One could possibly surmise by the dearth of writings here lately, that I have given up on cooking and eating! Well… nothing could be farther from the truth! It’s just that we have been off to the west coast for friends-and-family gatherings, and trying to catch up on all the backlogged work from taking off for another 10 days. Stop eating and cooking!? Be serious!

We were out to Portland and Seattle, where we were wined and dined by family and friends, alike! Starting at my baby sister’s house, we had the most wonderful Chipotle baked beans one could imagine! They were so good, in fact, I made them the day we got back! It’s a really simple recipe using canned baked beans as the base. Purists can definitely start out with their own dried beans, but… these are GREAT as is!

Phoebe’s Baked Beans
The original recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine. Phoebe made these at their housewarming “Open House” and nary a bite was left!

  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree (I use tomato paste – I never have puree in the house!)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans baked beans

Preheat oven to 300°.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots; sauté 4 minutes or until golden. Add cumin and garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add tomato puree and oil, and cook for 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients (except beans.). Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine beans and shallot mixture in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 300° for 1 hour or until thick and bubbly. (I cooked mine for about 2 hours. Phoebe cooked hers the day before and reheated. They taste better reheated or cooked longer, in my not so humble opinion!)

We met our friend Steph in Portland for lunch at Connor’s BBQ where the ribs were fall-off-the-bone fabulous! (Although, I must admit that it was the company that was the star that day!) Connor’s is the epitome of no-frills dining! Everything is served on or in disposables. One has to ask for utensils (plastic), napkins, whatever, but the service is friendly and the food is great! Dining is on picnic tables al fresco. We did a rack of ribs (served with sliced white Wonder Bread!) sides of macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, and fresh lemonade. The bill for three was under $20.00.

We were then off to Seattle where we met two more friends BJ & Print, for an overnight visit! We headed out to the Seattle Zoo for an outdoor Indigo Girls Concert, and our girls packed a most fantabulous picnic dinner! Cheeses and salami, salads galore, chilled beverages, breads and crackers – and desserts! Again, the food was sublime, but the company stole the show! It’s amazing just how much better food tastes when you’re sharing it with good friends! The following morning they greeted us with a platter of various melons, homemade pancakes – with warm maple syrup – and a quality coffee that only Seattle can produce!

Back home, I’ve been on a bit of a chipotle kick! I can’t find chipotles in adobo at any of our local stores, so I brought back several cans – and have been using them a lot! I made a pretty good chipotle sauce the other night for a London broil, and then used it for a marinade with beef ribs and chicken thighs. Oh yum!

Now… I made this on the fly and didn’t write anything down, so I’ll never be able to reproduce it, exactly (the curse of being a cook who uses what’s in the house at the time and NEVER writes down measurements!) but a close approximation is:

Chipotle Sauce

  • 3 chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • Salt and pepper

I cooked the onions and peppers, added the tomatoes and remaining ingredients, simmered for about an hour, hit it with an immersion blender, and simmered another 30 minutes, or so… Spicy and yummy!

Today I am contemplating making some homemade chicken sausage… Maybe…