Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Megastore recommends.

Órale, epazote.
1. Ingredients. When you're searching for a thing to cook--a lovely dish, a delicious dish, a scintillating dish that will reinvent eating--do not be turned away by the exotic ingredient. In fact, the dish with the odd ingredient, the thing you have never heard of, that is the very dish you should try. At Christmas time, I constructed a whole meal out of stuff I hadn't made before--it's my thing, as I like to live dangerously when I've invited 20 kajillion people over, to make an enchilada sauce previously unknown to man and guava cherry crisp and corn with epazote. What is epazote, I asked myself? An herb? a vegetable? a spice?  I looked very carefully in the shelves of the Latino foods at my local supermarket. I examined all the stuff at Whole Foods. Denied. So I went to the Latino supermarket, a woman on the prowl, but one who was too proud to consult with the people about epazote. I found it in the produce section, in a bunch, dark green and smelling faintly like gasoline. I chopped it up, as my recipe told me to, and put it in with the corn, and that corn was just about the most delicious corn known to man. See? the power of ingredients.

2. Staying in. When it's blustery outside, and you could go out to get the work done, but you could also stay in to get the work done, why not stay in? Why not turn the heat up a little, and cozy up in a chair, and work where it's warm?

(Not my vegetarian chili.)
3.  Leftovers. Last night we had baked potatoes with vegetarian chili and steamed broccoli and fattoush for the zillionth time. Also purchased baguette. And purchased tiny little ice cream sandwiches, because: tiny, delicious, and why not? Today, there were: leftover baked potatoes, leftover vegetarian chili, leftover steamed broccoli. (I ate the leftover fattoush for lunch. Perfect.) So we had dinner the second time, reheating as we went, and it was easy and thus fantastic after a long day of work and not enough sleep the night before. I cannot recommend enough the having of leftovers. It makes life much, much better. The only problem with leftovers is, once they've been eaten, you have to cook again. Who has the energy for that, after a long day of work and not enough sleep. It's a puzzler, to be sure.

good mother stallard beans, and don't
you forget it.
4. And speaking of chili, and ingredients, may I recommend Fancy heirloom dried beans? I have purchased Rancho Gordo beans two different times when I was in NoCal, Sonoma County and/or Napa County. Each time I have been extra delighted with them. Beans, yo: perhaps the humblest ingredient of all, but good ones make a difference. Treat yo' self to the Cadillac of legumes, the people, and you will not regret it.


  1. I am right now, as we speak, soaking chickpeas to make, wait for it, homemade falafel. I am taking to heart your advice about ingredients.

  2. As am I. Last night, I made "nori burritos" with leftover tabbouleh and a bit of guacamole . . . just for fun. Fantastic!

  3. Orale! Me, I'm on the prowl for heirloom Top Ramen.

  4. Beans! Fancy beans! Thanks for the treat yo self clip. Cheered me up!

  5. I, too, also inspired by you am putting local heirloom beans on to simmer with lemon peel, thyme and fresh sage.

  6. Is epazote the same thing as pot? Because when I clicked to your post today and saw that first photo, I totally thought you were cooking with weed.



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