Friday, September 11, 2009
Travelling, Buying, Eating.
Today we are on the road travelling through Buffalo, NY, then into Pennsylvania past Pittsburg where we pick up the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We then head into Virginia and end up for the night at Winchester. We've never really explored the town of Winchester although some of the countryside once we leave there on Hiway 17 is absolutely gorgeous. I am actually hoping that this year we will have time to visit Sky Meadow State Park which name has drawn my attention for years. We have a bit of extra time as we can't check into the cottage in NC until about 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. tomorrow and from Winchester to the coast of North Carolina doesn't take too long. I always take a shopping list to the States with me as there are a number of things we can either not buy in Canada or can buy a lot cheaper in the States. I also have a short shopping list for some friends. The main thing we tend to buy is fresh shrimp, we get it straight from the boat. I also buy frozen turkey breasts which are incredibly cheap there. Another thing I buy, which I have mentioned before, are jars of pickled Nopalitos which I can find in Piggly Wiggly in North Carolina. Nopalitos being cactus leaves and to me, absolutely delicious. Here's an interesting pasta recipe from Eating Well, I would probably use canned cannelini beans for this, I rarely ever bother to cook beans. I like to buy cans of cannelini beans in the States too, I am told that the beans we get here are the same, but they aren't sold as cannelini and they just don't seem quite the same to me. Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta From EatingWell: September/October 2009 Turn humble pasta and beans gourmet by adding roasted vegetables, fresh mint and tangy, salty aged goat cheese. When making a pasta dish with beans, you can use some of the bean-cooking liquid to give the sauce silky body and help it cling to the pasta. If you’re using canned beans, use some of the pasta-cooking liquid or just water. 4 servings, about 2 1/4 cups each Ingredients * 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed * 2 medium zucchini * 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided * 1/4 teaspoon salt * 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat penne or similar short pasta * 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped * 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, plus 1/2 cup bean-cooking liquid, pasta-cooking liquid or water (see Tip) * 2 plum tomatoes, diced * 3/4 cup crumbled hard, aged goat cheese, or fresh goat cheese * 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves * Freshly ground pepper to taste Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 2. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise and then slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Quarter zucchini lengthwise. Toss the fennel and zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until soft and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. 4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. 5. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Add the vegetables, beans and bean-cooking liquid (or other liquid) to the pan with the garlic and place over medium-low heat. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the pan. Toss thoroughly and add tomatoes; toss until just warm. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese and mint. Season with pepper. Tips & Notes * Tip: How to Cook a Pot of Beans * 1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours. * 2. When you’re ready to cook the beans, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small chopped onion, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped celery stalk (optional). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup hot water. When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (Do not drain: beans are best stored in their cooking liquid and the liquid can be used in some recipes.) * Makes about 6 cups. Have a great day - maybe even a great two weeks.