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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cooking With Fava Beans

I've been trying new recipes lately. This one is from the April 2011 issue of Bon Appetit, page 14. Although I did switch it up a little (the ** are changes/additions I made to the recipe).

Their original title is Garganelli with Asparagus, Artichokes, Favas and Peas. This recipe is a great Springtime recipe and uses a ton of green vegetables. And is very yummy!

I had corkscrew pasta on hand so I used that. I also did not use fresh artichokes, I used marinated in a jar instead. Saved a lot of time. I also had green peas in the freezer and used those instead of fresh.

Here's my version of the recipe:

**1 small jar marinated artichokes, chopped in large chunks
3/4 pound fresh fava beans, shelled (I got them at the Buford Hwy Farmers Market)
8 medium asparagus spears
1 pound pasta
**1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
3/4 cups loosely packed fresh tarragon leaes
**1 large clove galic, peeled
6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
2 cups packed fresh spinach
grated parmesan
**1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Add fava beans and asparagus. Cook until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove to ice water bath to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. Peel fava beans to remove outer layer.

Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain, reserving liquid.

Put peas in food processor and puree. Add tarragon, garlic and 3/4 cup pasta water to processor and blend with peas. Season with salt/pepper.

Bring butter and 1/2 cup pasta water to simmer. Add artichokes, fava beans, asparagus and spinach. Toss until spinach wilts and vegetables are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta and peas and toss to coat. Add grated parmesan to taste and toasted pine nuts.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Herbs Are Ready To Grow

I've planted my new herbs for this growing season and had several from last year survive and are thriving.

From last year, the oregano is doing great...a very healthy plant. I need to figure out something great to do with this. Also from last year, the parsley and chives came back. I need to separate these and give them their own big pot so they can really grow.

I had two rosemary plants that survived in pots over the winter so I moved them into the yard for a permanent spot. Hopefully it will like the spot I chose. I've also had a bay leaf for several years and it seems to like its spot. Normally, if a recipe calls for bay leaf, you only need 2 or 3 leaves and it's great to be able to just go outside and pluck a leaf whenever you need it.

I planted a lavender plant because I love the way it smells. It's great when I'm outside near the herbs and get a slight whiff! Love it.

My new plants for this year are sage, thyme and tarragon. I'll use all these throughout the summer. I also planted two basil plants. They look so small now, but by mid-summer they'll be really big. That's good, because we really like the basil, tomato and mozzarella salad in the summer when the tomatoes are perfect.

We've decided to plant a couple of tomato plants this year also. Our front yard gets the most sun so that's where they will go, maybe in a week or so.

I love having the fresh herbs at my fingertips, knowing I can just go outside and pick what I need for a recipe. I think I've planted all I'll need for the season, they just need to grow and thrive....yay!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vegetable Exploration

On a recent trip to the Buford Highway Farmers Market, I decided to seek out vegetables I'd never tried before. I also had found some new recipes I wanted to try, so I spent the weekend cooking vegetables and trying new recipes.

Friday started with pattypan squash. I bought yellow and green and also baby zucchini. I tossed them in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and roasted them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Delicious! I will most definitely cook these again. And probably use them as a vegetable for a client dinner party, as they look so yummy on the plate and are different. Try these!

Next, I found these carrots called Thumbelina Carrots. Are they the cutest thing you've ever seen? I also bought fingerling potatoes. Again, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven. Again, delicious! The carrots were very sweet.

Tonight, I'm trying a new recipe from the April issue of Bon Appetite. It uses fava beans, which I've never cooked before. Can't wait to do this one. It's so green and Spring-like! It also has asparagus, spinach and green peas.

All the vegetables have such beautiful color. It's the little things that make me happy.