I recently signed up for the Rancho Gordo bean club. Sounds goofy but they sell the best dried beans around. I will receive six pounds of a variety of beans every three months. So I better start cooking. Often, I prepare beans to accompany Mexican food or a buffalo steak, but Italian preparations are another great way to use them.
I had a bunch of chard in need of cooking and some hot Italian turkey sausage in the freezer, just the ingredients to go with the pot of Alubia Blanca beans. First, I sauteed a sliced onion in olive oil, then added the chopped chard stems and let them cook until tender. No need to discard them ─ they are a delicious addition to a dish, adding a slight crunch to counter the silky cooked leaves. And the red stems add a welcome note of color.
Next I added two crumbled Italian sausages and cooked until they browned. I stirred in a couple cloves of chopped garlic and a pinch of hot red pepper flakes. Then I piled on the shredded chard leaves, covered the skillet and let them wilt. Two cups of cooked beans went in next with some of their cooking liquor. I cooked this for several minutes to blend all the flavors then served up the dish in our new bowls from the pottery studio of Thea Tenenbaum and Lele Malferrari. A good bit of grated parmesan and some chopped Italian parsley went over all.
To go with this savory and succulent dish I made a salad with asparagus and oranges.
This is how I always prepare citrus fruit to go in a salad ─ cut the peel off close to the fruit, removing all the pith, then slice. Sometimes I pull the segments from the membrane to make little orange supremes. Later, squeeze the peel over the salad to use all the yummy juice.
I cooked half a pound of trimmed asparagus by laying it in a large skillet with water to just cover and boiling for two minutes. Then I cut each stalk into two inch pieces. I sliced three or four leaves of red lettuce into ribbons and minced some fresh dill.
Tossed this with olive oil, orange juice from the peel, salt and pepper. I had some toasted sunflower seeds to strew on top, along with some grated orange peel.
Top: Cooking in Sayulita, oil on canvas, 30 x 54 inches