A Very Spidery Flower, originally uploaded by arahbahn.

It’s 53 degrees and very windy, out. Fall has arrived, and I’m pleased. This may be the last hurrah for the cleome pictured above.

It feels like a good part of my weekend was spent cooking; much of that cooking involved beans –both reheating a crockpot bean dish from Thursday, and starting a different dish from scratch.

The new dish firstly involved (Friday-Saturday) bringing the cannellinis from dried to cooked state. Then, on Sunday, it was marrying them with some olive oil, homegrown sage, prociutto, garlic, homegrown tomatoes, and Italian sausage to make “Fagioli all’Uccelletto.”

Why so much time with the bean? Especially from me, whose only detested food item has always been the Lima? Three reasons: One, I’m making a rather gradual attempt to reduce (but not eliminate) the amount of meat (of any kind) in my diet, out of concern for how sustainable, planet-wise, my more meat-heavy diet is. From what I’ve read, it is possible to reduce meat to side-dish or one-meal-per day proportions, and make up for any protein deficit with plant sources and maybe a little dairy.

Reason two: beans are such nutritional powerhouses that getting them into my diet, and perhaps substituting them for some of the less-nutrient-dense grains I eat, will give me an even better chance of getting all the nutrients I need, without taking supplements.

The third reason has arisen since my little project started: I’m a sucker for texture, and I’m already finding they they are fun to eat, and so, are fun to cook. We have a few great Italian/Mediterranean cookbooks, and I’m finally putting them to use.

The artist in me has even found a fourth reason to enjoy beans: perusing all the heirloom varieties available is quite a feast for the eyes. There is such rich diversity in colors, sizes, and shapes! I was disappointed to find that the nearby hispanic grocery and even the local co-ops had such a limited variety, but some online sources offer a veritable crazy quilt. Be sure to check out Purcell Mountain Farms, and Rancho Gordo. My husband made an order from the latter, a year or so ago, so transfixed was he by the look of the “Goat’s Eye” bean they sold, then. I’ve just made an order of a few different beans and some Black Beluga lentils, from the former. It’s also possible to buy “eating” beans from one of the plant seed organization, Seed Savers Exchange.

The rest of the weekend’s cooking adventures: I baked my very first apple pie. I fixed us some broiled pesto-provolone-tomato sandwiches. Hubbie made us (on the grill!) some farinata: a chickpea flour pancake very similar to the one we had on our Cinque Terre trip a few years back.

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