Beer-Baked White Beans with Bacon and Rosemary


White beans are one of my favorite things to eat. Whether they are Cannellini or Navy or Great Northern, I love them all. Up to now, I’ve always made them the simple way my mom always has. I soak them overnight and then boil them gently in water, adding carrot and potato chunks during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Steve and I have always loved eating big bowlfuls of them, generously drizzled with olive oil and with ample amounts of freshly squeezed lemon juice. We both love the broth that the beans make when they cook, as it mixes with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt in our bowls. We always drink it all up after finishing our beans. When I told my mom, who always serves the cooked beans drained from their broth, that we love to drink it she was surprised. “But it smells like farts!” she said with a disgust in her voice. DSC05293

But now I have a new favorite way to cook beans: baking them in beer. I’ve had this recipe for beer-baked beans bookmarked for a long time but I didn’t get around to trying it out until a couple of weeks ago. The beans cook in the oven in a covered pot, along with onions and garlic that have been sautéed in bacon fat, some rosemary, mustard, and honey. The result is a pot of beans that are cooked beautifully and with amazing complexity in flavor. There’s the bacon fat of course, which adds saltiness and plenty of umami, but also the mustard and honey that counterbalance each other (much like in honey mustard), and the rosemary to give it an herbal kick. Topping the bowl of beans with the crisp pieces of bacon that were used to render the bacon fat for the onions and garlic is the final touch that rounds everything out in both flavor and texture. And this bean broth is irresistible (it definitely smells nothing like farts mom!), the result of beer, chicken stock, and bacon coming together. DSC05299

Beer-Baked White Beans with Bacon and Rosemary – Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 4-6 servings


6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, diced small
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 sprigs rosemary
1 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
2 bottles Belgian-style white ale (12 ounces each), such as Blue Moon or Hoegaarden
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 350º F. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, cook bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp and browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Increase heat to medium-high; add onion and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add mustard and honey; stir and cook 1 minute. Add rosemary, beans, beer, and broth; season with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil; cover and transfer to oven.

Bake until beans are tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 1½-2 hours. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper. To serve, stir in reserved cooked bacon.


Roasted Sunchokes with Orange, Rosemary, and Pine Nuts


Yesterday was the first day of spring, and here in New York city we got…more snow. Yep, as I am writing this post, I am watching a furious swirl of wet snowflakes covering the oh-so-recently snow-free ground. I can almost hear them: You thought you could get rid of us that easily? <insert evil laugh here>

Nothing describes the absurdity of this winter better than this quote from today’s New York Times: “Snow starts around noon, as temperatures hover just above freezing, and roughs up the evening commute. At 6:46 p.m., spring begins, the snow stops abruptly and twittering robins drape the city with garlands of daffodils.” Steve and I laughed heartily when we read this and then we stopped laughing and each shed a single tear for the loss of our meteorological innocence.

What can I say? Prolonged and brutal winters can make you a little crazy.

So, just give up on the weather and simply eat and drink to your heart’s delight. To help you with that, here’s an easy recipe for an appetizer that you can make with things you can find right now in your grocery store. Sunchokes are also known as Jerusalem artichokes, for reasons that I can’t fathom, since they are closer to potatoes and carrots than artichokes. In any case, they crisp up in the oven really nicely and they pair very well with toasted pine nuts, orange, and rosemary. A hint of balsamic vinegar adds an additional note of acidity and the final dash of aleppo pepper gives it that unexpected smoky heat that draws you in for one more bite. 

DSC03877Roasted Sunchokes with Orange, Rosemary and Pine Nuts

Makes 4 appetizer servings


1/4 cup pine nuts
1 lb sunchokes (jerusalem artichokes), washed and scrubbed clean
2 cloves garlic, peeled and slides in thin slices (about 2mm each)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 orange
2 teaspoons of good balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon aleppo pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a sauté pan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, tossing frequently, until they give off a toasted smell and they just start to turn golden brown. Immediately remove into a plate and allow to cool.

Slice sunchokes crosswise into 1/4″-1/2″ slices. In a large bowl, toss sunchoke slices with the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Spread on two large baking sheets, so that all sunchoke slices are lying flat on the pan. Make sure that all garlic slices are on top of sunchoke slices, otherwise they will burn. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, without turning, until the bottoms of the slices turn dark brown, but don’t burn. The tops will stay yellow and become soft.

Meanwhile, peel orange and slice crosswise in four 1/2″ slices (there will be some orange left over). Place each slice in the bottom of an individual serving bowl.

Once sunchokes are roasted, pile them on top of the four orange slices. Top with roasted pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, and aleppo pepper, divided among the four bowls. Serve immediately


Vodka Rosemary Lemonade Fizz


Steve and I took a short vacation last week, hence the lack of post over the weekend. We visited our friends in California and the four of us rented a house in Palm Springs for three days. We did nothing but eat and drink and be lazy. It was hot and mostly sunny there, perfect weather for an ice cold cocktail, so we made one of our favorites: vodka rosemary lemonade fizz. The first time we made this was a few years back for a party we had. We thought it would be a bust, that people would find it too simple or the herbal taste of rosemary too strong. But it was a huge hit and the recipe has been passed around from friend to friend ever since. It’s a simple recipe, really. Basically a rosemary infused lemonade, mixed with vodka, and topped with club soda. Pour yourself a glass and toast the arrival of spring.

Vodka Rosemary Lemonade Fizz – From

Makes 8 8oz drinks


1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 (8-inch) rosemary sprigs
unflavored vodka
Chilled club soda or seltzer
Garnish: 8 (3-inch) rosemary sprigs


Bring lemon juice, sugar, and rosemary to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Discard rosemary sprigs.

Fill 8 (8-ounces) glasses halfway with ice. Divide syrup (about 2 tablespoons each) among glasses and add vodka (1-2 tablespoons each, depending on how strong you want it). Top off with club soda.