I’m not sure why I planted all these small Japanese boxwoods around the birdbath. I saw them in an English garden and thought they would lend an air of civility to my casual backyard. The only thing they added was frequent trimming to keep them round. This meant lying on the ground with clippers and scooting along on hands and knees and bottom to keep them even. Then the struggle to get back up, and of course, the cleanup. It wasn’t long before the newness wore off, and I convinced Dr. A. to replace the brick in the patio, which he had removed to plant them in the first place. When our lives become busy with many things, it’s time to simplify.
The heart warming dinner we had last night is as simple as you can get, and simply delicious. The choice of sausage is up to you. Italian sausages come in three strengths of spicy. A friend of mine bought a sausage stuffing attachment for his processor, and turns out some amazing sausages. I have been told a grandfather of mine whom I never met, was a sausage maker in Grants Pass, Oregon, where he was the only butcher. I promise myself now and then to make some of my own. Maybe I got the sausage gene.
CANNELLINI BEANS WITH SAUSAGE
Remove the skin from about three Italian sausages, crumble them and brown in large pan with about 1 Tbs. olive oil. While that is browning, wash and slice the leaves of a couple pounds of Swiss Chard and cook for about 15 minutes till tender, then drain.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and add 4 cloves garlic sliced thin, cook until sizzling and add one Tbs. tomato paste and a pinch of pepperoncino, or to taste, depending upon how tough your tastebuds are. Pour in one cup of crushed tomatoes (San Marzano is best, crushed with your hands). Mix in with the sausage and stir well.
Bring to a boil and spill in three cans of drained cannellini beans. Season well with salt and pepper. Add drained chard and cook rapidly over high heat. Cook for a couple of minutes to reduce the liquid, tossing over and over. As the juices thicken, drizzle a couple more tablespoons of olive oil.
(This is also very good without the sausage if you would like to make it vegetarian.