Small-Time Cooks 4/5/05

I was feeling on top of things after running down these two crooks in a back alley. I had busted my case wide open, and my employer’s payment made it all the more worth it. I was saving up enough money to get into the cooking game full time. Maria and I spent some time in the kitchen and turned out a bean salad and some toasts to serve it on.

White Bean Salad

1 can (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) white beans

1 cucumber

3 tomatoes

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and seed the cucumber, and dice it into small pieces. Seed the tomato and dice it into similarly sized pieces. Mix the cucumber and tomato with the white beans and add some salt and pepper. Whisk the liquids together in a bowl and incorporate into the bean mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and let stand for about 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Arrabbiata Toasts

basic garlic bread (see above)

freshly grated Parmesan

pine nuts

basil leaves

Mince the pine nuts into small pieces, and slice the basil leaves into threads. You will need about a Tablespoon of nuts and one or two basil leaves for three pieces of bread. After making the garlic bread, sprinkle on the Parmesan and pine nuts and put back in the oven at 400 degrees for another three minutes. Remove and sprinkle on the threads of basil, and serve.

Multigrain Gruyère Toasts

1/2 inch thick slices of multigrain baguette

Gruyere cheese

Sprinkle grated Gruyère cheese on the slices of baguette. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 5 minutes, until the Gruyère melts. Remove and serve. This is excellent with soups, especially French onion soup.