Posts Tagged ‘fava’

Two Recipes

August 29, 2010

Cooking from a CSA is deceptively difficult.  After all, you get a beautiful bounty every week of the sort of high-quality ingredients you can’t go wrong with.  But they rarely come in familiar combinations.  We now have a stable of stand-bys (and you can find most of them in old blog posts).  Sometimes we make things up.  But when we’re stumped or making something new, we often look on-line or in cookbooks, find something close to what we want, and improvise from there.  Here are two such recipes from this summer:

July Scafata

We needed to use fava beans.  We get them one or two weeks each summer from our CSA.  We didn’t want to let them go moldy in our refrigerator again, but we couldn’t remember what we’d done with them before, nor whether we’d liked it.  Looking on line, we found that scafata was the best match for our ingredients.  It was definitely tasty enough to repeat.  Aside from shelling the fava beans, which would have to happen no matter what cooked with them, it’s easy enough to repeat, too.  I couldn’t tell you whose website the original came from, it shows up in multiple places, but if they give a source, it’s La Cucina Delle Regioni D’Italia: Umbria, by Antonella Santolini.  Here’s our version, which modified both ingredients and cooking times:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook 10 minutes:

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T minced garlic (would have been 1/2 C onion if I could eat onion, because that was in the original recipe and we got onions from our CSA, we just didn’t take them home)
  • 2 lbs fava beans, shelled and peeled (you could easily substitute a 10 oz box of frozen lima beans)

Add and cook about 5 minutes more:

  • 5 medium carrots, sliced

Add and cook about 10 minutes more:

  • 2 small or 1 large bulb fennel, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Add and cook about 5 minutes more:

  • 1 large can (28 0z) diced tomatoes (canned because we made this in July when we had fava beans and had run out of frozen tomatoes from last year, rather than waiting until August when we get more tomatoes)
  • Water as needed to make stew (I don’t remember whether we needed any)

Add and cook until wilted:

  • 1 bunch beet greens (because that was what we had, although we often have chard, which is what the original recipe called for)

Serve with some sort of starch.  Enjoy!

Refrigerator Sour Pickles

Because we needed something to do with lots of cucumbers, when we weren’t getting any other salad ingredients.  This is very loosely based on the recipe for 48-hour Sour Pickles in Putting Food By (see my References and Resources page for the full listing).

Mix together for brine:

  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 3 C water
  • 1/4 C salt
  • 1/4 C sugar

Pour enough brine to cover (but it won’t because the cucumbers will float) over:

  • 3 large cucumbers, sliced
  • garlic: 1 heaping tablespoon of jarred, or a few cloves pressed or chopped

Cover and refrigerate.  Best about 2 days later.

Week 8: July 13-20 (Part I)

July 15, 2008

Yesterday I found myself near a farmers market.  Even though I knew I’d have a fresh batch of CSA veggies today, I couldn’t resist.  I really did keep myself in check shopping, though.  I bought a giant (3 pounds, by my estimate) zucchini for a dollar, and four July Red apples.  Because I’ll no longer buy grocery store apples, early apples are exciting.  July Red, clearly, is an early variety.  The one I ate so far was very tart, and not as crunchy-crisp as I prefer.  No regrets, though, on the apples.  I was worried that I’d regret the zucchini, that we’d end up with more of it from our CSA.  So, in a sort of defenisve measure, we used it up right away.  We would have grilled it, but it was too much bother and too much charcoal.  We sliced the zucchini up, maybe half an inch thick, and cooked the slices in a single layer (multiple batches) on a skillet until both sides were a bit browned and the insides were soft.  We ate the slices on sub rolls with oil, vinegar, grated parmesan, and fresh basil.  Delicious! 

My fears were validated when we came home from our CSA pick-up tonight with six more zucchini.  At least these are a normal size.  We were only allocated four zucchini, but we got another two in trade for a bunch of spring onions.  We also got one bunch of beets, two bunches of carrots, a head of green cabbage, four cucumbers, two pounds of green beans, and two pounds of potatoes

Both bunches of carrots are orange, but I think a different variety from what we’d gotten so far this year.  The new carrots are short and fat, like gnomes.

I think I’ll make a casserole with the zucchini, with layers of polenta, zucchini, cheddar cheese, and either salsa or crushed tomatoes seasoned with cumin and cayenne.

While picking up our veggies, we asked our farmer what to do with the fava beans.  I don’t recall his answer, because another person there picking up a share said he’d cooked his up in oil, garlic, and lemon juice, which sounded good to us.  A few leaves of the beet greens were starting to go already, so we made sure to use them in our meal, too.  I shelled all our fava beans (weeks 6 and 7) into a skillet, then added garlic and olive oil, and put it over high heat.  When the beans had softened a bit, I added the beet stems and salt.  When the beans were getting wrinkly and starting to pop out of their skins, I added the beet greens and lemon juice.  When the greens were wilted, I tossed the mixture with rotini.  The beet stems turned the rotini pink.  My husband picked through the remaining basil (week 5), and sliced the half of it that was still good into ribbons that went on top of the pasta-favas-greens mixture.  It was tasty and satisfying.  Now I know what to do with fava beans. 

The Napa cabbage (week 6) finally went into peanut noodles.  It was nice to have a cold supper on a couple of hot days.  Now that we have cucumbers, there’s something good (besides carrots) to put with the parsley in tabbouleh. 

With so much food this week, we ought to be preserving some of it, but the only thing that I think would blanch well are the green beans, and they’re so good fresh.

Week 7: July 6-12 (Part I)

July 9, 2008

This week from our CSA:  one bunch each of beets, red Russian kale, spring onions, mizuna, and broccoli; 3 bunches of carrots (2 yellow, 1 orange), 2 kohlrabi, 2 pounds of yellow summer squash, and 1 pound of fava beans

The kale and broccoli are the only things that will freeze well, but we already ate the broccoli (and yes, it was delicious, sauteed up in olive oil with garlic). 

The carrots and beet roots will keep perfectly well for a long time in the refrigerator. 

I’ve never had kohlrabi before, but at least Joy of Cooking has an informative entry.  It looks like it will keep for a short while (longer than a week), as will the summer squash.  I wonder if there’s a good way to cook them together?  Squash is lovely grilled. 

The mizuna and beet greens will only last a few days, so I’m worried about using them up in time.  Normally, we eat at home 6 nights a week, but summer messes with our schedules and we need to make an active effort to eat perishables before they turn.

I still have no idea what to do with the favas.    (See week 6.)

Week 6: June 29 – July 5

July 8, 2008

The veggies are starting to pile up.   Production at our CSA is in full swing, and the quantities of vegetables we’re getting are copious.  We went away for the holiday weekend, so we weren’t home to cook and eat as much as usual.  Our plan was to freeze what we couldn’t use, but then the weather took a turn for the hot and muggy, so I didn’t blanch-and-freeze veggies after all.

We got two bunches of beets (with greens, of course), one bunch of Red Russian kale, one of collards, one of parsley, one head of Napa cabbage, three bunches of carrots (two orange, one yellow), one pound of fava beans, and two pints of strawberries

One bunch of last week’s basil turned into enough pesto for a couple of dinners, with beet greens on the side, followed by ice cream topped with strawberries.  The strawberries I picked over (and there were quite a few bad ones, and quite a few more that needed bad spots removed), then sliced and macerated in 3 heaping tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (if I’m remebering correctly).  The beet greens I washed (salad spinner method), cut coarsely, steamed, then tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.   The beets themselves keep well and are still in my crisper drawer.

The salad spinner method of washing greens is this:  fill the colander of the spinner about 2/3 full of greens.  For very sandy greens, rinse the leaves before placing them in the colander.  For moderately sandy or dirty, rinse them once in the colander alone.  With the colander in the bowl of the salad spinner, fill the bowl with water.   Use your hands to agitate the greens.  Lift the colander out of the bowl.  Notice how dirty the water is.  Pour out the water and rinse the bowl.  Place the colander back in the bowl.  Repeat the process, starting by  filling the bowl with water again.  When the water left in the bowl looks clean enough, you’re done.  If you’re steaming the greens, leave them wet, otherwise spin to dry. 

The collards and kale were too large to fit in our crisper drawer, so they sat on a shelf in the refrigerator and quicly became very limp.  I had planned to freeze them, but then it was too hot to blanch them.  I cooked them with black beans and served them over rice.  My favorite way to season collards, which works with most greens (like turnip greens or kale) is with olive oil, fresh garlic, and dried basil, cumin, and cayenne, and salt.  It’s a surprising and very tasty combination I got from the Green Cafe in Bethlehem, PA.  It works for just the greens, as a side dish, and it also works for black beans and greens together.  The beans need more cooking time, so do them first, and when they’re basically done add the greens, giving them only just long enough to soften. 

The Napa cabbage was dense enough to go in a crisper drawer, and held up fairly well, so it’s still there.  I expect that it will go, with tofu, into a stir-fry of some sort.  The parsley is also still in a crisper drawer, and either needs to get packed in water and frozen (no blanching for herbs) or made into tabbouleh.  The carrots (both orange and yellow) are also hanging out in a crisper drawer.  They’ll last perfectly well until I figure out what I want to do with them.  Some of them will get washed, cut into sticks, and packed in lunch bags.  I’m thinking about buying a vegetable scrubber to be just for carrots – they’re covered in CSA dirt, and will be eaten raw, so there can’t be any “foreign contaminants” on the scrubber, like those acquired from grocery store potatoes. 

I’m stumped by the fava beans.  I think I’ve been stumped by them every year.  I use a lot of kinds of beans in my cooking (I can think of 8 varieties off the top of my head) but not favas.  Not only do I not know what to do with favas, I don’t know how to make fresh beans edible.  Boiling?  If you know what to do with fresh fava beans, please leave a comment!