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Tag Archives: white beans

3 Doors Down Cafe’s White Bean and Fresh Herb Spread

22 Oct

This recipe is one of those food discoveries that, when revealed, makes you want to weep with joy. A few blocks from our house is a great little neighborhood restaurant by the name of 3 Doors Down. It’s a lovely place, featuring fantastic seasonal fare (a concept they’ve long embraced, far before it became a national trend), great wines, and an atmosphere that caters to both a nice family meal or a special evening out with friends.

That last point is a fairly spectacular achievement, and I give nothing but glowing reviews to 3 Doors Down for being so capable of meeting such disparate needs. On more than one occasion I have spotted a variety of simultaneous diners at 3 Doors Down that included a couple with a new baby snoozing away in an infant carseat, a table of six adults ordering wine two bottles at a time, several tables of dressed-up, cozy couples, and a party of three that included two adults and one bowtie-wearing six year-old (full disclosure: one of those tables was my household).

Every meal at 3 Doors Down is started with a dish of this superb white bean spread, accompanied by a plate of crusty bread. To illustrate its allure, picture this: when the aforementioned bowtie-wearing child was presented with a petite dish of the tasty spread, a single taste was all it took to hook him, and before long he began simply spooning the deliciousness into his mouth, forgoing the bread entirely. While all the food at 3 Doors Down is top notch, there cannot be enough fawning words dedicated to the creamy, flavorful white bean starter. So savory and rich, so wonderfully fresh and delicious, it is practically the definition of comfort found in a food. And the tear-inducing part? The recipe is available on their website, because that’s how great 3 Doors Down really is. Whip up a batch of it and you’ll see firsthand why my tears of joy were totally and completely justified.

Last Year: Cider Pressing and Two Kinds of Cupcakes

3 Doors Down Cafe’s White Bean and Fresh Herb Spread Recipe

I made this with freshly cooked beans, as called for in the recipe, but I see no reason why one couldn’t use canned cannellini beans if pressed for time.

2 cups dry cannellini beans

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 pinches red chile flakes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cover beans with water by two inches. Soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain beans. Put beans into saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook beans until tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Drain.

In separate saucepan melt butter over medium low heat and add all remaining ingredients, except for the olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent about 7 to 10 minutes. Add cooked beans. Mash or puree with a food processor or stick blender until chunky-smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a dish or bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with crusty bread.

Makes 4 cups.

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White Bean and Tomato Bruschetta

9 Aug

My best friend recently had a baby, her second, and lately I have been spending a pleasingly large amount of time over at her house. While she readjusts to life with an infant, I stand beside her and offer whatever assistance I can, mainly in the form of handing her things when she runs out of arms to complete the task herself. This dance of ours is not unlike that of a surgeon and the nurse assisting her in surgery. Diaper? Diaper. Extra wipes? Extra wipes. Coffee? Oh, yes. Coffee!

Aside from the coffee (consumed in only moderate amounts, for those of you who might be prone to concern), we have also been taking part in some delightful light lunches. Sitting in the kitchen while her son sleeps, my best friend and I swipe crackers in to hummus, top slices of bread with egg salad, and wrap big leaves of crisp lettuce around chicken salad with chutney. The conversation and company is always wonderful, but the lunches always seem to cement the reason why we are best friends. Nowhere else will you find two other people whose most favorite meal structure happens to be a composition of bits of things piled on top of other bits of things.

It was with my best friend in mind that I made this fresh, summery bruschetta. Grilled bread, brushed with olive oil, then topped with a garlicky combination of white beans, fresh tomatoes, and a handful of herbs, makes for a highly enjoyable meal, whether you are interested in throwing together a simple dinner for two or a light appetizer for a crowd. Serve this with sturdy crackers for dipping and it transforms into an even more casual affair. Mix it up with some orzo and you’ve got a great summer salad on your hands (and in your mouth). Or you can do what I did: take it over to a friend’s house, place it in the refrigerator, then sit around chatting and enjoying each other’s company until  hunger strikes or a certain newborn baby allows for a bit of respite by taking a long afternoon nap (whichever comes first).

Last Year: Tiny Party Sandwiches

White Bean and Tomato Bruschetta Recipe

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 ½ cups chopped tomato, seeds removed

1 ½ cups cooked white beans (canned, rinsed beans are fine)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

salt and pepper to taste

optional: a sprinkling of finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into slices, brushed with olive oil, and grilled until crisp

In a large bowl, combine minced garlic with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine, then set aside while you seed and chop the tomatoes. Add tomatoes to garlic and olive mixture, along with the white beans, chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then taste for seasoning.

To serve, pile on top of slices of grilled bread, then, if using, sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese.

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