Have you made your Texas Book Festival schedule yet?
One of the biggest free book festivals in the country is taking place this weekend in and around the State Capitol, and every year, festival organizers book plenty of cookbook authors and food writers.
In today’s paper, we have a special section dedicated to the festival, which you’ll also be able to pick up for free at the event this weekend. In that section, you’ll find this round-up of all the food authors, which include barbecue experts Robb Walsh and Daniel Vaughn, booze experts Lucinda Hutson and the gals from Bitch Beer, Mexican food experts Diana Kenney and the writers from TacoJournalism.com and former New York Times reporter Allen Salkin, who probably knows more about the Food Network than anyone in the country.
We featured three of the authors in today’s food section: Joe Yonan, the Washington Post food and travel editor who has published his second book about the pleasures of cooking for one; and Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, the "Beekman Boys" who won me over with their fabulous reality TV series and heirloom cookbook series. (Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell will also be at Prevention magazine’s R3 Summit on Saturday. You can find out more about that event here.)
Here’s one of the recipes from Yonan’s new book that we didn’t have room for in print. (He’ll be teaching a cooking class at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Central Market North.)
Bean and Poblano Soup with Cinnamon Croutons
I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that I could do something with poblano peppers other than roast them. Maybe it’s because that’s how so many recipes call for them to be used, but of course you can treat them as you would a bell pepper, which is what I do here, chopping and sautéing a poblano along with garlic and onions to form a powerful base for a hearty bean soup. The croutons may sound a little adventurous, but trust me, cinnamon plays very well here, offering a deep, somewhat mysterious flavor. Poblanos have a mild heat, so if you want to nudge this up a bit, feel free to add a little cayenne for that back-of-the-throat warmth. Omnivores, this practically cries out for a little bacon. Throw it in with the shallots, garlic and poblano.
— Joe Yonan
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 slice rustic bread, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 large shallot lobe or very small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional), or more
1/2 cup cooked beans, preferably homemade, rinsed if canned, drained
1/2 to 3/4 cup bean broth, water or vegetable stock, divided
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1/2 lime), or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
A dollop of yogurt or sour cream (optional)
Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the bread pieces and fry until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon.
Return the saucepan to medium heat, pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and when it shimmers add the shallot, garlic and poblano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and the cayenne, let the spices sizzle and bloom for a few seconds, then add the beans and 1/2 cup of the bean broth.
Bring the soup to a boil, then turn it down until it is barely simmering and cook until it thickens slightly, the flavors come together and the beans, if they were cold, are heated through. Thin with the remaining 1/4 cup of bean broth if you’d like the soup to be a little thinner. Stir in the lime juice, then taste the soup and add salt and black pepper as needed, plus more cayenne pepper if you want more heat.
Spoon the soup into a bowl, top with the yogurt and the croutons, and eat.
— From "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook" by Joe Yonan (Ten Speed Press, $24.99)