Friday, March 7, 2008

Simple food

A very simple meal tonight: broccoli and a side of kidney beans.

When broccoli is very fresh and sweet, I like to eat it plain. Rinse broccoli, and with a pairing knife, separate leaves from stem from florets. All are edible. I cut off the bottom of the stalk and discard, and then slice the stalk cross-wise into half-inch pieces; as leaves become detached, I set them in their own pile. When I approach the florets, I try to keep the bite-sized bunches intact. In a large fry-pan with well-fitting lid, heat some olive oil. Add stems and then florets, and by shaking the pan, coat the broccoli lightly in oil. Cook until broccoli just starts to brighten and sweat. Add leaves with about a teaspoon of water, cover, and steam a minute or two, until leaves are very bright green. Serve immediately, salting at the table; broccoli will not hold its heat, and easily overcooks.

Like all beans, kidneys should be soaked in four times as much water and boiled (and rinsed, and the rocks should be picked out, but I'm too lazy; I do discard any beans that float, as they may be moldy). I set my beans soaking at nine o'clock this morning, and brought them to a boil covered and turned them down to a simmer at about five; they were done three hours later. I always soak enough for a few days; tonight I eat my beans plain with salt; next time sauteed with oil and spices; after that I'll have some for a minestrone.

For lunch yesterday I brought possibly the best meal I've had yet at work. I cut out and discarded the core of a small head of lettuce, washed the leaves, and wrapped them in a kitchen towel to bring to school. In a small bag I combined walnuts and raisins. Three teaspoons of olive oil, one of lemon juice, one of red wine, and half a tsp of salt I placed in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. A wedge of parmesan I can break up with my fingers, and a large tupperware and a fork finished the meal.

No comments: