Recently, I ordered some cassoulet beans from Rancho Gordo, a Napa-based company that specializes in heirloom beans as well as spices, grains and a few other, top-quality goods. The cassoulet beans were part of a bean-bundle in which I also received some pinquitos, small pinky-red beans often used for chili and barbeque.
They stay pretty firm during cooking, even when simmered for hours. I'd started soaking a pound on Monday so by last night figured I'd best get them cooking. Red beans and rice sounded wonderful, and the pinquitos seemed much more light and springy than the usual red kidneys I use. I replaced all but one link of andouille with liquid smoke and the end result was an absolutely delicious, definitely lightened, super-comforting, lots-of-leftovers meal.
This morning, Oliver insisted we make muffins as our freezer stash was empty. Following my strawberry haul last Saturday, I had but one pint left so we used half of those and made strawberry muffins with vanilla and brown butter. To.die.for.
I find photographing muffins an ever-difficult job so know that in person, these are less dense and puck-y than they appear. Have I mentioned that it is beautiful here, and I love spring, and I'm so happy it's here?