This is a "guest post" of sorts from my fiance Mike, which meriko suggested we share here:
Fresh limas from my grandparents' garden were a staple of summertime dinners when I was a kid. We'd usually overboil them, like we did with most veggies, and then drown 'em in butter and salt.
Tonight's preparation will owe a little to that, but not much: Heat up a little olive oil in a small pan with minced shallot, add the beans and saute lightly, just cover with water, and boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Jen suggested a salad, but I haven't had cooked limas in a very long time, and I'm a little excited. I've never liked canned or frozen limas, but I love them fresh, and I was delighted to see them at the greenmarket.
Good, fresh limas have a meaty texture and a rich, creamy flavor. (Indeed, thanks to that creaminess, beans just a bit larger than this are called butter beans in Southern households.)
This Is Comfort Food.
-- Michael Dietsch
This is sort of a Chinese egg drop soup via my kitchen randomness. It's warm and comforting and perfect for soothing a cold. The proportions are variable and really up to personal taste and depend a lot on what your broth tasted like to begin with. If I'm sick, I put in lots more ginger and cayenne.
Egg-drop soup is one of those cross-cultural recipes. How do you make yours?
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth, homemade or as close as you can get.
1 tsp. - 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated fine
dash cayenne pepper
(rice wine vinegar)
chinese scallions or green onions
Put your chicken broth into a saucepan and let it sit over med-high heat until it comes to a simmer. While the broth heats, grate the ginger and stir it into the broth. I use a microplane grater to get the ginger really fine and juicy. If you can't get the ginger grated fine, just use more. Add salt and soy sauce. Taste the broth -- you may find that it needs a touch of acidity to brighten up the flavour. Add a drop or two of rice wine vinegar if you need to. Add a dash (or more) of cayenne pepper.
In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together the egg, a few drops of sesame oil, and about 1 tsp. soy sauce.
When the soup is just about to come to a full boil, take the fork from your egg and swirl it around quickly in the soup. Turn off the heat under the pot. While whisking the soup, pour the egg in a slow stream. The motion of the soup is what makes the egg drops -- if you pour the egg too quickly or you don't stir the soup, you'll get big clumps of egg.
Taste and add more salt, soy, or sesame oil as needed.
Garnish with chopped scallions.
Preheat your grill, and season two 4 oz. tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with olive oil, and grill to your desired level of doneness. Set tuna aside to rest.
In a large bowl, combine one can of black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed) with 1/4 lb. of green beans (ours were from the garden, and had been previously blanched and frozen, so I thawed them in some warm water to bring them up to room temp) and a pint of halved baby tomatoes (we used a mixture of heirloom grape and cherry tomatoes). Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of shredded fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss well. Divide between two plates, slice or chunk tuna and place on top. Garnish with more shredded basil, add a crusty wholegrain roll and a glass of wine, and enjoy!
In my continuing quest to build meatless entrees in spite of being raised to consider meat-starch-veggie as your basic meal, I cooked up some protein in the form of the following dish from the Herbfarm Cookbook. On checking the book out from the library I did a little research that informed me that eating at the Herbfarm itself tends to cost $150-200 per person. Ouch. Won't be doing that anytime soon.
At any rate, the cookbook's free from the library, and the beans were dandy. Any requests for other postings from the book?
Oh yeah, and please witness that since reactivating my gastronome account i have been contributing! honest i have! seeeee meriko?
White Beans with Herbed Onion-Garlic Confit
4 qts. water
8 oz dried white beans (Great Northern, navy, flageolet, or cannellini)
Bouquet garni of 2 bay laurel leaves, fresh or dried, and 1 small bunch thyme
tied in a bundle
3 T olive oil
1 lg onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 c. homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 T coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 T coarsely chopped fresh winter savory, or 1 1/2 T chopped fresh summer
1 t. salt, less if using canned stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring two quarts water to boil in large (4-qt) saucepan. Add dried beans, turn off heat, and let them soak uncovered for 1 hour.
2. Drain soaked beans in colander, rinse under cold water, and return to saucepan. Add 2 qts cold water and bouquet garni. Gently boil beans uncovered until they are very soft but still hold their shape, 35 to 60 minutes depending on the type of bean.
3. While the beans are cooking, heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 8 min. Pour in stock and add herbs. Boil until the level of liquid is below level of onion and garlic, about 30 minutes. The onion and garlic should be very soft, but not caramelized, and have a consistency like marmalade.
4. When beans are cooked, drain in colander and discard bouqet garni. Return to large saucepan. Stir in onion confit and salt (if using homemade stock). Cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Taste and season with pepper and additional salt if needed.
My notes: I added some splorts of goat cheese when eating the beans. Nice addition. I also, as always, used veggie bouillon to make my stock, and found that I had no problem adding the salt anyway. But I love me my salt. My beans took around 50 minutes to cook, I think, and they were great northern.
Photo by melissa nicole.
So I baked up what I think was my first batch of scones or thereabouts. Recipe originally from Epicurious, but I made a few alterations... and they were good!
1/2 cup buttermilk plus 1/4 cup for brushing the scones
1 large egg
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup dried sour cherries (available at specialty foods shops)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
granulated sugar for sprinkling
In a bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of the buttermilk, the egg, the brown sugar, and the vanilla until the mixture is combined well. In another bowl stir together the dry ingredients and blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cherries and the buttermilk mixture with a fork until the mixture just forms a sticky but manageable dough. Knead the dough gently for 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface, pat it into a 3/4-inch-thick round, and cut it into 8 wedges. On an ungreased baking sheet brush the wedges with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and sprinkle them with the almonds and granulated sugar. Bake the scones in the middle of a preheated 400° oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden.
Makes 8 scones.
[Note that the original recipe called for cake flour; I often try to go for the somewhat healthy option when I'm making my own breakfast treats. I didn't have buttermilk around, so I used nonfat milk curdled with lemon juice (check in any cookbook, practically, for how to do this) and that further increased the health factor. I might recommend adding a bit more sugar to the dough or adding a bit more on top than I did, because they weren't very sweet--and that was with sweetened dried tart cherries mixed in.]