Butternut Squash Soup

There was a restaurant that my friend Jane and I used to go to for lunch on Tuesdays when we felt like splurging a little on ourselves.  On those occasional Tuesdays when we wanted to enjoy a nice cocktail or glass of wine with our lunch, and have consistently good food and service we would go there.   The atmosphere reminded me of an upper class, members only men’s club from another era.  Beautiful table settings and good wine and top shelf liquor behind the bar.  Lots of dark wood, big stone fireplace, dim lighting, comfortable chairs…a very formal appearance.  You expect to look around the corner and see a billiard table or library, and men in suits smoking big cigars with a snifter of bourbon to cap off their meal.  Obviously my only experience involving “men’s clubs” is from novels or movies, but I think the friends who have joined us there for lunch would agree with my observations and know exactly the place I’m talking about.  One of the things that we frequently enjoyed there was their butternut squash soup.  It was served with a few salted and chopped pistachios and a small dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche in the center.  It always tasted so good!  Everything we ate there was excellent but I really liked the soup.  I looked through a lot of recipes and came up with an amalgam of two or three recipes.  It doesn’t taste quite the same but it was good.  The leftovers actually tasted even better.  Fresh squash is plentiful right not so it’s a perfect time to make it.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash peeled and cubed

1 medium sweet onion diced

1 cup of celery diced

1 russet potato diced

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

2 T butter

3-4 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)

1 T fresh ginger minced

2 cinnamon sticks

8 oz package of cream cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Dice the potato, onion, and celery and mince the garlic.  Peel, seed, and dice the squash.

In a dutch oven, melt the butter and sweat the onion, celery, and potato.

Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Add in the butternut squash, the cinnamon sticks and ginger, and the broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Once it starts to boil reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.

You want the squash and other vegetables to be nice and soft.  At this point you’ll want to remove and discard the cinnamon sticks.

Cube up the cream cheese and stir in.

Use an immersion blender to get a nice, smooth consistency.

If you feel the soup is too thick add additional broth.

Now you’re ready to dish it up.  I didn’t have any pistachios or creme fraiche so I used some homemade garlic croutons.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  After eating this soup I’ve decided the potato didn’t add anything significant so I will not use that component next time.  I did add another cup or so of broth to mine after blending.

My friend Jane and I decided that the soup we enjoyed at the “men’s club” had a little brown sugar or maple syrup and was sweeter than this recipe.  Also, the flavor of ginger is more pronounced in this recipe.  Adjust to suit your palate.

It’s not for everyone.  For some people the consistency would be off-putting.  My husband did not like it at all, but I didn’t expect that he would.  And I actually liked it best the second day which is frequently true of soups.  If you like butternut squash and if you like puréed soups I think you’ll really enjoy this recipe.

Pizza Sauce

It’s once again canning season.  I was really excited to find Roma tomatoes this year.  I had already canned two bushels for 90 pints of stewed tomatoes and diced tomatoes.  We love dishes with tomatoes and I go through a LOT of them every year.  But Romas make really good sauce so I had to buy another peck.  A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.  Does anyone else remember that??  It’s from a very corny Doris Day song.   I’ve made pizza sauce in prior years, but my friend Jane adds carrots to hers  for natural sweetness and a nice consistency, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I’m a little more heavy handed on seasoning than she is, but I really liked the addition of the carrots.  If you’re fortunate enough to find Romas I’d recommend using those but, if not, regular tomatoes will also make a fine sauce.

Ingredients:

16-18 cups of peeled, cored, and diced tomatoes

2 cups of finely diced carrots

1 large onion diced

6-8 cloves of garlic

3 T olive oil

3 T oregano

3 T basil

1 T garlic powder

1 T pepper flakes

1 T fennel seed

3 T kosher salt

1/8th tsp citric acid per cup of sauce

The first thing you have to do is core, peel and dice all the tomatoes.  One peck made two batches of sauce.

Peel and dice the carrots, dice the onion and mince the garlic.

Add the olive oil to a deep heavy kettle.  Sweat the onion, garlic, and tomatoes for a couple minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bring them to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce reduces and begins to thicken.

Add the spices and the salt.

Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.  It’s not a fast process so you have to be patient.  My sauce simmered for a couple of hours. I used an immersion blender during the simmering process.

Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency you can start filling your hot jars and getting them ready for the water bath.  I used some cup and a half jars as well as some one cup jars.  Add 1/8th tsp of citric acid per each cup of sauce as you jar it.  Carefully wipe the rims of the jars before putting the lids and rings on.  Process in a water bath for 30 minutes. Allow your jars to cool on a towel or mat for at least 12 hours before storing them.

I saved a little more than a cup of sauce from the last batch and made us a pizza for dinner.

NOTE:  Let your own palate be your guide with the seasonings.  Taste while your sauce is cooking.  You can use pint jars if you prefer but I think the smaller jars are perfect for a single pizza.  If you do use pint jars increase the processing time to 40 minutes. This sauce is also good to use on pasta, a meatball sub, for dipping cheese bread, or on a veggie crepe.  Unlimited possibilities!

Three Sisters Salad

A few weeks ago I added a cocktail to my blog called the Four Sisters.  It was a cocktail that we “four sisters by choice” concocted and decided Four Sisters was a perfect name.  We enjoyed a couple pitchers that day and have enjoyed several since.  This is a salad called “Three Sisters Salad” that has nothing to do with our cocktail, although it would pair nicely.  The three sisters in this recipe refers to the combination of corn, beans, and winter squash, key crops of indigenous Americans.  The recipe is from the June/July 2020 issue of fine Cooking.  I improvised a bit, mostly out of necessity.  Since this pandemic started there are certain grocery items that are nearly impossible to find.  For instance, dried beans.  Who knew that a pandemic would cause people to hoard dried beans, but it must be a thing.  This recipe called for dried black eyed peas and gave instructions for cooking them with onion and garlic and some herbs.  Actually, even canned black eyed peas are hard to find.  I had always looked for them in the section of the grocery with the other dried and canned beans.  Even though they are called a pea they are actually a bean.  On a recent grocery run I found them in the canned vegetable section.  Right next to canned green peas, which are truly a disgusting thing.  These particular canned beans had a very pleasant smoky taste, if you like that sort of thing, and they were a really good, I thought, addition to the salad.

Also, although one of the three sisters is winter squash, this recipe called for zucchini.  And there is plenty of that available this time of year.

Dressing Ingredients:

3 T white wine vinegar

1 T Dijon mustard

I T maple syrup

1/4 cup olive oil

1 T finely minced jalapeño (I took the seeds out of mine)

Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

3 ears of corn, kernels removed

3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and separated

2 slender zucchini cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices and halved

1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves

salt and pepper to taste

Make the dressing and set aside.  In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, syrup, and mustard.  Continue whisking while adding the oil in a slow, steady stream.  Stir in the jalapeño and a little salt and pepper.

Slice the zucchini and green onions and tear the basil leaves.

Remove the corn from the cob.  Heat a heavy skillet over high heat and add the corn.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the scallion whites, stir, and cook for another minute.  Transfer the corn and onions to a large bowl.

 

Drain and rinse the black eyed peas.

Add the black eyed peas to the bowl with the corn.

Add the zucchini and dressing and stir to combine.  Stir in the basil and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with the scallion greens.

We enjoyed our Three Sisters Salad with cod poached in white wine, tomatoes and capers and fresh green beans.

NOTE:  Obviously, if you prefer, and if you can find them, you could cook the dried black eyed peas and add them to the salad.  The recipe calls for 8 oz. of dried beans (about 1cup).  Or, if you can find traditional vs the southern style black eyed peas, that would work as well.  Although, I must say, the smoky taste worked for me.  If you prefer you could use different beans altogether…lima, canary, navy, pinto.

The recipe called for a little less white wine vinegar (2 T) and less maple syrup (1 1/2 tsp).  I increased both a bit based on my taste.

This salad was great at room temperature or chilled.  I ate the leftovers the next day.

Shrimp Ceviche/Gazpacho

Since this pandemic began many of us have been spending more time than usual on social media and have been ordering more stuff on line.  I must admit, I am guilty.  I came across an ad for The Fresh Chili Company on line and the recipe for this shrimp ceviche.  The recipe sounded great.   The ingredients in their chili sauce are red chile purée, water, salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion and citric acid.  No chemicals or other ingredients that I can’t identify or pronounce.  So I placed an order for two jars, a mild red and a medium red. The turn around time was good and they kept me posted regarding my order.

Years ago my daughter gave me a book called 100 Words for Foodies.  It defines ceviche as raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice with olive oil and spices and served as an appetizer.  Gazpacho is defined as a chilled soup usually made with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, and herbs.  So I’m not sure this recipe would be considered a true ceviche (although that’s what the Fresh Chili Company called it) because the shrimp is cooked when you add it to the other ingredients.  I guess it’s kind of a hybrid.  A little bit ceviche and a little bit gazpacho and maybe needs a name all it’s own.  I’ll have to think about that.  But, doesn’t matter what you call it, it was easy to make and very tasty.  Perfect for hot summer days when you don’t want to turn the stove or oven on and you want to eat something cool and refreshing.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of jumbo shrimp

1/4 cup Abuela’s traditional red chili sauce (I used medium)

2 stalks of celery sliced thin

1 English cucumber chopped

1/2 onion chopped

2 avocados chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1/2 cup cilantro chopped

juice from one orange

juice from two limes

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup V-8 or tomato juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

I used raw shrimp and peeled and cooked it, but there is no reason you couldn’t use shrimp that is already cooked.  And it also doesn’t need to be jumbo shrimp because you are going to chop the shrimp.  So, if you are using raw shrimp, your first job is to cook it and then chill it.

Chop all of the vegetables and the cilantro.

Juice your citrus.

Combine the chili sauce, citrus juices, tomato sauce, and tomato juice or V-8.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dice your shrimp.  You can save a few whole shrimp for garnish if you’d like.

Add the shrimp and the vegetables and herbs to the tomato liquid, stir well, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Serve up your ceviche/gazpacho with a wedge of lime and a couple of whole shrimp for garnish.  We enjoyed every bite.

NOTE:  I was missing one key ingredient.  Avocados.  I almost always have avocados and last night I had none.  It was excellent without them butI think it would have been even better with them because avocados have such rich, buttery goodness.

Also, depending on your heat tolerance, you might want to add some jalapeño to the mix.  The medium chili sauce has a little kick but was perfect for me.  This recipe served three of us with enough left over for a couple more bowls.  It was actually quite filling.

As with all recipes, combine what you have on hand in your pantry and fridge with a little imagination.

 

Tabouli

Tabouli (Tabbouleh) is one of my favorite bites because it tastes so fresh and clean and makes me think of spring and summer.  It is of Lebanese origin and it is a dish that you’ll find on the menu of almost any Middle Eastern restaurant.  True tabouli is made with bulgar but I’ve substituted raw cauliflower before (that has been riced) and today I used a bulgar quinoa blend.  My daughter is the one who introduced me to tabouli with cauliflower.  For Easter dinner I made lamb chops, white bean hummus, tabouli, and a soft wrap bread.  It was a perfect combination!  If you’ve never tasted tabouli before I hope you’ll try it.  I cannot imagine anyone not liking it!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups minced parsley

3/4 cup minced mint

green onions diced

1 cup finely diced tomatoes

1 English cucumber seeded and diced

1 1/2 cups bulgar quinoa blend

4 T olive oil

4 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the bulgar quinoa according to package instructions.  If you’re substituting cauliflower use a box grater and measure approximately 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower.

Make a fine dice of the cucumber, tomato and green onion.

Chop the parsley and mint.  In a large bowl combine the vegetables and the herbs.

Add the grain.  In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil.  Add to the vegetable, herb, grain mixture and stir well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve chilled.

Not only does tabouli taste wonderful, it looks beautiful on the plate.  Also great on the flat bread along with a little hummus.

NOTE:  Tabouli does not require precise measurements.  If you have a little more or less of mint or parsley it’s ok.  If you have red or yellow onion instead of green onions that’s ok too.  And, as I mentioned, you can substitute another grain or riced cauliflower.  I do, however, think it’s important to use equal amounts of lemon and olive oil.

Fish Stew (Kalamojakka)

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I made a Finnish feast for all of us with a lot of help from my daughter and her boyfriend.   For appetizers we had homemade Finnish cheese (which took us the better part of a day to make), pickled herring, smoked lake trout from the UP of Michigan, pickled beets, Finn Crisp and an awesome smoked white fish pate that my friend made for us.

For dinner we had meatballs (a recipe with ground beef, fresh bead crumbs, heavy cream, allspice, onion and a milk gravy), baked ring bologna (makkara) which is apparently a Finnish staple, potato patties with bacon and onion fried in bacon grease, green beans, sliced tomatoes, limpu bread and Kalamojakka.

For dessert we had rice pudding with blueberry soup and my mummu’s orange cake.  We lost my Dad January 1st of this year.  This dinner was the perfect tribute and he would have enjoyed every bite!

The star of our dinner was the Kalamojakka.  I think it was almost everyone’s favorite thing.  Followed closely by the orange cake which I blogged recently.  We actually made the mojakka the night before and slowly re-heated it for our dinner.  Like most soups, the flavors improved as all of the ingredients came together.  This was one of my Dad’s favorite meals and one I remember my mummu making very often.   My Dad and my grandpa were both avid fishermen so we always had fresh lake fish at our house.  Trout, coho, walleye, perch.  And because nothing ever went to waste, the Kalamojakka was made using all of the fish including the heads.  My grandpa would eat the meat from the cheeks.  It was probably the tastiest bit!

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of cleaned fish (such as trout, pike or perch)

2 tsp of salt

2 medium onions, chopped

1-2 tsp of fresh dill weed

4 cups of water

4-5 russet potatoes peeled and diced

2 cups whole milk

4 T butter

Trim the tail and fins from the fish and slice into steaks.  Put the fish in a dutch oven and add the salt, one of the diced onions, dillweed and four cups of water.

Bring to the boiling point and simmer (without boiling) until the fish flakes when pierced with a fork but does not fall apart.

Remove the fish to a platter and strain and reserve the stock.  Return the stock to the dutch oven, add the diced potatoes and the other diced onion and cook in the stock until the potatoes are tender.  While the potatoes and onion are cooking and once the fish has cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and set the fish aside.

Once the potatoes are tender add 2 cups of milk and the fish to the potatoes and stock in the dutch oven.  Simmer slowly for about 20 minutes making sure not to boil.  Add the butter and garnish with more fresh dill and salt to taste.

Ladle into bowls and enjoy with some good rye bread.  This would be the perfect time to wear your “Winner, Winner Kalamojakka Dinner shirt!!!

I purchased a loaf of limpu from the Trenary Home Bakery when I was in the UP several weeks ago and saved it for just this occasional.  I even managed to find butter from Finland.

NOTE:  This soup uses no thickening agent like cornstarch or flour so you will find that while the taste resembles chowder it is a lot brothier.   Also, when my mummu and my Dad made it, they would never had added the dill.  In fact, my Dad would have asked me “what is the green stuff in the mojakka?”

You definitely do not have to be Finnish to enjoy this soup.  And, if using the heads while making the broth makes you uncomfortable, by all means toss them.  However, I think the stock is richer when you’ve cooked the fish with the bones and the skin.

Many of the recipes for our Finnish Dinner were adapted from my favorite Finnish Cookbook.

 

Zucchini “Pasta” Salad

One of my favorite cooking magazines is Cuisine at Home; this recipe was in the June 2018 issue.  There are a lot of good recipes and usually the ingredients are things you’d have in your pantry or things that are readily available at the grocery.  Not always.  But usually.  Recently I was on a mission looking for furikake for a salmon poke bowl and  gochujang for a barbeque sauce.  I found gochujang but no luck with furikake.  It’s always a challenge when you have to google the ingredients because you have no clue what they are.  But neither furikake or gochujang  are relevant to this recipe so it’s all good.  It’s fortunate that I’m married to someone who is always willing to try new things.  It makes experimenting with new recipes and mystery ingredients a lot more enjoyable.

Some time ago I purchased a spiralizer which is essential for preparing this dish.  Plus it’s just fun to use!

If you’re not inclined to purchase this kitchen toy I have noticed that spiralized vegetable are now available in the produce sections of large supermarkets so you may be able to pick up zucchini that has already been spiralized.    It just won’t be as much fun.

Friday night we had a vegetarian meal and this zucchini (zoodle) pasta salad was on the menu.  It’s easy and fast to prepare.

Ingredients:

3-4 zucchini spiralized

1 T kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp minced lemon zest

3 T fresh lemon juice

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T minced fresh garlic

1 1/2 tsp honey

1 cup torn basil leaves

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

grated pecorino cheese

Toss the spiralized zucchini with 1 T kosher salt in a strainer set over a bowl or plate.  Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes.

Rinse the zucchini zoodles and dry in a salad spinner.

Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and honey for the dressing.  Toast the pine nuts.

Toss the zoodles, pine nuts, and fresh basil together along with the dressing.  Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy.

This was the first time I’ve made this salad.  I think substituting toasted walnuts or pecans for the pine nuts would be good.  As well as the addition of sliced strawberries or cherry tomatoes which would add color and another layer of flavor.  As always I believe recipes are meant to be personalized.

NOTE:  Salting and straining vegetables like eggplant and zucchini help to remove some of the excess water.  You just need to be sure to rinse them.  Spiralized veggies like zucchini can also substitute for pasta in recipes if you’re counting calories.

 

Roasted Corn Salad

Almost everyone loves corn, especially corn on the cob.  This recipe combines roasted corn with peppers and cheese and a dressing with a little kick.  Awhile ago I bought a cast iron pizza pan (made by Lodge).  This pan makes the most awesome pizza.  It’s non stick.  It retains the heat.  And while it does a great job with pizza it’s also wonderful for roasting vegetables.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of sweet corn

2 T olive oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 jalapeño pepper seeded

1 sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow)

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

juice of 1 lime

dash of smoked paprika

smidgen of cayenne pepper

salt to taste

1/2 cup diced cheese (feta, cotija or cheddar)

1/2 c of cilantro

Brush the corn with olive oil.  Roast the corn under the broiler turning once.  It would probably be even more flavorful charred on a charcoal grill.

Allow the corn to cool while you make the dressing.  Finely dice the jalapeño and the bell pepper.  Mince the garlic.  Remove cilantro from the stems and rough chop.

Dice or crumble the cheese.

Years ago one of my daughter’s friends gave me measuring spoons labeled pinch, dash, and smidgen.  Who knew how handy those would be!?  Just use your judgment if you don’t own these.

Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and spices and whisk together.  Add the fresh squeezed lime juice and stir in the peppers and garlic.

Once the corn has cooled use a sharp knife to remove it from cobs.

Add the corn, cheese and cilantro and stir to combine.

Add salt to taste and refrigerate for a least an hour before serving.

I served this salad with roast pork loin, asparagus, mashed potatoes and applesauce.  Tonight I’m serving the leftover salad with fish tacos.

NOTE:  If you have extra space in your freezer the corn cobs can be frozen and used later to make a vegetable broth.

As with any recipe you can adjust the spices based on your personal taste.  Diced scallions would also be a nice addition.

Pea Soup (Hernerakkaa)

Pea soup.  It’s something you either love or hate.  Pea soup is something you will find in almost every Finnish cookbook.  In The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas she calls pea soup hernerakkaa.  Interestingly, in Finland it is a traditional Thursday supper followed by baked pancakes with homemade jam for dessert.  Many of the pea soup recipes I read call for adding a couple dollops of whipped cream just before serving.  Finnish pea soup is also served with a side of spicy mustard and that is added at the table based on personal taste.  Some of the Finnish pea soup recipes included meat, others did not.  Pea soup is one of my dad’s favorites and mine as well.  My immediate family eats it but I’m not sure it ranks in their top five soup choices.  I say my immediate family because I’m quite certain none of my brothers would eat it.  My daughter posted a picture of their homemade pea soup a week or so ago and I decided I needed to make a pot.  I had a beautiful, meaty pork hock in the freezer and a bag of Michigan split peas so I was all set.  I decided to make my soup in the pressure cooker but I first cooked my ham shank which was a good decision.

Split peas do not require soaking.  Just put them in a colander and rinse them well.

Ingredients:

Pork hock or ham bone

1 pound of split peas

4 cups of water

4 cups of chicken broth

3 T butter

1 medium onion finely diced

1 cup of finely diced carrots

1 cup of finely diced celery

3 or 4 cloves of garlic minced

1 cup of diced potato (peeled and rinsed)

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

I used my electric pressure cooker which I think works great for dishes like this.  I put the pork hock in the cooker, added 4 cups of water and set it on high pressure for 20 minutes and allowed the cooker to release naturally.

The meat fell off the bone and I had 4 cups of excellent broth to start my soup.

Heat the 3 tablespoons of butter in the pressure cooker using the saute setting.  Saute the onion, carrots, and celery for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Add the diced meat and potato.

Add the peas that you’ve rinsed well, the bay leaves, the 4 cups of pork broth and 2 cups of the chicken broth.

Set the pressure canner for 20 minutes on high pressure.  Do a quick release.

Scoop out a little for a taste.  Add additional salt and pepper if needed.

I added 2 more cups of chicken broth at this point.  Leave the pressure cooker setting on warm until you’re ready to serve.  Ladle into bowls and serve with homemade croutons or crusty bread.  Maybe the next time I make pea soup I’ll whip up some heavy cream and stir a good size dollop in each bowl.  And put the spicy mustard out for an authentic Finn bite.

NOTE:  Once this sits over night the flavors are even better but it also thickens even more.  You could slice the soup!  Prior to serving the leftovers stir in additional broth or water.  The next time I make this I may use a quarter less peas.

You can make this in a dutch oven on top of the stove if you don’t have a pressure cooker or instant pot.  I would still recommend starting the ham hock first.

Four Bean Salad

We’ve all made 3-Bean Salad in the past or at least seen it on salad bars.  It has the mild pickled taste that most people like and it is easy to throw together.  I first tasted this particular version of the salad when a friend brought it over and we shared a small dish with our lunch.  This salad has an extra bean and a little twist that gives it a unique taste.  I coudn’t put my finger on it until my friend sent me the recipe and I realized it was the toasted sesame oil.  This is now my new favorite bean salad.

Ingredients:

1 15oz can of black beans

1 15oz can of garbanzo beans

1 15oz can of kidney beans

1 15oz can of green beans (I used a pint of my home canned)

1 small onion sliced thin (sweet or red)

3/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

Ok.  This is pretty simple.  Open the 4 cans of beans and drain.

Whisk together the sugar, oils and vinegars.

In a large bowl combine the beans and sliced onion.  Add the dressing and toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sample some, of course.

Refrigerate and serve chilled.  If you need a passing dish for a potluck or a simple side for a barbeque this salad is perfect and so easy to make.

Enjoy!

My friend’s recipe included 1/2 tsp of tarragon.  I omitted it because it is not one of my favorite herbs.  But if it’s a favorite of yours, by all means add it.  James Beard, a very famous chef and cookbook author, is quoted as saying, “I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.”  That quote doesn’t make me like it any more.  Tarragon is one of the herbs considered essential in French cooking.  I used to think I was part French until I sent my DNA to Ancestory.com.     Perhaps my dislike of tarragon should have been my first clue that I’ve no French in my DNA. And I think this recipe is great without the tarragon.

NOTE:  You can change up your beans based on personal preference or what you have on hand.  I have a friend who dislikes kidney beans so she could substitute butter beans, cannalini beans or navy beans.