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Posts Tagged ‘Seasonal Foods’

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I’ve sometimes seen a purple potato

And I always hope to see one

The only remaining question is

Is it better to see or eat one?

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Here’s a very interesting recipe: Cod with Lapsang Souchong Oil and Puree of Violettes

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When cold winds blow I fall in love, and it’s always an onion kind of love.

Leeks, scallions, golden globe, purple sweet, pure white angelic, cippoline for me-poline. Each one sits in its basket of adornment sending little beckoning love glances my way, and I can not demur. I must have them, have them now and have them as much as I want.

Luckily they are not a love of the sort that means fancy clothes, perfect makeup, a new haircut or a new jewelry in the form of any sort of kitchen thing. My onions take me as I am – they are solid, always there, rarely frowsy, and don’t bite my bank account.

Yesterday I picked up a red-netted bag of plain yellow onions at the grocery store. Their skins were sleek and glowing.

I placed one on the cutting board. Now this particular one was not meant for any starring role. It was merely going to be tossed into the split pea soup that was developing in the pot with some wild abandon, for split pea soup needs an abundance of onions to be what it should be. (What should it be, you may ask? It should be the soup your children demand on a weekly basis – the soup that melds siblings who pick opposite sides of any plane of existence or idea as a way of life – into siblings who agree wholeheartedly – at least for the moment of the life of the pot of soup. That is what split pea soup should be.)

my humble yellow onion
from the red netted bag

was so very full of life

that it cried milky tears when I
struck it with my knife

It was a good soup. It was an excellent onion.

With the rest of the family of red-netted onions will be made some onion soup. Onion soup is most serious stuff. It breathes deep things into those who take their swallows of it, as long as there is not too very much cheese added to the toasted crouton. If you add too much cheese you will be made stupid.
At least for the rest of the afternoon or evening.

Onion biscuits will be made from it – so simple. Caramelized onions, wrapped up in biscuit dough and baked, they are a sort of Simple Simon Onion Tart. Onion biscuits know how to de-materialize very quickly. Various hands will grab them and whoof! Voila. Gone.

Cippoline agrodolce is a must for me, sometime around Thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to be the exact day, but it has to be around the day. It’s not about the day, it’s about the thanks which cippoline agrodolce always inspires.

My list of onion love goes on and on and on.
I do hope you have onion love too.
……………………………………………………………………

I’ve posted here an onion love note from Dana Jacobi’s website. Dana writes and cooks both wonderfully, with the bonus that with her recipes you will be aiming towards being healthy rather than otherwise:
Onions in Three Flavors

Fabulous idea. Love made real, in those little bites of flavor!
…………………………………………………………………….

I need some poetry. Some onion-y poetry to prove my onion love.

Here is one from Sydney Smith (Lady Holland’s Memoir, I, 11, Recipe for Salad)

Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl
And, scarce suspected, animate the whole.

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Some foods or recipes have hints of luck about them. There are many different varieties of luck, of course.

Beans and Taters is a dish steeped in luck.

Though it’s known all over the South,  you won’t find a recipe for it in most of the usual cookbooks where “native Southern recipes” abide. And though the phrase “beans and taters” is one immediately recognizable and known to most Southerners (particularly those with rural roots) you won’t find it listed in slang dictionaries or in regular dictionaries or in the larger (Oxford on food, Cambridge on food, Southern Culture) encyclopedia sets. There is a newly released (this year) Encyclopedia of Southern Culture  which has an entire volume on food and food culture. I’m hoping to see if it is listed there!

You hear about beans and taters through luck if you’ve not grown up knowing it. My luck happened when a neighbor in an area of the rural South telephoned one day asking for a ride into town. Her car (pronounce that as that ve-hi-cle please, and with no self-consciousness either) had broken down. Luck had run out for her, in that moment.

During the ride into town, her young son was talking about food. He wanted some special thing for supper, that night. His Mom’s response . . . “Way things are going we just might be eating beans and taters for some time!”

But “beans and taters” was said with a musical lilt when she said it. And there was no sadness in her voice. Apparently beans and taters (yes, very musical the phrase is) is a dish born of bad luck but one that has good luck inside it. It is filled with pleasure, gladness, and gratitude. It is loved.

Luck also touches beans and taters in their very inception – the lithe green beans or sturdy other sorts of beans are ready to pluck from  their vines in the garden at the same time those tiny new potatoes are ready to start digging up. Just look at any farmer’s market right now if you don’t have a garden, and see them sitting there on the same table – the two are silent partners.

Luck being what it is, beans and taters is not just one unchangable recipe. There are many recipes, and they rise from an oral tradition. Two of these recipes stand out as the most common examples: A green bean and bacon stew topped with little shiny new potatoes steamed on top . . . and a pinto and saltback or bacon stew sided by fried potatoes. These make the meal – there’s not any need for too much else but cornbread –  unless of course there is more bounty to have . . . if the luck is running strong the beans and taters can move quietly from the center of the table to settle in as a side dish to serve with one of those huge picnic spreads of fried chicken, chow chow, sliced tomatoes, the endless variety of things from the fields and garden that crow and  holler from the rural end-of-summer table.

But they say one chooses their own luck, and I still feel lucky to have heard the words “beans and taters”, and to have tasted them made by my own hands after the fact, in my own home kitchen.

The only print resource I’ve found with a recipe for beans and taters is in a book by Loretta Lynn titled “You’re Cookin’ It Country”. Her recipe is made with pork jowl, sugar, salt and pepper, fresh green beans and new potatoes – and when she writes of beans and taters the luck emerges again in the form of grace. The hunger of poverty, the pride of finding something to hold on to when nothing seemed to be there, and the joy of taste and comfort those lucky beans and taters hold within them are the heart of her tale.

I’m thinking of that saying: “If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all”. This guy’s got it wrong. He’s just got to find himself some beans and taters.

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