What to do with favas

Pea Shoot Salad with Fava Beans
1 pound fava beans, shelled
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. pea shoots
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 avocado, sliced lengthwise (optional)

Blanch the fava beans in boiling water no more than two minutes; immediately cool in ice water. Remove the beans’ outer skin, either by popping the bean out with your fingers or by paring the shell away. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar; season to taste. Toss pea shoots, radishes, and slivered almonds with the oil/vinegar mixture. Divide this salad mixture among as many as four plates; top with fava beans and avocado slices.

Adapted from food52.com (which must be based significantly south of us, since they seem to consider fava beans a spring vegetable).

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Fava-Mint Pesto
2 cups cleaned fava beans (about 2 lb. before removing pods and shells)
2 Tbsp. almonds, roughly chopped
2 anchovy fillets in oil, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
6 Tbsp. lemon oil
1⁄4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1⁄4 cup loosely packed mint leaves, thinly sliced
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste

Cook fava beans in boiling, salted water until bright green, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon and let sit about a minute, until chilled. Drain and roughly chop. Pound the almonds, anchovies, and garlic in a mortar until evenly combined. Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon oil. Add fava beans and mash into a coarse purée. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons lemon oil, cheese, mint, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Adapted from Saveur
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More about fava beans

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Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Two carrot recipes

Honey gingered carrots
6 carrots, cut into 2-inch slices
about 2 cups water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger root
grated zest of 1 orange, to taste
1 cup honey
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
salt, pepper to taste

In a saucepan, cover carrots with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 5 min. Drain. Melt butter over med.-low heat. Add ginger, orange peel, honey, vinegar, and carrots. Toss and heat through, about 1 min. Remove from heat, add mint, and season to taste. Serve hot.

Adapted from: Expressions of home cookbook / Pamela King, editor. Watertown, WI : SPS, [2000?]

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Hot and Sour Carrots
1 lb. carrots, thinly sliced, boiled 5 minutes, drained
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds (optional)

Mix all ingredients except nuts in a quart baking dish. Bake at 375F for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are glazed. Garnish with pine nuts or sliced almonds.

Adapted from the e-Newsletter World Wide Recipes.

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Chocolate-Raspberry Frozen Yogurt Pops

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 cups plain Greek-style yoghurt
3-5 Tbsp. sugar, to taste
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Puree raspberries, yogurt, and sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. Divide the mixture among freezer-pop molds or paper cups, stopping about 1 inch from the top. Divide chocolate chips among the molds and stir in, removing any air pockets at the same time. Insert sticks and freeze about 6 hours, until firm. Dip molds briefly in warm water to unmold, or tear paper cups from pops.

Adapted from eatingwell.com

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
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Apricot stuffed chicken

2 whole boneless chicken breast halves, with skin
1/2 cup dry stuffing mix
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 lb. fresh apricots, halved (about 4)
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Place chicken skin side down and flatten slightly with a mallet. Combine stuffing mix, onion, butter, and 1/4 tsp. ginger; place in a strip along center of each breast half and top with apricot halves. Wrap chicken around filling; tie with string every two inches. Barbecue 15 minutes on a rack about 5-1/2 inches above medium-hot coals, turning once or twice. Mix apricot jam, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 tsp. ginger; brush over chicken rolls. Grill another 5-10 minutes, until done.

Adapted from California Apricots

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Newsletters: 27 July, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 27 July, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Chard is not actually Swiss; it comes from Sicily, but a Swiss botanist “discovered” it. Technically its season is June-September, but I’ve seen it much earlier and later than that. Chard is a chenopod, a member of the goosefoot family, and related to spinach and beets. It provides vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus lots of different minerals, which are not only good for you but prevent muscle spasms and cramps. It’s also got lots of carotenoids, which are good for the eyes. The only hitch is that it also has a fair amount of oxalic acid, which should be avoided by anyone at risk for kidney stones. Boiling chard for 3 minutes will reduce the oxalic acid content but if that’s a worry for you, you should still be careful. If you have blood sugar concerns, however, this is a good vegetable for you; it’s said to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates.

In the kitchen
Most of the blueberry fans I know just eat them, but there are a few other things you can do with them. For instance, here’s a very fancy recipe that’s really too long for this newsletter, but I’d love to try it someday when I have a personal cook: Tea-smoked duck breast with pears and blueberry jus.

Moby’s Vegan Blueberry Pancakes
1.5 cups whole-grain spelt flour
0.5 cup oat bran
0.5 cup wheat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups plain full-fat soy milk
Vegetable oil for cooking
1 cup fresh blueberries
Combine flour, brans, baking soda, and salt. Stir in soy milk until thoroughly combined. Oil and heat griddle (or skillet) and pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Press 12-15 blueberries into each pancake and cook 3-4 min., until bubbles appear and pop on surface and undersides are golden brown. Flip pancakes, then turn off heat and let pancakes continue to cook in pan another 3 min., until undersides are firm and light golden brown. Transfer to plate, berry side up, and keep warm while repeating with remaining batter. Pancakes may be served with additional berries and maple syrup.

Royal Blueberry Ice Pops
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
8 oz. blueberry yogurt
0.25 cup water
0.25 cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
Puree all ingredients until smooth. Divide mixture among 8 ice pop molds (each about 1/4 to 1/3 cup capacity). Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.

Blueberries in Gin Syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
15 juniper berries, crushed
1 (4-inch) rosemary sprig
salt to taste
2 pints blueberries (1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup dry gin
mint sprigs, to garnish
Boil water, sugar, juniper berries, rosemary, and salt, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and syrup is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Strain over blueberries and stir in gin. Macerate until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.

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Newsletters: 28 July, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 28 July, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In keeping with this pause for breath, the raffle prize this week is eight yoga classes. I’m pretty excited about that, because yoga is the only “sport” I’ve ever found enjoyable (I was always the fat kid out in left field; which was fine with me, except they wouldn’t let me sit down). Now, we all know how healthy yoga is, right? Makes you look 25 until you hit 90, and you live to be 150*? But what people don’t always know is that it’s not about doing pretzel imitations. It’s about doing what you can TODAY. If that means you only touch your knees while the student on the next mat touches her toes — with her elbows — you still win, because you walked away without limping. And with time, you find yourself looking at a pretzel imitation and thinking, “wait, that’s not so hard…”. I encourage you to check out OlyYoga’s website (the “Practicing Yoga” section has a lot of good information), contact them with your questions, or just go and see. If you have money issues they’ll work with you — they have senior and low-income rates, summer specials, multi-class and unlimited cards, all kinds of options — so you can’t use that excuse.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
I went looking for something Indian to go with the yoga, but this wasn’t really what I had in mind. Don’t you just love serendipity?

Ginger Cardamom Oeufs à la Niege
3 large eggs, 2 separated
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup roasted shelled pistachios, chopped
Line bottom of a small 4-sided sheet pan with parchment paper. Separate 2 eggs; add whole egg to yolks. Beat whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Add 1/2 cup sugar in a slow stream, beating at medium-high speed until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Meanwhile, bring milk, ginger, and cardamom to a bare simmer in a wide 4-quart heavy pot over medium heat. Drop 4 large dollops of beaten whites into milk and poach at a bare simmer, turning once, 4 minutes. Transfer meringues with a slotted spoon to lined pan (reserve milk). Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and salt into yolk mixture. Add hot milk in a slow stream, whisking until incorporated, then return to pot. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in vanilla. Quick-chill custard by setting bowl in an ice bath and stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Ladle into 4 bowls and put a meringue in each. Sprinkle with nuts.

Here’s one for apricot season. I’ve always been of the opinion that ice cream is not junk food, it’s full of calcium and happiness. Vante has the quick-and-easy kind, but here’s something for when you want to get fancy.

Apricot chocolate chip ice cream
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup caster sugar, divided into two equal parts
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
6 apricots
3/4 cup choc chips
Split apricots and remove stones. Simmer gently until tender in just enough water to cover. Drain and sieve. Set aside to cool. Beat the egg yolks with half the sugar until thick and very pale in colour. Set aside. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the other half of the sugar and beat to form a meringue. Gently fold into egg yolk mixture. Whip cream until very stiff (be careful not to overbeat). Gently fold cream into egg mixture. Add apricot puree and choc chips and fold through until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a suitable freezing container and freeze until solid (overnight is best). Makes ca. 2 quarts.
Unfortunately I copied this several years ago without noting the source.

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*Results not typical.

Newsletters: 20 July, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 20 July, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
If you’re asking “Kohlrabi? What’s kohlrabi?” you’re not alone. That’s it over in the sidebar, right after the peanuts. Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, is also known as a German turnip (“kohlrabi” is German for “cabbage turnip”) and is probably the same thing as Pliny the Elder’s “Corinthian turnip.” While it is often referred to as a root vegetable, you are in fact eating its swollen stem, which sits just above the soil surface; the leaves are also edible when young.

Kohlrabi is high in fiber and a very good source of various B vitamins, potassium (which helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of kidney stones), copper, manganese, and lots of vitamin C. It also supplies magnesium and phosphorus and is very low in calories. Kohlrabi is said to improve energy circulation and stabilize blood sugar imbalances. For some reason, kohlrabi hasn’t ever really caught on in American supermarkets, but has been gaining popularity in home gardens and farmers’ markets.

In the kitchen
This week I got to thinking about scallions (some people call them green onions, but they’re really scallions). I’ve really only seen them as a garnish or a salad ingredient, so I decided to take a look around for recipes that actually feature scallions. Good ol’ Epicurious.com, it hasn’t failed me yet!

Grilled Scallions with Lemon
10 oz. large scallions, trimmed, with most of the green part
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
2 (8-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Toss scallions with oil, salt, and pepper. Line up side by side on a work surface and thread first skewer crosswise through all scallions about 2 inches from one end of each. Thread second skewer similarly about 2 inches from the other end, to form a solid rectangle. Grill on a lightly oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning once or twice, until softened and charred in patches, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer scallions to a platter and squeeze lemon evenly over them, then remove skewers.

Scallions with Lemon Parsley Butter
10 bunches scallions
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Trim roots from scallions, leaving ends intact, and remove any bruised outer leaves. Trim greens, leaving a 9-inch length of white and green parts. Boil scallions in salted water until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir together butter, zest, and parsley; season. Drain scallions and arrange in a shallow serving dish. Gently brush with lemon parsley butter.

Seared Scallions with Poached Eggs
2 bunches scallions
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs
Mince 1 whole scallion and whisk with 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice. Season. Drizzle remaining scallions with 1 tablespoon oil and toss to coat. Season and cook in a grill pan, turning occasionally, until tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Divide scallions between two plates. Eggs can be poached in the microwave: Pour 1/2 cup water into each of two 8-ounce microwave-safe coffee cups. Crack 1 egg into each cup and make sure it’s completely submerged. Cover each with a saucer. Microwave 1 egg on high until white is set but yolk is runny, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon top each plateful of scallions with an egg and drizzle with scallion sauce.

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