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kitchen diary: august 1 & 2

August 3, 2009

a glimpse of some good eats (and drinks) this weekend…


yogurt, blueberries and early bird granola (this granola is the best i’ve ever eaten. seriously. it’s made in brooklyn and you can buy it in NYC.  or make it.)


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.

  1. marthasnail permalink
    August 3, 2009 7:33 am

    i just had the same breakfast, though with maple. your meals are always so inspiring. everything looks excellent.

  2. August 3, 2009 7:45 am

    I’m in love with all the photos. and the food, oh the food :)

  3. August 3, 2009 8:03 am

    this all sounds extremely edible brian. extremely, extremely, extremely.
    nigel slater wrote about gooseberry summer pudding this weekend, it sounded good.

  4. August 3, 2009 8:25 am

    sounds like a delicious weekend. humboldt fog cheese is heavenly, but you already know that.

  5. August 3, 2009 8:31 am

    I cannot decide which photo I’d like to eat first.

  6. August 3, 2009 8:34 am

    i need that cheese in my life

  7. August 3, 2009 8:52 am

    everything looks delicious! my friend just put in a bean order, so i have some on the way-can’t wait. i have heard really good things about early bird granola, also about their muffins. that cheese photo is amazing. i can almost taste it. yummy post!

  8. August 3, 2009 9:56 am

    your weekend foot sounds and looks amazing. that polenta cake… must have some!

  9. August 3, 2009 10:00 am

    anything with beans and bacon and crusty bread makes me very happy. you eat well sir.

  10. August 3, 2009 10:01 am

    wow! these all look so tasty. great food shots, too.

    p.s. hooray for linking to an independent bookstore! you made my day

  11. August 3, 2009 10:54 am

    everything looks beautiful and delicious – thanks for the ideas.

  12. August 3, 2009 11:26 am

    My mouth is watering! Tell me more about the cheese – strong flavors? looks delish.

  13. August 3, 2009 11:47 am

    Yum! It all looks great. I love eating seasonally and am over the moon that blueberries are finally appearing. :)
    Your food adventures look so much more healthy than mine this weekend!

  14. August 3, 2009 12:03 pm

    i continue to love this blog and the quiet, serene space it is on a totally overstimulated world wide web. these pictures (and this food) are so incredibly beautiful.

  15. August 3, 2009 1:12 pm

    Hi Brian, just stumbled upon your site – love the photos! The blue veined cheese … my making my stomach HUNGRY!!! Will be coming back here for nibbles ….

  16. August 3, 2009 2:29 pm

    Just one of these dishes would serve a delectable meal for me. Relishing all throughout a weekend must truly be a treat. Also, what kind of iced tea is that?

  17. notesbynaive permalink
    August 3, 2009 7:13 pm

    Oh the light. So beautiful…

  18. August 3, 2009 7:40 pm

    i like the iced tea and new book best, that said it all looks pretty tasty.

  19. August 4, 2009 9:04 am

    Brian, your blog is just filling my visual well lately. So so good are these photos. I know I’ve said hello before, but just wanted you to know — this is GOOD stuff. Thanks for the link to ‘kitchen diaries’ It’s now on the wishlist.

  20. Laura. permalink
    August 4, 2009 1:47 pm

    these photos and the food look sooooo great. thanks for sharing the granola and salad recipes. i’ve been looking for additions to both of those categories lately. . . .

  21. August 4, 2009 3:42 pm

    damn I love some humboldt fog on crusty bread. Especially when the layer under the rind is room temperature, gooey and delicious. Great pics as usual.

  22. Jax1838 permalink
    August 10, 2009 6:32 pm

    Marry me?

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