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Mid-Week Quickie: Greek Baked Beans with Feta

Ok.  I’ll admit it upfront: This is not a true quickie, because you have to bake it for an hour and fifteen minutes.  But it’s less than fifteen minutes of active time, so you just have to get it together to prep it an hour or so before you want to eat.

Since I bought feta cheese for a pasta salad a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking for ways to use up the leftovers.  I saw this recipe for Yigante Beans that I just couldn’t stop thinking about, and ultimately ended up combining that recipe with this one, and adapting them to make the whole thing ridiculously easy.

Ingredients
One 14 oz. can butter or lima beans, drained (because I clearly didn’t plan ahead enough to soak dried beans)
One 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
dried herbs, whatever suits your fancy.  I used basil, thyme and a bay leaf.
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/8 c. red or white wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 325°.

Heat a nonstick pan on medium and add a tablespoon of olive oil.  When it shimmers, add your beautifully chopped onions (see last post).  Add a pinch of salt and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent, turning the heat down if they start to brown.
When the onions are almost done, heat a half cup of water in the microwave to boiling.  Then, in a baking dish (I think mine is 6″x9″) combine the beans, tomatoes, and cooked onion.  Add your dried herbs, crushing them in your palm before you add them – this is a trick to help release the oils in dried herbs.

Now, add the tomato paste and honey to the water and stir until dissolved.
Add the tomato/honey mixture to the beans and stir to combine.  Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and your bay leaf, and pop that baby in the oven.
After one hour, take the dish out and stir in the vinegar.  Sprinkle the feta over the top, and put the dish back in the oven.  Turn the heat up to 375 and bake 15 minutes longer.  Ta da!
Serve with a crunchy salad–mine was cubed tomato, cucumber and avocado with balsamic vinagrette.  Enjoy!

Lima Bean on Foodista

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How to Chop an Onion

For the beginner kitchibitionists out there, I thought I’d go through the easiest way to chop an onion, and you can do it all in three steps.  After all, almost every recipe starts with chopped onion, and more efficient chopping means less time crying from onion fumes.  So grab a knife, grab an onion, and let’s do this.

Step 1: Make the onion your friend.
Not as cheesy as it sounds, folks.  Cutting something round is terrible – you want to make flat surfaces so that the onion is stable while you are chopping it.  So cut off both pointy ends of the onion, peel the brown outer layer off, and stand it on one now-flat part.  Cut it in half from top to bottom, and lay the two halves flat.
Step 2: Slice each half parallel to the cut ends.  Watch your fingers – hold the onion steady, but make sure they are out of the way of the knife!

Why parallel, you ask?  Because if you slice parallel, the onion will stay together much better when you get to the next step!  This step and the next step are where you determine how finely you chop the onion–make slices very close together to mince, or far apart to roughly chop.

Step 3: Carefully rotate each sliced half a quarter turn, and move across the onion, making slices perpendicular to the ones you already made.

And voila!  Chopped onion!

Onion on Foodista

Back in action!

Kitchibitionist, take two.  I’m back in Austin, back in school, and back to cooking.  Lots of recipes to come soon!

Hiatus :(

I am sorry to report that the Kitchibitionist will be on hiatus until May 15.  I keep thinking I will find time to share all the things I’ve cooked with you (somehow, I am still finding time to cook), but it hasn’t happened, so I think it’s time to admit that the Kitchibitionist needs to take a break until after finals.  I’m including some teaser pictures of things that I promise I will post once finals are finished.  In the meantime, enjoy the spring weather, and see you in a month!

Mango & Corn Salsa

Yes, I know I’m guilty of disappearing for the last few weeks – things have been a little crazy.  But on the upside, I have about 5 recipes to share as soon as I get around to writing them up!  We’ll start here, with a quick one…

This is a super easy salsa – great to take to parties!  It tastes best if you have enough time to let it sit in the fridge overnight before serving, but it’s ok if you serve it right away too.  If you are short on time, you could make it in a food processor and skip all the chopping – just make sure you don’t pulverize the veggies!

ingredients
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 large onion, finely minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
14 oz can corn
2 mangos (or 1 mango and 1 peach)
1 lime
1/2 c white vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water

instructions

1. prepare all your vegetables and fruit.  drain the tomatoes and corn in a colander.

2. combine the juice of the lime, the vinegar, the sugar and the water in a small bowl and mix to dissolve the sugar.

3. combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. stir and refrigerate overnight before serving.  serve with corn chips, preferably blue corn.

Spring break, WOOOO!

The Kitchibitionist will be back next week!

In the meantime, on a note totally unrelated to food, you can fill the time you would have spent cooking watching this great episode of Arrested Development: Spring Breakout!

Mid-Week Quickie: Goat Cheese & Asparagus Mac & Cheese

This is a super fast and easy mid-week recipe with almost no cleanup.  It took about 20 minutes start to finish and used one pot and one bowl – doesn’t get much better than that.  This recipe originally came from Smitten Kitchen, but I made a few changes.  Here you go!

ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 lb whole wheat gemelli pasta
1 small lemon
1/2 lb asparagus
1/2 red bell pepper
sugar snap peas or broccoli
1 bunch spinach, rinsed
about 3 oz goat cheese (half of a 5.5 oz log)
2 tbsp olive oil

instructions

1. boil water in a big pot.  add 1/2 tsp salt and the pasta to the boiling water.

gemelli – if you haven’t had it, try it – so good for cheesy pastas!

2. prep your veggies.  snap the hard ends off the asparagus by bending the stalk and letting it break naturally.  then cut the asparagus stalks into thirds or quarters.

3. cut the bell pepper into strips, cut the stems off the spinach, and snap the hard ends off the peas.  if you’re using broccoli, cut it into bite-sized pieces.

4. when the pasta has 3 minutes left to cook, add the asparagus, red pepper, peas and broccoli.  2 minutes later add the spinach.

5. when the spinach wilts, drain the whole pot, reserving about 1/2 c. of the cooking water.

5. in a large bowl, combine the goat cheese, a splash of pasta water (about 1/4 c), olive oil, zest of the lemon, and the juice of half the lemon.

6.  with a fork, mash the goat cheese into the liquid until the mixture is smooth.

you caught me – i switched to a big bowl when i realized that trying to mix this in a little bowl was about to spell disaster.

7.  when the mixture is smooth, add the pasta and vegetables to the bowl, and toss to combine, making sure you scoop up the goat cheese sauce from the bottom to really coat the pasta.

mmm.