My wife and I are beanophiles, pure and simple. And could there be a food more pure and simple?
Time was, I bought navy beans at Kroger, plastic sacks of old dry beans grown who knows where and who knows how long ago. I soaked them, and they woke up from their long sleep, and we made beautiful music together (that is probably not the expression I should use). They were very okay.
In England for a conference a few decades ago I was taken to dinner by a local guy who ordered something the English like to eat. It came with a side of mushy peas (mushy rhymes with bushy). To the eye the peas looked like they had been cooked 2-3 hours, then stored away to languish in cans for 2-3 decades. They were the color of bile, more texture than taste.
Aside from a few summers I was sent out to the garden to pick peas, and unpodded them and ate them on the spot, I do not have warm memories of peas.
The bug bites you every now and then. Get rid of some stuff.
We have a couple pantries in our house, one in the kitchen, another over by the garage. Stuff we use regularly we keep in the kitchen, naturally. Stuff that’s not on deck gets stored over by the garage. Pepper corns, cans of chick peas, back-up jars of marmalade and jams, peanut butter and nutella, tomato paste, boxes of pasta.
In the kitchen I originate very little. Modify, yes; originate, no.
I’m okay with that.
I was gratified recently when I watched “Funke,” a documentary film about Evan Funke, the American chef whose LA restaurant Felix attempts to serve the best pasta in the United States. Not just good pasta. The best. (Felix menu shown above.) What struck me were Funke’s remarks early in the film about the casalinghe tradition in Italy.
In just thirty minutes, you can make a pasta sauce that will change your life. Sausage and leeks and tomato. Salt and pepper. And if you’re a spicy person, red pepper flakes to hot the sauce up a bit, or a lot.
Tizi suggests a new menu item for New Year’s Eve. A local tradition in Romagna, her region of Italy. I’m sure I’ve heard the word “lentils” before in Italian and decide to try it out. Use or lose it, right?“But why lentiggini?” I ask.
“For good luck,” she says. “And it’s lenticchie.Lentiggini are freckles.”
Two words, a friend of mine’ll get a little crazy.
We have a box of it in the fridge.(Yes, a box.) It came in handy this morning. I’ve got some rabbit quarters on the stove, cooking long and low and slow.
Olive oil and garlic (the more of the latter the better), salt and pepper, fresh rosemary. They brown gently, front and back, getting a tan in the pan.Some white wine extends the cook, quarter cup, turning those rabbit quarters every 20-30 minutes to avoid stickage.Continue reading “Rabbit Relax”→
This is how I would want to be cooked. Lay me down in olive oil and onion.
I woke up today thinking about olives. It was 4:00 a.m., my usual time to wake up thinking about something. This morning it was olives, and lunch. Confession: I often wake up thinking about lunch.
A fond reminiscence in our family is how food-oriented my father-in-law was; well, a better word is obsessed. He too often awoke with food on his mind and began planning the mid-day meal before his head even left the pillow.He would turn to Rose, my mother-in-law, andsay to her, whispering quietly so as not to disturb her rest, “Ro, do you think we should defrost that chicken for lunch today?” It pissed her off. He too, I should add, was inclined to wake up early. She would harrumph, Sta Zitto, Gigi. Che piaga! Translating roughly to: What a pain in the ass you are.He would roll out of bed and head for the kitchen. Continue reading “If I Were a Chicken Thigh”→
The first time I tasted artichoke, I was already in college. As far as I know it was not an item they stocked at Pat’s Food Center in Freeland, the one-stoplight farm town where I grew up.If I had seen one at all, it was probably the likeness of an artichoke on someone’s apron. Continue reading “When the Artichokes Spoke”→