July 3, 2013

I wish I had some earth shattering news for you. Or some funny little story. Or a photograph of this terrific salad I made up. But I don’t. But how about that free form tart?

This is an imperfect blog post. A collection of thoughts, things that I’ve done, learned, eaten. Honestly? Most of my words are going to the book these days.

I’ve been writing and cooking and perfecting recipes, recording every step, measuring everything two or three or four times. This is a newly acquired skill. Before starting this book writing process, most of my recipes looked something like this:

2# apr/sour cherry ptd
4c wh sug/honey?
1/2 goosebry
3c rasp (no gold)
1.5#rhub frzn
lemon juice

And had titles like “June 23 Rosy Pink Jam.”

IMG_0868I will be better in the future. I am developing good habits. Evidently, it is possible to teach an old dog some new tricks. I really can’t wait to share all the new recipes with you.

We are in full-on sour cherry season. I’m making jam, cocktail cherries, pie filling and more. There are bags and bags stashed in the freezer. Finally, a good cherry season! Gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are abundant and I can’t wait to get them all in the preserving pot.

Finally, with four months to go, my editor has about half the book. I’m on pins and needles, as you mght imagine. The other half is due soon enough and only about 15,000 – 20,000 more words stand in the way. And a lot of editing. A lot. Photography starts next week and will continue every month for awhile, so we can capture the freshest produce at its peak.

IMG_0883My kitchen assistant Ally Kirkpatrick is off to Brooklyn for the summer to look after chickens and do some preserving on her own. Her recent Kickstarter campaign was fulfilled and she will be filming and editing a documentary Stories from the Green Cabin.

To get me through the last weeks of recipe testing, a new helper has joined the team. Maria Chafetz is learning the ropes in all the preserving arts. By week five, she was making Camembert all on her own.

DIY-ers both of them. I kvell.

IMG_0890We spent last week on magical Marthas Vineyard. Gail, The Tough Cookie, made cookies for my friend depicting her house on the Island

Image 14and her little Westie dog. Aren’t they the best? Custom cookies like no other, that Tough Cookie is something else.

Image 15So, for a week, I wrote and Dennis biked and Louie gazed out to sea.

IMG_0903I did very little cooking, but was reminded again of how very practical a basement full of jars can be. I brought canned tomatoes and linguini. A brief stop at Morning Glory Farm and I had the onion and basil I needed to make dinner. We had jam for toast. Pickles to accompany sandwiches filled with my oil cured tuna. And when we finally arrived home after two trafficky days of driving, there was soup for dinner right out of the jar. Vegetarian split pea for Dennis and split pea with ham for me. We were both grateful for my preserving ways.

My little garden worked hard while I was away and rewarded me with this lovely basket of freshness. I made rajas, the fantastic Mexican dish from Pati Jinich’s easy going cookbook and look forward to serving them with newly dug potatoes. My potatoes-in-a-barrel experiment is ready. More on that soon.

IMG_0908About that giveaway.
Laura Silverman, c’mon down! You’ve won a box of goodies.
Please send me your mailing address via email. And any allergies or dislikes.
They’ll be winging their way to you at the end of next week.

And finally, I have this recipe to share with you, I’ve been loving this salad as it takes the best advantage of both pantry and garden. I wish I remembered to take a photo.

New Fangled Three Bean Salad
Serves 6

1 pint Roma green beans
1 pint Dilly Beans
1 pint cannelini beans
1/4 cup olive or safflower oil
2 ounces feta cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2-4 white anchovies, chopped (optional, but not really)
2/3 cup Marcona almonds
Salt & pepper

Trim the Roma beans and chop into 2-inch pieces

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the Roma beans, cook until the water returns to a boil, and the beans are tender and crunchy both. Drain and shock in ice water.

Drain the dilly beans, reserving the pickle brine. Chop them in half or thirds, about the same length as the Romas.

Stir the two beans together.

Empty a pint jar of cooked cannelini beans into a colander. Rinse well. Stir into the other beans.

Put 1/2 cup of the reserved brine in a jar, add the anchovies and olive oil , cover and shake well.

Crumble the feta over the salad and decorate with the halved tomatoes .

Dress the three bean salad with about half the dressing, start light and add more only if needed, and in small quantities. Do not drown the beans.

Sprinkle Marcona almonds over the top.

Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.


7 Responses to “from the pantry: new fangled three bean salad”

  1. Laura@MotherWouldKnow

    How amazing that Gail is! Her cookies are beyond belief. And you are an inspiration to those of us who have lots of excuses for not buckling down. Can’t wait to see the book – if it’s half as good as your blog, it will be amazing. PS – I know Maria from the neighborhood (she was in school with my kids.) She’s a doll and it sounds like you’ll be a great team.

  2. Darlene Carrigan

    You have taught me well! My husband and I are living off the pantry this week as I’m recovering from oral surgery. My husband really appreciated your recipes for apricot sour cherry jam (made the week before surgery), as well as your strawberry rhubarb. A dollop of the jam with cottage cheese or greek yogurt, and we are set for breakfast.

    I’ve also started pressure canning soups this past winter. Really handy and make for quick meals especially you are under the weather. Thank you so much. I don’t think my pantry would be the envy of my friends if I hadn’t found this blog!

    • Cathy

      Thank you for this, Darlene! Makes me so proud! Hope you are feeling better already. Oral surgery sucks.

  3. gluttonforlife

    No, I am my own Laura Silverman, no relation to Sarah nor am I the author of that Modern Love piece in the Times a few weeks ago! But I AM a writer and I DO have a blog, gluttonforlife.com. Now that I have cleared that up, I must say WOO HOO and THANK YOU!! So excited to get my box of goodies, containing (I hope) some sampling of those wonderful sour cherries! xoxo

  4. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    I am envious of your sour cherry glut; we are seeing lots of others but those precious are never prolific and I love using them for maraschino cocktail cherries.

    So excited for your book Cathy; it’s about time you shared your gifts with a larger audience!

  5. kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    Thanks for the recipe–I happen to have dilly beans in the pantry and I adore anchovies! I just need to wait on the farm share to deliver the rest of the goods and I’ll be in business.
    I’m glad you’ve had opportunities to sit and write–sounds heavenly to me.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.