In place of cake

Good morning, everyone.

These flowers are a bribe. I'm hoping you'll take them in place of the heirloom chocolate cake I was planning to tell you about today, because honestly, the thought of even talking about it, let alone consuming it, kind of gives me a belly-ache.

If you can't guess why, well, let's just say it has something to do with the Easter basket my mother sent us home from Maine with yesterday. Four and a half hours in the car with a pound of Jordan almonds and jelly beans is way too long for someone like me. I hope you understand.

The good news is, I do want to talk about another kind of beans. Cold bean salad, to be precise. I have been talking about this medley of dried beans and herbs a lot recently, between mouthfuls at lunch and on paper the other day over here. Cold bean salad is my new best friend.

There are lots of reasons for this. The first is that it helps with the pantry cleaning effort I've been enforcing of late. (We have way too many dried and frozen things lurking around the house. Like most of a pig, for one, and a whole heap of icy rhubarb. If you think of a way to combine pork chops and fruit, please let me know.) The second is that it's healthy, but also kind of filling, and very satisfying as a noontime meal if you eat it on homemade crackers with a hunk of good cheese and a jar of pickles nearby.

Lastly, cold bean salad is very easy to make. Beyond soaking and simmering the beans (which hardly counts since you can drink a glass of wine, take a tub, read a chapter of your Italian textbook, get a full night's sleep, and write an article in the meantime), you hardly have to do a thing. Just throw your cooked black turtle and northern white beans in a bowl, douse them with a bit of olive oil and a splash of cider vinegar, and throw a few herbs in, and lunch is on the table.

I hope you'll make friends with cold bean salad as readily as I did, because it may be a few days or even a week before I'm ready to tell you about the cake. The thing is, I want to be really ready when I do, because it's the sort of cake that deserves a proper introduction, the kind heralded by lots of applause and to do. And I just don't have that in me right now. Plus, if your weekend sugar consumption was anything like mine, I think you'll be much happier with cold bean salad today. You'll have to let me know.


2 cups cooked white northern beans
2 cups cooked black turtle beans
1 small onion, sliced thin (about 1 cup) or 1/2 cup chives, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
pinch of salt
freshly cracked pepper to taste

In a medium-size serving bowl, mix together beans, onion, olive oil, vinegar, and rosemary. Taste and add more vinegar as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and serve slightly chilled.


Jennifer Hess said...

I'm a big fan of beans of any kind - this is right up my alley. :)

As for your pig/fruit problem - compote? Mostarda?

Elspeth said...

compote sounds like an excellent idea.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I'm not sure about rhubarb darling but I've made pork chops w/an orange marmalade glaze (and sprinkled with bread crumbs on top-literally, not italian and preferably made from wheat or pumperknickle bread) and it was très délicieux...also, apples or applesauce are a traditional fave :) and ImreallysorryIdidntseeyouthisweekend
Imaterriblefriend!xo a million over, M.

Elspeth said...

oh molls—no worries! applesauce---i do have that. very good thinking; will get to work.



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