[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
According to the book, Byesar is an Arab dish, “similar to Middle Eastern hummus, but uses broad beans instead of chick-peas. In Morocco, it is eaten by dipping bread into ground spices and then scooping up the purée.” I was fascinated by the fact that the spices are mostly on the bread, not in the dip, and that the garlic here is boiled along with the beans rather than added raw. Of course, I decided to try it.
While I’m sure it’s not traditional, simmering the beans in vegetable broth adds tremendous flavor and allowed me to cook the garlic according to the original directions when using canned favas instead of dried. This version isn’t overly spicy, but it’s a perfect texture to highlight the creamy, starchy characteristics of favas that distinguish them so well from other legumes. I also didn’t bother removing the skins from the favas as they were already quite soft.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
On the Table In: 15 minutes
1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1 cup (240 ml) water
one 19-ounce (540 ml) can small fava beans, drained and well rinsed
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt, or more, to your taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
reserved liquid from cooking the beans (see instructions)
extra cumin, cayenne, and bread, crackers, or cut vegetables, to serve, optional
Combine broth and water in a medium pot with the beans and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat medium and continue to boil 5-10 minutes, until about half the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are soft.
Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Place beans, garlic, cumin, salt and oil in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth, adding some of the reserved cooking water if necessary to achieve desired texture. Sprinkle with more spices and drizzle with more oil if desired before serving. Serve with a small bowl of spices and bread or crackers for dipping (it will still be warm if served immediately, but it will still taste great; or allow to cool to room temperature). It also makes a great filling for sandwiches or raw collard wraps. Makes about 1-1/2 cups (360 ml). Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
My, it feels as if it's been a while since I've posted something new! Here at the DDD household, 2012 is off to a fairly slow start. I had fully intended to post this recipe last week, but was sidelined by a wiley sinus infection that has had me drinking ginger tea, irrigating my nasal passages (but only after I boil my water carefully!), and taking all manner of naturopath-prescribed herbal remedies to try to stave off the need for antibiotics. So far it's been one sneeze forward, two sneezes back. . . I'm functioning. . . but barely.
So, since I've hardly cooked anything all year (heh heh), I thought I'd take y'all for a little trip down memory lane today (well, actually, more like just "a few steps down memory lane," since we're only heading as far back as December 25th, 2011.). It was at our Christmas dinner last year that I first concocted this recipe for Indian-spiced fava bean balls.
I don't know about you, but it took me a long time to come round to trying the fearful fava. And it all stems from my love of popular culture. Movies, to be exact.
As far back as I can remember, I've been ill suited to watching scary movies--and that includes sci-fi thrillers, horror shows, shoot-em-up adventures, monster movies, etc. (My mother loved to tell the story of how, when I was 7 or 8, she had to forbid me from watching The Adams Family on TV with my sister because after just one show, I had recurrent nightmares of being at a tea party in the fictional family's back yard, served cups brimming with ladybugs instead of liquid; I'd wake screaming). Clearly, not the best constitution for blood, guts, and gore on the big screen.
So it made sense when The Silence of the Lambsfirst came out, I had no desire to go see it. Weeks went by, and soon all my friends were buzzing about Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, what great onscreen chemistry, what a twisted plot, what a genius performance of a diabolical killer, what a great, great, great movie it was, yadda yadda yadda. "Don't be such a wimp!" they'd chide me, or "but you'll really love the suspenseful plot twists and the mystery of it," or, "Aw, c'mon, Ric, if you come with me I promise I'll hold your hand through the whole thing--ya big baaaaby!! Hahahahaha!!!".
I would have stuck to my guns, too, if not for Mr. Ranch Hand. You see, back when the movie premiered (in 1991), I had just recently re-entered the world of singledom. I'd sworn off men for the time being and had spent the previous year (or thereabouts) reading books from the library, watching videos from the library, cooking soup (very comforting) and baking (even more comforting) for my room mate and me, or sitting in our living room every evening watching my (pre-recorded) soap opera with my room mate's two cats (roomie, on the other hand, was usually out on dates in the evenings.). So when a friend dragged me out to a jazz club one night, and I met Mr. Ranch Hand (from Calgary, Alberta, who had just moved to Toronto) and he asked me out on a date--an honest-to-goodness cowboy--how could I refuse? And--go figure--he wanted to see a movie. Which movie? Yep, you guessed it--Silence of the Lambs.
Let's just say I didn't hold Mr. Ranch Hand's hand during the movie. And oh, there was no second date.
My memory did, however, become indelibly imprinted with the phrase, "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti," which will forever more be associated in my mind--and heart--with blood, guts, and gore. (New age math equasion: Hannibal Lecter + fava beans = blood, guts and gore.) Needless to say, I avoided fava beans thereafter. In addition, I never again slurped my food. Ever.
As a result, fava beans were put on the back burner (so to speak) as far as "new foods Ricki would like to try," for the longest time. It wasn't until I cooked up the Egyptian Fava Bean breakfast on this blog a couple of years ago (it was my love of all things spicy that finally convinced me) that I came to recognize the appeal of favas. And while I never tire of that particular combination of smooth, creamy beans, caramelized onions, spicy jalapeno and juicy tomato all dusted with cumin, I've been wondering what other dishes I might create with the formidable fava. Time to move on--and to heck with Hannibal Lecter!
I had planned to create bean balls that could be served atop a larger curry-rice dish. However, by the time I'd finished prepping all the other side dishes for our dinner and The HH had kidnapped and skinned (oops, nope, wrong memory--damn you, Hannibal Lecter!) cooked his turkey, I was too pooped to mix up the rice. Instead, I opted to top the balls with cranberry sauce in lieu of chutney. The outcome was tasty, but I could tell it hadn't reached its full potential: the insides were a little too soft, the sauce a little too cloying
Last week, I toyed further and developed a chutney of my own, combining grape tomatoes and cranberries. The result was spectacular. These bean balls are crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, with a hearty flavor that's not quite sweet, exactly, nor quite spicy--yet with an understated sweetness of squash alongside warming Indian spices like cumin and garam masala. The bright blood-hued scarlet condiment is at once tangy, sweet and slightly sour with its own mélange of spices to best highlight the fruitiness in the tomatoes.
In fact, the HH and I loved these little gems so much that we've now eaten them three more times. But please, just don't offer me a glass of chianti to go with them.
Spiced Fava Bean Balls with Cranberry-Tomato Chutney
Compared to most other beans, favas are a truly lofty legume: measured against chickpeas, lentils, and black beans, they offer the most protein for the fewest calories (14 grams of protein per cup/240 ml, second only to lentils for protein; but lentils deliver 226 calories to fava's mere 182). These balls make a great grain-free main course on their own, or use them to top off a rice pilaf or curry for additional protein.
2 tsp (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) garam masala
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) mild curry powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) smoked paprika (plain is fine, too)
1 large carrot, washed and cut in chunks (no need to peel if organic)
2 cups (480 ml) very well cooked small dried fava beans (or use one 19 oz/540 ml can, very well rinsed and drained--I did NOT use fresh [green] beans in this recipe)
1/2 cup (120 ml) packed baked squash flesh (I used butternut)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) almond butter (or use tahini or sunflower seed butter for nut free)
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt, or to taste
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
Heat the oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mustard seeds, garam masala, cumin, curry powder and paprika and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, process the remaining ingredients until almost smooth (it's okay if there are a few flecks of parsley here and there, but there should be no large chunks of carrot visible). Add the onion-garlic mixture and process again to blend. The texture will be moist, but it will be thick enough to hold its shape.
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the mixture and place on the cookie sheets. Wet your palms and roll each mound into a ball.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the exterior is dry and beginning to crisp up. The bottoms will be well browned. May be served immediately, or, for a firmer texture, make the balls ahead and store in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat. Makes about 2 dozen bean balls. May be frozen (freeze on cookie sheets, then transfer to freezer bags once solid).
This recipe is the result of my quest to do something different with my cranberries, coupled with a box of grape tomatoes on my counter begging to be used. The combination produced one of the best chutneys I've ever tasted; and it doubles beautifully as a jam on your morning toast or pancakes.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt, or more, to your taste
2 cups (480 ml) grape or cherry tomatoes, measured and then sliced in half
2 cups (480 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen
30-40 drops plain stevia liquid, to your taste (it should be sweet but still tangy)
In a medium sized heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, coconut sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is very soft and translucent, 7-10 minutes. Add the ginger and mustard seeds and cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add all remaining ingredients except for the stevia and stir well to combine. Lower heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries and tomatoes are very soft and most of the cranberries have popped, 20-25 minutes.
Add stevia and adjust for sweetness. Store in a clean jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml).
This recipe will provide you with a quick, simple and tasty side dish or first course. Plus, bonus title alliteration!
Living in a primarily Italian neighborhood has its advantages. I’ve learned how to grow tomatoes (of course, “knowing how” doesn’t necessarily guarantee success); that bocce ball is not (No, no, Signora, not at all!) the same as cricket; how to make great pesto with my home-grown basil; that “basta!” is not, as I imagined, an obscenity; what a lawn is supposed to look like in summer (hint: it’s not that one the HH just mowed); that there’s a huge difference between authentic oil-cured olives and the ones you get in the grocery store; and that there are three–yes, three–forms of fava beans to eat (dried, roasted, and fresh).
When I first spied the gargantuan fava pods (also called Broad Beans) in the grocery store, I had to ask the produce manager what they were. Tugging at the stringy fiber along one side so the pod slit open, he removed one of the raw beans, popped it directly into his mouth and offered me one to try. I immediately decided that the raw beans are an acquired taste. However, lightly sautéed with garlic and olive oil, tossed with a drizzle of citrus–and they’d likely appeal to anyone.
I do “peel” the beans (remove the waxy coating on each individual bean), which takes a bit of prep time. But you can easily do this while the brussels sprouts cook, and it’s kind of fun to perfect the “squeeze and pop” technique of ejecting the beans from their casings. Then just toss them with the shredded sprouts, and voilà!–a simple and fancy side dish, both at once.
When shredded and cooked al dente this way, the brussels sprouts are crisp, green, not bitter!, and even just a little bit sweet. The combination of starchy beans and zesty lemon offers a great counterpoint in flavor and texture–all in all, a satisfying, substantial, and yet still light side dish.
“Si, looks great, Madre! And how about uno or due biscotto for us–?”
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Favas (or Edamame)
suitable for ACD all stages (if using edamame)
This is a great summer side dish alongside grilled. . . anything. It would even work well at room temperature on a buffet table. I tossed in some cubed tofu and called it dinner.
12-15 pods of fresh fava beans (or 3/4 cup/180 ml shelled edamame, lightly steamed)
1 pound (454 g) brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (see instructions)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
fine sea salt, to taste
Prepare the beans: slit open each pod and remove the actual fava bean. (You should have around 3/4 cup or 180 ml beans). Bring a small pot of water to the boil; add the beans and allow to cook for two minutes, just until they turn bright green and plump up a little. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Meanwhile, begin the sprouts: Cut each sprout in half vertically (from the top down to the stem). Place cut side on a cutting board, then slice into thin slices. The sprouts should naturally begin to separate into shreds this way. Place in a bowl and toss with your fingers to help the sprouts separate into shreds, if necessary. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frypan. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sprouts and continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, until they barely begin to soften and turn bright green. Toss in the reserved favas and stir just to heat through. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle with the lemon juice, zest, and salt, and stir to combine. Serve alongside grilled tofu, veggie burger, or any other main of choice. Makes 3-4 servings.
[Sometimes, you just want to eat something now. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
While reading other blogs lately, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of savory breakfast recipes. Having been on the ACD as long as I have (longer than some Hollywood marriages, longer than Edge of Darkness was in movie theaters, longer than a piece of Stride gum’s flavor, longer than the beards on those ZZ Top guys), I’ve been enjoying savory breakfasts for some time. But it does feel great to know that so many of you are willing to give them a try, too!
When I saw this recipe for Egyptian fava beans, I knew I had to try it. It’s a variation on Ethiopian ful, about which I’d read many years ago–and have wanted to sample since. In fact, I’ve wanted to try fava beans in general for ages, but have been deterred (now, don’t laugh) because they still hold such negative connotations since I saw the original Silence of the Lambs. I just couldn’t bring myself to attempt something that was so relished by Hannibal Lecter.
Get over it, I told myself. These are friendly fava beans. And no liver in sight.
And so, I cooked up the dish. I mean, the recipe seemed so good and so easy, I jumped right in–fava beans be damned! (If only all phobias could be overcome so easily.). This dish is made with dried favas (versus the Martian-green fresh ones, which are obviously not in season about now). I must admit that I cut corners and used canned favas–I knew they had to be well-cooked, and didn’t want to risk messing up my first attempt. Next time, I’ll buy the dried beans and soak ‘em first.
While not quite as spicy as ful, this dish is certainly rich with flavor. The favas are a bit more starchy than your average legume, which made them even more breakfast-like in my mind; though, of course, you could eat this at any meal. At the same time, they’re packed with nutrition: one cup of cooked favas provides a whopping 13 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, almost no fat, and 14% of your daily iron. Their flavor is a bit unusual, slightly sour–almost fermented–yet creamy, satisfying and addictive all at the same time. And considering I ate almost the entire plate in one sitting, I’d say they grew on me pretty quickly.
I had mine with Meghan’s version of “instant injera“–a quick and delicious, high-protein, flatbread. Overall, a delicious, savory breakfast–one that won’t leave you craving dessert!
I’m thrilled that I can finally submit this as an entry in River‘s E.A.T. World event–check out all of River’s amazing international dishes (and why not submit one of your own?)!
Side note: this is my last post before the HH and I head out on holiday for a week–to Florida! I was determined to spend at least some time in a warmer climate during my vacation from the college this year, and since my dad is there at the moment, it seemed a perfect destination. Thanks to everyone on twitter who recommended restaurants for this fast-food challenged gal.
Not sure whether or not I’ll be able to update from the road, so I’ll leave you with this nourishing breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) until I return.
See you all in about a week!
Egyptian Fava Beans (ACD-friendly: Phase I or later)
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) dried fava beans, rinsed and soaked in cold water for at least 12 hours with 1 Tbsp (15 ml) baking soda (or just use canned, rinsed beans, as I did)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large tomato, finely chopped (seeded if you want to be fancy)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt (or to taste)
pepper, to taste
1 small jalapeno pepper, sliced (remove seeds for less heat)
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
Drain the beans and rinse well; place in a pot and cover with fresh water. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer until extremely soft. At this point, you should peel the waxy skin off each bean if you like (not essential, but much better as the skins are quite chewy). Simply squeeze one tip of each bean until the bean pops out of the skin (tutorial here). (I did this with the precooked, canned beans, and it worked perfectly.)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion; cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft and just beginning to brown. Add about half the beans to the skillet and mash with a wooden spoon or spatula to create a bean-onion mush. Add the remaining (whole) beans, tomato, and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss the jalapeno slices over all just before serving.
To serve, sprinkle the beans with fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of 1/2 lemon) and drizzle with extra olive oil, if desired. Best served with flatbread. Makes 2 large servings.