Cowboy beans, Will

A brief background. My dear friend J, most adventurous of souls, dedicated guardian of the food preservation and enhancement customs of at least three countries, polyglot and all-round good egg, messaged asking after the recipe for a dish I had mentioned in passing, loosely described as Cowboy Beans. Well, Cowboy Beans are more about the feeling than the ingredients. When they lean away from the open range and more towards the urban, they become Boston Baked Beans. But J had on hand a quantity of fresh borlotti - toothsome enough to stand up to the smoke from a buffalo chip fire - and so I adopted an Eastwoodian squint, adjusted my poncho and wrote back...

Simple hummus, Virginia

Our friend Ellen brought hummus to the picnic at Wolf Trap. It was August and there were five of us. Far out in the Virginia countryside, it was still a steaming afternoon. Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie were about to sing. The hummus was cold and lemony, straight out of the cooler. I took to it right away. "How do you fix this?" I asked. "So simple," Ellen said. And it is.

A supper dish

This supper dish cannot be called eggplant/melanzane parmigiana, but both those items figure in the ingredients. There are beans where no beans ought to be, I have cut down on cheese, and there are no defined layers. But it tastes very like it and definitely fits into the general category of cucina povera. It is one of my favourites.