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Braised White Beans

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 10, 2012 at 1:11pm

braised white beans adam vickerman

These may look like ordinary white beans but they’re actually the cool-girl beans in town, swooned over on Twitter, gossiped about on Facebook, photographed and copied and seriously in demand. I’d love to take credit for the fabulous recipe but no, these are via Chef Adam Vickerman of Cafe Levain, who now has the lady food bloggers in town batting their eyelashes over beans.

The flirtation began last spring, at a California Olive Ranch-sponsored dinner at Levain. As the beans were served, an audible murmur went through the room as the ladies realized that the delicious dish was not only vegetarian but vegan. I myself was inspired and without asking Adam for his recipe, made my own version of braised beans with rosemary and arugula when I wrote about the event.

When word got around that Adam was cooking for our lady food blogger gathering in December, requests showered in for the beans! And so he obliged, and then shared the recipe, which is beautifully simple and a perfect example of how coaxing maximum flavor from a few good ingredients is how we should all be cooking.

Adam Vickerman’s recipe for Braised White Beans at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Note: The lovely bowl in the photo was made by Fred Yerich of Frogtown Pottery. The fork I snagged – with permission, of course! – from Corner Table.

Olive Oil & Cafe Levain

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:22am

I was honored to throw a small amount of time toward the beautiful #BigEVOONight event that Minnesota Food Blogger Will Hsu planned with Chef Adam Vickerman and Mike Forbes of California Olive Ranch. Held last Wednesday, July 6, at Cafe Levain, the event featured a gorgeous, seasonal menu planned around California Olive Ranch’s incredible extra-virgin olive oil.

adam vickerman

The food was stunning and delicious – good combination. I particularly loved the kohlrabi/pea puree soup and can’t wait to mess around with the concept.

The eaters were primarily food bloggers doing their food blogger thing: snapping pics, tweeting, oohing and ahhing over the fabulous food, talking a blue streak, laughing their brains out…

mike forbes

…and licking their plates. Yeah!

Minnesota Food Bloggers are a fun group, yes we are. Even the ones (Shaina Olmanson) who insist on putting their nametags on my butt. It started with one at The Local. I found five at the end of this event. Apparently I don’t notice people patting my backside. Hmmm…

will hsu, stephanie meyer

soisson beans

At home I used my California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil to finish off these gorgeous soisson beans. I first had them at the home of Deborah & Scott Pikovsky, after spending the day at Star Thrower Farm, their sheep farm and cheese-making venture outside of Glencoe, Minnesota. Scott made us an incredible meal – details of the day and meal forthcoming – including soisson beans. Creamy and rich, they need nothing more than a drizzle of lovely olive oil, and a sprinkle of coarse salt, to finish. Sublime.

Thank you Mike Forbes/California Olive Ranch and Adam Vickerman/Cafe Levain for such a perfectly delicious summer evening!

Soisson Beans with Rosemary, Arugula & Olive Oil
Serves 6

Soisson beans are large, white lima beans. Substitute these Bob’s Red Mill large lima beans for the same buttery, creamy texture. Or, use any dried white bean! Soak the beans at room temperature for 12-24 hours ahead of time and your digestive system will thank you.

8 Tbsp. fruity extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small sprig rosemary
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 c. diced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. large, dried white kidney beans, soaked for 12 hours, soaking water discarded
4 large handfuls of small arugula leaves
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Set a Dutch oven over medium heat and add 4 Tbsp. of olive oil. Stir in the rosemary and stir around for a few minutes, then add the cayenne pepper, onion, garlic, and thyme. Saute for 10 minutes, or until the onion is nicely softened. Stir in the drained beans to coat them with oil. Add water to cover by 2 inches, bring to a simmer, and turn heat to low.

Simmer the beans over lowest heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then add 3 tsp. of Kosher salt. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes to 1 hour or until beans are tender but not falling apart. Add more water if necessary so that beans don’t dry out but juices remain thickened and starchy. When the beans are done, remove from heat and set aside.

Set a skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Stir in the arugula and a generous pinch of salt and saute until arugula wilts, about 3 minutes. Scrape arugula into the bean pot.

To serve, spoon beans and arugula into small bowls, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and finish with freshly ground black pepper.