Last night I once again assumed the role of Ferry Dinner Cook, along with my dear housemate Allie. I began my culinary task with the goal of employing in our meal as many of the fast wilting green leafies, as well as the underused root vegetables, in the refrigerator as possible. It seemed to me that the greens (an amalgamation of kale, collards, and leaves from carrots, beets, turnips, and radishes) would marry well in a stew with the pinto beans that I had set to soak that morning, while the roots (a mix of turnips, butternut and kabocha squash, beets, and sweet potatoes) would best showcase their comforting succulence in caramelized, roasted form, accentuated by fresh rosemary and sage.
Though I intended to recreate this recipe for Garlicky White Bean Stew with Kale, a couple of unexpected factors complicated this task:
1.) I discovered a surprising lack of garlic in the Ferry kitchen last night.
2.) The Ferry pantry currently houses only pinto beans, garbanzos, and lentils, with no mention of white beans (though this will soon change with the bulk order delivered this Thursday).
3.) I mistook the jar of cayenne for that of paprika, thus imparting a spicier kick to the stew than I had originally intended (darn Ferry’s unlabeled spice rack!).
Despite these setbacks, the stew turned out as a hearty, comforting, and immensely nourishing dish that harbored a nice depth of flavor thanks to the caramelized onions that simmered with the beans, as well as the multiplicity of bold greens. Since one would have to either tremendously undercook or burn to a crisp roasted root vegetables in order to detract from their deliciousness, that aspect of dinner proved predictably perfect (points for alliteration). The millet provided a bit of a surprise for my diners, who did not expect the punch of umami that pervaded the unassuming side dish, thanks to the generous sprinklings of nutritional yeast, cumin, and tamari that I mixed into the creamy cooked grain.
As I always do when I cook Ferry dinner, last night I felt honored to provide a scrumptious and satisfying meal to the 21 thoughtful, generous, kind, and vivacious individuals with whom I live. I’ve recently realized that aiding others serves to improve my own mood, as showcased when I sought advice from my Ferry room neighbor, ended up working through his own difficulties, and left his room sharing a sense of complete uplift. Once again, Ferry offered its constant reminder of the strong power of community, especially a community largely revolving around wholesome food that minimizes harm to all beings.
Until next time, Ali.