Wednesday, 20 May 2015 | 27 comments

Skillet greens & beans with anchovy breadcrumbs

I am a big fan of my annual greens garden. Greens are easy. They come early in the season. Reward-to-risk ratio is high. This year, I direct seeded a mix of lettuces, kale, and mustard greens into a bed close to the kitchen. They come up fast and thick, and by the time we got back from our honeymoon in Maine (!), it was time to start harvesting.

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Monday, 12 January 2015 | 28 comments

Melissa Clark’s pinto beans braised with bacon & red wine

I took a little holiday break from writing here but not from writing, which was an interesting experiment that caused me to descend into some pretty dark stuff that no one, trust me, wants to read. So! Happy new year. Let’s talk about beans and definitely not about feelings, feminism, guns, or country music.*

I don’t pretend to be any high arbiter of bean quality, but if you like food, we live in a golden age of beautiful, heirloom beans, no small thanks to seed savers and discoverers like Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo. Heirloom beans are worth the money, and sometimes I special order them for particular dishes or to have on hand for a treat. I could spend a long time convincing you of the merits of gorgeous Good Mother Stallards or Christmas limas. But beans are supposed to promise a triple threat of nutrition, rib-sticking satiety, and economy. And at $6+ a pound, heirlooms don’t exactly satisfy that last qualification. So let’s talk about budget-conscious beans. Enter the humble pinto.
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Thursday, 29 August 2013 | 59 comments

How we fill our days

Age is a funny thing. Women, especially, spend a lot of time benchmarking themselves against age: you’re a failure if you’re 16 and you’ve never been kissed; your “biological clock” has been ticking for awhile by the time you’re 30; and you’re considered pretty damaged goods by the time you turn 50 (or so L’oreal would have me believe). On Monday I had an annual performance review at work. I was presented with anonymous comments solicited from colleagues: “shows depth of understanding beyond her position”, “far-sighted and pragmatic for her age”, “excellent judgment—beyond her years”. It’s meant to be flattering, but I left disconcerted.

People tell me I am an old soul, but if that’s true, I’m not a particularly wise one. Kind of like the next-door neighbor curmudgeon who is a little bitter and has very particular opinions about things that don’t really matter.

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Thursday, 10 November 2011 | 17 comments

Three-grain veggie chili

The evenings stretch out ahead these days from such an early hour. By the time I leave the office, it’s already dark, and those wonderfully mammalian curl-up-in-your-house-and-eat-and-stay-warm instincts kick in pretty quickly.This three-grain chili fits the bill nicely on these evenings (I’m calling it three grain even though lentils are not a grain, technically. Oh well.) Chuck stirred it while it was on the stove and exclaimed, “There’s so much in there!” And there is. I find that a meatless chili needs a good variety of textures to reach that not-quite-soup, not-quite-stew grey area that chili must straddle. Millet in soups is a recent discovery and is fantastic; but with all these liquid-sucking grains, beware that upon reheating, you might need to add a bit more liquid to reconstitute it. It’s also a great canvas for any mixture of your favorite beans; here, I threw some adzuki beans in with pinto. » Click to read more

Saturday, 12 February 2011 | 6 comments

Peasant food: pasta e fagioli

cannellini

David Tanis famously opens his fantastic book, A Platter of Figs, by asking the question, “What makes a boy from Ohio,…raised on Tater Tots and Birds Eye, end up wanting to eat like a Greek peasant for breakfast, a French peasant for lunch, and a Moroccan peasant for dinner?”

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