Scarlet Runner Bean stew for Meatless Monday

Yummy. These are beautiful, big, colorful beans, which cook up very nicely. I get most of my dried beans from Rancho Gordo ( , which sells excellent quality dried beans. It is definitely worth getting top quality raw ingredients. It makes a difference in how much time it takes to cook and also the overall flavor. I took a cup of these and soaked them for a couple of hours. Next, sauteed an onion and some kale and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Threw in a jar of homecanned tomatoes, some oregano, and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. Let the mix simmer a while. Decided it needed something more and chopped up probably 2 cups of cabbage. Added 1 T. of red wine vinegar. It was actually quite good. Served it with rice. I intended to sprinkle with parmesan cheese, but forgot to do so. Excellent. Healthy. Frugal.


Apricot Almond Tart

This is an adaptation of several recipes. Wonderful dessert. Absolutely delicious. I used the tart pastry recipe from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Cooking, with several modifications: I used chilled tequila for 1/2 the cold water. Would have used vodka but didn’t have any. Also substituted one T. of vinegar for an equivalent amt. of water. I have read that vinegar reduces the gluten making it easier to roll out. The alcohol makes it flaky, at least that is my understanding. After making the dough in the processor, I let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before rolling out. I did use butter in the pastry, but want to try using oil for half of the fat next time. I’d already made so many changes, I wanted to see how this worked before making more changes to the pastry recipe.

The filling was a recipe from Gale Gand’s Sweet Dreams from Food Network website¬†with several changes. The recipe called for puff pastry, but since I didn’t have any, I used the tart dough. I also used dried apricots, a handful, which I put in a small bowl with about 1/2 c. water and microwaved for a minute, then let sit for 30 minutes or so, until soft. I wound up using substantially more apricots than the original recipe called for, and we really liked the result. Plus, it is difficult to find good quality, flavorful fresh apricots, so I usually substitute dried. Finally, at the end, the recipe called for dusting with powdered sugar. Before doing that, I microwaved a couple of tablespoons of raspberry jelly to liquify it, then brushed it over the top of the tart to give it a little glaze. Then I dusted it with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I will definitely make this again.

My guests loved the recipe.

As you can see, I make alot of modifications, partly based on what I have on hand, partly just personal preference.