There’s a new kid at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. Founded in 2003, Cayuga Pure Organics‘ mission is to create a food system that works. Along the way, they are producing some beautiful dried beans and grains. On Saturday I bought some exceptionally pretty yellow-eyed peas, which I look forward to reporting on in a future post.
I also bought half a pound of freekeh, a grain I’d heard of but didn’t know much about. The Internet tells me that it’s actually green wheat that has been burned to remove the straw and chaff, giving it a smoky flavor. Like many whole grains, it’s high in protein and fiber and has a low glycemic index. My hunch that it would be toothsome and hold up to the lima beans I was planning to cook proved to be true.
Lima Beans with Ham and Freekeh
- 1 pound dried white baby lima beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 2 ounces bacon (plus a little olive oil if your bacon is particularly lean)
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 5 turnips, peeled and diced
- 1 cup red wine
- water and/or chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound ham, cut into cubes
- 1/2 pound freekeh or other whole grain wheat such as spelt, farro or rye
- salt and pepper
- Render bacon (plus olive oil if needed) in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook until they start to become translucent.
- Add carrots and turnips (or whatever root vegetables you have on hand) and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the lima beans, red wine, and enough water or chicken stock to cover. Add rosemary, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and ham. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
- After half an hour, stir in the freekeh.
- Let simmer for 45 minutes or so until the lima beans and freekeh are tender but not yet mush. Add salt and pepper to taste.
WARNING: This makes a lot of food and is very filling. I ate a decent portion, gave some to my neighbors (who hit me back with some tasty steamed mussels), and still have five portions waiting in the fridge–which is not such a bad thing given that I have a ton of reading to do this week, a big work event on Thursday, and a research paper due on Friday.
Despite having lived in New York for more than two decades, I am newly disappointed each March to discover that it is still winter. School, work, and a chronic lack of sunshine conspired to make this past week quite challenging. By the time Friday rolled around, I was ready for some relaxation in the form of a specialty cocktail.
Is It Spring Yet?
- Add a shot (or more if you’ve had as rough week as I’ve had) of white rum and two to three times as much mango nectar to a rocks glass.
- Use a microplane or the fine holes of a cheese grater to grate some fresh ginger into your glass and give it a stir. (Your index finger works fine.)
- Pour some Prosecco or another dry sparkling wine on top, add a squeeze of lime, and plop in a large ice-cube.
This cocktail pairs beautifully with takeout Indian food and your sister and brother-in-law’s HBO on Demand while your nephew slumbers in the next room.
Is It Spring Yet goes down so easy that you might find yourself feeling less than stellar the next day. Fortunately, there’s a cure for that, and the ingredients can all be found at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket – even in early March.
Not Yet Spring Breakfast
- Get your ass out of the house. Be sure to take gloves; it’s still cold. Seriously.
- Grab some coffee on the way to the farmers market. (If you failed to bring gloves, this will help.)
- Pick up some fresh Madura Farms shitaake mushrooms, an organic whole wheat sourdough miche from Bread Alone, a hunk of Cato Corner Farm Farmstead Cheeses’ Dairyere and, if you don’t have some stashed in the fridge, a shallot and some eggs.
- Head home, remove your pants. In that order.
- Add half a tablespoon of unsalted butter to a small skillet over medium heat. Once the foaming has subsided, add a finely minced shallot and sauté for a few minutes. Sprinkle a little thyme over the top and then add halved or quartered mushrooms. Stir occasionally, allowing your mushrooms to brown. At some point, add salt and pepper.
- Lay thin slices of cheese atop sliced bread and broil until bubbly and browned.
- Turn the heat under your pan down a tad, slide the mushrooms onto a plate, add a little more butter and fry an egg. A bit of water and a lid will help cook the white while preserving the runny yolk.
- Assemble the components as you see fit, grind a little pepper over the top, and enjoy.