In the summer, beans were for dressing in a gloss of olive oil, tossing with a confetti of crisp, chopped vegetables, and having as salad. In the winter, we simmer them with rich fats, sometimes with finely chopped (less colorful) vegetables, which dissolve into the resulting soup or baked casserole. While it’s definitely winter, I tried to make a compromise between these two polar opposite ways to eat beans. Starting with the king-size fava (or “broad”) bean, dried.
If the fashion sensibility “peasant chic” were translated to food, this would be a runway highlight. It’s a melange of the penniless pantry, but manages to come out vibrant with flavor, and chock full of nutrition. A little funky, offbeat, and very magenta (is that an “in” color?), it’s what I call making the best of the least — and the cheapest — ingredients. It’s also filling enough for a one-dish dinner alone, but plop in a poached egg and … Read More
Last Halloween, Dave introduced me to a dish that involves baking stuff inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. He explained that he’d taken it from a Ruth Reichl recipe in Gourmet. This past Halloween, I hosted, and I copied Dave’s (or Ruth’s) dish to a T. (Only mine was in a white heirloom “ghost” pumpkin, and I served a side of beet-and-tomato “blood” soup.) It’s sort of like French onion soup, inside a pumpkin: you stuff stale bread cubes and pour chicken … Read More
I’m always looking to cook beans in a hearty application that doesn’t involve meat. After all, beans are a protein on their own. From lentils to split peas to baked beans with ginger, chipotle and hoisin, this has offered varied and delicious results. Why am I doing this? I have no idea, I’m not even a vegetarian. I just want to see how best it can be done.
Yeah, they’re navy beans, so what? I didn’t have lentils on hand. But I still wanted to make something spicy with curry seasonings, filling in just a few slurps, delicious, and did I mention, cheap? Any bean, please. And for that matter, anything else that was in the cupboards, too. This happened to include some pickled red peppers from last summer’s harvest, parsley and shallots, and a lemon bursting with juice. Which brings me to a very tentative naming situation: … Read More
Sometimes the simplest things really are the best. I’d planned to cook, eat, and write about an elaborate dish on my day off. It would be exciting, colorful, and completely novel. It would also somehow incorporate soaked and mostly-cooked white beans, which I had leftover. After a morning of deliberation and preparation, it was done: sour citrus wedges, briny olives and mealy white beans, unexpectedly brought to congress with plenty drizzles of olive oil. But once it was photographed and … Read More
I’ve been having a love affair with beans lately. This may have happened by default, with so few fresh muses in season to cook with, or else a newfound appreciation simply gained on its own merit: beans are infinitely versatile, used in every cuisine, hearty, and nutritious. They are the main ingredient in comfort foods of so many cultures, like the French cassoulet. But beans also have a stigma attached to them, especially in our meat-loving culture — that of … Read More
Forgive the excessively esoteric sound of this dish’s name. I had tried coming up with other things to call it: Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli and Braised Broccoli and Cauliflower Greens with Navy Beans and Creamed Potatoes? Too long. White Cauliflower, Cheddar Cauliflower, Broccoli and Their Combined Greens Braised with Navy Beans and Roasted Red Pepper and Served on Creamy, Truffled, Mashed Fingerling Potatoes? Too specific. Stuff That I Got From My CSA This Week, Cooked and Piled Ceremoniously Together on a Plate? That … Read More
A hapa holy trinity? Hey, there’s a first for everything. Sweet and pungent (coleslaw), smoky and spicy (beans), and some of the aforementioned with savory with herbal tossed in (potato salad), these were the flavors that drenched the side dishes at our Hapa Kitchen BBQ on Saturday. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera on hand that day; if I’d had it, I would not have had a clean hand to use it. Therefore, this photo is stolen from Robert … Read More