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Beans Around The World: Italian? Or American?
Nonno (Grandpa) was Italian and he made these beans for my dad, who rarely left his farm (Va Via Farm) in Michigan. So I thought I'd have a little fun with the idea of whether this farm scene could be re-imagined as an Italian scene. Actually, though, dad didn't really have a silo. If he did, he certainly would not have let the roof rust!
The other question of the day is whether Nonno's Bean Blend is wine or hot sauce? You'll only know by trying some, since "No-one says 'no' to Nonno"!
Photo credit goes to Sandra Salamony, who took the photograph from which Nonno's close-up is based. Thanks, Sandra!
Years ago, I had my first taste of slow cooked, French Canadian-style baked beans. It was what I’ll call a time stopping gustatory experience. It was mid February, cold as heck and I was on a journalism school assignment to report on the sights and sounds and all to be savoured at Festival du Voyageur....for those of you not familiar.....this annual festival is unique to my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It all happens in our fantastic French Quarter, Saint-Boniface and is the largest winter event of its kind in Western Canada. Voyageurs worked for fur companies transporting goods by boat between trading posts. Voyageur, Métis and First Nations histories are celebrated amid happy fiddles playing, people jigging, hearty laughter, twinkle lights, bonfires, evergreens and delicious, traditional food (split pea soup, sugar pie|tarte a sucre, maple candy hardened in snow, tourtiere|meat pie, and that’s just the start!). Back to the beans. They had been cooked for hours in an old school clay bean pot by a man with a waxed moustache wearing a humongous fur hat. The navy beans were warm, tender and delicately starchy. The hunks of salt pork adding just enough unctuous, meaty flavour. But the crowning achievement of the dish was its beautifully sweet and savoury sauce. Glorious in its simplicity, it stuck fast to every bean creating an amber-hued sheen over every morsel. It’s February next month, right? My tum is rumbling.
Have you ever heard of muller beer (yes, beer)? No? So try this Polish recipe for a warming drink, perfect for the winter. I come from Poland and I decided to show you some original and surprising recipes from my land. It was originally inspired by my lovely friends who wanted to try some unexpected combination of flavours from my region.
Just like certain wines pair with certain foods, so does beer!
Peanut butter and, specifically, Heineken taste amazing together and even more so at the end of a long day driving around the Southwest and camping under the stars.
Francesinha – French Girl – is a typical portuguese dish, originally from Oporto.
The legend says that the portuguese emigrant Daniel David Silva, influenced by the croque-monsieur, created this dish baptizing it with this name because the spiciest woman he knew was the french. Later, was created the sauce, a secret recipe that I will share with you!
Although the origins of this drink are unknown, it roots are most likely found in the dark halls of a fraternity basement or in a Winnebago at a river camp. As the name implies, this is not a particularly sophisticated concoction. It is, however, a surprisingly delicious and refreshing cocktail that is perfect for a day out on the lake with friends. While traditionally this drink is made with bottom of the barrel ingredients, upgrades are always welcome. Well crafted beer and top shelf vodka are nice substitutes if you are feeling a little more “Yacht Club” than “Redneck Riviera”. If you are partial to a summer Shandy, you will love it’s trashy cousin, the “Hop, Skip and Go Naked”!