Author Kandel Spills The Beans

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 02, 2008
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Frequent Hawaii visitor Charlotte Kandel, former worldwide head of publicity for Warner Bros., has launched a very successful second career as an author, with her first book now out.

She was recently in Honolulu promoting The Scarlet Stockings: The Enchanted Riddle, a fantasy-realism volume (first in a trilogy published by Dutton).

Charlotte, with her charming English accent, read from The Scarlet Stockings at Barnes & Noble and the PACT Community Teen Center at Kuhio Park Terrace recently, capturing the imaginations of boys and girls alike with the story of orphaned Daphne from the 1920s who receives a mysterious, anonymous package containing a book on How to Teach Yourself Ballet and a pair of magical ballet tights. It’s a fabulous summer read for youngsters and, as a “chapter book,” ideal for launching the reading habit at any age.

Charlotte is a resident of Los Angeles and plans another local book tour to the Islands in the fall.

She enjoys cooking almost as much as writing, and graciously shares the following recipe with MidWeek readers.

Using canned beans is a great time-saver, especially when you don’t have time to soak the dry beans. They are fully cooked and should be added to most recipes toward the end of the cooking process. Make sure to drain and rinse the beans thoroughly to remove any excess salt.

Cannellini beans were originally cultivated in Argentina, and now are grown in central Italy, Greece and France. The cannellini bean is mild in flavor and has a smooth texture. It is also called a white Italian kidney bean and is closely related to the kidney bean; even the shape is similar.

Beans are high in protein and mineral content such as calcium, potassium and iron. They also contain a good deal of fiber and are low in fat.


* 6 large ripe tomatoes, quartered* (I like to use local tomatoes)

* 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (for lower sodium, use low-salt broth or make your own stock)

* 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

* sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

* 2 tablespoons chopped oregano

* grilled bread, to serve

Place the tomatoes and half the stock in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture through a sieve and place in a saucepan with the remaining stock over medium heat. Allow the soup to come to a boil and simmer for eight minutes,then add the cannellini beans, salt, pepper and oregano. Simmer for two minutes and serve in bowls with grilled bread that has been drizzled with a little olive oil.

Makes four servings.

*Using really ripe tomatoes will give this soup a wonderful, sweet flavor. If perfect tomatoes are not available, you may need to add a pinch of sugar to help boost the flavor.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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