A hill of beans


I’m wading back in here, slowly, still trying to get my groove back as far as posting goes. I’ll be honest, the last couple of weeks have been difficult, made worse by the issue of a content thief who has yet to respond to me, and at times I seriously thought of just giving this blog up entirely. My extended weekend did me a world of good (who knew hanging out with cows could be such fun), and after a few highly successful meals at home (at least one of which is getting a do-over and its own post soon), I’m feeling a bit better about it all.

lemon, arugula, bronze fennel

What I cobbled together last night was just the sort of thing I love eating this time of year, a big salad with lots of varying colors and textures, and it gave me the chance to test out the 90-minute no-soak bean cooking method so many people are talking about.

tuna + lemon vinaigrette

While my beans cooked I whisked up a lemon vinaigrette with lots of chopped shallot, opened up a can of our favorite American Tuna and broke the fish up into the dressing, and got the remaining salad ingredients prepped: young arugula from Arcadian Fields, a few mixed radishes that had been lingering in the crisper, and beautiful bronze fennel from City Farm.

Dinner: June 17, 2009

After 90 minutes, the beans were as tender and creamy as promised, and after letting them cool just briefly, I tossed them into the salad. This may not have been the prettiest plate in town, but the combination of flavors and textures was exactly what I had hoped for.

24 thoughts on “A hill of beans

  1. Hello,
    I’ve been a reader for a while and just felt the urge to comment regarding your thoughts of giving up this blog. Please dont; I seriously love this blog. I live in Providence too and look forward to your posts about all the same restaurants and farmers markets that I go to myself. Your photography is fantastic and Last Nights Dinner has given me a bit of inspiration to start my own blog sometime in the future. I have a feeling there are more people like myself out there following your posts who would be just as disappointed to see the end of LND.

  2. I never soak my beans. I always just bring them to a firm boil for 5 minutes, and then cook over the lowest heat the rest of the way. They’re almost always done in an hour, sometimes less if they’re very fresh. Steve Sando from Rancho Gordo taught me this way… he said nobody in Mexico soaks beans, and they eat them all the time.

  3. This is one of our summer favs – we use the Italian tuna packed in olive oil, red onion, white beans, and some leafy green (although for parties, we will mix it up and present it in endive leaves). Once again – you are makin’ me hungry!

  4. Jen, don’t quit the blog thing……at least this content thief gives your blog name and address underneath the plagiarized post.

    This happened to me AGAIN today on Taste of Home website.
    Someone copied my entire post w/ photos, and people think that she made my asparagus strudel.
    I emailed her, but don’t expect to hear back.

    Keep cooking & posting, you are my favorite cook!
    Stacey Snacks

  5. She links to you – does she always link to you? Is your issue that she takes first without asking?

    I do not mind if people link to me. Maybe I should. But yours is a far more professional-looking blog than mine 🙂

  6. Pee Ess! DO NOT give up your blog. It’s too good. Please?

    I mean, yes, you need to be enjoying it, and if you are not, that’s a different story. But it is special.

  7. You shouldn’t let people copying your posts get you down.

    It’s just the breaks.

    I have, however, started to read the CGN lifestyle blog religiously.

    p.s. it’s true, that 90-minute no-soak method is bean magic!

  8. Jen says:

    I find your blog to be one of the most beautiful and inspiring food blogs out there. Please, please, don’t leave us!

  9. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. I truly appreciate your kind words and support.

    Marie – there was no link there when I first found the post last weekend – it must have been added later. I don’t care about people linking out to me, but re-publishing an entire post, photos and all, without my permission is inexcusable. Maybe I’m oversensitive because it has happened before, maybe I’m oversensitive because I work in IP, but I just think it’s wrong.

    internet – See, to me it’s not “just the breaks.” It’s copyright infringement. It’s illegal.

  10. Camille says:

    Please do not let some moron ruin something you so obviously enjoy doing & selfishly speaking, that we your readers, very much look forward to! Your blog is one of the very best, in both content & gorgeous photos & you continuously inspire me. I hope that the words of encouragement said already & those which I’m sure will continue to flood in, will lift your spirits. Truly, you would be missed if you gave up sharing with us…hang in there, but do take care of yourself!

  11. Jen,
    I second every emotion stated above.
    I “stumbled upon” your blog just about two years ago and I read every post. And I still do. And I learn from you every single time. I never made enchiladas til your recipe. And your chicken stew is a staple in our house.
    Of course, we’d understand. It’s hard to do this blogging thing, and work and have a life and do all well.
    But you do.
    I’ll support you whatever you decide to do and I know all your readers will as well.

  12. monica says:

    I wondered about that Copyscape banner. I’m so sorry that people are stealing your content again. But please don’t give up the blog! I second, third, fourth, Nth the feeling of all the others — your blog is inspirational and I always look forward to what you’ve cooked up next.

  13. The time difference always makes me the last commenter!

    Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog. A lot. Sorry about the content thieving. Not cool.

    As for the beans, I use a pressure cooker. Very popular in India.

    Looking forward to your next post, Jen 🙂

  14. Jen,

    It is awful someone is stealing your content–it’s so good. It definitely is the most inspiring and beautiful food blog out there. I hope this person stops so we all can enjoy your writing and photography (the thief will have to realize if they continue they’ll have nothing to steal!!!)


  15. It never seems fair that one jerk can ruin your week. I know when I’ve discovered someone stealing my content it’s made me downright homicidal, but so far I’ve had good luck just warning them about copyright infringement. I have faith that you’ll pull through with your property and sanity intact.

    Your blog always makes me want to come to your house for dinner – you are only saved by the fact that I am 3000 miles away 🙂

  16. queen4ya says:

    I hope that you a continue to post. I absolutely love your blog and you pictures are beyond words.

  17. Karin says:

    Hey, It’s Karin, your Twitter friend! I am so glad you tried the beans. I have been dying to do so, and have it on my menu for this week. (I even tweated about the procedure last week.) Were they awesome? I would love to know more about how the beans turned out. I plan to try this tomorrow night.

    Have a great week!

  18. Patty says:

    Please don’t quit your blog! I’m a faithful reader out here in Los Angeles. I love the gorgeous photos and your ambitious menus.

  19. Hi Jen. I’m so sorry about the content thief…at least she has your name on there, so it’s not as if she’s claiming your wonderful writing and photos as her own. I hope you won’t give up your blog…i enjoy reading your words and looking at your pics…i always learn something!

  20. Jennifer Hess says:

    You wonderful folks, thank you so much. Truly.

    Karin – the beans were lovely, nice and creamy-textured on the inside. I hope you got good results, too!

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