12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

“It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing

And it was going to snow.”

— Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

The garden snug under its covers and an extra blanket of newly fallen snow.

12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

Indoors, we take this quiet moment to shell beans and think of what we’ll plant next season. 

12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

While in the background, the pressure cooker makes a constant, gentle knocking sound, as we replenish our stores of canned beans.

12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

The shelled Dragon Langerie beans are cooked long and slow, until they dissolve into a soft puree. A mix of Brindisina and Galatina chicory, harvested before the snow, will accompany the beans.

12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

Their long stalks are cut down into hand-sized lengths, and left to soak in water to draw out some of the bitterness.

12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

A simmer in a bath of salted water tempers their bite, turning them tender. Paired with the earthy bean puree and generously dressed in some peppery olive oil and local sea salt, we made a homegrown version of Fave e Cicoria, just what the day needs.

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20 Responses to 12.17.12 Snow, dried beans, and chicory

  1. Judy says:

    I spent part of the morning shoveling snow here on the seacoast. I’m wondering what kind of plastic you use on your hoops?

    • leduesorelle says:

      It’s now turning to slush, ice and sleet… better to get it shoveled while it’s still snow! The plastic is 3 or 4 ml, just from the hardware store.

  2. Michelle says:

    We call it beans and greens around here, but any way you say it, it’s delicious! The snow in your garden is such a pretty sight, but I’m a California weather wimp and am happy that I get to look but don’t have to stay.

  3. I’m with Michelle. Nice to look at from the warmth of my home in sunny southern California. Beans and greens are great. I’ve never eaten chicory. I’m not a fan of bitter tasting things.

    • leduesorelle says:

      I don’t know if the taste for bitter things is something that needs to be acquired at birth, but my palate does veer towards the salty/acidic/bitter rather than the sweet end of things!

  4. katrina says:

    Beautiful pictures, calm and serene. I’d love to try chicory, if I can find it. I love any kind of bitter green, most often rapini , sometimes with a little pasta, sometimes with big beans, always delicious.

    • leduesorelle says:

      Thanks, Katrina, I think of blogging as something akin to mental yoga — it stretches the mind and keeps it flexible, the practice of which helps me to pay attention and slow down time. As for the chicory, dandelion leaves, either cultivated or foraged, are in the same family and treated similarly.

  5. Norma Chang says:

    Your green chicory looks like the red rib dandelions (also a chicory) I grow. Next year I should try cooking them using your method.

    • leduesorelle says:

      The red rib dandelions are beautiful! I’ll have to do more research, but my sense is that the leaves of the puntarelle chicory is the same as dandelions; where the puntarelle differs are the central “points” that they produce.

  6. Seasonsgirl says:

    The snow is so pretty :)

  7. kitsapfg says:

    We got a little snow on Saturday too but it was mixed with rain and became just – wet. :D Your beans and greens look like a very satisfying meal for the dark days of winter. Amazing how those simple comforts revive the soul that goes into hibernation with the cold and short days of winter.

    • leduesorelle says:

      Same here, the sleet that followed erased all accumulation but not before turning into a sloggy mess! We’re still endeavoring to eat from our garden and what we have stored, so it very much shapes what we cook.

  8. Amber says:

    I will definitely try this recipe. Sadly, my first pods hollowed out and rotted in a way. The outside still looked ok but from the root bulb and starting up it started to go. Then when I cut it off I saw it was hollow inside :( May try another way….perhaps if I cut and leave the bucket of water and plant in the hoop house? I still have some in the garage and I’ll see what they do. Then I still have plenty of other plants outside to experiment with. The Treviso was so much easier!!!

    • leduesorelle says:

      Hi, Amber — I’m sad to hear about the problem of rot, and will on the look-out for it. I had the same thought, that they might have gotten too warm. It’s been surprising how well mine are doing in the cold of the garage. As for the pods, they’re supposed to be hollow and not solid; the name “asparagus chicory” is a little bit of a misnomer. If your winter is mild, you should be able to harvest the outer leaves, leave the rest in the ground to form shoots, and harvest the pods late winter into early spring… Wish we could find a good Italian vegetable gardening guide!

  9. Miss Piggy says:

    Wow I’ve never seen ANYTHING like your snow garden – that would be a very rare site in Australia…though people in cold areas do use those domes to help keep temperatures steady. It’s 35C here today – so I have the opposite problem…HOT HOT HOT!

  10. Liz says:

    The snow garden is beautiful. I didn’t realise you could draw some of the bitterness out of chicory by soaking it – nice tip and one I’ll have a go at.

  11. Andrea says:

    I think your garden looks just beautiful with its cover of snow !! I’m going to try your tip too of soaking the bitter greens before cooking, thanks for sharing !

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