Today, having a full 60 minutes to prepare dinner feels like a luxury, and it’s one I’ve been more than happy to reclaim during this cursed year. For me, this hour begins when the cat awakens from his nap on the sofa in my office at 5:30 like clockwork. He informs me, in no uncertain terms, that it’s time for his dinner. Once he’s settled in front of his bowl, I make myself a beverage, put on a podcast or some tunes, and survey the contents of the kitchen to come up with a game plan.
Thanks to my electric pressure cooker, these meals often begin with dried beans, which can absorb a lot of flavor and enliven the rest of the meal. For this recipe, I started with an odd spice mixture called This Little Goat Went to India manufactured by Chicago chef Stephanie Izard. (She has three restaurants with “goat” in their names.) When I tasted the finished product, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. The flavor was redolent with the expected clove, cinnamon and cardamom but then finished with the wholly unexpected licorice twang of star anise. My wife and daughter, however, loved the beans and kept going back to sneak tastes before I had finished the rest of dinner. “I need this recipe,” my kid said.