fava beans

Every week at the (Kirkland) farmer’s market, I’ve been scouring the place for fava beans. I finally was rewarded last week. I love making dips and pesto with fava beans, but my very favorite way to make them (and eat them) is sauteed in a little olive oil. I did a quick search for fava beans recipes before making them this time, but found surprisingly little. So, here’s what I do (the amounts depend on how many fava beans you have, so it’s best to just use whatever amount you think is best):

  1. Buy A LOT of fava beans.
  2. More than that. (Fava beans are similar to spinach in that 8 cups turns into about 3 tablespoons once you’re done.)
  3. Shell beans, much like you might do with peas.
  4. Blanch for about 2 minutes in boiling water.
  5. Drain and let cool a little. Then, slip them out of their skins. You normally can just squeeze them a little to do this, although you might need to tear a little hole in the skin first.
  6. In a pan, put a bit of olive oil, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. After about 30 seconds on the heat, add the fava beans and a bit of salt and pepper. Saute for maybe 5 minutes until the beans soften a little.
  7. Toast up some pine nuts; or if you’re lazy, just add them in with the beans and hope they toast a little as things cook.
  8. Take the beans off the heat and add the pine nuts, then grate a bit of parmesan cheese over everything. Add a bit of sea salt if you want.
  9. Enjoy.

This seems like a bit of work, but I find the shelling sort of relaxing, oddly. For 8 cups of beans, I probably use 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, and 4 tablespoons of pine nuts. That probably serves 2-3 people as a side dish, although I could eat the entire thing myself.

avocado taquitos and cheese enchiladas

I had some avocadoes left over from my latest trip to California and what can you do with four really ripe avocadoes when your boyfriend is too lazy to make his tasty guacamole? I thought I might try to make something like avocado eggrolls from the Cheesecake Factory, only I was thinking taquitos rather than eggrolls, and I wondered how I could make it a bit healthier. They came out very tasty, although I don’t know that they were strictly speaking low-fat.

4 small avocadoes
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbl fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
dash red pepper flakes
dash cumin

I filled 6 corn tortillas and put them in an oiled baking dish. I sprayed some oil over the top so they’d get crispy as they baked. I baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes.

1/4 cup cashews
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup parsley
salt and pepper to taste
dash red pepper flakes
dash cumin
2 green onions, chopped
3 tbl honey
dash worcestershire sauce
1 tbl white wine vinegar
1 tbl balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

I mixed everything up in the food processor and served it on the side.

Cheese enchiladas
I really wanted cheese and onion enchiladas, but I didn’t have any of the ingredients. So, I made it up as I went along.

28 oz. tomato sauce
1 tbl minced onion
2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbl cumin
1 tbl chili powder
2 chipotle peppers, chopped
1 tbl adobo sauce
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbl sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 dried habanero pepper

I adjusted these spices to taste, so I’m not sure exactly what I ended up with. It was spicy though. I simmered it for about 20 minutes.

1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbl olive oil
2 cups fat-free sour cream
4 oz chopped green chiles
2 cups shredded monterey jack
2 tbl fresh oregano, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
dash red pepper flakes

I sauteed the onions and garlic in olive oil and added salt, pepper, and a few spices. Then I added them to the rest of the ingredients and mixed it all together. I covered the bottom of a baking dish with some of the sauce, heated up 1o flour tortillas so soften them, then filled them up and rolled them and put them in the baking dish, seam down. Then, I poured more sauce over everything to cover (I only used about half), and sprinkled shredded cheese over the top. I baked it for around 25 minutes, then sprinkled some chopped tomatoes and chopped green onions over the top.

So cheesy and good.

italian subs

Continuing my efforts to use up what we have, and yet still keep things relatively healthy, I made up some subs earlier today. We had them for dinner and P. said that they were so good I had to write down how I made them, so here goes.

12 cherry tomatoes, seeded and diced (you could probably use any tomatoes; I used what I had)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tbl each oregano and basil, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
2 tbl olive oil
3 tbl red wine vinegar
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella

I mixed everything together in a bowl, sliced the baguette lengthwise, scooped out the soft bread inside, and added it to the bowl. Then, I put the mixture back into the hollowed out bread (both sides), pressed the bread together, and wrapped it really tightly with plastic wrap. Then, I refrigerated it until dinner (about 7 hours).

The flavors all melded together and soaked into the bread. And it was so easy to make.

roasted cauliflower

Last night, I made a meal of all the leftover vegetables we had to use up before their time was up. I made cream cheese mashed potatoes, chipotle sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, and roasted cauliflower with cheese sauce.

I almost forgot how much better I like roasted cauliflower than steamed and I had just started the water for steaming when I remembered. I preheated the oven to 450 and cut up all the cauliflower and put it in two baking dishes. I had 3 heads of cauliflower to use up so they took up a lot of space. I sprayed them with cooking spray and added salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Then I roasted them for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile I made the cheese sauce.

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
3 whole cloves
1/2 red onion
1 bay leaf
1 dried habanero
pinch each ground nutmeg and allspice
4 tbl butter
4 tbl flour
salt and pepper
pinch paprika
1 tbl mustard (I used sweet potato mustard)
dash dry mustard
1 cup low-fat cheddar
1 cup bread crumbs

I simmered the milk with the cloves, onion, bay leaf, habanero, nutmeg, and allspice while I made a roux of butter and flour. After about 10 minutes of cooking each, I strained the milk and added it to the roux, whisking all the while until it thickened. I added the other ingredients, other than the cheese, and stirred that all together. I then added the cheese a little at a time until it melted.

I took the cauliflower out of the oven, combined it all into one pan, then poured the cheese sauce over the top and sprinkled the bread crumbs over it. I added a bit more salt and pepper and let it bake about 20 minutes more. When it was done, I sprinkled a bit of sea salt on top.

Roasting the cauliflower really brings out the flavor and makes it crispy on the edges. And of course, how can you go wrong with cheese sauce?

meatball subs

I have a huge backlog of food and wine and restaurants to talk about. I’m thinking I’d better write it all down soon before it’s gone from my head forever.

P. loves meatball subs and I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for a while, but I haven’t come up with anything I really think it spectacular. But this last attempt was the best try yet. I even tried to make it somewhat low-fat, so it’s a keeper all around.

4 slices low-fat bread (I used Sara Lee Delightful)
1/4 c low-fat buttermilk
1 lb ground turkey breast
4 links italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c egg beaters
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
2 Tbl each chopped fresh basil, oregano, and thyme

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and sprayed cooking spray in 2 six muffin tins.

I tore the bread into pieces and soaked it in the buttermilk while I mixed everything else together in a large bowl. Then, I added the bread and mixed that in.

I made 12 balls and put them in the muffin tins then baked until done (I think it was about 30 minutes). (When they were done, I put the meatballs on paper towels to drain some of the fat.)

1 tbl olive oil
I small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
28 oz can tomato sauce
6 oz can tomato paste
2 pinches sugar
2 tbl each chopped fresh basil, oregano, and thyme

I cooked up the onion and garlic with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste, deglazed the pan with the wine, added the canned tomatoes, sauce, and paste. I let everything simmer for about 20 minutes, then added the sugar and herbs. I let it simmer a few minutes more.

I split open some crusty bread rolls, put two meatballs on each, poured sauce over, then added some sliced (low-fat) mozzarella. I had oven fries on the side (that I had tossed with the herbs, salt, and red pepper flakes before baking). We had it with more red wine.