Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cannellini Au Gratin browned with the Chainsaw Hookers, BITCHES and Stay Hungry

Much to J-Fur's chagrin, our Dutch Oven and I have become very friendly recently. Dutch ovens are versatile cooking tools that have been part of the American culinary experience for hundreds of year. These ovens were so important (and valuable) that they were often included in wills back in the 18th and 19th century. J-Fur's wasn't inherited, she bought it on her own, and she is very protective of it. When I made yucca fries a few weeks ago, I didn't clean the oven to spotlessness before making this Au Gratin. The formerly white inside was left with a brownish hue. She laid into me about it. During her diatribe she announced that her Dutch Oven will not be willed to me, but to someone who "knows how to clean it properly." So I enjoy it now, while I have the chance.

The Dutch Oven is perfect for this au gratin because it goes from stove top to oven without dirtying (read discoloring) more than one pot.

Cannellini Au Gratin (adapted from Vegetarian Times, February 2011)
(printable version)

-2 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
-1 Tbs. dried parsley
-1/2 onion, diced
-2 cups spinach
-1 can quartered artichokes, diced
-1 medium fennel bulb, diced, fronds reserved
-12 cloves garlic, minced
-olive oil
-2 cups baby carrots, diced
-1 tsp. red wine vinegar
-3/4 cup Parmesan
-3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in Dutch Oven. Add the carrots and fennel, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. You want the carrots to be beginning to brown.

3. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft (6-8 minutes). Scrap any brown parts off the bottom of the oven before adding the garlic, spinach and artichokes. Cook for another six minutes.

4. Remove the Dutch Oven from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Add the beans, thyme, parsley, half of the breadcrumbs and half cup of Parmesan. Mix well.

5. Combine the fennel fronds, remaining Parmesan and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Spread the crumbs evenly over top of the bean mixture. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Cool slightly, eat quickly.

Au Gratin's are created in an environment rife with extreme temperatures and heavy equipment. The perfect soundtrack for a meal like that would incorporate songs that are edgy, energetic and chaotic.

Australia's Chainsaw Hookers are the next in a long line of musicians who are enamored by horror images and blood. Combine this with their punk tendencies and you've got a band that most people will hate. There is nothing pretty about it. Their music makes me think of the scene in 127 Hours when James Franco finally goes all in and slices off his arm (sorry if I ruined the ending for anyone). As much as I didn't want to watch, I couldn't look away. I tried not to like "Ride the Venom" but I couldn't stop. You can get their EP, First Blood, at the Chainsaw Hooker bandcamp page.

Speaking of chaotic (and of horror and blood) we have BITCHES, a band from the UK, who makes Vampires fun again (thanks Twilight for almost ruining it). This is courtesy of the Devil.


Stay Hungry is about to embark on their Euro Rage Tour. That should give you all you need to know about their music. It is fast, loud and hardcore as, um...Aron Ralston (God I've gotta get that movie out of my head). Stay Hungry was Sweden's representative for February's MAP.

Stay Hungry-Against the Wall