kitchen diary: august 1 & 2
a glimpse of some good eats (and drinks) this weekend…
a hot, sunny day and a simple lunch of arugula tossed with lemon juice, salt, olive oil, peaches and smoked mozzarella.
first heirloom tomatoes i’ve had this summer, washed and ready for dinner.
iced tea (and a new book)
humboldt fog cheese with dinner.
summer bean salad
the river café’s polenta cake (with blueberries, peaches and honey) for dessert
staying close to home this weekend, i spend lots of time preparing some good food. one such meal is sunday night supper, and it’s a hit. this is based off of a recipe in ‘the kitchen diaries‘ (if you have the U.S. version of this book, it’s on page 255: cannellini beans with coppa, spinach and mustard). in the summer, i like eating salads but i don’t want to make a green salad for a dinner entree too often. using good beans as a base for a summer salad is my favorite way to eat something more substantial, without lots of time in front of a hot stove. the following is a (very) rough approximation of the recipe i followed (clearly, i’m not meant to write cookbooks).
first, prepare your beans. you can use canned, but dried beans will be better. i use cargamanto cranberry beans from rancho gordo, although any similar bean will work. rinse a few times, and then soak overnight (or start soaking in the morning for dinner that night). when ready to cook, i saute some garlic in olive oil, then add the beans and their soaking water. cover by an inch, and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. turn down the heat to low, add a bay leaf and some herbs if you’d like, and cook until tender (time will vary, but plan on at least 1 hour).
while beans cook, make the dressing. combine 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, about 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme and 1 garlic clove, grated. whisk together and set aside. when beans are done, drain and stir in the dressing. let this sit for about an hour, so the flavors can develop.
15 minutes before you are ready to serve dinner, slice fresh tomatoes (i use a mixture of heirloom tomatoes from the market). add about 1 tablespoon of salt to tomatoes in a colander, and let drain for 15 minutes to remove some of their water. before serving, toss together the drained tomatoes, your beans in the dressing, and add salt to taste (you will probably need a lot, but add it slowly, as the beans absorb salt slowly). also chuck in a handful of fresh basil, and a chopped chili pepper if you have one (i like some heat).
on a platter, drop 3-4 handfuls of arugula. slice some cured meat – i recommend speck, which is similar to proscuitto but it has a smoky flavor that compliments the beans and tomatoes. scatter the slices of meat over the arugula, and then pour your beans/tomatoes mixture over it all. squeeze over some lemon, and mix everything together carefully.
i serve it with crusty bread, which we use to mop up the dressing, and some good cheese. we reach in for a second helping, despite the dessert that’s waiting. and the leftovers are going to be excellent for lunch this week.