Tomorrow is Valentine’s day so I thought I would put together a recipe roundup focusing on treats you can celebrate with. Whether you are having breakfast in bed, a romantic dinner or baking up some sweet desserts, there is something for you!

Show your sweetheart you care with something fresh and homemade. Everything tastes better when it’s made with love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sweet Treats

White Chocolate Cherry Hand Pies

Healthy Vegan Red Velvet Brownies

Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

Stained Glass Jello

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Vegan Milkshake

Matcha Vanilla Bean Cake with Coconut Buttercream Icing

Breakfast in Bed

Healthy Black Forest Baked Oatmeal (Vegan)

Sundried Tomato and Herb Baked Eggs

Baked Honey Oatmeal with Raspberries and Pistachios

Montreal Style Bagels

Breakfast Quinoa

Greek Spring Omelet

Romantic Dinners

French Onion Soup

Low-Fat Chicken Florentine

Boeuf Bourguignon

Coq Au Vin Blanc

Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Lobster Tails with Lemon Dill Butter

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I recently read an article which stated that people who ate dessert for breakfast had less cravings throughout the day and they actually lost more weight than those who swore off sweets completely.

When I read this I immediately began thinking about Valentine’s day desserts I could transform into breakfast. Chocolate covered strawberries, red velvet cake, chocolate mouse. The possibilities were endless.

After having great luck with baked oatmeal, I thought it would lend itself well to other dessert flavours. I adore the combination of bitter chocolate and sweet cherries so I decided on making black forest cake baked oatmeal.

These little cakes are incredible. It took about five minutes to throw together and the flavour combination is my favourite yet! They are healthy, low fat, vegan, and have no added sugar. They are also portable which is perfect for those busy mornings. I topped mine with a cherry and thick cream which made them so decadent! (Also perfect for breakfast in bed, especially on February 14th)

Healthy Black Forest Baked Oatmeal
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
½ cup applesauce
½ cup fat free milk (or dairy free milk, to make vegan)
¾ cup pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
½ Tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil. Fill the tin to the top with oats. It should make about six – eight oatmeal cakes.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. For a light crust, broil for an additional 3-5 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve on it’s own or with fresh fruit, yogurt, or milk.

February is just flying by and I can’t believe Valentines Day is only four days away! I’ve never been much of a fan of this hallmark holiday. I feel like romantic gestures on this day are just so contrived. It’s forces people to do something nice for their loved ones (which is nice) but I appreciate it more when it’s not expected.

Some nights Greg will come home from school with a bouquet of flowers, just because. I appreciate this so much more because I know the thought was his own, not dictated by a card company. Regardless, we celebrate Valentines Day each year.

It also gets overwhelming having so many holidays and celebrations in the winter. We have Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween, American Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, Greg’s birthday and my birthday all in the span of six months. Thankfully we have a break for half the year before we have to do it all over again. I swear if we ever have kids they better be born in the summer!

Speaking of children, if you have them, this would be a great recipe to do as a family. There are enough steps that everyone can be in charge of one task. I made these pies with a healthy twist by removing a lot of sugar and fat, and replacing it with fruit and yogurt.

I also used letter stamps to write words on each pie which I think adds a nice personal touch. How cute would it be to write a note on one of these pies and put it in your kids lunch box for a valentines surprise?!

White Chocolate Cherry Hand Pies

Pie Crust
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ Tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
¼ cup fat free Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
4 Tbsp. ice water
1 egg white

Filling
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup pitted cherries, fresh or frozen
1 Tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup white chocolate chips

Prepare the pie crust first. In a large bowl sift together flours, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the pieces are small but still visible.

Add oil and yogurt to the bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Knead the dough for one minute in a bowl. It will still be fairly crumbly. Transfer to a floured surface and continue to knead until you can form a ball of dough. Divide the dough in half and flatten into two discs. Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate at least one hour.

While the dough chills, create the filling. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough is chilled, remove from the fridge and unwrap. Flour a large, smooth surface. Roll both balls of dough until they are each about ¼ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut heart shapes or use a biscuit cutter/large glass to cut circles.

Place half of the pie hearts onto the prepared cookie sheet and add one teaspoon of pie filling to the centre of each one.

I added personalized messages to each pie using letter stamps I bought at a craft store. I stamped ‘love’ ‘be mine’ and ‘honey’ on the heart shaped dough that would act as the tops of the pies.

Wet your finger and paint it along the edges of each cut out. Place a second dough heart on top of the filling and press down along the edges to secure.

Use the tines of a fork and press down along the edges to contain the pie filling. Brush a small amount of egg white on the top of each pie. This will give a nice golden colour to the pies.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 10-12 mini pies (depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Mine was about 3 ½ inches wide)

A few years ago, Greg and I visited New Orleans for the first time. The moment we drove over Lake Pontchartrain I completely fell in love with the city. Oddly enough, it reminded me of home. Like Ottawa, New Orleans is an old city with beautiful historic buildings and an unmistakable French influence. Never in my life have I ever met friendlier or more accommodating people.

One afternoon we took a boat tour of the Bayou. Greg later laughed saying our Cajun tour guide could easily have passed as one of my uncles (minus the Southern accent). When I think about it, I really could see my uncle Tom or uncle Norman hunting alligator on a pontoon boat completely loving life.

The Cajuns are originally French Canadians from Acadia, so maybe this is why I felt so at home.

Mardi Gras is just around the corner and I can’t wait to cook some Louisiana dishes for dinner. There are so many options, from jambalaya and gumbo to beignets and cafe au lait, it’s hard to decide where to start! After some thought, I figured making my own Creole seasoning from scratch would be the best bet. I am also planning on making a Cajun seasoning in the near future.

It’s actually quite simple to whip up, and it’s really convenient to have on hand. You can jazz up so many dishes with a sprinkle of this seasoning, from breakfast scrambles to casseroles. The possibilities are truly endless. Enjoy!

Creole Seasoning
4 Tsp. paprika
1 ½ Tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ Tsp. onion powder
1 ½ Tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ Tsp. ground white pepper
¼ Tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ Tsp. red pepper flakes
1 ½ Tsp. dried oregano
1 ½ Tsp. dried thyme
1 Tsp. dried basil
¼ Tsp. celery seed
1/8 Tsp. tumerick
¼ Tsp. kosher salt

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined.

OR

Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder (or clean coffee grinder) and pulse until well combined.

Store in a sealed container.

Add one tablespoon of seasoning to jambalaya, soup, meat, eggs, or anything you wish to add a Creole flavour to. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Friday evening Greg and I had absolutely nothing to do. We planned on going to see a movie at the drive in, but a tornado watch in surrounding counties cancelled that plan. Oh the joys of living in tornado alley…

It quickly became one of those nights where we fell into an internet wormhole. I don’t even know how it began, but it ended in a disco dance off in our living room. After an hour of classics such as staying alive and don’t leave me this way, we somehow entered the world of Canadian disco which led to French Canadian hits like bye bye mon cowboy.

Despite the seven year age difference between Greg and I, most of our childhood memories involve the same television shows, music and fashion. While the rest of the world entered the 1990s and never looked back, Canada decided to hang back for another decade and relic in their neon acid wash love. (Probably because the 80’s were overrun by polyester bell bottoms and disco hits like ‘bye bye mon cowboy’)

This Canadian disco dance off left me hungry and seriously craving a Montreal style bagel.  In case you aren’t familiar, Montreal bagels are more dense and sweet than a typical bagel. They’re boiled in honey and cooked in a wood burning oven. This is the kind of bagel I grew up eating and only later in life did I discover bagels were much different in other parts of the world.

Greg and I searched online for many Montreal bagel recipes and most seemed to be based off of the same one by Marcy Goldman. We decided to give it a try, making minor adjustments here and there. I was quite surprised by the outcome! Although they lacked the smoky flavour a wood oven lends them, the bagels had the right amount of sweetness and an almost perfect consistency.

It brought me back to the days of my youth, driving home from Kettleman’s with my mum, sneaking a hot bagel from the paper bag on my lap. There is no better bagel in the world, despite what New Yorker’s say.

Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Recipe

Montreal Style Bagels
1 ½ cups warm water
5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
1 package of active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. beated egg
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
4 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 Tsp. Kosher salt
¼ cup sesame seeds
4 quarts water
¼ cup honey

Preheat oven to 425

In a large bowl combine warm water, sugar, oil, yeast, egg, and maple syrup. Stir until the yeast dissolves.

Add salt and one cup of flour. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix until fully incorporated.

In batches of ¼ cup, add flour and mix until each addition is fully combined. The dough will become quite firm and smooth.

Transfer the dough to a smooth, flat surface and knead for about 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Let the dough rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Divide each half again. Continue until you have 12 equal sized portions of dough.

Roll each ball of dough into 10 inch long strips. Wrap the strand of dough around your hand and press down on one end with your thumb. Brush a small amount of water into the indentation and press the other end of the strip into it to create a bagel shape.

Roll the dough between your palms to smooth the seam.

Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water and add the honey. Bring to a boil.

While you wait for the water to boil, prepare your work station. Lay a clean dishtowel down next to your pot. Place the sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and keep nearby. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

When the water begins to boil, drop 3 bagels into the pot for 90 seconds, turning halfway through. When the cooking is complete, the bagels will float to the top. Using a slotted spoon transfer to the clean dishtowel to cool. Once the bagels are cool enough to handle place them into the bowl of sesame seeds and lightly press down. Turn and repeat to cover the other side. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Continue this process until all the bagels are boiled and coated with seeds.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and turn all the bagels. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until they are evenly browned.

Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

Yield 12 bagels

I have bad luck with red velvet cake. Last time I made it, I accidentally cooked it on broil which ended in a leathery soup. Not a good thing, unless you are a special effects person trying to create very realistic blood. Seriously, if you don’t believe me, give it a try!

I have learned a thing or two since last valentines day so I decided to revisit my cake nemesis. Although, I’ve also been trying to eat healthy. Cake in the house when you’re trying to stay fit is never a good situation. It usually ends with me sitting on the kitchen floor in my gym clothes stuffing handfuls of cake in my mouth. It’s not a pretty sight.

A few months ago I saw several recipes pop up online for healthy black bean brownies and chickpea blondies. This got me thinking about other possibilities. I figured if you could make beans taste like dessert, and disguise vegetables in baked goods, why can’t I make red velvet brownies with red kidney beans and beets?

I experimented quite a bit with this recipe and I’m very pleased with the results. The beans made the brownies rich, chewy and moist while the beets added that perfect crimson colour of red velvet cake. (Much better than using red food colouring, which can have negative health affects).

Now, when it came to ice my fudgy treat, I knew an ordinary icing wouldn’t do. What’s the point of making a healthy brownie if you drown it in unhealthy fat? I threw together a vegan cream cheese icing using tofu and cashews which turned out much better than I anticipated. Since I did add a moderate amount of sugar to the icing, I only drizzled the brownies with it.  Then ate the rest with a spoon.

These red velvet brownies are not only healthy, they’re low fat, a great source of fibre, high in protein, vegan, and gluten free!  They would be a perfect valentines treat for anyone’s sweetheart.

Healthy Vegan Red Velvet Brownies
1 cup red kidney beans
½ cup cooked beets
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
¾ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp apple sauce
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup ground flax (I put ¼ cup of flax seeds in a clean coffee grinder and pulsed until smooth.)
¼ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a food processor, puree kidney beans and beets. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients and mix by hand until smooth and fully combined.

Fold batter into the greased pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning the pan halfway through.

When the brownies are done, test them with a toothpick. You want some batter to cling to the toothpick. Do not over bake.

Let cool completely. Refrigerate for one hour.

Cut into squares or use cookie cutters to make heart shapes.

Vegan Cream Cheese Icing
¼ Cup raw cashew pieces
3 Tbps. Soy milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. maple syrup or agave nectar
1 Cup firm tofu, crumbled
¼ Tsp. salt
½ Cup margarine
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
3 Cups vegan friendly icing sugar

In a food processor, combine cashews, soy milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, salt and maple syrup. Pulse several minutes until it is a smooth, creamy texture. Add tofu crumbles and continue to pulse until thick and smooth.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add margarine and icing sugar. With an electric mixer, blend until combined and thickened.

Refrigerate at least one hour before icing brownies.

Last weekend, like many weekends, Greg and I visited the Dallas farmers market. The market is split between two sheds and one building. One of the sheds is dedicated to local farmers selling their goods and the other shed houses non local produce. The indoor building is comprised mostly of restaurants and people selling baked goods.

Unfortunately, this time of year has very few in season fruits and vegetables. This meant many of the local farmers weren’t there, and the ones that were, were selling beets, potatoes and turnips. I love root vegetables, don’t get me wrong, but I am really starting to crave fresh spring and summer produce. My sweet tooth always seems stronger in the winter, and citrus fruits are just not cutting it!

Thankfully, one thing that is always in season is Texas honey. We test tasted several varieties of honey including blackberry, orange blossom, clover and of course wildflower. It was so interesting to taste the difference between each variety. Greg preferred the citrus undertones of the orange blossom one and I found the spiciness of the clover honey odd yet appealing. We both agreed the blackberry honey tasted the most like traditional honey. After some discussion we decided on the wildflower honey. It had the sweetness of the blackberry variety with a slight spiciness similar to the clover. It also had a beautiful floral undertone which was the taste of spring I’ve been yearning for. We purchased a large container of creamed wildflower honey and were on our way.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with oatmeal. Typically I have a hard time eating breakfast in the morning but have decided to force myself into the habit. I love oatmeal in cookies, crumbles and cakes but I have to be in the right mood for simple oatmeal. It is the creamy texture that rarely appeals to me early in the morning.  I’ve recently discovered baked oatmeal, and I have to say, it completely changed the way I look at this breakfast food. It’s like eating cake for breakfast!

These mini oatmeal ‘cakes’ are the perfect thing for a busy morning. You can make them ahead and store them in the fridge for several days. You could also freeze them so they last for months. They are just as portable as a granola bar but they taste so much better. Oh, and did I mention they are healthy and nearly fat free?

If I’m not running out the door, I like to add a dollop of greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey and a few extra pistachios. This recipe could also be made vegan by replacing the honey with maple syrup.

Baked Honey Oatmeal with Raspberries and Pistachios
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
2 Tbsp. creamed wildflower honey (or maple syrup, to make vegan)
½ cup applesauce
½ cup fat free milk (or dairy free milk, to make vegan)
½ cup fresh raspberries
½ Tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup pistachios

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil. Fill the tin to the top with oats. It should make about six oatmeal cakes.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. For a light crust, broil for an additional 3-5 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve on it’s own or with fresh fruit, yogurt, or milk.

Serves 3

I have been so preoccupied with organizing the apartment that I haven’t made many interesting meals in days. A few weeks ago I made the mistake of washing my curtains in hot water, which shrunk them beyond belief. They barely covered half of our window and everyday it would irritate me more and more.

Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and went on a hunt for new curtains. I couldn’t believe how expensive they were! I mean, they’re essentially just panels of fabric. After many frustrating days of unsuccessful shopping, I took it upon myself to make my own.

I found some great fabric that ended up costing only $10 for 2 yards. The only problem? I don’t own a sewing machine. I searched a few craft stores and found iron on seam tape. Using my iron I whipped up two curtain panels in less than an hour. They brighten up the living room and look better than anything I found at the store. (Not to mention they cost a lot less!)

So a weekend of crafting resulted in simple suppers of asparagus pizza and salad. I did, however, whip up these sundried tomato and herb baked eggs Sunday morning. They are incredibly easy and the minimal clean up is appreciated when you’re apartment is covered in craft supplies.

Sundried Tomato and Herb Baked Eggs

1 Tbsp. sundried tomatoes
1 Tsp. olive oil
2 eggs
½ Tsp. fresh basil
½ Tsp. fresh parsley
1 Tsp. freshly grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350

Cover the inside of one ramekin or oven safe dish with olive oil.

Line the bottom of the dish with sundried tomatoes and break two eggs on top. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and cheese.

Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until egg whites are firm.

Serve immediately

Serves 1

If you didn’t notice, I’ve been making a lot of brown coloured food. I blame winter and the lack of fresh produce. Although it is citrus season, so I may jump on that bandwagon. Despite brown food typically tasting delicious, it is the worst kind of food to photograph.

Some things, no matter how much parsley or pretty props you add, will always just look like a pile of brown. Enter boeuf bourguignon. A traditional French stew full of fresh herbs, rich gravy, and tender beef. It is one of the most incredible meals you can make with beef chuck and a bottle of pinot noir.

Despite being so delicious, boeuf bourguignon is not photogenic. It’s like the ugly stepsister of French cuisine. It has all the same characteristics as it’s beautiful counterparts, minus the puff pastry or caramelized cheese. Regardless, this meal hits the spot on a chilly winter evening. And honestly, does any colour of food comfort the soul more than brown does? I don’t think so.

Boeuf Bourguignon

½ lb. bacon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. beef stew meat (like chuck or brisket)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
½ cup chopped parsley
2 cups pearl onions, peeled
2 cups button mushrooms, halved
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup red wine, preferably Pinot Noir
2 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté for 2-3 minutes until cooked. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Dry beef with a paper towel so it will brown better. Increase heat to medium high and add beef to the bacon fat. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the outside has browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon and set aside in a separate dish.

Return heat to medium. Sauté carrots, garlic, onions, parsley thyme and bay leaves for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a separate dish.

Add pearl onions and mushroom to Dutch oven and sauté until onions begin to brown and mushrooms become tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in the reserved bacon dish.

Add beef back to the pot and dust with one tablespoon of flour. Toss to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes. This will add a nice coating to the beef.

Remove pot from the oven and place back on the stove top. Add red wine and deglaze the pan. Pour in beef broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and spice mixture to the pot, reduce heat and simmer covered for one hour.

After one hour add pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon to the pot. Continue to simmer until beef is tender, about an additional 30 minutes.

With a slotted spoon remove solids and set aside. Increase heat and bring sauce to a rapid boil. In a small bowl mix together remaining tablespoon of flour with two tablespoons of sauce. Stir until smooth and no lumps remain. Add mixture to the pot and stir constantly until sauce thickens.

Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs, discard. Add solids back to the pot and stir to coat evenly. Serve warm over a bed of egg noodles or rice.

Today is a special collaborative post between myself and a family friend, Paul Whitney. Paul is the son of Canadian Big Band Leader, Moxie Whitney. Moxie worked with many famous musicians between 1940 and 1960 including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, and Sonny & Cher. Currently, Paul and his wife Liz are making a documentary about Moxie’s life. To find out more about their project please visit moxiewhitney.com, and if you can, donate at IndieGoGo.com. Without further adieu, here’s Paul.

We all have memories, but many of mine are linked to food. While making a film about my father, Canadian Big Band Leader Moxie Whitney, I was confronted by so many memories. When it came to Moxie, music came first, family came next… but food and drink were never far behind! Here are some of my most entertaining ones!

In the winter of 1961 Moxie left Toronto with his wife, 7 kids, a 15-piece orchestra, (plus their families) and went to play at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach. To us kids, that seemed normal. We played in the back yard with coconuts instead of footballs and swam in the ocean instead of the lake. 

Although our mom did most of the cooking, on Sundays, Moxie Whitney was always our ‘celebrity chef’. One of his favorite recipes was Beans Hawaiian.  It was one of his own recipes… in fact the only recipe he ever invented (…and as Martha Stewart says  “That’s a good thing”).

Beans Hawaiian was made from three of Moxie’s favorite things. Beans, pineapple and wieners… Wait; there were four things, no work. Beans represented holidays for Moxie. He played at the finest hotels in the world; beans were never served, especially canned beans. Moxie loved them. Pineapple… well, we were in Hawaii and pineapples were the national fruit and man were they good! Then there were the wieners… this was Moxie’s favorite meat. Easy to prepare, a consistent texture… and they went with everything. What can I say? I was a kid and didn’t really appreciate my father’s sense of humor… We had Beans Hawaiian every Sunday.
Sunday was also family day and we always did something with Moxie. My favorite was the little ‘businesses’ he would suggest. I remember the day we decided to try a lemonade stand. It was always hot in Hawaii; we lived close to the beach. How could it fail? Well it could if you sold coconuts instead of lemonade. I don’t remember exactly whose idea the coconuts were, but I do remember who came up with the cure for the lack of sales… it was Moxie. “My Ty’s! You need to sell My Ty’s. That’s what everyone drinks in Hawaii!”

Although I was only six, I knew that he didn’t know how to spell Mai Tai but in spite of that, we sold them anyway… at 3 cents a glass. They sold like hotcakes… but that’s another recipe! In fact most of the neighborhood turned up. It was quite a party… most of them stuck around later to sample some of Moxie’s signature dish too!

Below is Kris’ adaptation of Moxie’s Beans Hawaiian. The recipe for Moxie’s “My Ty’s”… Pineapple juice and rum… lots of rum… garnish with a wiener. If you’d like to know more about our film or Moxie Whitney go to moxiewhitney.com… or go to IndieGoGo.com and help us Make MOXIE!

Aloha!
Paul Whitney

Thanks Paul! The following recipe is my version of Moxie’s “Beans Hawaiian”. Rather than relying on canned pork and beans, I used dried navy beans and made the recipe from scratch. This enabled me to create a uniquely Hawaiian gravy with fresh pineapple juice and teriyaki sauce. I also replaced the hot dogs for a generous helping of ham and bacon. I have to say, next to my grandma Crains’s baked beans, these are the best I’ve ever eaten. Thanks for the inspiration Moxie!

Beans Hawaiian
2 cups dried navy beans
1 ½ cups teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2/3 cup pineapple juice
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tsp. fresly grated ginger
6 slices thick cut bacon
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup fresh pineapple, roughly chopped
16 oz ham steak, cubed

Soak dried navy beans overnight in a large pot. You want the water to be cold and about 2-3 inches above the beans. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Drain and rinse the beans. Place in a large pot and cover by 4-5 inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 – 1½ hours until the beans are tender but not bursting.

In the meantime, combine teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar and ginger in a medium bowl. Whisk until brown sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350

Reserving 2 cups of the boiled water, drain the beans.

In a large Dutch oven, sauté bacon for 3-4 minutes over medium high heat. With a slotted spoon remove bacon and set aside.

Add onions to the bacon fat and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and pineapple and sauté for an additional minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Place bacon back into the dutch oven and add the cubed ham steak, beans, reserved water, and prepared sauce. Stir well to combine.

Bake in the oven covered for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 and continue to cook for 6 hours, stirring halfway through.

After 6 hours, remove lid, increase heat to 350 and cook for an additional 1-2 hours stirring every twenty minutes until the sauce has thickened.