This day is one of preparations. There is the gathering of supplies, laundry, packing and food preparation to be done. There are lists to be written. The Bug has music camp all next week, and I accompany him. He has been studying violin in the Suzuki method for the past five years. He truly loves it.
If you are unfamiliar with the method, it was developed in the mid 20th century by the Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki. It is a holistic method, based on language acquisition theory with the underlying principal that all people learn from their environment, and the desire to create a nurturing environment. The goals of the practice are to develop "noble hearts" and to create beauty.
We have attended The Pennsylvania Suzuki Institute for the past four years, staying with family of friends each time. It is a highlight of our summer time. We are immersed in music, discipline, community, and love. We live goals actualized, and are richer for it.
My main contribution down there is cooking for everyone. The parents of the younger children need to attend all daily classes with the students. We have moved on to the next stage of development. The Bug moves independently through his day of instruction. Because of this, I am able to help our group by preparing the evening meal. I enjoy the challenge of satisfying the diversity of palates. My goals are always the same: to see the young ones return for seconds, to make the end of day satisfying.
I bring down our staples for the week after a visit to Echo Hill. All of the produce comes from the local farm stands down in Hershey. I truly love the opportunity to become familiar with a different system, with different specialties. I know the bases I will be creating from, but the specifics will all come from local availability. For the coming week, I have planned Israeli couscous (Ptitim), polenta, pasta noodles, pizza, and coconut rice. I am eager to see what eventually becomes.
Today I prepared my contribution to tomorrow night's potluck. I REALLY wanted to make a ratatouille, but children often balk at eggplant, so I omitted it from my dish. I just might have to make it later this week, however, maybe pasta night.
Summer Vegetables and Garbanzo for Barb
2 c Garbanzo Beans
2 Medium White Onions, diced
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
4 Small Zucchini, diced in small cubes
2 Green Peppers, diced in small cubes
2 lbs Fresh Tomatoes, diced in small cubes
5 Anchovy Filets
1 tsp Baking Soda
3 tbl Herbes de Provence
2 tbl Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Useful items: Pressure Cooker, 8qt Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven
NOTE: If you do not have a pressure cooker, place beans and baking soda in water and allow to sit overnight. Cook in the soaking water for an hour, or until the beans explode, the next day. Hat Tip to Sarah Finsel for the baking soda tip!
Rinse beans, and place the garbanzos in a medium pot with 1 tsp baking soda, fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.
In an 8qt pot on medium heat, pour in olive oil to sautée onions. When translucent, add garlic and Herbes de Provence. Cook until all just begins to caramelize.
After adding the garlic, place the garbanzos and the water from it's pot into pressure cooker, and begin the cooking process. When up to temp, you will cook the beans for 12 minutes. After placing beans in the pressure cooker:
Add tomatoes and anchovy filets to onions and garlic. Do not omit the anchovies. Unless you need to accommodate vegans, there is no need to tell anyone. This is umami. Trust me.
Cook down tomatoes for 10-12 minutes. It will depend on the tomatoes. Meatier ones, less time, juicier ones, more time.
While the tomatoes are cooking, your pressure cooker should have come up to temp, and your beans should be in the cooking stage. Allow to depressurize naturally.
After your tomatoes have cooked down, add zucchini and green peppers. Cook for an additional 8 minutes if you have a ceramic or electric stove top; 10 minutes if you have a gas stove top.
Turn off heat, but leave the pot on the burner. After garbanzos have depressurized, drain beans and add to the tomato pot. This should all be happening around the same time.
Add 2 tbl Balsamic Vinegar, and S&P to taste.
You can serve this warm or cold. I am letting the dish sit over night, and will be serving it cold tomorrow.
Finish with additional olive oil and ground Herbes de Provence.