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FMC Barbunya: Turkish Beans in Olive Oil

Last Saturday as I sklathed myself around the apartment fighting the tail end of a sinus cold, Mr. T decided to jaunt off to the 14th & U Street Farmers’ Market for a few provisions. While he can always be counted on to buy tomatoes, peaches, and bread, he’s also quite adept with more imaginative purchases.

No surprise really. As he’s fond of pointing out, Mr T. possesses a vast theoretical knowledge of food, garnered from a lifetime of discriminating dining, and–of course–10 years in the immediate impact zone of a certain culinary tornado. So, when he recognized the vibrantly striped cranberry beans at the market as the key ingredient to a tasty Turkish mezze, he scooped a big bag up and brought them back as a special treat/challenge.

The cranberry beans–aka Roman beans, aka barbunya–are gently stewed in olive oil and tomato to make a really tasty topping for bread or crackers: tender beans in a clingy, tomato-y sauce. I have to admit that I was taken aback by how tasty this was for all its simplicity. The long cooking reduces the tomatoes and onions to a rich, deeply flavorful sauce punctuated by sweet carrots and tender, substatial beans. Though I liked it warm, Mr T says it’s traditonally served cold, so I’m going to split the difference and recommend it at room temperature.

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