Monday, April 13, 2009

fresh or canned?

regular readers of this blog are probably thinking..."of course she is going to say fresh. she is a broken record regarding fresh, organic or sustainably farmed, local when possible, best quality ingredients. canned, i don't think so". most of the time you would be correct. canned vegetables? way. canned fruit?...never. i just do not like the taste, texture, color or additives. but i do make an exception when it comes to canned, i admit, i find a big pot of fresh beans simmering away on the store very comforting...soaking the dried beans, rinsing, draining and then cooking with vegetables and seasonings is pretty easy...but can take a lot of time....when i am looking for a fast, easy and delicious menu option, canned beans is a perfect solution.

how about canned white beans whirled in the food processor with lots of garlic, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice spread on hot bruschetta? or canned kidney beans tossed in a romaine salad with chopped red onions, chopped tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives, cheddar cheese and crumbled tortilla chips for a fast taco salad...for this i use half vinaigrette and half prepared salsa for my salad dressing. maybe white beans sauteed with onions, garlic, fresh rosemary, sea salt and e.v.o.o. mixed into hot pasta, served with plenty of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano? i cannot tell you how often i heat up canned refried beans, add grated cheese, chopped onions and salsa and wrap up in a tortilla for a fast burrito....i could go on and on...and i often post recipes using beans...sometimes calling for the homemade version..but almost always canned beans work as the fast, easy substitute.happily, organic canned beans are available everywhere...from whole foods, to trader joe's, to the everyday supermarket...and i find the organic versions really do taste today... in honor of canned beans...i thought i would share one of my favorite recipes...just in time for the start of barbecue season...although they are delicious year beans, my waythe framework for this recipe originally came from the moosewood cafe...i made it for years. then one day i wanted to make the regular recipe but did not have many of the ingredients on hand...and was too lazy to go to the store...i experimented with what i had in my pantry with a "mole" sauce as inspiration. the recipe went from kind of a jamaican a mexican barbecue mole...."what??"" trust me...this is delicious...and i only make "my" version these days...we spent easter last sunday at my friend ann's home for an afternoon barbecue. i was asked to make a vegetarian side bean recipe seemed to be the perfect choice. happily, everyone at the party agreed...they told me the recipe was so good that it was "bloggable" ya go...(one last thing...i am addicted to chipotle peppers packed in adobo one more canned item to add to the list!!) baked beans, my way
(do not be put off by the long list of ingredients...once you chop and measure everything, the dish goes together quickly & easily..and, if you grown local ingredients really do make the difference)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup light manzanilla sherry

2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup smokey barbecue sauce (homemade or best quality bottled)

1 chipotle chile, finely chopped

1 tbsp adobo sauce (from the canned chipotles)

1 tbsp best quality unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup water

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp brown sugar
4 15 oz cans organic beans (or 6 cups homemade cooked beans) rinsed and drained **see note

preheat oven to 325 degrees. add olive oil to large pot. add onions and ginger and cook over medium flame until onions are soft and translucent..approx 4-5 minutes. add the garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon and sea salt. stir to combine. cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.

uncover and add sherry, mustard, barbecue sauce, chipotle, adobo sauce, cocoa powder and water. stir to combine, cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
add peanut butter and brown sugar to pot, stir well and cook uncovered over low heat for 5 minutes. at this point the sauce is ready. if you like sauce with texture, skip this next step. if you want a smooth sauce you can either transfer to a blender and puree or run through the smallest holes of a food mill...or do what i do and use an immersion blender. (i strongly vote for the immersion blender choice as i am not a fan of pouring hot liquids in me, a disaster waiting to happen!!)
place the beans in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. pour all the sauce over the beans. cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. remove from the oven and let sit (covered) for 20 minutes. serve immediately...
**note, you can use any combination of canned beans...i usually use 2 cans kidney and two cans either small red or white...but pick your long as you use whole beans you are good to go...**

where do you stand on the canned food debate? do you use canned items? which ones? why or why not? please share your thoughts in the comments section of this post...and your favorite bean recipes...fresh or canned!!

have a good week!


diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style"™
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Jennifer said...

I grew up in the Midwest and my Mother thought canned food was the ultimate in convenience food. These days I try to eat more fresh food but I do rely on canned when necessary. The baked beans sound really good so I will give them a try.

Trailor Park Princess said...

Have you ever tried canned vienna sausages? I like to eat em right out of the can when I'm watching Dr. Phil.

Linda Lou said...

I always use canned black beans for chili, and canned white beans for italian soups! Who has time to use dried beans!! Fresh produce + canned beans equals delcious!

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi jennifer...the baked beans are terrific..let me know if you try them...hi princess...i draw the line at canned beans, chiles and...really good, organic canned tomatoes....:) :)

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi linda lou...agreed! although, i confess, when i have the time, i find the whole process of using dried beans very comforting..something about the big pot on top of the stove bubbling away is nice....

Anonymous said...

We did use canned beans, especially when we made chili, until we switched to no salt, no sodium to very low sodium diet at the order of my husband's doctor. Your recipe sounds great. I'll just add the beans I cook without salt to it and not add more salt that you call for in the recipe. I'm cooking a big pot of beans today to make re-fried beans, I'll cook extra for your recipe too.