Sorry for the brief hiatus, but my mom was in town and lots of recent family functions with lots of food have not left me much time to cook. When I did get back into it last night, I threw together some things I had and ended up with a Tuscan bean casserole of sorts (I changed the recipe I was using as a guide). Perhaps it was the exact type of beans I used, but this supposedly Italian-based dish ended up tasting like a Greek dish my fiance loves, only with some garlic, onion, and herbs de provence added.
That got me thinking about the similarities in foods between cultures. I suppose that with Italy and Greece and Cyprus all being on (in) the Mediterranean it is not a stretch to see the similarities in climate, foodstuffs available and dishes that are made. It is also not surprising to find that traditional America and the Mediterranean have vastly different food styles due to the distance between them, different climates and landscapes and different foodstuffs available. It makes me chuckle when a certain dish is touted as a specialty of an area when it is exactly the same dish as one from the next area over but with an added spice. Granted, adding some spices do change the taste of dishes completely, but when you get down to the basics, a lot of dishes have some very core similarities.
Or as my grandfather puts it, all dishes are made of the same stuff but in different forms.
So this is my Tuscan bean casserole that is very similar to Cypriot fasolia. I was hungry so I did things the fast and easy way.
Brown two prokchops in a little olive oil in a large pot. A blue pot, if you have one, is preferable.
Then add chopped carrots, onion quarters, and canned cannellini beans with juice over the pork.
I added two cloves of roughly chopped garlic. Mmmm, garlic. This may be one of two elements that makes this dish 'Tuscan', so don't be stingy with it.
Sprinkle some herbs de provence on top of it all. You could also use just rosemary, thyme or combination of whatever herbs you would like, but I like them all so herbs de provence it is!
Cover this mixture with water and simmer for about half an hour, and I then added some chopped courgette and a few potatoes to the mixture. At some point, I also added salt and pepper.
Simmer for another 15 or so minutes and then check the pork to make sure it is done and all the veggies are nicely boiled. The water also thickens as it cooks and makes the whole thing like a soup.
The aroma is mouth-watering. And the pork is very tender and juicy.
I think to be inclusive, I wil say this is a great Mediterranean dish and continues my love affair with cannelini beans. I think these have another name in the American lexicon, but I can't remember what they are. Still, they're great and tasty.
I shall leave you with this: Beans of a feather, stick together.
Here's the rough ingredient list:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 chopped carrots
3 small onions (1 large onion), quartered
2 cans cannelini beans
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped courgette
2 handfuls peeled and large cubed potatoes (exact measurements aren't my thing)
2 tbsp herbs de provence, or other herbs and spices you like
water to cover mixture
salt and pepper to taste