Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Contribution to the Easter Picnic

This Easter we are gathering at Debbie and Rob’s for dinner. (She with the three ovens, formal dining room, breakfast nook, European patio, and a ginormous flat screen!) We are having a picnic. Indoors if the weather is cool. I promised to bring my favorite baked beans. And I am also bringing the Best Bean Salad, Ever!

Back in the ‘70’s when marinated three bean salads became popular; you couldn’t get me to eat one on a bet. I tried many, many horrid salads before I just said, “No thank you.”
When pressed, I would mutter about being allergic to something in the dressing.

Then, when I was working at a call center, potlucks were a weekly occurrence. Lots of junk and a few, very few, tasty nutritious dishes. I saw the bean salad and passed it by. My friend and co-worker, Bridget, got a spoon and put some in my mouth; I was prepared to spit in the waste basket. Only, this tasted good; really, really good! I took a 3x5 card from my desk and wrote ‘Best Bean Salad, Ever!’ on it and handed it to Bridget. She magnanomously wrote out the recipe for me.

Here’s my take:

Best Bean Salad, Ever!
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP fresh squeezed lime juice
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 TBSP chives, chopped fine
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
Whisk together and set aside

1 can green beans, drained
1 can garbanzo, drained and rinsed
1 can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 green onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Gently toss with dressing
Add 6 oz Feta cheese; crumble to the size of the beans
Let set for an hour for the flavors to blend
Serve at room temperature

Options to change up the flavors a bit:
Use other canned beans: black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, etc
Use fresh herbs in the dressing: 1 TBSP chopped basil, 1 TBSP thyme, or 1 TBSP chopped rosemary, etc
When fresh tomatoes are not available, I use one can of small diced tomatoes, drained

Instead of Boston Brown Bread, I will be taking our family’s favorite Applesauce Cake from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Aunt Vi changed the recipe a little and I have changed her recipe just a tweak.

Applesauce Cake
Preheat oven 325F

2 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
3 cups flour
2 tsp soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins
Cream the sugar and butter
Add the eggs and beat well
Stir in the vanilla and applesauce
Sift together the flour, soda, salt, and spices and add to the wet ingredients
Stir in the nuts and raisins
Bake in a Dutch oven for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
Best if wrapped in plastic and let set for three days before eating.

I like to make this as a layer cake. 2 9” layers bake 25 – 30 minutes. Frost, while still just a little warm, with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Beat ingredients together

1 comment:

  1. These sound absolutely delicious. I'm gonna have to copy them (printer doesn't work) and remember to make them all.