Return From Hiatus! And, A Recipe.

Hello all!  Back at the keyboard after a little break to give birth to ChefBaby and get her started in the kitchen.  Well, not really, but she does hang out in there with me when I cook, and we had fun baking some of my mom’s cookies together over Christmas – check her out:

Baking with baby

(She may be trying to escape, thus expressing that her general opinion of baking is similar to her mom’s…)

Anyway, today was my first day back in a client’s kitchen, and thankfully I discovered that I haven’t totally forgotten how to cook.  (I did forget where lots of things were in the grocery store, but to be fair they did move some stuff around.)   I left my kit packed so I could just grab it and go, and it was a good thing, because I only remembered once I was there that I needed an apron, towels, my mini food processor, my one-handed pepper grinder, etc.  It was a smooth day and (hopefully) an auspicious start to my resumed career!

By popular demand over there on that YouFace (thank you Jack Donaghy), here’s the recipe for one of the dishes I made today.  I never post recipes here, but what the heck – it’s a new year, and a whole new era for me, so why not!  This vegetarian casserole is savory, comforting and has great texture, between the creamy cannellini beans, smooth goat cheese and crunchy Panko.  I wish I remembered where I came across it – it isn’t one of my own, but I have no idea where I found it.  (Fellow chefs, if it rings a bell, let me know.)   Enjoy!

White Bean & Artichoke Casserole with Goat Cheese

1/2          cup  Panko crumbs
2               cans  cannellini (white) beans, undrained
2                tsp  chopped fresh — or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2                tsp  chopped fresh — or 1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4           tsp  pepper
4                cloves garlic — minced
2                tbs  olive oil — divided
3                cups  leeks (about three large),  sliced
2                tsp  chopped fresh — or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4           tsp  salt
1                bag  frozen artichoke hearts (or 2 cans, drained)
1 1/2        cups  crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drain beans in a colander, reserving liquid. Add enough water to reserved liquid to measure 1 C. Combine beans with thyme, sage, pepper and 1 garlic clove.  Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add three garlic cloves, leeks, rosemary, salt and artichokes.  Sauté 4 minutes.  Stir in bean liquid, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Spread half the bean mixture in an 11×7 baking dish coated w/cooking spray and top w/half of goat cheese.  Spread artichoke mixture over goat cheese, top with remaining bean mixture and remaining goat cheese. Combine bread crumbs and 1 T. olive oil and sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Oops, almost forgot:

ChefChick Says: Hang on to the rubber bands that come wrapped around produce like scallions and asparagus.   They’re great for lots of things, such as when stupid #$!%! plastic wrap is all you have because you ran out of the best substance known to man – Glad Press & Seal – and it won’t stick to a dish you need to cover.   Wrap a rubber band around it the rim of the container to hold the plastic in place, before you go insane trying to get that infernal stuff to stick.


7 thoughts on “Return From Hiatus! And, A Recipe.

  1. Welcome back indeed. The recipe sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

    I love those rubber bands – I use them to seal open boxes and bags of rice, pasta, noodles and grains; rubber band containers together so the client knows what goes with what (sauce in one container, chicken in the other); and also to tie my hair back in an emergency!

  2. Hi Christine: I made this recipe tonight for my carnivores and they LOVED it! Thank you so much for sharing and this is going into my vegetarian notebook to make again. I served it over rice w/ warm buttered cocktail pumpernickel bread. It was delicious. It was not difficult to put together either. Mommie loved it too; she adores goat cheese. I put the pic of you and chef baby on the recipe. Your friend in the kitchen, ~Sharon

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