Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Cannellini Bean Tapenade Topped With A Grape Tomato Salad


Now Tapenades are traditionally made with olives and capers, but not always! Sometimes pestos contain olives. It can be confusing. I think of a Tapenade as more of some type of purèed vegetable as compared to pesto with a herb or leafy green base which may be used an uncooked sauce.

Pork Tenderloin On A Bed Of Cannellini Beans

The last meal I posted was my Pork Tenderloin Over A Bed Of Cannellini beans. I had quite a bit of the beans leftover. I didn’t want to waste them because they were so delicious so I turned them into a quick Cannellini Bean Tapenade to have the next day for lunch. The Cannellini beans were prepared with sautèed leeks, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. All I needed was a few extra ingredients and I’d be able to have an amazing lunch.

Leftover Cannellini Beans

This recipe can be made by using canned Cannellini beans. I’ve posted a recipe for this below. Make sure to rinse and drain the canned Cannellini beans.


This is really easy to make and is so delicious.

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Here I have a lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, and an 8-ounce wedge of Pecorino cheese. I’m only going to use half of the cheese for this recipe. First I need to process the cheese.

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So as you can see I ground up half the wedge of Pecorino cheese, and processed the sun-dried tomatoes.

I wanted to make sure not to overfill the food processor with all these ingredients at one time. There was no reason to add any more salt because the beans were already seasoned, and the cheese also has a salty bite. I did add some black pepper to each batch, and a sprinkling of Italian parsley for some freshness.

This is what the Cannellini Bean Tapenade looks like when it’s finished.

In the second bowl is a Grape Tomato Salad. All this is are some halved sweet grape tomatoes, granulated sugar, Kosher salt,  freshly cracked black pepper, red wine vinegar, freshly chopped basil, and E.V.O.O. that have been tossed together. I’m going to spoon these delicious tomatoes on top of the Cannellini Bean Tapenade.

I spread the Cannellini Bean Tapenade on the toasted Ciabatta bread then spooned on the delicious tomato salad.

I promise you won’t be able to eat just one.


Prep Time: 20 minutes:
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets, 10 cup food processor

3 cups Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped and processed
4-ounces Pecorino cheese, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O
2 tablespoons of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 loaf of Ciabatta bread, sliced and toasted or grilled (yields 16 slices)

Tomato Salad Topping:
2 pints of yellow and red grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup *E.V.O.O.
2 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

Directions For Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Directions For Grape Tomato Salad:
In a large bowl add all the ingredients for the tomato salad. Mix to combine, set aside to let marinate.

Directions For Cannellini Bean Tapenade:
Start with a food processor fitted with the metal blade. First, cut the cheese up into cubes. Add the cheese to the food processor. Turn the processor on and let it run for about 2-3 minutes or until cheese is the consistency (refer to pictures above) you need. Second, process the sun-dried tomatoes, until finely chopped.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the E.V.O.O. and the grated cheese) into the food processor. Pulse until combined. Next, add the grated cheese and pulse just to combine. Last, add the *E.V.O.O. through the feeding tube. Continue to pulse until the Tapenade reaches desired consistency (refer to picture above). The Tapenade will have great texture because of the sun-dried tomatoes. Transfer the Cannellini Bean Tapenade into a serving bowl.

Drizzle a little *E.V.O.O. over the top.

To serve, spread the Cannellini Bean Tapenade on the toasted Ciabatta. Spoon on the Grape Tomato Salad.

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil






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Pork Tenderloin On A Bed Of Cannellini Beans

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This recipe is elegant and yet so easy to pull together for entertaining. The picture on the right is the very first time I made this recipe, and it was so delicious, I thought I’d test the recipe out on some guests. I blogged about this promising I would post the recipe once I tested it out, well here it is. I did however make one change and that was to use the pan drippings to make this wonderful sauce to drizzle over the top. Let’s get started.

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So I have 2 beautiful pork tenderloins and I’m going to make the marinate for them. First I start by mincing 5 cloves of garlic. Second I have a 3 inch piece of fresh ginger that I have peeled with a spoon and chopped into a small dice. Now with a large zip lock plastic bag I place the 2 pork tenderloins along with the minced garlic and chopped ginger. To that I add 1 cup of apricot jam, 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 a cup of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. No need to add any salt because of the soy sauce  is taking the place of the salt. Let all the air out of the plastic bag then massage the marinate all over the pork.

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Place the pork into the frig for a minimum of 2 hours, longer if possible is even better. Now to get started on the Cannellini beans. I love to use these beans with this dish because they have a real creamy feel to them and they absorb any flavors you pair with them. So the pan gravy that I’m making for this recipe, that’s drizzled over the pork will seep down onto the beans and just make them heavenly.

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To give the beans some great flavor, I’m using leeks. They have a mild onion flavor so they won’t overpower the beans but compliment them.  All I did was drain and rinse the Cannellini beans to get all the salt off them from being packed in the cans. When your using leeks you just want to cut the top and bottom off, like you see in the top pictures, and because they have so many layers to them, you want to rinse them really good. To get any sand or dirt that may be trapped in them. Once that’s done you just cut them in half lengthwise and slice them up. I’m also going to mince some garlic around 3 cloves, just for some more flavor.

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On med high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil in the pot I add in the leeks. Sprinkle some salt and pepper in the pot and give the leeks a stir. I wait a minute or two just until the leeks start to soften before I add in the garlic.

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Now that the leeks and garlic have softened, I add in 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth. I let that reduce and then turn down the heat to med low and add in the Cannellini beans. I add a little more salt and pepper, then I stir everything together, let them cook for another couple of minutes. That’s it, move them off the heat and put a lid on them so they stay warm while you saute your spinach and roast your pork tenderloin.

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In an  earlier blog I talked about “Everything Sides” and sauteed spinach was one of them. If you want that recipe, which is one I’m going to make with this dish, just take a minute to get that recipe.

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Garlic Sauteed Spinach with a Hint of Spice

Garlic Sauteed Spinach with a Hint of Spice

I’m preheating the oven to 450 degrees, and I’ve finished sauteing the spinach and have set that aside. It’s time to sear off the pork.

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In the first picture you can see that I have a saute pan on high heat and I have seared off one side of the pork. The second picture shows that I’ve seared off all the sides. Then I place the pan into the 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.

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Now this is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven after the 10 minutes, I take them out of the pan onto a dish that I cover tightly with foil, and let the pork rest for another 10 minutes. This gives me time to make the sauce that  I’m going to drizzle over the top of the tenderloins. You can see all those flavorful bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Well, that’s the good stuff that magically will turn into a yummy sauce. I place the pan over med high heat and add in 1-1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth. With a wooden spoon I scrape all those brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let that bubble for a minute, and in a small bowl I take 1 heaping tablespoon of corn starch with 2 tablespoons of the chicken broth, whisk that together and pour it right into the pan. Keep whisking until the sauce comes back up to a bubble. Turn the heat off, the sauce is done.

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To plate this dish, I lay out all the Cannellini beans on the bottom of a large serving platter. Then around one side I spoon on the sauteed spinach. I carve the pork into 1-1/2 inch thick slices and lay them on top of the beans. Finally I just drizzle that amazing sauce all over the top.

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There you have it. Pork Tenderloin, with an Apricot and Soy Glaze, over a bed of Cannellini Beans

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Everything Sides

Garlic Sauteed Spinach with a Hint of Spice

Curry and Ginger Roasted Oraganic Baby Carrots

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Brown Sugar Glaze

Fennel and Tangelo Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette

Sides are one of those things that can really compliment the star of the dish your making. They can also echo the flavors you put so thoughtfully into your star ingredient of what you may be serving. I wanted to talk about a few really delicious sides that you can make, and are no trouble to put together, yet still have that wow factor.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach with a Hint of Spice

For my sauteed garlic spinach with a hint of spice, I started out with a large hot saute pan and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. To that I added 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes.

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I let that bloom into the oil for a minute, just long enough to where you smell the garlic. To that I added, 1/2 of a 16 ounce bag of one of those pre-washed bags of fresh baby spinach leaves. It may look as though there are too many leaves for the pan, but just add them in batches. They will wilt way down as they start to cook. Once you’ve added as much spinach that can fit, sprinkle some kosher salt and toss with your tongs so that the garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes coat the leaves before adding in more spinach and repeating the same process.

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In the picture above you can see how the first batch of leaves wilted way down. When your finished adding in all the spinach it will look like this. This spinach side dish is so delicious and so good for you.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach with a Hint of Spice

The second side is my Curry and Ginger Roasted Baby Carrots.

This side dish is another very easy one to make. i started out by trimming the tops of the carrots off, but not all the way. I love the rustic look they give to the dish. In a small bowl I mixed 1 tablespoon of a mild curry powder, 1 tablespoon of ground ginger, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Those are the ingredients in the bowl on the right. The other bowl I’ll get to in just a minute.

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On two small baking sheets I lay out the carrots and drizzle some olive oil over all the carrots. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan or the carrots won’t roast properly.

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Then I sprinkle the curry, ginger spice mixture over each of the carrots on both sheet pans. Then I just toss the carrots all together so that they all get good and coated. I roast them off in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Check on them after 15 minutes or so to see if they are fork tender. If they are, then they are done and you can take them out.

Curry and Ginger Roasted Oraganic Baby Carrots

I just sprinkle them with a little Kosher salt and some freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley. The carrots are naturally sweet, and the spice mixture gives them a unique warm flavor. It’s a roller coaster for you taste buds. This side has even been know to make a great soup.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Brown Sugar Glaze

Now this is another side that couldn’t be simpler to make. My Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Brown Sugar Glaze.

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I just took 2 sweet potatoes, peeled them and cut them into large wedges.

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In the spice bowl on the left I have 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 2 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.

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In a baking sheet again, I drizzled the sweet potatoes with olive oil and sprinkled the brown sugar mixture all over. Then again. I just toss them with my hands to get all the potatoes coated. Into a 450 degree oven for around 15-20 minutes. About halfway through the cooking, turn the potatoes over so they get nice and caramelized on the other side as well. Check after the 15 minutes to see if they are fork tender. If they are then they are done and you can take them out. They should be crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Yummy!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Brown Sugar Glaze

The last side I want to talk about is my Fennel and Tangelo Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette. It’s light and the perfect pairing with any kind of fish.

Fennel and Tangelo Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette

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Using a mandolin, I shaved  2 fennel bulbs and half of a red onion, I just arranged them onto a plate and then segmented 2 tangelos for the top. I laid the tangelos segments all over the top. I took the juice from the tangelos and made a vinaigrette. In a small bowl I had the leftover juice which came to around 1/4 cup of juice. To that I added 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper. Then I added 1/2 a cup of E.V.O.O. and whisked that together to make the dressing and just spooned a few spoonfuls over the top of the Fennel and Tangelo Salad. Garnished with some chopped fresh parsley and there you have it. That’s it for “Everything Sides”, hope you will try one of these with one of the meals your serving.

Fennel and Tangelo Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette

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My Farmer Cheese Pie


I know it’s been a few days since I’ve found myself behind this keyboard, but for good reason. I’ve been testing out this recipe. Not for just the filling but for how it would work with the pie dough I made earlier. I love cheesecake, but I wanted to work on a recipe for a farmer cheese pie, like the one I saw on Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in New York.

The reason it took me so long to test out this recipe was, I wasn’t able to find farmer’s cheese at any of my local grocery stores. Well, one day I was in the dairy aisle looking to buy some butter and there it was farmer’s cheese. Don’t ask me why it’s not with all the other cheeses but that’s where I found it.

They come packaged in 7.5-ounce bars, so I went ahead and bought two. I also bought a store-bought ready to use pie crust shell. from the freezer section as well. The reason for this is, I wanted to share this recipe with a homemade crust as well as if you had bought a ready to use a pie shell.


Above is my homemade pie crust. Below is the store-bought pie crust.

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You know, I’m a big believer on making your own pie crust, but this dish is really about the filling, so I want to share both ways, one with a store-bought and one homemade. You see it can get a bit tricky, balancing the cooking of the filling and not burning the crust.

The recipe I’m about to share with you will make enough filling for two pie shells. Believe me when I tell you that you’ll want to have an extra pie. Make sure to let the frozen pie shell to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before pre-baking. For my Homemade Pie Crust recipe, click the link at the bottom of this post.

Now I’m cutting my pie dough in half because I’m only using half to show both ready made crust and homemade crust. Wrap the half that you’re not using back in plastic wrap and place it back into the frig. Start rolling out your dough with your board lightly floured, and keep turning the dough as you roll. You want to roll the dough out until it’s about a 1/8 of an inch thick, and around 10 inches in diameter. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect as the store bought one. Your homemade pie crust will be just as pretty when you’re done, and to be honest it will taste better too.

Next, take the dough that’s hanging over the edge of the pie pan and fold it under all the way around, and using your fingers crimp the edges.  You won’t need to do this with the store bought one because it’s already done for you. At this point, you want to dock with a fork all over the bottom of the pie crust. Do the same with the thawed frozen ready made crust as well. Place both pie shells back into the frig to rest for around 30 minutes. This will prevent the sides of the pie dough from shrinking down and let it maintain its shape. While this is happening, work on the filling.


You want to make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature to ensure a smooth filling.


Equipment: Electric mixer, 2 rimmed sheet pans. 2 glass pie pans
1-10″ store-bought pie shell  from the freezer section or 1 homemade rolled out to 10″ diameter and to be 1/8″ thick
2-7.5 ounce bars farmer cheese (or ricotta), room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Homemade Pie Crust:
Dust your board with flour. Start rolling out the dough and keeping turning the dough a quarter turn each time you roll. Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/8″ in thickness and 10″ in diameter. Next, take the dough that’s hanging off the edge of the pan and fold it under all the way around. Using your fingers, crimp the edges. Allow the frozen store-bought pie shell to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before pre-baking. At this point, you need to dock (prick) with a fork all over the bottom of both pie shells. Place both pie shells back into the frig for 30 minutes, to rest.

After 30 minutes, cover each pie shell snugly with foil. Add dried beans to both pies. Push the beans towards the edges of both pies. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer both pie shell to the oven, bake for 20 minutes, or until the crimped edges are set but not browned.. This process is called “Blind Baking”. Remove the pie shells from the oven and lift the foil with the dried beans out of the shell. Let the shell cool. Lower the oven temperature t0 350 degrees.

Directions For Filling:
Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix the farmer cheese and powdered sugar together. One at a time add the 5 eggs until they are combined. Add vanilla extract, lemon zest, and heavy cream.
Evenly distribute the pie filling into each pie. Note: I’m baking the pies one at a time. Bake on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes. During the last 15-20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with silicone protector.

Remove from the oven, take off the silicone cover, and let cool for 30 minutes on a cooling rack. Dust the pies with some powdered sugar. This farmer’s cheese pie is delicious at room temperature or is great, chilled. You do want to refrigerate the pies to store them. As you can see, both ways work just great.

Times may vary depending on whether you’re baking in a glass or some type of metal pan. These vessels can affect the outcome of the pie.

Homemade Pie Crust

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