One of the things I love most about Andrea’s approach to cooking is that it is really about solving problems: what to do with these weird root veggies (which, I’m pretty sure, occupy a special place in her heart, which makes her a gal after my own), and how to keep it simple? When I first started this blog, cooking was my hobby and my passion. I loved exploring complex recipes that sometimes took hours to make, because it totally nourished me on many levels. Now, as my days have become much busier and a life in food has evolved from hobby to vocation, I find that I often lean towards simpler meals. Veggies sautéed in olive oil with salt, pepper, and a fried egg on top? I could eat that almost every day for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These two things: the ways and means of all the veggies, and simple ways to cook them, are at the core of this book. Well, that and the realities of learning how to start and sustain a farm.
I’m pretty sure that Andrea and I first connected on Instagram, perhaps on one of my Oregon road trips before I moved here, and she graciously extended an offer to stay. Sometimes I take people up on these offers. I think it’s one of the neatest things about Internet life: connecting with so many awesome people whose paths would have never crossed otherwise. She and her husband had set up a little canvas canopy tent on their property, and it was just what I needed. They were coming back from a long market day and I got there before they did. We hung out in her living room, talking into the night over good food and wine. And, of course, she sent me home with a box full of awesome produce. Now, she has this amazing book that serves as a guide for navigating all that produce in the kitchen.
(PS: I’ve been participating in the awesome #the100dayproject on Instagram, and while I haven’t managed to post every single day, I’ve loved investigating plants and produce with #100daysofplantportraits. It is reinvigorating my love for color and produce, and it has been so fun. Go check it out!)
SKILLET BEANS AND GREENS
adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt, by Andrea Bemis
I just adore the simplicity of this recipe. Sometimes in the quest to be creative, I forget how deeply satisfying a meal like this can be. Andrea suggests adding eggs to make it a complete meal – done.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15 ounce) can of butter beans, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or similar (the recipe calls for a pinch of red pepper flakes)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups kale, stems removed, torn into pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon (or lime) juice
Freshly grated Parmesan (I used a dairy-free Parmesan, yum!)
Sriracha or similar hot sauce, optional
Bring a pot of water to boil for the eggs. When the water is gently boiling, reduce the heat and add the eggs. Set the timer for 6 minutes for a runny yolk, 7-8 minutes for a firm but not overcooked yolk. Remove from the heat, drain the water, and fill with ice. Pour cold water over the ice and eggs for a simple ice bath. Set aside until ready to serve.
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the beans, along with the chipotle powder. Cook until the beans are lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip, and repeat. Add the kale, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the kale begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Peel the shells from the eggs. Slice in half lengthwise. Divide the bean and kale mixture among plates and squeeze a bit of lemon juice. Top with the Parmesan, sriracha, and gomasio if desired, or use your favorite everyday seasonings. Enjoy!