Our Boston Baked Beans took top prize in the 2002 Garlic Fest. For our trouble we were gifted with an apron, a frisbee and something else, can't remember what. But, of course, the thrill is in the chase.
If the jejune and facile John Edwards is able to tie or beat the seasoned and considerate Dick Cheney in the hearts and minds of the electorate (read media-spun mindless swing voters), it is, indeed, time for comfort food.
Robb Allen of Sharp as a Marble, under attack from leftie co-workers -- including his boss -- who can't tolerate dissent, offers a classic "Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce" that will warm the cockles of your heart. For our part, it's time to bring back our award-winning Boston Baked Beans. We won a California Garlic Fest Grand Prize for it a coupla years back, probably because it contains an entire garlic bulb (10-20 cloves). But seriously, it sticks to the ribs and can't be beat in combination with an all-day pot roast with carrots and mushrooms for an awesome chili, or on Saturday night mixed with hot dogs cut in thirds and rebaked for half an hour at 350º, then served over a bed of steamed shredded cabbage and topped with a slice of toasted cornbread. Back in those pre-Atkins days we were afraid of anything fattening ("Classic New England recipe without the saturated fat that folks today can do without . . . Garlic lends body and depth of flavor," we claimed in our competition entry), but in the intervening years in our Experimental Kitchens we've updated the recipe -- and changed the name from Boston to Chelsea Baked Beans -- to include something sweet (pureed squash or molasses) and something greasy (chopped bacon), as follows:
Chelsea Baked Beans
1/2 lb. black beans
1/2 lb. pink beans
1 whole garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Rob Allen's Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce (or bottled tomato sauce)
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup cider
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 pkg thawed winter squash or 1/4 cup molasses
4 pieces sliced bacon, chopped
Soak beans overnight . . . Rinse and drain.
Place in saucepan with other ingredients and bring to boil.
Pour into classic covered bean pot and bake at 200°F for c. 7 hours. Check every hour or so and add tomato juice or cider as necessary to keep moist.
Don't forget. Garlic keeps the vampires at bay.