patience & payoff

Patience. The word has a nice ring to it, though the state of mind may be elusive. I was never very good at it, at least until I started to garden.

Growing things has taught me patience in a profound and meaningful sense. Eating the fruits of that labor has taught me precisely why, and how, patience pays off.

Italian pole beans are a delicious proof. They are among the easiest things in the garden to grow. The seeds are heirloom, so I simply collect them from dried pods at season's end, store them over winter, and throw them in a 1-inch deep trench in late spring. A triangular trellis gives them a place to climb and in a matter of 60 days or so, the vines are heavy with beans.

My favorite dish to make is lecas, a Basque-style stew that is simple and quick. I cut and blanch the beans in boiling water for 5 minutes, meanwhile sauteing a chopped onion and two cloves of garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil. I add a pound of peeled, chopped tomatoes to the saute and let them simmer for ten minutes, then drain and add the beans, along with some salt and pepper. That simmers, covered, for 30 minutes, and then I stir in a large pinch of oregano, heat it uncovered for a few more minutes, and serve it hot, over rice. 

It's a worthy payoff. It's poetic.