For the current edition of Cook the Books, we are reading Outlaw Cook by John Thorne, with Matt Lewis Thorne (1992). I started reading the book from the beginning, but then decided to follow my interests and jump around, choosing chapters based on their subject.
I enjoyed the chapter on plowman's lunch, which includes various recipes, like those for Welsh rabbit (yes, rabbit, not rarebit), soused cheese, and bread and cheese pudding. Considering that various types of homemade cheese are always available in my kitchen, I could have chosen one of the recipes, but I discarded the idea, because I don't like beer (birra), my knowledge of alcoholic beverages is very limited, and my knowledge of ale or stout is nil, so choosing a pairing with my cheese would have been a wild guess.
I read the chapter Monet À Table, which is the review of a book about the cooking journals of Claude Monet, with a special perspective: by pure chance, we are watching the TV mini-series The Impressionists, where an old Claude Monet tells the story of his career and his relationship with Renoir, Bazille, Degas, Cézanne and Manet to a journalist, and at some point offers him some of his homemade plum brandy. From Thorne's piece I learned that Monet grew greengage plums for it in his two-and-a-half-acre walled kitchen garden.
I also read with interest the chapter on ful medames, "Egypt's national dish" (piatto nazionale egiziano). From reading this post by Kalinda of Wheat-Free Meat-Free, I knew that ful medames is prepared using a special kind of small fava beans, but I had other plans. The dish had been for a while on my to do list as a way of making use of the locally grown and dried fava beans (fave secche) that I get as part of my mostly-grain CSA and that I have mentioned in the post about macco di fave.
You can read the chapter and Thorne's recipe. I halved the quantity of fava beans, used the optional lentils (lenticchie) as a belated homage to the New Year, and then adjusted the other ingredients to my taste:
- 1 cup of dried fava beans, soaked for 16 hours (or as needed) in plenty of water, then skin removed
- 1/4 cup green lentils
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus to taste
- a pinch of dried lemon zest (this was my idea)
- a generous pinch of ground cumin (from freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds), plus to taste
- a garlic clove (spicchio d'aglio), peeled and chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- two small sprigs of fresh parsley (prezzemolo)
Bring to a boil 3 cups of cold water in a saucepan. Add the fava beans and cover. Bring back to a boil, cook for 10 minutes then lower the heath, add the lentils, cover again and simmer until the legumes are soft and can easily be mashed. (I cooked them for 50 minutes.) Note: I realized afterward that this 10 minutes are planned within the context of fava beans still in their skin. The next time I prepare this dish, I will add fava beans and lentils to the boiling water at the same time. This may well affect the cooking time. Mash the legumes roughly with a potato masher and let cool. The mash will absorb the water as it cools.
Pour the legumes into the food processor and add olive oil, lemon juice and zest, cumin, garlic, a bit of salt and pepper and parsley. Process until garlic and parsley are well distributed, then taste and adjust salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. Adjust lemon juice and cumin after the ful medames has rested for a while (I added more cumin). I think that the flavor matures and improves with time (at least one day).
The photo shows a plate I prepared for my husband's lunch, which included, besides the ful medames, drained homemade kefir (think of labneh made with kefir instead of yogurt), a hard-boiled egg (uovo sodo) and slices of my homemade challah.
This post contains the roundup of the event.
The fave secche make this post suitable for My Legume Love Affair 43, the current edition of the popular, legume-centered event created by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, and hosted this month by Claire of Chez Cayenne.
This post contains the roundup of the event.
I contribute my ful medames to the 9th installment of the Abbecedario culinario mondiale (World Culinary ABC), an event organized by Trattoria MuVarA that will bring us to visit 27 countries of the world using the alphabet as guide. I like Il Cairo (Egypt) is hosted by Terry of Crumpets & Co.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the ful medames audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]