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A new chapter in New England. And baked beans.

A few weeks ago, I made the move from Ohio to Massachusetts. I’d visited Rhode Island many times, and love it up here. I figured I’d try to live up here for a bit. I mean, we only live once, right?

My new kitchen, while bigger than my previous kitchens, is in desperate need of counter space. It’s greatly lacking. And by lacking I mean non-existent. There is a built in hutch/cabinet made to look like a Hoosier cabinet that has some space, but not enough to do any work. Lucky for me, I own a 50s metal cabinet that is perfect counter height. It only offers about 3 feet of counter space, but it’s better than nothing!

Inspired by my new digs, and the freezing temperatures, I decided to make a pot of traditional-style New England Baked Beans. I’ve made a few batches in the past, and I’m still tweaking the recipe, but this batch turned out pretty good. This is a good recipe to make for a crowd as it makes a lot. Lucky for you, I’ve included an idea of what to do when you’re sick of eating baked beans every day.

New England Baked Beans

  • 1 lb dried navy beans
  • 1/4 lb salt pork, or 1/2 lb bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters, root end left on
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c real maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • whole cloves

Soak beans overnight.

The next morning, bring beans to a boil, then simmer until tender (parboil), 45-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 250°

Reserve 2 c bean cooking liquid.

Stud onion quarters with whole cloves, 2-3 per quarter.

Baked Beans & chili 001

Fill  a bean pot (or deep casserole) with half of the beans. Place 2 quarters of the onion and 1/2 of the pork, or bacon, on beans, then fill with remaining beans. Top with remaining onion and pork, or bacon. Combine remaining ingredients with bean liquid; pour over beans.

Baked Beans & chili 002

Cover and bake 6-8 hours, checking occasionally to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Uncover the last 1/2 hour of cooking.

New England Baked Beans

New England Baked Beans

Baked Bean Chili

Amounts will vary depending on how much beans are left

  • left-over New England Baked Beans (I had almost 2 c)
  • crushed tomatoes (I used 1 jarred pint)
  • diced onion (1 small)
  • chopped, roasted chilies, jarred or frozen. (I used about 1/4 c)
  • garlic, minced
  • chili powder
  • cumin

Sauté onion and garlic in a large sauce pan until soft. Add chilies. Combine the rest of the ingredients in pan, and simmer, about 30 minutes. Serve with shredded sharp Vermont cheddar, crackers and diced onion. Or whatever you like on your chili.

Baked beans & chili fixin's

Baked beans & chili fixin’s

This is a unique, but surprisingly good, take on chili. It makes a thick, hearty meal. Great for chilly New England nights.




An Easter side-Maple Pan Roasted Carrots

Easter is just around the corner, and I thought I’d share this tasty side dish. I’m not a big fan of hams, but I do love the sides that come with Easter. I’m actually more likely to eat a Passover-inspired (brisket, charoset, etc) meal than a “traditional” Easter meal. This particular side can be served at either Easter or Passover.

Jeweled carrots

I used jeweled carrots for this recipe because it’s what I had on hand. Don’t they look gorgeous? Baby carrots are easier, as they don’t have to be cut. Be sure, if you use normal carrots, to cut them into even lengths and sizes for even cooking.

This is also a great dish to show off local maple syrup. Maple season just wrapped up, so you should have some in your pantry. And if you don’t go get some! Real maple syrup is no match for the maple-flavored high fructose corn syrup. Bleh. The maple in this recipe makes these carrots almost candy-like. A great substitute or fresh take on the ever-present candied sweet potatoes.

Tossed with maple syrup

Maple Pan Roasted Carrots

retrieved from, adapted from Fine Cooking

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb baby carrots, or regular carrots cut into 3″ lengths
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Peel carrots. Preheat oven to 400°F

In a 12″ oven-proof skillet, heat oil over high heat, not quite to smoking. Add carrots and cook, stirring frequently, 3-5 minutes, until they blister and turn brown in spots.

Add syrup, salt and pepper, stirring to coat completely. Remove from heat.

Spread carrots in an even layer in the skillet and transfer it to hot oven. Roast until the carrots are tender, brown in spots and slightly shriveled, 12-15 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

A beautiful side for your Easter table