Last week was filled with a lot of firsts. Not just for us, but for Maki too. It's taken some time for her to get settled into the house. Even now, every time we leave, she runs to the door wondering, hoping, that we’ll take her back to our old place. It’s not that she’s uncomfortable in her new surroundings, just a bit confused. We haven't made things easy either. In an effort to keep our brand new couch furless, she's been barred from climbing aboard. It's a new thing we're trying and it probably won't last very long. Not with those sad looks she gives us every time we scold her. What Maki has been enjoying is our yard. Full of sunlight, it’s the perfect place for napping. And then there are the smells — oh, the smells!!! — which never get old. When we go out for walks, she's excited by every turn.
Of course, now that we’re getting back into a routine, I’m screwing things up by heading out to Southern California to photograph The Big Potluck. I look forward to these events because I know that, by the end, something in me will change. It’s not always a big thing… but just being around my peers, people who share a love for food, for writing and photography it, ignites my creative spirit. I’ll come home with stories for Eric and, hopefully, a little tan as well.
We opened the Cape house last weekend and, while much of it was spent getting things in order, I also found some time to lounge outside and catch up on some neglected magazines. I finally got to check out the seafood issue Saveur created and I instantly fell for the sardine recipes they printed. While I have every intention on trying all of them, I started with this white bean and sardine stew. If you're wondering if this is a recipe to write home about, well, let me tell you, it's wonderful. Even those not inclined to try sardines could get behind this hearty dish.
White Bean and Sardine Stew
Source Slightly adapted from Saveur, April 2014
Source Serves 2-4
3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 carrots, grated 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) 1 15-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand 1 14 oz can cannellini beans, drained 1 4 oz. can boneless skinless sardines, packed in olive oil, drained 2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup couscous 1 cup water 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp olive oil
1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Cook panko until golden, 2-3 minutes; transfer to a bowl.
2. Add remaining oil to skillet, set over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, carrots, celery, fennel, salt and pepper until soft, 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and sardines and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring to break up sardines until stew is slightly thick, 8-10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add more salt.
3. To prepare the couscous, pour the water in a medium saucepan and add the oil and salt. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add the uncooked couscous, cover the pot, and turn off heat. Cook for three minutes.
4. Serve couscous in bowls and top with stew. Garnish with reserved panko and the parsley.