When I was a child, I used to scrunch my nose in confusion when I would hear the title of Labor Day. Most likely because one of my little sisters had just been 2 born two weeks prior, and I was within earshot of an adult warbling on about my mother being in labor. Seriously? My mom gets a holiday for having my sister? Life is weird.
Nevertheless, I am all for a woop-woop for this day. A pat on the back is fine, but a whole day off especially on a Monday is downright brilliant! First put into law by the state legislature in Oregon in 1887, it wasn't until June of 1894 that Congress finally followed the lead of more than 2 dozen states and enacted Labor Day as a National holiday. Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was supposedly one of the first to propose we create a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
Rude or not, carving grandeur from my fridge was less dramatic. And certainly not labor intensive. You may find this dish one of the least laborious dinners you make. Hearty, rib-sticking, and crowd pleasing this main dish is made from ingredients readily available and probably already in your kitchen. It is a I-can't-stop-eating-it kind of good.
Want the recipe for my CHEESY ITALIAN CHICKEN BAKE? Click the title at left to download.
I'm mourning the end of summer. Warm, muggy mornings are not my enemy. On the contrary, I love the feel of the earth giving off her intemperate swelter. It is as though we are breathing together and I am sensing her glowing center expanding right beneath my feet. Moist and hot on my skin; it is the life force of earth. In truth, the slow simmer of the first week of September makes me wish the Autumnal Solstice would never arrive.
"Oh my gosh! Are you NUTS? I can't wait for sweater weather!" My friends shout, exhaling with a prayer of relief that August is over. And yet I can find nothing in this statement that gives me joy.
"Don't you understand?" I retort loudly. "You'll be shivering soon enough! Winter comes AFTER Autumn....you understand that, yes? We DO NOT get to skip directly to Spring!!"
By then they have walked away rolling their eyes.
My only allies to those fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk kind of days are the baked side dishes that mark the season with intention and flavor. It's the HOT things that accompany our mid-year meals that matter.
For me, the quintessential side dish of summer is slow baked beans. BUT NOT JUST ANY BEANS, mind you. They have to have a kick, some color and texture, and do more than just replace your cravings for protein. The heat comes from Jalapeno and chipotle sauce. The mouth-feel from charred or seared corn and lovely strands of caramelized onion. Subtle yet ready to smack you right on the taste-buds, this dish is the perfect thing to keep your mouth busy...especially at the moment you dare speak of cool weather in my presence.
Rock on baked beans. You have always been on my SIDE.
Check out the slide show for the step by step photos. Download my recipe for CHARRED CORN, JALAPENO, AND CHIPOTLE BAKED BEANS now!
Watch my short video about getting comfy in the kitchen.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.