If there's one thing I've learned from cooking it's that the cheapest and easiest things are unquestionably the most satisfactory.this cake. 16 sticks of butter and two days of hard work later, it was littered with imperfections and not a single party guest had the gumption to cut into my pseudo-masterpiece. Most of the cake and all of my pride ended up in the trash.
The key to minimal effort, maximum reward cooking is using a small number of high quality ingredients (screw you, low fat cheese). Buy groceries at a place you trust and choose ingredients that keep well. Some things I always have on hand in my kitchen are as follows: locally made bread (sliced and stored in the freezer), beans, organic root vegetables, organic eggs, onions, cheese (full fat!) and one herb. You just can't go wrong and I promise, you can't spend more than $20.
I'd like to share a thought with you from one of my favorite books, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: In Hell we starve, in Heaven we feed each other. That's my favorite part about easy food- we share all aspects of it with one another. We shop together. We cook together. We eat together. I don't know what's better than that.
This Monday (09/17/12) I am sharing my Rustic Bean Bake with you. It will be part of the lunch bar at The Turnip Truck on 12th Avenue South. I am also hosting a giveaway with The Turnip Truck and the prize is a $50 gift certificate. I'm no mathematician, but I'd say that's about two weeks of cheap, easy food made with excellent ingredients. The winner will be announced next Thursday (09/20/12).
To enter the giveaway, comment on this post and answer the question: What cheap or simple things do you love?
Preheat oven to 400 and grease a 9.5" pie dish (or a casserole dish if you are doubling the recipe)
2 medium yellow or sweet onions
1T fresh, chopped rosemary
1T balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 heaping cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable stock
1 1/3 cups shredded (full fat please!) mozzarella cheese
1/2t kosher salt
Chop onions into 1/4" thick half moons. Cook in a large, heavy pan over medium heat with salt and oil for 45 minutes or until they are deeply golden and at least one neighbor comes over to see what smells so darned good. Meanwhile, peel carrots and chop into bean-sized pieces. Microwave them on high for three minutes. When onions are fully caramelized, add vinegar, rosemary, carrots and beans and simmer for one minute. Add stock and cook for another two minutes. Toss in one cup of cheese and place mixture in pie dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until beautifully and bubbly brown on top.