Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mature Audiences Only

I've been guilty of peeping at food pornography all week. Yeah, the new Williams-Sonoma catalog arrived, stirring me to bouts of self-pleasure. I always stash my credit card in another room while I leaf through the colorful pages. My fiscal reserve is no match for all that stark-white china, polished steel and kitchen gadgetry.  In this issue, Bill tried mightily to get me to buy his immersion blender and Le Creuset grill pan, but I'm in a committed relationship with my cast iron stovetop grill and Cuisinart food processor. I'm not above swiping his printed recipes, however, and I sure would love to work in that test kitchen. Maybe then I'd get an employee discount on all those sinfully expensive shiny objects!
White Bean Soup - adapted from Williams-Sonoma
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for brush
  • ¼ cup pancetta, chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 each carrot & celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook pancetta for 5 minutes. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook and additional minute. Add beans, chicken stock and thyme. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Off heat, puree in a food processor in batches, until smooth. Return to Dutch oven and stir in cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, with Roasted Red Pepper Crostini on the side.
Roasted Red Pepper Crostini - from Williams-Sonoma
  • 12 baguette slices, ½" thick
  • 4 red bell peppers, roasted, skins, membrane & seeds removed, chopped
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flake
  • ½ tsp honey
Brush baguette slices on both sides with olive oil, and  season with salt. Toast bread on a hot cast iron grill over medium-high heat, 2 minutes on each side. In a small mixing bowl, toss to combine chopped roasted peppers, salt, olive oil, parsley, vinegar, red pepper flakes honey and a little ground black pepper. Top each toasted baguette slice with roasted pepper tapenade. Serve with white bean soup.
Not bad, William, not bad. Earthy and nutty soup made smoky by the the bacon. Puréed was the way to go. Smooth and creamy, without the cream!
Spring is struggling for a foothold in New York. White bean soup will keep the chill at bay until the sun finally warms things up and the first buds open on the trees.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

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