Saturday, September 16, 2023

saturday review

Possibly the final beansalad of 2023:

With crumbled sharp cheddar garnish.

The most recent example of my lifelong gastronomical experiment loosely titled:

Seriously, what would NOT be improved by adding either cheese or maple syrup?

And you may be thinking, "why not both?" to which I reply, "yes, sometimes!"

The sharp cheddar crumbles certainly enhanced my customary salad of yellow and green filet beans, garbanzo beans, and white kidney beans.

By the way, does anyone have a recommendation for cooking dry kidney beans instead of buying canned? I tried cooking dry red kidney beans in a kettle following the advice on the packet. It took ages - and I had to stay nearby to frequently stir the pot and check the texture of the beans - and I think I still managed to undercook them. Next time should I try pressure cooking?

The grapes have been very productive this year, and I've enjoyed walking under the vines even in the rain.

Earlier this week I went down to the terrace garden with a grocery sack and picked grapes between rainstorms. Of all the tasks I've managed to sprint through between rainstorms this "summer," picking those grapes was my favorite.

To me, grapes are like coffee: the aroma is arguably the best part. Have you ever discovered the presence of wild grapes by the intoxicating aroma? One of those experiences that has probably been providing thrills for humans for as long as there have been humans and grapes in the same ecosystem.

My kitchen smelled wonderful for a while. With a big kettle of grapes simmering on the stove every time I came in from outdoors, it made the rest of the situation in my house seem less overwhelming. Or at least easier to ignore. And now I've got a tub of juice in the chest freezer, and a jar in the fridge that I'll be sipping like wine.

We've just had two days of simply lovely weather - not too hot, not too muggy, not too buggy...not raining. And between the usual round of chores, instead of tackling a few of the extras that have piled up with the wet weather, I spent part of each afternoon just lounging around outside with a sketchbook, keeping an eye on the animals while they kept an eye on me. It was glorious.



  1. How wise to go out and make art in the company if goats! Tasks will wait for you.

  2. Mmm... cheese and maple syrup - that sounds like great add ons. I, too, love the smell of grapes.

  3. Geez, just wrote a long comment, and it just disappeared. About those beans, do you have a crockpot? I bet it would work well to cook them nice and soft.
    Grape juice, ah yes. Ambrosia!

  4. I'm looking at the bean salad and wondering why I don't make it. Yours look so mouth watering! Of dried beans, I like to can them. Of course, that means you have to have a pressure canner, but it's fantastic having them in the pantry, seasoned just the way you like. (I do the overnight soak method).

    And it looks like a fantastic harvest of grapes! Wild grape smell is heavenly.

  5. I haven't made bean salad in a very long time. Used to make it a lot and have it with cornbread. I may have to whip some up pretty soon. I always soak dry beans. With kidney beans, you can soak them in the fridge overnight and then cook them the next day. With brown lentils, I usually just let them sit in a pot of boiled water for maybe an hour before I cook them. Sounds like you enjoyed the nice weather. Hope it continues to improve. We are still waiting for cooler temps here -- thought it has gone down considerably since we are down into the 80's at night. But daytime temps are still above 100 F. :/ Take care.

  6. Old dry beans take forever to cook. There's no way to know how old the beans in the store are, so we are sometimes caught by surprise with an agonizingly long simmerage before they're tender enough.

    Hoping that the temps bottom out at 35F tonight...suddenly fall is here. If the garden survives tonight, it looks like we'll have another good spell of nice temps.

    Yes to grape juice! On my list to do next week.

    Chris from Boise


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