Italian White Bean Spread & Birds

May 11, 2012

The big news around our house is that Will turned 5 last week and, perhaps to celebrate, two chickadees have finally moved into the bird house will built and painted a couple of years ago.  He painted it again last spring feeling as many house-sellers do that a fresh coat might clinch the sale.  But now the agreement is signed, twigs exchanged, and the happy birds (I mean, they appear happy, what do I know?) are nesting in the blue and yellow and pink house that hangs outside of my office.

We had a bird feeder outside our kitchen window growing up and I remember gazing at the robins and blue jays. I also remember them crashing into the sliding glass doors and falling to their premature deaths while we ate waffles.  My mom’s remedy was to have us make window and door cut-outs so that the birds might understand that this was NOT AIR.  Glass is solid, friends.  I seem to recall this tactic worked, but this might be the grown-up tendency to smooth the details.

My husband had a bird right before I met him.  I say “right before” because this justifies the fact that there were still feathers on the carpet when I first went to his medical school apartment.  “Oh, do you have a bird?” I asked.  “No.  Well, I did.” “Um, recently?” He shrugged and grinned.  “About month or two ago…”

I nodded and knew instantly that I would trade a few feathers on the rug for the man in scrubs in front of me.  He tried to brush the feathers away with his shoes. “Did you have a bird?” he asked.  I shook my head. “No, but my little brother did.” And I told him about Mohawk, the 80s cockatiel. “Oh,” I added, “And then we had peacocks.” He looked at me with a mix of curiosity and amusement. “It seemed normal. At the time,” I added.

And it’s only now that I realize how many of my stories from growing up sound bizarre. They seemed normal. At the time.

Italian White Bean Spread

1 lb white beans, soaked overnight and cooked until soft, 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved or canned

1/4+ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 onion, diced

2 tbsp anchovy paste

1-2 tsp lemon juice

salt and white pepper to taste

If using canned beans, rinse and set aside in 1/2 cup water. If using fresh, reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Heat olive oil in skillet and add garlic, on low-medium heat and add onion, coating with oil. After 3 or so minutes, add anchovy paste and increase heat for another minute or two. Remove from heat. Blend beans, oil-onion-garlic mixture, adding bean liquid bit by bit as needed until desired consistency is reached. Add lemon juice and blend. Season with salt and pepper. Slather on bread with some greens for lunch. If you have crumbs, leave them for the birds.

1 comment

  1. Maxine
    May 12, 2012

    Think they ARE normal just English style!