Beans for da Bowl? 2 hearty recipes that will also help take the chill off

marcy jiminez, mackenzie williams, lima bean festival, brownies

People come up with some amazing ideas using beans at the annual Lima Bean Festival. Marcy Jimenez and Mackenzie Willkins created brownies. (Want more bean ideas? Contact the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.) (Photo by Laura Groch)

Gray day in SoCal today, so in solidarity with our East Coast br-r-r-ethren, I think some warming foods are in order. Here are a couple of winners from the 2014 Lima Bean festival, held in September at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas. For the past several years, I’ve been honored to help with the judging (yes, I work cheap) of this boisterous, fun event.

Both recipes are hearty enough for chilly weather, and both would make fine additions to your Super Bowl table (you are planning more than chips and dip, right?).

BTW, if you’ve never visited the museum, or attended the festival, I can Continue reading


A chili without tomato totality (just in time for the Super Bowl)


I love tomatoes, but the totality of tomato in most chilis is too much for me. Here’s a chili recipe that tones down the tomato factor. (Photo copyright Laura Groch 2015)

Super Bowl season brings up visions of other ‘super’ bowls — hearty soups, stews, chilis and gumbos that can be left in a slow cooker for dishing out at halftime and beyond.

I’m not a fan in general of most chilis, finding them way too-tomatoey, which tends to knock out most of the other flavors. But hey, that’s me. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys chili with plenty of tomatoes.

What to do to keep us both happy? Well, I recently adapted a recipe that makes Continue reading

Bowl ‘Em Over With Biscuits


Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits from Amaya La Jolla make a great go-with for your Super Bowl fare, or another dish, or just by themselves with butter. (Photo by Kelley Carlson)

Super Bowl Sunday is coming up fast, and bowls of chili, gumbo, and other warming fare will be on the menu of gatherings across the country. Here’s an idea for a go-with dish — a yummy biscuit I had the good fortune to sample at Amaya La Jolla recently. These Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits were part of Chef Camron Woods’ delicious roast suckling pig slider appetizers — but they’d also be great supporting players for the abovementioned chili, gumbo, soups, stews, etc.

Biscuits are enjoying a bit of a renaissance (did we all get tired of polenta?), and they’re fairly easy to put together. (Note that the recipe calls for at least 4 hours’ chill time, or overnight, so plan accordingly.)

Here’s the recipe from Amaya La Jolla, courtesy of Pastry Chef Michael Luna. Truth in advertising: I don’t have a kitchen scale, so I made these conversions (in parentheses) with the help of online sources.


1 pound, 4 ounces White Lilly flour (about 4 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

4 ounces shortening

6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 ounce thyme (1 tablespoon)

15 ounces buttermilk

2 ounces butter, softened

In a large bowl, mix the first six dry ingredients together.

Cut the shortening into this dry mixture by hand, until about pea-sized. Put in freezer overnight or up to 4 hours.

Place the chilled flour mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the cheddar and thyme and pulse to incorporate. Add the buttermilk in a slow steady stream and mix until fully combined.

Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes, covered in the mixing bowl.

Generously flour the surface of the workstation and roll the dough out to about the size of a 9” x 13” pan.  Spread the butter over 2/3 of the left side of the dough and book-fold once, folding from the left side to the right, leaving enough room to tri-fold from the right side on top of the part that you just folded.

Turn the dough 90 degrees on the table. Proceed to roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut to desired size diameter of biscuits.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes and brush with butter when they come out of the oven golden brown.

(c) Laura Groch 2014