Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coronado Concert in the Park: Bean Me Up!

This week's Concert in the Park culinary theme started out as Navy beans, because the Navy Band Southwest Wind Ensemble was providing the music for the evening, but was broadened to legumes at John's request so he could incorporate a peanut sauce in his Curry and Lobster Deviled Eggs.

Peanuts, unlike other nuts, are in the legume family. Some of the more commonly recognized legumes include beans, peas, and lentils. Interestingly, licorice root, from the leafy, perennial plant, and jicama, the crispy, sweet, edible root from a native Mexican vine, are also considered legumes.

I decided on Thomas Keller's Green Bean and Potato Salad for my main course, but just had to try incorporating licorice root into a dessert. The colorful salad features haricots verts, fingerling potatoes, toasted walnuts, fresh mission figs, radishes, Iberico ham or prosciutto, shallots, and chives, lightly tossed in sherry vinaigrette. I used some purple potatoes and our favorite red walnuts from Terra Bella Ranch.

Green Bean and Potato Salad with mission figs and prosciutto

John's 'deviled eggs of the week' were perched on a bed of rice studded with peanuts. He used the method to make Chinese marbled tea eggs, infusing the whites with basil. Unfortunately, the basil color and flavor didn't steep into the whites as much as he would have liked. He flavored the yolks with curry, coconut milk, honey, and cayenne, and then topped the filled eggs with lobster, micro basil, Thai chili rings and peanut sauce. That tiny piece of Thai chili packed quite a punch!

John's Curry and Lobster Deviled Eggs with Peanut Sauce

Patrick and John

Carmen found a recipe that took her back to her days in Italy. She remembers the Italians going to the beach with a big pot, small stove, and all the ingredients to make pasta and beans, and they added clams and mussels harvested from the beach. 

Carmen preparing Pasta e fagioli con le cozze

"When the stars make you drool, just-a like pasta fazool, that's amore"

Kellee's Marinated Three Bean Salad

For dessert, Carmen adapted this recipe for White Bean Cupcakes, using her own raw vegan icing that tasted like a cross between sorbet and frosting.

Pot de crème is so simple to make, yet it is such an elegant dessert. I love making mini pots de crème in espresso cups, which also makes transport to the park a breeze. Tyler Florence's Mocha Pot de Crème is made with heavy cream, egg yolks, vanilla, coffee beans, espresso, and semi sweet chocolate. I adapted his recipe slightly and infused the cream with licorice root instead of coffee, omitted the espresso, and used milk chocolate rather than semi sweet. However, as with John's attempt to infuse his egg whites with basil, my attempt to infuse the custard with licorice was only mildly successful (licorice root tea has many health benefits, so I can only hope my dessert retained some of those). I boosted the licorice flavor of the dessert by adding a splash of Ouzo, an anise-flavored aperitif, to the whipped cream. 

Pots de crème are baked in a shallow water bath at low heat

Milk Chocolate Pots de Creme with Ouzo Whipped Cream

Rich, silky milk chocolate custard

US Navy Band Southwest performing Michael Bublé's "Home"


Green Bean and Potato Salad with mission figs and prosciutto
Slightly adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home


1 1/2 pounds thin green beans (haricots verts), stem ends trimmed
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 sachet (1 bay leaf, 3 thyme sprigs, 10 black peppercorns, 1 smashed garlic clove, wrapped in cheesecloth)
Kosher salt
1 cup walnuts
Fleur de sel or fine sea salt
3 radishes
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 cup Sherry Vinaigrette (2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives
4 black mission figs, halved
Splash of fresh lemon juice
16 very thin slices of Iberico ham or prosciutto
Extra virgin olive oil


Blanch the green beans in a large pot of boiling, salted water until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes, using Keller's big pot blanching method, plunge into an ice bath, and drain on rack lined with paper towels.

Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch slices and discard the end slices. Put the potatoes, sachet, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and spread on a tray to cool. Discard the sachet.

Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in a 375 F oven for 10 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. Remove from oven, transfer to a plate, and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Fill a small bowl with ice water. Trim the ends from the radishes and slice the radishes very thin using a mandoline. Transfer the slices to the ice water to keep crisp. Drain and dry before adding to the salad.

To assemble the salad, transfer beans to a large bowl and add the potatoes, shallots and walnuts. Whisk the dressing and spoon it over the salad. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with half the chives, and toss well. Arrange about half the salad on a platter. Place half the figs over the salad. Toss the radishes with the remaining salad, and arrange over the first layer of salad. Add the remaining figs, and sprinkle with the remaining chives and a few drops of lemon juice.

Arrange the ham or prosciutto on a small plate and drizzle with olive oil. Serve alongside the salad.


We only have two concerts left in the season. The good news is that the kids have gone back to school and most of the zonies (J & M and S & S excluded) have returned to Arizona. This is what Trapper thinks of Arizona Iced Tea.

Our theme for Sunday is bourbon, which makes me think of the Kentucky Derby, so I hope we can also make it out to our local Del Mar track before the racing season ends.

Once we're through Concert in the Park picnics, I hope to start planning a special dinner party courtesy of Saveur and Plugrá butter. In case you missed the Facebook announcement, the editors of Saveur magazine chose There's a Newf in My Soup as the Plugrá Gourmet Club the month and will be sending us $500 and a special prize pack to help with the party! You gotta love that ;-)

The winning "dinner party" was our first Concert in the Park of this summer season, An Evening in Corsica.

1 comment:

Real Food Runner said...

Beautiful photos :)