This week on Food52 I shared my favorite way to cook dried beans and how to stretch a pot of humble beans into a week of family dinners.
I was always intimidated by cooking dried beans. I would either forget to soak them ahead of time (ahhhh!) or keep them simmering in a pot, only to find them undercooked at the end of the day. After a while, I began to shy away from recipes that suggested I try it again.
Discovering the simplicity of preparing dried beans in the slow cooker has thrown my trepidation out the window. You just combine a few ingredients and turn on the machine! A few hours later you have a perfect pot of beans. Life-changing. (But if you don’t have a slow cooker, fear not: I recommend the method outlined in this recipe.)
Click here to read the full story and get four recipes from Feeding a Family including: Slow Cooker Black Beans, Buckwheat Crepes with Delicata Squash, Black Beans & Avocado, Kale & Sweet Potato Tacos on Homemade Corn Tortillas, and Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.
All photography by Elizabeth Cecil.
I wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Juice Making for Food52. Check it out!
Whether you received a juicer over the holidays, are in the midst of a New Year’s resolution kick, or simply want to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet (who doesn’t?), you may be curious about juicing…click here to read the full article and get the recipes.
Photography by Elizabeth Cecil
A couple of weeks ago Design Mom interviewed me about our house and what it’s like to live year-round on Martha’s Vineyard. She sent along 10 really insightful questions for us to answer. The whole process allowed me to sit and reflect on how much work we (well, mostly Nick) has done to our house and organize my thoughts about the pros and cons of living here. I came out of it feeling even more grateful for this home and community. I’ve included the interview questions here and a link to my answers at the bottom on the post.
I’m sure you’ve seen glimpses inside our house on my instagram page but if you haven’t here is a sneak peak inside. Someday I want to share the before pictures too but that requires some organizing and digging. And what’s with this big chicken you’re asking? I decided to spontaneously roast a whole bird earlier in the week and it was such a good move for many reasons: 1. One-pot dinner! 2. We’re on day 5 of cold and rain 3. I ate the leftover vegetables with eggs for breakfast this morning 4. I made stock in the slow cooker for soup tonight. So much goodness has come out of this simple meal.
Spring Roast Chicken
1 4 to 5 pound chicken
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
Small bunch scallions, ends trimmed
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F and toss all the vegetables, sliced lemon, a few glugs of olive oil, salt, and pepper, in the bottom of a roasting pan. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables, tie the legs together, fold in the wings, and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle over salt and pepper.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pan half way through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Psst – I know the edges of the vegetables look burned but I promise they don’t taste that way.
1. Tell us who lives here! All the quirks. Maybe how you and your husband met, what you both do for work, and a few unique details about your kids.
2. Tell us where, exactly, you live. Describe your neighborhood, neighbors, why you love it, why you don’t love it, housing prices (NO ONE EVER TALKS PRICES!), and the cool things nearby. Also, MARTHA’S VINEYARD! All the things we couldn’t get from a guide book!
3. How did this home become yours? Describe the process of finding and then making it yours. Was it hard? Effortless? Any tricks to buying in your area?
4. A 1924 cottage! Tell us how hard it is to modernize a property like that! All the nitty gritty details that no one ever tells you before a project like this.
5. You write cookbooks! Tell us about that. Where did you get your start? Give us some interesting highlights!
6. You and your husband are both artists; how does that affect your design choices? Is it more difficult to choose how you want to live with your kids? Are you more unwilling to give in to ugly toys or messes? How do you integrate their style with your own?
7. What are the quirks of living on MV?! Any celebrity sightings?
8. What do you hope your kids remember from this home and you as their parents?
9. What has been your absolute favorite thing about living with your own kids? What do you already miss?
10. Please finish the sentence: I wish someone had told me (and I had listened!)…
I am a chip magnet. Really anything crispy and salty appeals to me but if it happens to be in chip form all the better. This week we discovered how easy it is to make sweet potato chips at home. All you need is a mandolin and a sweet potato to make it happen. I sprinkled over a combination of our favorite ground spices (high quality onion powder seems to be my new answer to everything) but you can use any flavors your family likes from hot cayenne pepper to warm cinnamon.
In totally unrelated news, The Martha’s Vineyard Cookbook Club is reading and cooking from A Boat, a Whale, & a Walrus this month. If you need some new inspiration or want to start a cookbook club of your own this book is a beauty.
I hope you have a great weekend full of sweet potato chips and garden snails.
Sweet Potato Chips
1 large sweet potato
A big pinch of cumin
A big pinch of paprika
A big pinch of onion powder
First, preheat the oven to 400 F. Peel the sweet potato and, using a mandolin, slice into very thin rounds. In a large bowl, toss the rounds with oil and ground spices of your choice (we really liked the combination of salt, cumin, paprika, and onion powder).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the rounds in a single layer across the sheet. You will have enough sweet potato rounds for 3 sheets. The chips cook so quickly I simply made one tray at a time but you can put two in the oven at once, flipping positions halfway through, if you’d like.
Cook the chips for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 3 minutes or until the edges are deeply golden. Eat warm or let cool to room temperature. The chips seemed as though they would keep well stored in an airtight container but we ate them all too fast to find out.
Nick and I spontaneously booked a night away next weekend, just the two of us. We have been away from the boys together just a couple of times (or maybe just once to a wedding?) but this time we have no plans or packed schedule. We can’t stop talking about where to eat, where to walk, and where to eat some more. The idea of sitting together over a long Saturday lunch makes me so excited I can’t even take it. At home, most of our meals are eaten within minutes or half eaten and returned to later. Because of this busy parent relationship with food I try, whenever I can, to have a hearty salad or at least a bowl of rice and beans in the fridge for a quick lunch or just to grab and shovel into my mouth before dashing out the door. This salad is perfect for that kind of hectic mid-week eating. It’s hearty, filling, and flavorful but doesn’t weigh you down. Last night, we ate it with fried eggs for dinner.
Farro & Sweet Potato Salad
from Clean Slate
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4), scribbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves (do not peel)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup farro (for gluten-free replace with brown rice)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup spicy sprouts, such as radish or arugula, plus more for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle sweet potatoes and garlic with 3 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, then spread in a single layer. Roast sweet potatoes, flipping once, until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place farro in a medium saucepan, and cover with 4 inches of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain and immediately toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl. Season with salt, and let cool slightly.
3. Remove garlic cloves from skins, and use a mortar and pestle (or a fork) to mash with lemon zest and juice. Add to farro along with sweet potatoes, dill, and sprouts, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with more sprouts before serving.