Here, for no reason other than I’ve made these two dishes lately, are two great recipes I’d like to share.
The first is from Calgary food writer Cinda Chavich’s nifty cookbook The Girl Can’t Cook (Whitecap). It’s a sweet and simple vegetarian concoction that makes a tasty light lunch or supper served with salad.
White Bean Slather
You can use white kidney, cannellini or other white beans. The caramelized onions and goat cheese give this the taste contrast of sweet and tangy along with smooth-yet-chunky texture. The small 113-gram tubes of Woolwich Dairy goat cheese are readily available and only slightly less than the amount called for here.
¼ cup olive oil
1 large red or white onion, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Dash of hot pepper sauce
19-oz/540-mL can white beans, drained, rinsed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 oz/125 g soft goat cheese, crumbled
To caramelize onions, heat olive oil over medium-low heat in large skillet. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until soft and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in food processor, combine herbs, garlic, vinegar and hot sauce; pulse until chopped. Add half of beans and 1½ tablespoons of olive oil; process until smooth. Add remaining beans and olive oil; pulse until mixture is combined but still chunky. Add salt and pepper.
Add bean mixture to onions in skillet; cook, stirring with fork at intervals, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle on goat cheese, fold in gently with fork. Turn off heat. Cheese should be melting but still visible in small pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature on toasted baguette, other crusty bread or crunchy crackers.
Makes about 2 cups.
These cookies are wonderful to serve with ice cream and homemade applesauce as I did the other night at a dinner party. It’s from one of my favourite cookbooks The New Best Recipe, from the folks at Cook’s Illustrated magazine, a kitchen bible in my house.
I’ve also served these with pears poached in red wine and ice cream scattered with pomegranate seeds. I use my old Oscar mini-food processor to chop the nuts (I use pecans) until they resemble very coarse crumbs (a coffee grinder will reduce them to mush) or you could use a knife. I don’t bother shaping the cookies into cones or tubes and just serve them flat. Light corn syrup is sold in most supermarkets.
6 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
4 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup pecans or almonds, finely chopped
3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tsp whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
Place rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350F.
Line large baking sheet with silicone non-stick liner or parchment paper.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and butter. Bring just to boil, stirring. Turn off heat; stir in pecans, flour, cream, vanilla and salt until smooth. Scrape batter into bowl; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Stir batter to re-combine ingredients. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 3 inches/8 cm apart on to prepared baking sheet. Bake in oven until they are spread thin and deep golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Cool on baking sheet about 1 to 2 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to wire rack with metal spatula. Immediately shape into cones or tubes or, for flat cookies, cool until crisp.
Repeat with remaining batter.
Makes about 36 cookies.