Sunday, August 21, 2005

Pot o' Summer

I first made Deborah Madison's Shell Beans and Summer Vegetables Stewed in Their Own Juices from "Local Flavors" in 2002, the year the book was published. I had the fortune to interview her for a story, and wanted to have tried out a couple of recipes to lend credibility to my fumblings in the presence of such a master.
Well -- [Jack Benny pose, deadpan, rolling eyes] -- it was unbelievably good. And so were all the other recipes I tried. She is a magician at composing flavors and textures, and everything is easy enough to be well within the reach of the average cook. My advice is to try it her way first, and only then should you branch out into experimentation with her recipes. (But be asssured, she encourages experimentation.)
So in my case tonight, since I wasn't using bay leaves and I didn't have any fresh basil (not a real fan in fact), I dumped a little minced parsley and carrot greens into the pot for more dimensional flavor. And instead of black pepper, I threw in some minced radish leaves.
The book is particularly relevant this month among those of us who are participating in the Eat Local Challenge. It draws on her experiences traversing the USA, dropping in on regional farmers' markets, and creating seasonal, local dishes based on what she can find, and when, and where.
OK, ingredients (besides above-mentioned): Olive oil, carrots, small potatoes, red onions, garlic, yellow zucchini, purple 'n' yellow 'n' green slender beans, fresh peppers (not bell in our case, but certainly allowed), tomato, sage, thyme, salt. Cut up and simmered in their own juices -- and especially the reserved juice from the tomatoes. Some bean juice from cooking the cranberry beans (separately) added to make it slightly soupy. Oh, and of course, the cranberry beans.
Bye! Supper smells good.


drbiggles said...

I think I'm getting tired of eating local. I want some organic pork from Oregon.


Jamie said...

I echo your admiration of Deborah Madison. One of my faves of her books is the "America" volume of the Vegetarian Table series. It's a humdinger. She managed to make a vegetarian Hoppin' John that stomps on the so-called real version. And the spiced pickled quinces! The persimmon pudding!


I should do something like that Shell Beans recipe with my new batch of crowder peas. Your version looks delicious.

cookiecrumb said...

Bigs: Doritos from the corner store doesn't count as local. Might as well go for that pork.
Jamie: I didn't know about that book! Ack. I'm looking at it on Amazon now (and not buying it from them; they ain't blue).
My picture looks startlingly like the one in the LF book although her beans are white. Are crowder peas white? Do it!