Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not So Much About The Benjamins As About The Ingredients

Last night's lasagna was easily the best I have ever made, but it was not exactly light fare (eating some cold leftovers today, I noticed the unmistakably grainy texture of beef fat, and was reminded that decadence has a price.) So to give our arteries a bit of a break, but keep the comfort level high, I put some yellow-eye beans out to soak early in the morning. Very early.

Around noon, I took a hunk of bacon skin and a bit of lardo, cut them up into morsels, and got them all rendery in the Dutch oven. A bag of our frozen mirepoix followed, and then the beans and their water. Herbs, maple syrup, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, shichimi, and soy sauce rounded out the flavors. Once at a simmer, it went into a 200˚ oven all afternoon.

Around 5, I pulled the beans out and moved them onto a warm burner to keep going, and tossed yellow cauliflower with garlic, onion, oil, salt, and thyme and put it in a now-hot oven to roast. I sliced some guanciale, got it going, and added halved Brussels sprouts, let them caramelize pretty well, added garlic, deglazed with white wine and lemon juice, and let gently steam until they were soft. In a perfect world, I would have had teff fermenting in the laundry room so that it was all ready to make enjera. But ours is not a perfect world. So I made crêpes with teff and rye flour plus some yogurt for a little fermented tang. Usually I make these with Guinness, because the flavors are excellent together and it makes the crêpes bubbly. But we have no Guinness (see above note on worldly imperfection.)

This was win. Intense flavors, porky richness from almost no meat, melting sprouts, sweet brown cloves of garlic smooshed onto al dente cauliflower- we were all grinning. Milo couldn't figure out which thing he loved most, and there's enough left for him to take it for lunch tomorrow.


Brittany said...

I knew I'd get hungry coming over here...
Woah. I ALSO had cauliflower and brussels sprouts tonight for dinner. crazy. But my cauli was plain old white with the exception of the assload of curry powder I sprinkled over it.

AND I'm the first to comment, whick makes me feel special.

Zoomie said...

I like your additions to the beans - I happen to be cooking a big pot right now with a ham shank buried in said so I'll add some of those other flavors. Thanks!

Heather said...

Is there any other way to cook beans? I mean even when I was a vegetarian I'd put some fake soy bacon in for the smoky flave.

I like your quickie injera. I've been thinking of trying a similar tactic (using buttermilk).

cookiecrumb said...

Wow, I love the idea of piling the food on a flatbread.

Do you ever get any boy commenters?

peter said...

Brittany: You ARE special. An assload of specialness.

Zoomie: I hope they turned out well.

Poubelle Blanche: What is it with you and the buttermilk? Because of the eggs, these have none of the fluffiness of the real thing.

CC: You can eat the plate.

And, sometimes. Do you?

Mary Coleman said...

i have things "fermenting in the laundry room". they usually don't end up as dinner.
i truly think you missed your calling.
letterman is retiring soon, isn't he?

Zoomie said...

They did - you'll be reading about them soon! :-)

Heather said...

Buttermilk is one of those things I buy for one recipe, then I hafta squidge it into everything.

peter said...

Mary: I would take his job, but I'd make the Late Show into a cooking show.

Zoomie: Looking forward.

Blanche: I hear that.