Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chesapeake Bay Baked Lima Beans (Page 274)

  • Date: Sunday, January 20, 2008 -- 1pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I am magnetically drawn to any recipes with beans in them. I am particular infatuated with beans baked for hours in some sort of delicious sauce. This recipe was for lima beans baked in a barbequesque sauce and topped with onions and bacon -- it sounded like a dream come true! It didn't end up as awe-inspiring as I had hoped though. I maintain that this recipe has potential, but as written it was merely ok. The sauce that the beans were baked in was tasty, but the flavor needed to be intensified. Maybe it was as simple as needing more salt. I'm not sure. But the flavor needed to be ramped up. The beans, for whatever reason, didn't absorb much flavor from the sauce. Since lima beans are large, this fact was very noticeable in each bite. You would have a bit of tasty sauce and a lot of not-so-flavorful beans. I was counting on the bacon to provide a burst of flavor, which it did. But the cooking method for the bacon wasn't ideal. The bacon strips were placed on the bean raw and then the whole thing was baked. So the top of the bacon became crispy and delicious, but the underside was cooked against the sauce of the beans, and hence never crisped. So although it was cooked through, the bottom of the bacon had a raw texture to it which was unappetizing. It would have been a better idea to crisp the bacon a bit before putting it atop the saucy dish. The one fantastic aspect of the recipe was the onions. Between the beans in sauce and the bacon there was a layer of onion slices. Being slow cooked between barbecue beans and bacon did wonders for those onions. They were caramelized and flavorful and delicious -- definitely a highlight! Overall this recipe was fine. I definitely didn't hate it, but I also can't see myself making it again. Matty was similarly apathetic about it. To be excellent, it would really need some tweaking.

This recipe isn't online.

Matty and I threw a dinner party tonight for some friends/colleagues. The food turned out reasonably well (more on that when I get to it in the blog) and the company was excellent! A couple of the guests are vegetarian, which is always a challenge when cooking from The Book. Sure, The Book has plenty of recipes that don't center around meat, but most non-dessert recipes have some trace of meat in them (a bit of chicken stock, some bacon, etc...). For tonight's dinner though I was looking for the truly vegetarian dishes. I managed to scrounge up a few, and they actually worked pretty well together. They weren't particularly kid-friendly though, and as one of my dinner guests was six years old this meant that I also served Kraft Macaroni and Cheese at this dinner party (in Spiderman shapes no less)! That was a first! The Book is a lot of things, but kid-friendly isn't really one of them.

It was a fun night. I love having people over for dinner, and there is no explanation for why I haven't been doing it more often since my move... Now tonight's guests have all gone home, the dishwasher is running, and I am sitting on the sofa relaxing. Ahhh....

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