I did it! I moved!
It took two full days once my parents arrived to help, with packing and all the trips back and forth with my dad’s pick-up truck. But it’s over now and I’m in love with my new place.
I’m typing this in my new, freshly painted room, cat on my right, dog on my left, toes tucked under my covers. There are framed pictures lying around, waiting while I decide where they should go. Late afternoon sun is glowing through my still uncovered 4th floor windows. I can hear both roommates tinkering about with tools as they work on projects in their rooms. It’s very cozy here, indeed.
It’s been two weeks. We have accomplished so much and we still have some things to do, but it’s all coming together and we are all thrilled. The kitchen is the first room that came together, thank goodness, but it’s missing a few touches. Stay tuned for a little post on that in the next week or so.
In the meantime, I wanted to share this recipe from Melissa Clark. Right before I left New Hampshire in January, I picked up my parents’ copy of “Cook This Now” and promptly took photos of about seven different recipes I wanted to try as soon as possible. It’s one of those cookbooks that tell you what to make during different times of the year based on what produce is in season. Melissa Clark does it really well. She too lives in Brooklyn and is a regular customer at the Grand Army Plaza (year-round!) Farmer’s Market, which I happen to be much closer to now. Yay!
My parents became great fans of Melissa Clark through her column in the New York Times and that’s how I discovered her. Slowly but surely, I’m cooking from her canon more and more and I think it’s time I populated my Barefoot Contessa-heavy cookbook shelf (still love you, girl) with more Melissa Clark. (In fact, that Maple Butter Rum Sauce I made over Christmas was all her.) Until then, I have my iPhone photo album.
I didn’t follow her recipe to a T, and as pointed out in a small feature about some of her new recipes in this month’s Food&Wine, that’s exactly her aim – for home cooks to make a recipe their own. “Cook This Now” is her only cookbook I’ve thumbed through so far, but every recipe has follow up on alterations you can make.
I added some cheese where she only suggests a parmesan rind and I left out a solitary clove, because I’m not buying a big ole thing of cloves just to use one. In this instance, I added lamb sausage just because and I used barley because I ran out of farro. I’m tempted to include her recipe here and make notes about what I changed, but I really think you should go check her out yourself. Plus I like what small tweaks I made! Go make this, and make some tweaks yourself!
Stewed White Beans over Farro*
Yields: a big ole pot of creamy, broth-y beans
Adapted from Melissa Clark
*Although barley is pictured, I prefer the farro from the original recipe.
Notes: Melissa talks a lot about how you can do this without soaking the beans, it’ll just take a while. My thought is that this is just a plan ahead meal and that’s that. If you soak the beans overnight, they’ll cook in less than an hour and it’s super easy. Also, a green garnish is important. Without parsley, or as Melissa encourages, chopped celery leaves, the dish looks incredibly bland. (Will still taste great, but if you bring it to the office for lunch, you’ll get a lot of “What is that…?”)
1 lb dried cannellini beans (ideally soaked overnight)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
5 or so garlic cloves, peeled
1 celery stick, cut in half
1 large onion, halved from root to stem
2 or so rosemary sprigs
A small bunch of thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino (or more, if you like!), plus more to finish
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to adjust to your taste
1 cup farro, rinsed
1 lemon, for the juice
A handful of parsley, chopped
Sausage, if desired (I used 2 small links of Merguez lamb sausage for myself)
- Put your beans in a large bowl and cover with by and inch or two with water. Let soak overnight, ideally, or at least an hour or so.
- If you’re adding sausage, add a little bit of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook the sausage through. Using a slotted spoon, fish out all the sausage bits and place on a paper towel lined plate for later.
- When ready to cook, place the beans, olive oil, 3 or 4 garlic cloves, celery, and onion in the pot over medium-high heat. Tie the rosemary and thyme with kitchen twine if you’d like, and add them in with the bay leaf. Cover everything with water (or maybe even some chicken broth if you have it) and stir in the salt.
- Bring to a boil then reduce it to a simmer, and cover partially. Simmer until the beans are soft, between 45 minutes and 3 hours, depending on how long you soaked them. Check periodically by either tasting a bean, or by putting a bean in the palm of your hand and blowing on it. When it’s done, the skin should break when you blow on it.
- While the beans are stewing, cook your farro. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the farro like pasta until done. Again, just taste a few every now and then. My farro usually takes about 15 minutes, but it could take longer. The best way is probably to cook according to package directions. Drain well in a fine-mesh colander.
- Once the beans are cooked. Remove and discard the onion, celery, bay leave, and herb sprigs. Mince the remaining garlic cloves and add to a food processor or blender. Ladle about half of the beans in and blend. Return the puree to the pot. (You can skip this step and you’ll just have a brothier dish.)
- Stir the parmesan or pecorino and howeer much lemon juice you like into the beans.
- In shallow bowls, serve the beans over the farro. Sprinkle with more cheese, sausage (if used), and parsley. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the beans and go find a big old chair to curl up in while you devour these beans. Roasted Brussels sprouts or asparagus are particularly good on the side.