Friday, May 10, 2013

You complete me.

Look, a big heap of complete protein!

There are few dishes more simple or delicious than beans 'n' greens, or more thoroughly nutritious. For the vegetarian, beans are a convenient (if digestively challenging) source of protein. Most legumes, however, contain low levels of the essential* amino acid methionine (garbanzo beans, for some reason, may also have lysine as a limiting amino acid). According to a delightfully nitpicky website I found, kale contains about 8 mg methionine per ounce. The daily value is about 10 mg: yet another excuse to chow down on as much kale as I want. My favorite green to use in this dish, broccoli rabe, has even more, about 16 mg per ounce. For a redundant source of complimentary protein, though, why not serve this with a little brown rice to soak up all that tasty broth?

Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half has published part two of her first-person account of severe depression.  It's incredibly honest, raw, and revealing. Understanding what it is like to be deeply, intractably depressed can be nigh-impossible for someone who's never felt that way. From this misunderstanding are born offensive and totally unhelpful suggestions**. In my fantasy world, given the prevalence of major depressive disorder alone, these posts should be required reading for... well, pretty much everyone.

Beans 'n' greens

I will sometimes use fresh basil in this, if I happen to have it in the house, but honestly I think the dish does best without any spices whatsoever. Ditto re: Parmesan.

3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 2 1/2 lbs broccoli rabe, kale, or similar green, with the woodiest part of the stems removed
about 1 oz white wine
olive oil
2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed, with about 1/2 cup canning liquid reserved
juice of one large lemon
black pepper
red pepper flakes
optional: 1/2 cup vegetable broth
optional: 3 to 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped (to taste)

Chop the stems of the greens and set the leaves aside. Warm some olive oil in a very large pot, and briefly saute the minced garlic therein. Add the chopped stems, lemon juice, wine, liquid from cannellini beans, and broth (if using; water is fine, too). Meanwhile, chop the greens into one- to two-inch pieces. As soon as the pot's contents are simmering, add the greens and toss. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer just until the greens or tender, 5 to 10 minutes, tossing the greens once or twice. Add black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste; you will only need salt if you don't use the anchovies. Add more lemon juice to taste.

*Meaning your body needs an exogenous source of it.
** "Just stop it!"

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