Monday, July 1, 2013

White Beans and Red Peppers



 Where for art thou, my bottle of wine? Chilled and light and green, my favorite Pinot Grigio or perhaps my Portuguese Vino Verde with your tiny, teeny, bubbles of sparkles? I need you for this appetizer. I need you for this appetizer which is really dinner on a hot summer's eve. I need you because you help me relax and enjoy the slowness of the season.  I need you because with you I focus on the flowers and not the weeds. With you I revel on these lazy summer nights where the fastest moving things are the mosquitos and my dog chasing squirrels out of his territory. Rabbits are no more. Well, there may be two left in hiding. Even they are moving slower these days.

Jeez, I sound like a lush don't I? But honestly, I think I only get that bottle one night a week. And it has been so hot, who wants to cook? Though in Denver our last few days have been delightful and even have had a chill in the air. My son tells me he arrived in Sonoma where it is 100 degrees. My daughter tells me today is rainy and hot and humid in Philly - an awful combo if you ask me. And my mom tells me she can't cook because in Phoenix, it is 118. Ouch. My father tried to explain to her that it is not 118 in the house because she has air conditioning and therefore cooking shouldn't be a problemo but she says-it is just the thought. Go figure. I'd rather cook in, then go out in that heat. Ah- I forget- it is a dry heat.

And me, well, we have a swamp cooler. And frankly it works pretty, pretty good except on those very hot days where the air doesn't blow to the kitchen. It is situated close to the bedrooms which makes sleeping good. But on those hot days, cooking can be miserable. So I resort to the  picture above. Or the grill. Or, sandwiches anyone? Luckily, my husband never complains about what he eats; as long as he is fed. He gets crabby without his three meals a day, though he handles usually two of them, and dinner; he takes what he can get.

He always looks at the plate above and comments on how nice it looks. He then asks what's for dinner, thinking I am just being really nice and giving him these great appetizers. I just give him a dirty look and know by the time it is gone he is well satiated, the wine has kicked in and he is  more than full. But what's for dessert? Not my problem, I tell him.

And so it is on these hot nights. I dare you to give this a try. You can add more cheese, some fruit, a loaf of bread and thou. It is enough. It is good and hits the spot. Just don't forget the wine. All right already-beer works well, too.

A few notes:
I had a bag of red peppers in my laundry room fridge that froze. They experienced that mysterious cold that comes upon the fridge in darkness and causes pop cans to explode and food to freeze. So I roasted my own which I do when I have time. But for convenience sake- a jar of drained whole red peppers works well, too. If you want to roast yourself just place the entire pepper on a hot gas flame and let each side blacken. Place in plastic bag to steam and when cool, the skin should peel right off.

White beans - I like the little white beans that have a soft texture-not hard. They are almost creamy. You may need to experience with brands. Sometimes they are canellini beans. Sometimes they are Great Northerns. Leftovers taste great with a piece of grilled tuna on top. If there are leftovers...

I love both the white beans and red peppers with goat cheese. And salami or some calabrese on a crostini. And some olives. You could throw in some marinated tomatoes or even some sundrieds. And don't forget the wine.



Red Peppers Herbs d' Provence
1 1/2 c roasted red peppers
2 t lemon oil (or use olive oil and 1 t lemon juice)
1 T herbs d' provence (savory, fennel, basil, thyme and lavender)
1T good balsamic vinegar
1/2 t coarse salt

Combine and let everything marinate at room temperature for about an hour. Serve on crostini with goat cheese.



Rosemary Balsamic White Beans
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1/2 t coarse salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t dried red chili flakes
2 t rosemary
2 T chopped Italian parsley
2 T finely chopped onion

Stir all together and let marinate at room temperature for about an hour. See serving suggestions above.


More Additions for Dinner:
Mezze
Dried Fruit Salami
Smoked Trout Spread






13 comments:

  1. Yeah, when it's hot our appetites slow down too. Even though we have AC and do turn the oven on in the summer, we do much less heavy duty cooking. This is a meal we'd have a couple of times a week, at least (well, not the identical meal, but something similar!). I love white beans - there is so much you can do with them. In fact we had a big salad with them not that long ago, and no doubt will be having another quite soon. Anyway, good stuff - thanks.

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  2. I could eat that bean salad every night! I remember the cool nights in Denver, the whole house fans and the snow! It's been a long time since I lived in Colorado - we're here sweating in northern Virginia. I think your Mom has it right - no need to heat up the house with or without air conditioning! Have a lovely week!

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    1. Denver does tend to have cool nights! And Tricia, my mom is ALWAYS right. You have a great week, too!

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  3. Looks like an ideal meal to me! Healthy and full of delicious favor. Perfect on a hot evening...

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    1. Thanks Liz. It makes the rest of the evening go very smooth!

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  4. I want those roasted red peppers! Look too good to miss in your life!
    Stay cool and have a wonderful summer, Abbe.
    Angie

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    1. Then you should have those red peppers, Angie!

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  5. Both dishes would be perfect for those no cook nights, and I bet the leftovers would make a "mighty fine lunch" like my Dad used to say. Personally, though I'd love 'em both, those beans with rosemary are speaking to me. Served as it is or on crostini or blend it and make a dip. It would be very tasty no matter what. :)

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    1. Yes, they do make a mighty fine lunch, John. And blended would work great, too. I just like fewer steps because I'm lazy! Let me know what you think.

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  6. These looks so good. I agree with you. It's just too hot to turn on the stove these days! :) I love your dishes with a little wine to wash them all down too.

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    1. Thanks Amy. And eating outside with glass of wine makes anything taste great!

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  7. Abbe, these sound absolutely delicious! Will be so perfect to throw together for our next informal neighborhood gathering. So easy to keep everything on hand! Love, love!

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    1. Shelley, that's exactly why I like both of these. I've been making them for a long, long time and I always keep red peppers and beans in my pantry. Thank you!

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