Bright stew (with tiny potatoes, white beans, castelvetrano olives and meyer lemon) and 3-wheat medley (with farro, bulgur, and freekeh)

potato, olive, white bean and meyer lemon stew

potato, olive, white bean and meyer lemon stew

It’s a winter storm! It has a name, and I think it’s Janus, which is fitting, I suppose, this being January. Janus was the god of beginnings and change, of gates, doors, passages, journeys, endings, and time, the future and the past. But sitting here, looking out upon snow upon snow upon snow, I don’t feel inspired to start anything new, to embark on any journeys, to open any doors, be they real or metaphorical, and let the icy winds blow into my home. More arctic cold is predicted for the rest of the week. That’s right, it’s winter and we’re experiencing wintery weather. And everybody is talking about it, which is fine by me because I heartily approve of talking about the weather, I think it’s a weighty and important subject. But I also believe that if people have a problem with this weather, it’s because they made the wrong choice in being human. Obviously, they should have been dormice. I’m dormouse-obsessed at the moment. I saw a picture of a hibernating dormouse in Isaac’s magazine, and I’m completely enamored. Listen to this wisdom. They sleep all of winter and a good part of fall and spring. They don’t scurry around hoarding food, they just eat it! And get (relatively) plump! And then they curl up and sleep very soundly for months. Plus, they’re arboreal. They’re mice who live in trees. They have extravagant whiskers. They have bright dark eyes. They eat hazelnuts and berries. I want to eat hazelnuts and berries! They have little hands and feet and fluffy tails. They sleep so soundly that people can pick them up and record the sound of them snoring, which is apparently a thing that people do…

(look at his little hands and feet tremble!)

This is a juvenile dormouse in a torpid state.

If it’s snowing where you are, or raining, or the least bit cold, you should probably just stay inside and watch these BBC dormouse videos.

Or you could make this nice bright stew. It has tiny potatoes, but you could use larger potatoes and cut them up. It has small white beans, and white wine, and rosemary, thyme and sage. It has spinach and castelvetrano olives, and the juice of a meyer lemon. It’s nice in winter, because it’s savory and satisfying, but vivid and green and juicy as well. It would be nice in spring or summer with fresh new potatoes and baby spinach. I served it over a medley of wheat grains…bulgur, farro, and freekeh. I thought they were nice together because they each have a different texture. We had some goat cheese caper toasts, too, which I might tell you about another time.

Your song for today is this whistling dormouse.

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Salubrious Parsley Soup

Parsley soup

The other day my friend Laura asked me if I’d ever made anything with parsley as the main ingredient. Guess what! I had just bought a large bunch of Italian parsley! Strange, right? I don’t usually buy parsley, for some reason. I enjoy it when it comes in our CSA box, but I usually pass it over at the store, in favor of it’s showier cousin, cilantro. But I’d been craving parsley. Something about the fresh green flavor seemed perfect for the time of year. So Laura’s question was very well-timed. I thought of a lot of different types of things I could make, which I will eventually. But for some reason my mind kept wandering back to tabouli. I thought of a sort of soup, with a clear, clean broth. One of those garlicky, lemony broths that people eat when they’re not feeling well. With flecks of parsley floating in it, and with herbily seasoned bulgur on the side, that you could add to your taste. So that’s what I made. I tried to keep it simple, and I was worried that it wouldn’t have enough flavor, but my son said it had too strong a flavor, so … who knows! I seasoned the broth with thyme and basil and the bulgur with zatar herbs and sesame seeds.

Here’s Lee Perry & Niney with Chase Them Down With Garlic.
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