4.21.2009

skinny dipping

How come beans aren't more sexy? They really should be much more sought after. Chased and cherished, I say. Lets face it, there is a lot to like. Beans are cheap and plentiful. They are just the thing I imagine in the story Stone Soup. little bite Stone Soup is one of those Grimm Fairy Tale stories, my Baba used to read us as kids. One of those stories with a hefty, do good moral to it. I think it starts off with a man, who had nothing to put in his soup except for a stone. Soon, a young lady comes along and asks what the man is making. He says, "Stone Soup, but it is missing some flavour." The young lady thinks this is odd, because of course the soup will have no flavour. However, she has an onion for his soup, so she adds it in. As you can probably already figure out, soon the entire town comes along and adds a potato, or a carrot, or something to the soup...and it becomes a real soup...not just stones and water. The point is, everyone chipped in a little bit and then there was a real meal for a hungry man who otherwise had nothing. Luckily, Baba must have read this to us to make us grateful for what we have, and had better appreciate her cooking (and no wasting, every scrap must be eaten!). But surely, a few beans must have been added to the Stone Soup. Beans have an extraordinary amount of flavour, and even start off a little bit stone-like. I mean, they sure are filling, and certainly pack a whollop of fibre. Perhaps that is what wrecks any seductive qualities the poor beans would otherwise have been missing out on....poor beans. Of course, this can cleverly be used to your advantage if you work in close quarters with people you would rather keep at bay...then beans are your very-bestest-friend. Want your seat permanently reserved? Then add garlic. Raw garlic, and lots of it. At its simplest components, that is this recipe in a nutshell. It's like making hummus, or any other white bean/white kidney bean/cannellini bean dip you've probably seen. This is so easy it's almost criminal to have actually photographed this and then to give you the recipe. Truthfully, I like to mash things up in the food processor, and taste to see if everything is okay. These kind of things are fun. There's not too much to screw up, which is always nice if there is any anxiety present. Except it would be even better, if it didn't require moving the hefty food processor to the kitchen every time I wanted to use it. But it is kind of like hiking the alps, and will keep me in shape for the years to come, yes? Well who knows, but I love beans. And I eat lots of them. Hopefully, that will help my shape too. I've changed my mind. Start in reverse. Yes, you still need the food processor, but start a little mini-chopper processor if you have it. Toss in a bag or box of spinach (say eight cups worth), then continue with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and parmigiano. Have you have a few nuts add those in too. Make a pesto. Whiz away. Then take the larger, clunker food processor, and add a couple cans of cannellini beans (rinsed bien sur!), more garlic, more extra virgin olive oil, and some salt. Some lemon is nice. Do taste it, and adjust the seasoning; you might like more lemon or more salt. Pucker up. Don't worry so much, you're almost done, and then you can finish cleaning up. You can find containers to put the pesto in, and the bean dip to store in the fridge if you want. It will be top-notch for a good 3 to 4 days....thank the garlic. The finished product should be a bit of a layered effort, with bean dip on the bottom, a good wack of pesto over that, and then a nice sprinkling of feta to complete the look. Serve with voluptuous bowls overflowing with the best seasonal vegetables. skinny dipping White Bean Dip with Spinach Pesto and Feta Serving size (lots!): Great for a party, or halve the recipe. Pesto (a simple one for the dip): 8 cups spinach 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic 1 tbsp parmigiano-reggiano a small handful of walnuts, pinenuts or almonds White Bean Dip: 2-19 oz cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 3 cloves of garlic 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp salt juice of a lemon Feta cheese, for sprinkling 1. Combine the ingredients for the pesto in the the food processor/mini-chopper, until all the spinach fits, and the ingredients are blended until fairly small. Be careful to ensure there are no large chunks of garlic or nuts leftover. 2. Chop the 3 cloves of garlic into pieces. Add them to another food processor, or after cleaning the same food processor. Combine the remaining ingredients for the bean dip. Blend until the beans are smooth in texture, but be careful that it doesn't result in a glue-like mixture, which can taste almost starchy. 3. To serve, place the bean dip in the bottom or a medium-sized bowl, or deep plate. Spoon half of the pesto on top, and spread it out a bit. Mix it in a little if you prefer. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the top. Serve with fresh seasonal vegetables for dipping.

17 comments:

NIKKI said...

Yum, yum! I will have to try this asap. I have over 2 lbs of cooked beans in my freezer. I have to use them all up within the next 9 days since I am moving from Barcelona to Miami. The beans are from my in-laws' garden. It would be a shame to waste. Thanks for the help!

VeggieGirl said...

Mmmm!!! Looks sexy to me, haha :-D

Mara @ What's For Dinner? said...

Lovely!! I love that Stone Soup story... I told it to my 2nd grade class when I was student teaching!

Anonymous said...

GREAT photos!!!

Hungry Jenny said...

Great photos. Never heard that stone story before, made me laugh when you mentioned they should have added beans! I've only recently got into experimenting with different beans after doing a veggie stint for a month and love them now.

Yay to beans :-)

Kevin said...

That is a nice way to dress up a white bean dip!

LK- Healthy Delicious said...

funny...I was actually thinking about stone soup earlier today.

that dip looks great. I love beans!

Bergamot said...

I really liked the way you wrote this post and a very creative recipe too. Will try it out sometime.

Jan @ Pantry Connection said...

Yum! This sounds delicious ... a recipe I will definitely have to try. Thanks for sharing!

Jan ~ Founder, PantryConnection.com

5 Star Foodie said...

Great post! And the dip sounds wonderful with the spinach pesto and feta!

Kang said...

I assume that this is the sigma lens? :) It takes really lovely shots ... I want one now :D going to see if my local camera guy does one!

mamakd said...

Great flavor combination! I love Stone Soup. It is such a cute story.

gail said...

kang - yep, the sigma lens, I think it is about $1000...but we essentially traded (for now, fingers crossed...) with my mother-in-law. I am using a Canon 5D mark II now, and LOVE it!!! I like the lens because you can go really wide, but also have the ability to get up close with a lot of detail too.

http://businessvartha.blogspot.com said...
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Brooke said...

Uh, yum! And delicious looking photos. Thanks for such a great, simple dish that's just perfect for Spring!

Angela said...

The stone soup story is so sweet -- I love it. This dip looks absolutely scrummy. And I love the idea of adding ingredients to the blender until it tastes right. Great idea!

Bethany said...

Great Post! Love the recipe! I agree that beans are so under-estimated and they dont receive enough glory. Lebanese cuisine uses them plentifully and we know how to love them :)

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