendly your staff may be, the food has to be the best thing going in a restaurant.  Homie is riding in the mediocre lane. If you want a basic salad, a healthy sandwich and if you think healthy means no flavor then Homie is a safe choice.

Now on a more decadent menu item, dessert.   I ordered an $8 ice cream sandwich called “The Buddy”.  This classic treat takes on a not so classic spin covered in bacon and chocolate sauce.   Vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two perfectly soft chocolate chip cookies.    The dessert did not fail visually but the bacon choice needed to pop it didn’t offer much to the dessert but calories.   Perhaps a more smokey or salty bacon might have added to the flavor profile.   39501077_10156137043491865_6786184868985307136_n.jpg

The next item I tried was the Lavender latte.   The latte had a perfect foamy heart but the lavender notes didn’t shine through so the beverage came across as no more than an unflavored latte.

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If I wanted to simply hang out and pass the time then Homie is a great spot.   But if I wanted to dine on great food, I would go somewhere else.   I hope the restaurant can elevate their flavor and seasoning to help Homie be an amazing experience.   I haven’t met more obliging and friendly staff than the people there so I hope they continue with great servers.

The website for Homie: https://homiemb.com

Open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  They also have a coffee bar.

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

1140 Highland Avenue, Manhattan Beach

310-546-4663 (HOME)

New Orleans’ Style BBQ Shrimp

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Recipe by Michelle Karam

2 pounds of raw shrimp, deveined and peeled with tails on
2 cloves of garlic, minced 1/2 cup dry white wine or pale ale beer

1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lemon juiced
2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary finely chopped
salt and pepper
Melt butter in a deep skillet
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Add shrimp and all other ingredients into a large bowl and combine well.
 
Add into skillet with melted butter and cook on medium low heat until all the shrimp have turned a bright pink. Don’t overcook or else the shrimp will turn rubbery.
 
Slice some french baguette and use it to sop up the liquid! MMMM!!!!

Simple Deep Fried Olive Recipe

Deep frying is a sensation in the USA and it seems we leave no stone unturned from deep fried turkey to deep fried oreos to now the deep fried olive.  I first had a chance to taste this at the Los Angeles Times The Taste event.  I tried a version that was filled with sweet potato.  The recipe below calls for the use of blue cheese.

Pour enough oil into heavy large skillet to measure depth of 1 inch. Heat oil to 350°F. Roll stuffedolives in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs to coat. Fry olives until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer olives to paper towels to drain.

Photo by Crystal Johnson

Photo by Crystal Johnson

The Neely’s Creamed Collard Greens

Creamed collard greens

A few years I got the opportunity to interview Patrick and Gina Neely of the Food Network and we talked about a variety of things.  Among the recipes mentioned, was creamed collard greens.  I tried this recipe and it has been a winner for me. It puts a spin on the classic African American preparation of collards and gives a robust earthy taste to what would be the typical creamed spinach.

Ingredients

4 bunches collard greens, tough stems and ribs removed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large shallots, minced
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Click for Directions

See MCCN Editor’s Interview with the Neely’s.