I have a weakness for interesting vegetables at the market. Sometimes it works out marvelously – like with fava beans this summer, or Brussels sprouts last winter. Sometimes it’s just unfortunate, and then we end up eating something weird because I feel guilty about wasting food, especially food that looked so interesting! I’m going to call tonight’s dinner a draw.
Tantré had these guys listed as Tongue of Fire beans – closely related to Cranberry beans or Borlotti beans, all of which are cultivars of the Cargamanto bean from South America. I just knew they were very pretty, and that fresh beans didn’t require quite as much work as their dried counterparts, though perhaps more work than their canned friends.
After scouring the net for a simple preparation, I hit on braising them, then serving over toast. One recipe called for up to 90 minutes and a quarter cup of olive oil. Another used canned beans and needed 10 minutes plus much less oil. Rancho Gordo was for once no help. I aimed for something in between.
I drizzled about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in our 3 quart enameled pot, then added a couple of cloves of minced garlic and the beans, shelled, rinsed, and cleared of debris. I tossed them around a bit, then added a couple of diced tomatoes and a cup or so of water, a bay leaf, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. On went the lid, and the pot simmered away for the better part of an hour. I stirred occasionally and added half a cup of white wine about halfway through. When the beans were soft and cooked through and the liquid almost gone, I killed the heat, warmed up some Italian bread, and served the lot as somewhat fancied up beans on toast with a bit of Ortiz tuna on the side.
A fine dinner – filling and with lots of protein – but not necessarily worth repeating. We ate it right up and had some bacon chocolate later.
Braised Cranberry Beans
Polenta with Tomato-Braised Beans from Cooking Light
This morning I was reminded that the simplest breakfast can be the most wonderful. I’m not talking about the half order of crab cake benedict that was still almost too much food for me. I’m talking about this:
We were all up and ready for breakfast at 8 this morning, so we decided to try to get in at Angelo’s, a UM dining institution since the 50s. As you may recall, we tried to go to Angelo’s for a free breakfast on Shane’s birthday, but were unable to find anywhere remotely close to park – and besides, there’s almost always a line. 8am on a Sunday morning – even during Homecoming weekend – must be a magic hour, as we got the last spot in the Angelo’s lot and were seated right away.
Frankly, I don’t get waiting in line for breakfast. I’ll do it on occasion for something special, but in general, the longer I wait to eat my first meal of the day, the crankier I’m going to be. This is compounded by lack of caffeine – even worse if I happen to be hung over. Fortunately none of these things were the case this morning – the wait, lack of caffeine, or hang over – I only mention them in the context of not understanding why anyone would stand out in the cold to wait for breakfast at Angelo’s. It was fine. It wasn’t anything special. Shane had to send his eggs back because they were barely cooked.
Honestly, and as I mentioned before, the stand-out part of breakfast for me was the raisin toast. Angelo’s bakes their bread in house, so your side of toast is something grander than your average white bread. Mom and I shared her side of raisin toast – thick slabs of bread studded with sweet raisins, which you could then top with cinnamon sugar from a shaker on the table. Simple. Delicious. Golden, on the edge of brown. I ate the rest of my breakfast, but would’ve happily traded the crabcake topped with a perfectly poached egg for another slice or two of raisin toast.