runners (purple, that is).

it’s been a long two weeks, and i haven’t been home much to cook or do a lot more than sleep. my dear friend and roommate beth, who i’ve mentioned several times on this blog, has been hospitalized the last few weeks with guillian-barré, and it’s been hard to do much more than be with her, think of her, etc. her mother is here from the midwest, staying alternatively at the hospital or at my house, and between myself, her mother, her boyfriend and other close friend, we’ve been subsisting on a lot of takeout.

last week i took off work to be at the hospital, but the spring semester started tuesday, so this week i was back to work and was tired of takeout salads and horrible, horrible cafeteria sandwiches. i did whip up a few simple things for jeremy and i to eat, sticking with simple ingredients that went a long way with flavor on their own, not requiring much fussing or adornment. 

how many times can i mention my love of rancho gordo beans? probably another hundred or so. these are purple runners, and they are an absolutely stunning color out of the bag. when they cook, they lose a lot of the brilliant purple, and become kind of a rich, melted-chocolate brown. 

the beans are great with just olive oil, salt and a bit of minced garlic, but since they were the main event for lunch, i decided to add some wild mushrooms and some grated pecorino romano cheese. i’ll probably gently warm them so that while they’re not piping hot, they’re pleasantly warm. the mushrooms were seared in a very hot pan with sunflower oil to prevent them from steaming in the water they release while cooking and keep them a bit firmer and give them a nice flavor. after i turned off the heat, i gently stirred in some garlic i’d grated on a microplane zester so that it was just lightly cooked and easily distributed. i then tossed it with the beans, added the cheese and some fresh thyme, and salted it to taste. finito.

purple runner salad with wild mushrooms, pecorino and thyme.

2 c. purple runners (makes about 4 c. when cooked)

2 cloves garlic, grated

4 c. assorted wild mushrooms, woody stems removed and chopped

2 tbsp. sunflower oil

fresh thyme

1/4 c. pecorino romano

sea salt

olive oil to taste

soak the beans for 2 or so hours if you have time. add beans and soaking liquid to a pot and gently boil for about two hours, adding more water as necessary. 

brush mushrooms clean and chop. heat sunflower oil on high heat (or another high-heat cooking oil) in a pan and add the mushrooms, moving around to keep them from sticking, giving them a good sear. remove from heat, and stir in garlic, letting it cook on the hot mushrooms in the warm pan for a minute or two with some fresh thyme. stir in with the beans, drizzling a bit more olive oil to taste if necessary. 

sprinkle with the cheese, and season with sea salt. 

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