Saturday, January 17, 2009

Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Cloves

This Christmas I added a few cookbooks to my large (but never too large) collection. Another "Best of the Best Cookbook" by the editors of Food and Wine magazine was one. This series is nice because in theory I would not have to buy all 25 books that they deem the best. But usually I end up owning four or five anyways.

Another was Alice Water's "Simple Food". It fits on the shelf with the two other books of hers that I have; "Vegetables" and "Fruit". Although "Simple Foods" is quite simple and I might not need all the recipes in it due to their repetition in other cookbooks, I feel I need to own it out of pride for a good cookbook collection.

The third cookbook I got was "The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper" by Lynn Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. I try to listen to the Splendid Table on NPR as often as possible. I really can't get enough of most any food related shows or books, with the exception of the Food Network, but that is a gripe for later... The first recipe I made from this book was the Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Cloves. The book describes this recipe as "You'd never guess you can create such lushness from opening three cans" and they are right. With a little bit of prep work for the veggies these three cans turn into a meal in themselves. I was going to pair these beans with some leftover turkey mole I took out of the freezer but I ended up eating a bowl of them alone and being very happy. I was worried that the cinnamon and cloves might make the beans feel sweet but they match wonderfully with the spice of the jalapenos and the mashed up beans. Give it a try and as the book instructs don't skip the butter it is a necessary indulgence in this recipe.

Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Cloves
The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper
Serves 4 to 6

extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, fine chopped

1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and fine chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
one 14-oz can whole tomatoes, drained
two 15-oz cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
2 tlbs butter

Generously film the bottom of a 10-inch skillet with olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Saute the onions with salt and pepper to taste until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. You want to hear a sizzle as they cook.

Add Garlic, jalapeno, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook the mix until fragrant, about 1 minute, taking care not to burn the spices. Add tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pan. Saute for another minute.

Stir in the beans and water. Bring to a fast simmer, crushing the beans with a potato masher (or the back of a large spoon) as they cook, and scraping the bottom of the pan as the beans begin to thicken. Simmer until the beans are thick, about 10 minutes. Blend in the butter and taste for seasoning just before serving.

*The beans hold in the refrigerator for 5 days; add liquid as needed when reheating.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finally the Wine section of Wine.Bread.Cheese

In 2005 Robby and I went on a trip back to France with his Mom Pamela. I am very happy to have been lucky enough to do this trip and with my Mother-In-Law, who I love. We were able to do many things that I missed on my first trip which was our honeymoon. We climbed the Eiffel Tower, drove from Bordeaux to Paris, went to Versailles and ate even more great food than on the first trip.
One of the very special parts of my second trip was the visit to the Vouvray vineyard and winery Domaine D'Orfeuilles At the time Robby was working for Country Vintners an American Distributor for D'Orfeuilles. He arranged for us to have a tour and tasting at this small family owned estate.
Arnaud and his father Bernard Herivault are the current owners and cultivators. Arnaud took us on a tour of the vineyard then through the cellar and on to the tasting room where we sampled more wines than I can remember. While in the cellar Arnaud asked me what my birth year was. Then after my response he handed me a bottle of the 1980 Demi-Sec Vouvray. I was floored! What a great gift and memento to take home.

Well we waited long enough and just recently decided to pull the cork. I made a wonderful sauteed scallop and fried leek risotto dish which match PERFECTLY to the delicately aged Vouvray.