Have you craved for food you had as a child, and have not found any restaurants preparing them?
I do. I crave for simple fare, like this dish, beans and greens, for instance.
I crave for home-made pasta, little orecchiette with a simple tomato sauce.
I want to sit down to eat a big bowl of home-made soup.
To have any thing I really want I must take time to prepare the dish myself.
I buy bulk beans from bins in the local grocery store. (This year I may purchase heirloom beans and plant them) You can soak the beans overnight, and the cooking will be lessened. Or, rinse your beans in cold water and place them in a big pot, covering with water, two inches above the beans. Add four cloves of garlic, with skins on and a bunch of herbs tied with a string. Rosemary, thyme, oregano and bay leaves, for instance. Bring to a boil, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for a couple of hours at the simmering point, and watch the pot. When the water has been absorbed, test the beans by pressing one of them against the pot. If it squishes easily, it is cooked. Now taste. If cooked, add salt and pepper to taste and squish out the garlic from their skins. If not cooked through, add a cup of hot broth and continue to simmer until cooked. Remember, do not add salt until the beans are fully cooked.
You now have a pot of beans to use in a couple of dishes.
The one in the picture is beans and chard. Saute' the chard leaves until soft, in olive oil, chopped onion and garlic and hot pepper flakes. Add a cup of beans, and let the flavors meld. Eat as a thick soup.
Or, add a cup of cooked rice, and you now have Minestra di riso e fagioli.
Or, add a cup of cooked pasta and you have Minestra di pasta e fagioli.
Add carrots and celery to the olive oil saute', cook until soft, then add chopped tomatoes, cook some more, add chopped cabbage and the beans with broth, and you now have Minestrone.
I hope you make a home-made meal from scratch for your mother this weekend.
Happy Mother's Day!