Before and After: Or Using Leftovers
If you come to a brunch at my house – or really any meal or party where food is involved – you will come to understand that I use my guests as Guinea pigs. I am always trying new recipes! And they mostly turn out well but there is always a risk they may not.
While I was looking for something to do with cauliflower, I think, I came across something totally different that caught my imagination. In Martha Stewart’s Menus for Entertaining I came across a menu and recipes for a Tuscan Buffet. One of the recipes, Roasted Tomatoes Topped with White Beans, sounded so good to me. If I closed my eyes I could imagine the summer sun, the scent of herbs and juicy red tomatoes. I don’t often cook with beans and it’s been something I’ve been meaning to practice on a more regular basis so the recipe was appealing from that perspective, too.
Now, of course this is winter in Seattle where ripe and flavorful tomatoes are pretty scarce but I still thought I might be able to make it work. The recipe called for roasted tomatoes and normally that process will help transform a so-so tomato into something more reminiscent of a ripened-in-your-own-garden version. I bought beefsteak tomatoes more than a week prior so they’d have plenty of time to turn red and develop as much flavor as possible.
As per the recipe I sliced them and roasted them with salt, pepper, a little sugar and olive oil to help bring out the natural flavors and sweetness. After roasting they were okay but not great so I enhanced them further with a splash of good balsamic. I modified Martha’s white bean recipe a bit by using lots of fresh rosemary to flavor the beans, along with garlic, salt and pepper.
I did like the recipe, although the tomatoes really didn’t bring as much as they should have to the dish. I’m looking forward to trying it again with proper summer tomatoes. And the few slices I had leftover were great warmed in the microwave for lunch the next couple days.
I also made about twice as many beans as I needed for the tomatoes so a few days later decided to try to replicate a white bean spread I’ve had in the past. It’s super simple but really great smeared on crusty bread and accompanied by a nice glass of wine.
I took about a cup of the beans, added chopped chives and more garlic, salt and pepper. This all went into a mini food processor with some olive oil. As I blended I continued to add more olive oil (it needed quite a bit) to get the puree to the consistency that I wanted. When it finally got there a taste test told me it needed just a little something more and I decided that was a little heat. I added quite a bit of Sriracha as the density and texture of the beans really mellow the heat from the sauce. It took several squirts before the sauce had an effect on the puree.
After scooping the puree into the serving dish I drizzled a bit more fruity olive oil over the top and then enjoyed it spread on slices of baguette. And there was also a nice glass of Syrah involved.
I have a few more beans left and am thinking they may find themselves in a white bean chili….