So, I am reading Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal. I love her approach to food and cooking, and I think it might be the perfect foil to how I tend to approach them. I am big on the end product, some fancypants meal, and I do everything I need to do with a singular focus on that particular meal. It usually ends up with a fantastic meal, but there is also a lot of waste, both in time and in materials. It is anything but efficient.
Adler recommends you go to the farmer’s market and buy the very best looking food there. Get your eggs, your greens, your cauliflower and carrots and beets and what-not. Then, go home and unpack it all.
Then cook it all.
Get that oven hot, chop up your veggies, slather them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them up. Wash your greens, chop them, spin them dry, pack them in paper towels and seal them in a container. Put your roasted veggies in mason jars. If you bought a chicken, boil it now and throw in some veggies, too, and when you’re done you’ve got cooked chicken you can part out, you’ve got chicken stock, and more. It just goes on.
Using her system, at the end of the day you’ve got your whole week laid out for you, and all you have to do for dinner each night is grab what looks good, heat it up, mix it with something else, and you’ve got dinner.
Here’s a look at how she does it:
So, I gave it a shot this weekend.
I started off small, just the cauliflower and broccoli and some kale. I bought a mess of Kerr Mason jars to put stuff in. I shopped and chopped and cooked and put it all away. It were fun. I liked it a lot.
Also inspired by Ms. Adler, I made a pot of beans.
This is a package of Trader Joe’s Seventeen Bean mix. My taste in food tends toward the rich and meat-centric, over-the-top flavor and texture and more and more and more. So when I read Adler’s account of a simple meal of beans and bread and how utterly plain and delicious it was, I thought I’d give that a try too. Here’s what I did:
Soak the beans overnight. Rinse them well, drain them, cover them with vegetable broth, start a flame under them.
Chop up an onion, a few carrots, a clove of garlic, minced, bell pepper, some celery stalks. I used leeks because I had them. Throw them in another pan with butter or olive oil and cook until softened, then toss in with the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce your flame and simmer, covered, for an hour.
Skim off the scum that rises up every once in a while.
I added a few torn leaves of kale, and the rind from a hunk of parmigiano, and a bay leaf, and salted everything pretty well and also threw in some red pepper flakes for a little warmth.
Served with some of the parmigiano grated over the top, and some crusty bread. Drizzle some olive oil over top, too, if you want.
It was a revelation, is what.
Creamy, rich, delicious beaniness, through and through. As easy to make as anything, and just astoundingly good.
I love to cook, I just love it to death. I especially love discovering new things about food, like this, like how to just really eat the thing in its essence, and love it for what it is.