Grilled Pineapple and (Homemade) Baked Bean Tacos

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The best thing that came out of my seder a couple weeks ago was not, amazingly, the secret to make gefilte fish taste palatable or the revelation that my hyper-logical-atheist boyfriend would embrace old Jewish customs “just because that’s how they are,” but something much more seemingly mundane.

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I’m talking, of course, about grilled pineapples (a natural seder conversation topic). After our requisite glasses of wine and long-winded discussions about The Prince of Egypt vs. the Rugrats Passover episode, the conversation led to lunches, and specifically grilled pineapple lunches. The idea took hold and led to this magnificent taco-burrito-wrap-meatless-Hawaiian-pizza hybrid that would disappoint Mexicans and Texans and Hawaiians of all sorts but makes this Jew oh so happy.

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This was my first foray into homemade baked beans! Despite using the wrong kind of bean, the flavor in these [beanie] babies was out of control delicious. And mixed with the pineapple? ohmygod make it now!!~*!!!^!! Even if it’s sorta ugly.

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(And let it be known Daniel added grilled ham-steak (is that a thing?) to his and then ate three, so… if that’s your sorta thing, go [hog] wild.) 

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Grilled Pineapple and (Homemade) Baked Bean Tacos

a Swanky original

1 batch baked beans (recipe below) or cheat and use a can
smallish flour tortillas (or corn if GF)
cilantro, chopped
½ a pineapple
smoked sea salt, chili powder, olive oil
OR
brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter
(depends on your mood) 

Cook/warm up baked beans according to how much time you’re willing to invest tonight. (MAKE the ones below. PEER PRESSURE! THEY’RE SO GOOD!)

Heat a grill pan so it’s nice and smoky (or, ya know, a grill, if you have that sorta thing). Cut top and bottom off pineapple, and then carefully slice off the skin. Cut into ½-inch slices, careful to avoid the core. Then, you have a choice! For smoky-spicy pineapple (which I thought went better with the beans), rub both sides with olive oil, smoked sea salt, and chili powder. Or, for brown sugar caramelized pineapple, mix together about ¼ c brown sugar with 1 t cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt, and rub it on both sides. For either version, grill about 2-4 minutes on each side, until you see nice grill marks and the pineapple has darkened on the outside and softened in the inside. (For sweet version, you can mix the leftover sugar/cinnamon mixture with a bit of melted butter and baste pineapple as it grills for some added zing.)

The make your tacos! Char your tortilla if desired, and fill with grilled pineapple slices, baked beans, and plenty of fresh cilantro. Repeat. Go into food coma.

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Quick Vegetarian Baked Beans

adapted from picklesnhoney 

1 medium onion, chopped small
½ green pepper, chopped small
1.5 T olive oil
2 cans of navy beans (I didn’t have those and instead used 1 can each pinto and pink beans; it was fine but not the completely right texture)
¼ c + 2 T BBQ sauce
2 T molasses (I used pomegranate molasses and it was great!)
¼ c apple cider vinegar
3 T maple syrup
2 T spicy brown mustard
2 T ketchup
2 t worcesteshire sauce
1 t smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In an oven-safe Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, sauté for about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue sautéing until onion is translucent and peppers are soft, about 4 more minutes.

Add everything else! Bring pot to a simmer; then cover and stick in oven. Cook for as long as you feel like it (more time = more flavor), but I would go for at least 45 minutes (I think I did mine for an hour).

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Buttermints

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Candy-making! An ideal Sunday evening post-salsa-rehearsal, post-Ramen-consumption, pre-Arrested-Development-and-popcorn-binge activity. We meant to send some to Daniel’s brother and sister-in-law, who just had a baby (CONGRATS!), but then we sorta ate them. Oops.

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This was a bit of a messy process (UNDERSTATEMENT), as the powdered sugar literally coated every surface of the apartment at the first beater rotation. Next time I would start with softer butter and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. (And oh my, I just looked at their website and this is exactly what they suggest on their “Cookbook Corrections” page. I’m probably a candy genius.) But the messiness is worth it! These things are just an excuse to eat minty frosting cubes. I’ll let the pictures now speak for themselves.

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Buttermints

from The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook

1 stick (8 oz) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar, plus extra to coat
2-3 T milk
½ t peppermint extract
food dye (optional)

In a large bowl, combine butter cubes and powdered sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed until no more butter chunks remain. Pause frequently to scrape down bowl and replace fly-away butter chunks. BIG NOTE: This is freaking messy! We got powdered sugar literally over the entire table AND floor AND under the table AND on the adjoining shelf. Cover mixing bowl with a towel. You can easily use a stand mixer for this part, unless you live in NYC and have a ridiculously small kitchen and nowhere to store one. (Next time, for a hand mixer, I would start with softer butter and add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time…)

Add 2 T milk and peppermint extract and continue mixing on medium-high speed until big clumps form. (If necessary, add 3rd T of milk, but keep in mind it will take longer for mints to dry this way!) Keep mixing; mixture should soon form a loose dough. You can use your hands to help along this process.

Divide dough into four parts. Cover each loosely with plastic wrap. If you’re going to use food coloring, now is the time. Take one dough segment and place it on a cutting board covered with powdered sugar. Coat your hands with the sugar as well. Add just 1 drop of dye to dough and knead it with your fingertips until the color is fully mixed in. Add more dye as necessary. Then, keeping hands coated with powdered sugar, gently roll the dough into a log 1/4-inch thick. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and place on a cookie tray covered with parchment paper. Repeat this process for all 4 dough segments.

Leave out to dry overnight, uncovered and unrefridgerated. Apparently these stay good for weeks. Keep in an airtight container, separated by layers of parchment paper, in a dry place (not the fridge!).

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