Beans, beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat, the less your friends want to be around you.

I never can get that rhyme right. Oh, well.

We’ve all been overindulging for the past few weeks…or months, so it’s time for some roughage.

onions, 1onions, 2

This recipe comes courtesy of my sister-in-law S., who made this chickpea/spinach concoction with cumin and paprika that sounded really good. I can also testify that it smelled really good. I didn’t taste it, because we’d just come from a coffee shop where I made the mistake of ordering the large hot chocolate and my body was still working on processing all that milk, but smell-wise it was A++, would gladly smell again. It also seemed like a perfect candidate for a tight-ass meal.

So I stopped by the grocery store after work and ended up with the ingredients for spinach and white beans with fennel and orange.


Obviously. But I can still say the recipe comes “courtesy of” S., since I wouldn’t have ended up making it if I weren’t trying to figure out how NOT to make chickpeas and spinach with cumin and paprika that would have smelled really good but I just really didn’t feel like eating chickpeas. Or cumin. Or paprika. No matter how good they all smell when combined.* And the piles of oranges just looked so round and fun and orange-y.

Although to be frank, it didn’t really matter what I cooked tonight. Because whatever it was it would have been photographed with my new 50mm f/1.4 lens, which was 50% of the reason for making dinner tonight. Maybe 60%. Or 75%. Whichever. My depth of field** has never been so shallow! I wallow in its shallowness!

*For the record, I have no doubt that I would enjoy the chickpea/spinach dish were I to taste it, since those are all flavors I enjoy.

**The thing the foodie people do where something is in sharp focus and then the background is blurred out? That’s depth of field. It’s all the rage.

onions, 3

I started off by caramelizing some onions, because I thought their sweetness would pair well with the orange and fennel and because onions take a while to caramelize, giving me ample time to test out the new lens by taking some really, really, REALLY unfortunate photos. Because really, I know just enough about basic photography principles to be dangerous. Check out the fennel seeds on that pile of caramelized onions, though. Virtually in focus! And that is my amazing shallow depth of field, NOT out-of-focus onions.

I think.

Once the onions were nice and brown, I tossed in some fennel seeds, a little cayenne and some thyme and let their flavors bloom while I drained a can of beans. Yes, a can. I know dried beans are better. I know they don’t take that much advance planning. But you know what they take? More advance planning than I’m capable of. You know what’s always there for me? Beans in cans.

Tequila and beans in cans: they never let you down.


This photo isn’t blurry either, that’s just steam obscuring the beans to the rear.


I tossed the beans in with the onions and some orange zest and squeezed two fresh oranges over the whole mess. I tossed the beans around and let the orange juice reduce and coat them.

Do you know how hard it was not to write “squozed” just then? It was really hard. I thought you should know. Pay no attention to the immature blogger behind the curtain; keep your eyes on the beans and their obscuring steam. Which is what it is.


When the juice had cooked away and the beans were warmed through, I dumped a giant bag of mixed baby spinach into the pan and started working it around the hot beans with tongs – I LOVE tongs – to help it wilt down.

Can someone explain the difference between “baby spinach” and “mixed baby spinach” to me? I’m feeling like it’s a sales ploy, which, did spinach need the boost? If you don’t like spinach, I’m pretty sure a little renaming isn’t going to change your tune. I’m not a kale fan, and I’m pretty sure cutting it up and calling it “ribboned mixed kale” isn’t going to turn things around. I mean, I’m a non-profit marketer, not a vegetable marketer, but still.

Well, it might change things a little. That DOES sound more fun. New skill set discovered!

A little couscous, a bowl, and not-chickpeas with cumin was served.

beans and greens

First off, let me say that I know I normally go on at greater length, but I’ve developed a splitting headache over the course of the past hour, possibly because of the RIDICULOUS show about private chefs the Food Network is airing – so many famewhores, one little show! Amazing! So it’s a little more truncated than usual, and the recipe will have to wait until tomorrow.

Second, let me say that white beans and spinach cooked with fennel and orange is good. Better, in fact, than my pain-addled little brain can adequately explain to you; such are the hazards of unplanned, blogging on the fly. Which should teach me some kind of lesson, but I’m not very teachable.

Aaaaand the pain has overcome me. Recipe and description to come. In the meantime, think about how awesome my new lens is. Not because these photos are so stellar, just because it’s an awesome lens. Once I know how to use it, WATCH OUT.

Thank you and good night.