Bits and Pieces


Part of getting back to the business of living, getting through the grief we’ve been feeling in this last week, has been to make plans, to reinstitute some structure in our lives. I sketched out a meal plan last weekend for this week’s dinners, with Monday’s ratatouille, and Tuesday’s comforting tortellini en brodo, with leafy greens swimming in the rich chicken stock Mike made earlier that day. Wednesday’s dinner plans got derailed early on, the result of some unexpected schedule changes, but I felt confident that I could put something together when I got home from work.

chard and chile

I had picked up some beautiful broccoli at last Saturday’s farmers’ market with the hopes of turning it into a batch of my friend Maria‘s Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli and serving it over farro, but when I pulled it out of the crisper it was long gone. My fall-back-and-punt had turned into a failure before I even got started, but I didn’t want to cave and order takeout – I wanted to cook a good, wholesome dinner at home. So I pulled out the chard I was saving to use in soup later in the week, carved it up in my usual manner, and sauteed it with olive oil, good, meaty anchovies, plenty of garlic and slivers of fresh red chile peppers.

Dinner: September 22, 2010

I tossed it all with just-cooked farro linguine, added a shower of parm, and dinner was served. And it was only today that I realized that I made nearly the same simple, comforting dish about 2 1/2 years before.

7 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces

  1. Farro linguine? I’m not sure we have it in Augusta, Ga., but that dish would be my ultimate comfort food…greens/pasta/sauce! You rock! I’ll have to check our EarthFare for the farro linguine.
    The other thing we can’t get here is escarole which shows up in so many Italian soups, etc. (I bet you get tons at that amazing market you hit on the weekends.) Thanks so much for posting a beautiful photo. I’m with you…stubborn about making a meal and not doing delivery/takeout!
    Thinking of you and glad you’re posting…

  2. Meredith says:

    One of my all-time favourites when I’m down in the dumps. So good.

    I’ve been a long-time (silent) fan of your blog, and I just wanted to tell you how very inspiring and lovely it is and how happy I am that you’re posting again.

  3. Isn’t it funny how when normal returns, it returns with a bang?

    Also just wanted to say that I only just read your post about Kali on, and it was so beautiful and sad. I’m ever impressed how you can put your thoughts into words, not to mention putting them into nutritious food–and then photos and words.

  4. I dreamed about chopped up chard stalks, your fault.

    Another thing I do with them, once the leaf is stripped from the stem (for chard gnocchi, say): Blanch the stems, then lay flat in a roasting pan and drizzle over about 3 Tbsp olive oil in which about…6 anchovies have melted with some crushed cloves of garlic. And a squeeze of lemon. Roast for 30 minutes at 400’F

    It’s divine. Sort of asparagussy.

  5. Jennifer Hess says:

    Karin – we love farro pastas, and are lucky we can get a good variety of them from our favorite shops on Federal Hill. If you can’t find them elsewhere, I know Rustichella d’Abruzzo sells theirs online. We prefer the flavor and texture to whole wheat pasta for sure. And thank you :)

    Jessamyn – it worked out well in the end, but I really wanted that broccoli! Soon enough.

    Meredith – thanks so much, and it’s nice to “meet” you!

    Cara – thank you so much.

    Marie – oh *swoon* that sounds good. You are my sister in the garlic and anchovy love ;)

  6. Dear Jennifer, I’m feeling a bit like a heel having commented earlier on your tweet “and then there were two” as I was woefully behind on reading the blogs i follow and only this evening read about Kali’s passing. I apologize if my gleeful “new kitty?” response seemed insensitive , believe me when I say that to the contrary I still have tears in my eyes as I type this note. My husband and I have only furry feline children ourselves and last year when you were posting about Kali’s illness I immediately recognized that you and your husband were kindred spirits, as people who were going above and beyond to care for her. It’s why I even sent a small contribution to help. We have been there ourselves with our elderly cats and know the heaviness that comes from finally reaching the point where there is nothing left to do for them except to let the go. So please accept my most heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beautiful Kali cat. I am glad that the cloud of your grief is lifting. WHen you do reach that point when you are able to perhaps get a new kitty, I have no doubt that it will be very lucky to have found such a caring and loving home.

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