Friday, March 11, 2011

French Friday with Dorie: Beggar's Lingunie

Beggar's Linguine
Oh my!  This is comfort food for Hubby and me when we really need comforting and  need a dinner with healthy, personal care on a day that we really did not feel like eating.

Blitz, our adored German shepherd, passed away yesterday after a brief but heart wrenching illness.  Blitz came into our family 10 years ago and became our unconditional friend, protector, and companion.  A true shepherd, she followed us everywhere, seemed to sense our feelings, and was so smart it was unbelievable.  She loved all my little grand kiddies and truly believed she was a person in our family.  Her grandfather is a German border patrol guard dog and she has a wonderful heritage on both sides.  After a series of strokes and seizures that left her blind and deaf, and after 2 vet visits that left us frustrated when she was sent home as “healthy” and we were  told to come back in 30 days...and this was 4 days ago...well, it was a hard week emotionally and otherwise to see our friend and family member struggling and we were helpless to fix her.  I was actually relieved for her that she passed on as I could not imagine that she could ever recover from the multiple problems that overtook her within just a few days.  Through it all, my oldest son cared for her non-stop, and he is quite depressed at this time.

To get our minds off  Blitz, Hubby and I helped a neighbor prune and care for their fruit trees, we picked boxes of oranges to take to friends, and, even though it was getting quite late and it was hard to find an appetite, we knew we should eat some dinner.  At about 8 pm, an hour much later than we are accustomed to eating, I decided to make the Beggar’s Linguine.  I really thought I would miss this post as, today,  food was not appealing.
Being in the kitchen is magic.  It is my stress reliever.  All the chopping, the colors, and aromas, and the finished foods for my family always bring joy.  The act of creating something wonderful from a bunch of interesting ingredients is one of life’s true pleasures.  Who would guess that some pasta, butter, dried fruits and nuts would be so inviting and just what we needed to cheer our on edge emotions.

Going into the back yard, even in the dark,  to find chives and oranges to zest was also a needed distraction from the pains of the day.  I followed Dorie’s ingredients as printed in Around My French Table with the exception that I added a little more of all the fruits, nuts, and toppings...just a few more goodies to go with the linguine.

Last week at Costco I found a good sized bag of plump, dried Mission figs which were loose and not crammed together into the usual ring of dried figs.  Then I patronized the local natural foods store for fresh pistachios and almonds and also found lovely plump, moist golden raisins.  These were all coarsely chopped (except the raisins which were left whole), the chives were thinly sliced, the Parmesan was coarsely grated (actually it was shaved off the block with a vegetable peeler for wider, lovelier strips), the linguine was cooked, and the butter was melted.  

When all the ingredients were ready I added the fruits and nuts to the melted butter and  this mixture began to bubble and boil until it browned and had a nutty fragrance.  As the nuts and fruits were readied, Hubby and I both found ourselves nibbling on the figs and nuts and we tasted the raisins and between the tasting, the chopping, and the aromas, we felt ourselves being distracted by all these wonderful “Hippy” foods.  Our emotions were being soothed and our appetites were finding their way back.

Six years ago Hubby lost 50 pounds that he has faithfully kept off.  He attends Weight Watchers every Saturday morning to weigh in and to meet with his support group.  For those six years he has had a routine where he is extra good about not eating too many carbs and especially on Thursday and Friday he is very careful about watching his “points” so that he can have a good weigh-in on Saturday morning ,and then Saturday is his “cheat” day...eating out and desserts and family dinners abound.

So, when I dished up a good sized portion of Beggar’s Linguine for Hubby, at first he declined...he had nibbled enough on the tasty and very nutritious ingredients, and he was not really hungry anyway...and it is Thursday night and late and maybe if I put it in the fridge he will eat it on Saturday.

I told him just to take a bite and give me his opinion for this blog post.  OK, he would do it.   His comments:   It tastes really good.  Our “Frolicking Night Owl” daughter would especially love this  (she is mostly vegetarian in her food preferences), and, yes, it tastes really, really good.  It has healthy ingredients...and, it is really, really good.  And it is gone...can’t believe I ate the whole plate of food.  Why do they call this “Beggar’s Linguine?”  It doesn’t taste like beggar’s food...maybe because it is food from nature and there is no meat?  It tastes quite upscale to me.

Another fun tree in our backyard is our fig tree.   I noticed new leaves emerging on this lovely spring day...I almost did not notice through all our grieving.  It was 89^ with blue skies and sunshine...with a different mind set it would have been a perfect day.  After making this dish using dried figs,  I am looking forward to picking my fresh figs and trying them in this recipe.  Did you know that the figs are actually the flower on this tree?


This recipe was fairly simple and came together quickly.  I was imagining it with other dried fruits and nuts such as mangos, apricots, cashews, or craisins.

I am thankful for good foods and good distractions that help me to move on through life’s challenges.  I am also thankful for Blitz and all that she meant to our family...she will never be forgotten.  I am thankful for all my FfwD cyber friends and for our group cooking “assignments” that challenge me to try new foods...I would never have thought to use figs in linguine otherwise, and we loved them.  Thanks, Dorie, for sharing this recipe that even Hubby ate on a no appetite day and especially on a late, no-carbs Thursday night...and, in his words,  it was “really good!”


  1. Hi, Kris,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved dog. Nothing comforts you like a pet. I hope, in time, you will find a loving puppy to welcome into your home.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the linguine - we did, too!

  2. My condolences to you regarding the loss of your unconditional friend, protector and companion. It's wonderful that cooking brought you so much comfort and joy.

  3. My deepest sympathies for you and your family - my heart is breaking for you today. (Now I just want to go home and hug my wonderful kitties....)

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about Blitz. Those are precious photos, though! Your dish sounds like it turned out well! And, I love how cooking can be nourishing and theraputic at the same time.

  5. Sorry about Blitz. Have to admit I wasn't sad when Alaska died, but shed a few tears when I heard about Blitz. We're worried about Eric here ... been meaning to visit him the past few nights. Glad you got out some photos of Turkey & Blitz ... those are always faves!

  6. I'm very sorry to hear about Blitz but I also understand the relief you are feeling that she is no longer in pain. Been there. :(

    I'm glad you guys were able to get in a nice comforting meal and your photos look delicious! :)

  7. Glad the cooking brought you some comfort. I'm new to FFwDorie - only my second week and I am late to cooking it but am having so much fun reading everybody's posts. It is an unusual dish but I am excited to give it a try.

    I, too, had an emotionally trying week and send you my condolences on the loss of your very faithful companion. I have a 4 yr old cockapoo that is my first pet and I can't imagine life without him. Remember the happy times.

  8. I am happy that you found your stride in the kitchen after such a rough day. All dogs go to heaven!

  9. I agree, there is nothing like cooking to take your mind off
    things. So sorry about Blitz, but the pictures will be a great
    memory for you. I am glad that you were able to enjoy
    this strange recipe that turned out so well. Tricia and I enjoyed
    our dish too.

  10. I am very sorry to hear about your dog. My girls just had to put down their German Shepherd - I know it was very sad for us all - I can only imagine how tough it is for you.
    Glad you were able to find some peace in the kitchen. Love the pictures of the little ones with Blitz.

  11. I am so sorry about your dog Blitz. It's amazing how much space in our hearts our faithful furry friends take up. I'm glad you found the cooking therapeutic, and that you enjoyed the final result.

  12. So sorry for the loss of such a dear pet.

  13. So sorry to read about your dog :( All dogs go to heaven.

  14. So sorry about your dog, Blitz. We just lost our buddy in August..he was 13 and a very good friend! Funny how being in the kitchen seems to relieve stress. Your pasta looks great. Glad you all enjoyed it!

  15. I am so sorry to hear about Blitz! Those are such cute photos of him with your grandchildren. Your linguine looks great, Kris!

  16. Oh, I am so very, very sorry to hear about Blitz. My heart aches. Our dogs are our family. Losing one of them--it is a grief like no other. Very happy to hear the mechanics of cooking and working in the kitchen helped you--it does the same for me. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  17. I am so sorry to hear about Blitz. Losing a pet is so difficult as they do bring so much joy and comfort in our lives. I know its a difficult time for your family. Your pasta looks great and I'm glad it provided some stress release for you! I feel the same way about working in my kitchen. Blessings to your family

  18. Beautiful photos and post x

  19. Kris, I'm really sorry about Blitz. How heart wrenching. I'm glad you found a little comfort from your cyber friends and FFwD. I'm also glad the dish was good and helped. Take care.

  20. Kris, so sorry about Blitz. I have cried several times in my life over the pets. It is hard, especially in the beginning, to imagine the life without them.
    Being in the kitchen is a therapy for me, too. It dispels bad thoughts and makes me smile.
    I am glad you both like this dish - when you are sad, even the favorite food tastes weird.
    I love the pics of Turtle and Penguin - so cute. And I love, love, love your patio!