Baked beans have always been my favorite picnic food. While they’re usually served hot, for a picnic the baked beans come from the refrigerator (or a can, and I love those, too) but lose their chill by the time the food gets put out to eat. And it’s those not-too-cold but unheated beans I really love.
Belgian food scientists discovered that our ability to taste drops when food gets hotter than our body temperature, and that we’re best able to enjoy the salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami flavors in the relatively balmy zone from about 68 to 86°F. Or what we like to call room temperature.
And while it’s true that food safety specialists call the range between 40 and 140°F the danger zone, they also allow food to sit out for a couple of hours. Call it the narrow window of deliciousness, but that’s where I think baked beans taste the best.
These baby limas get that picnic flavor from the same baked bean sweet and sour taste. Instead of tomatoes and molasses, I use onions and celery quick-pickled in honey and vinegar. More sweet notes come from deeply caramelized onion and roasted red pepper. Fresh mint adds color and the taste of more sunny days to come.
From Oregon to Okinawa, everyone in the world grills, and there’s no better time to do so than summer. We’ve put together a collection of our favorite sauces and spices to help turn up the heat on all of your outdoor cooking, whether you’re making southern American classics, Korean-style short ribs or Moroccan-style grilled lamb. So fire up that grill, crack a cold one, and get cooking.
Our obsession with Italy and la bella vita (the good life) started more than 20 years ago. Along with taking simple food seriously, spending time with friends and family, and just slowing down, la bella vita means appreciating the beauty of everyday life.
Join us to celebrate that everyday beauty at our first Festa Italiana, Saturday, June 12. We’ll have sweet and savory treats from Sorbu Paninoteca and Pinolo Gelato, local organic produce from Wild Roots Farm, including some Italian specialities. Culinary Breeding Network (check out their NYTimes spread) will have imported radicchio seeds and hand-carved marzipan molds to make your house and garden tutto Italiano, along with vegetable starts, Kate Blairstone‘s vegetable-themed wrapping paper, prints from Italian artist Tatti Stampa, and more.