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Posts Tagged ‘Chickpeas and Beans’

I think I have made up for my food blog neglect with preparing one of the most labor intensive dishes I’ve ever made.  This dish was really good and it makes a ton, so it was worth the work.  Shelling that many favas takes a while, but my DVR was filled with Glee and the Good Wife, so I set to work shelling while catching up.

Ravioli Stuffed with Fava Beans, Ricotta, and Mint
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
Makes about 3-4 dozen

3 cups shelled fresh fava beans (3 pounds in pods)
10 ounces ricotta cheese, drained in a sieve (I used homemade)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt

Pasta Dough – I used the recipe that came with my Kitchenaid pasta attachment

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add beans. Cook approximately 1-2 minutes.  Drain and run under cold water to cool.  Remove the beans from the skin. 

Place about 2 cups of the beans in the food processor and pulse.   Add the parmesan and ricotta, mint, lemon juice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth. Refrigerate filling at least 1 hour (up to 2 days).   At this point, it would be a really yummy spread.

Roll out the dough however you prefer.  If you’ve got the Kitchenaid attachment, I rolled mine out to the 5th setting.

Dust 2 rimmed baking sheets with cornmeal or flour and set aside.  Place 1 piece of pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface (keep unused pieces covered). Space heaping tablespoons of filling  evenly across the sheet.  Using a wet pastry brush, moisten pasta around each mound of filling. Fold top half of sheet over filling to meet edge; press around mounds to eliminate air and to seal.

Cut pasta into 2 1/2- to 3-inch squares and place on dusted baking sheets.  Roll out remaining pasta dough, and repeat. (If serving that day, cover ravioli with plastic wrap, and refrigerate on baking sheets until ready to use. If making ahead, freeze on baking sheets until firm, about 1 hour, and then transfer to an airtight container; freeze until ready to use, up to 1 month.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt.  Cook at a gentle boil until ravioli are just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer to a colander using a slotted spoon; drain.  

To serve, I heated a couple tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and added the remaining fava beans.  I gently tossed in some of the ravioli and served it up with grated parmesan.  I enjoyed the fruits of my labor with a Napa Sauvignon Blanc – perfection.

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I’m alive!

I’ve had a busy few weeks – a trip to Vegas, getting settled in at a new-ish job, adapting to a Mac for said new-ish job, watching my husband graduate business school, and a million other things.  As a result, I haven’t been cooking as much and the cooking I’ve been doing has mostly been grabbing random spring produce and tossing with pasta or on pizza.  Delicious but there’s only so much I can say about tossing penne with stuff from my fridge.  Things aren’t quite back to normal now, but I did make something yummy today, so I figured it was about time I stopped neglecting my blog.

I’ve been picking up a lot of fava beans lately from the farmers market and I really like them.   I bought a big bag yesterday morning and couldn’t wait to do something with them.  I kept things simple and just mashed them into a spread – delicious on fresh bread.

One word of warning – favas are a huge pain to shell, because the edible portion is buried under two layers, but its worth it because they taste delicious.

Fava Bean Spread
makes about 1 cup

Ingredients
2 pounds fava beans
Minced green garlic, about 1 teaspoon or so
4 or 5 mint leaves, minced
1/4 cup of olive oil or so
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Remove the fava beans from the large shell. 

 

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the beans.  Simmer for about a minute, drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking.  Slip the darker bean part out from the slippery lighter green skin.   Discard the skin.

Add the favas, mint, garlic, and salt and pepper to a food processor.  Give it a quick whiz then add the olive oil.  Continue to pulse, adding more olive oil if needed, until it reaches the desired texture.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary and you are good to go.

I spread mine on some fresh bread and topped with some shaved parmesan.

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On Saturday night, we had friends over for dinner.   The farmers market is just incredible right now, with all the wonderful summer produce everywhere, so I had a lot of fun planning out this meal.  Since I tried several new recipes, I’m going to make three posts over the course of this week.  Today, drinks and appetizers.

We aren’t really cocktail people, but I thought it would be fun to try making one.  I found this recipe in Food and Wine, created by Todd Thrasher.  When we lived in DC, we were lucky enough to enjoy his drinks at the wonderful speakeasy-style bar, PX, and as his other home, the absolutely incredible Restaurant Eve.  His drinks were always fantastic, so I knew this drink would be good.

Sweet Basil

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10 basil leaves, plus 1 basil leaf for garnish
Ice
3 ounces Lillet blanc
1/2 ounce gin
1 ounce Simple Syrup (equal parts water and sugar, boiled until the sugar dissolves, and cooled)

In a cocktail shaker, lightly muddle the 10 basil leaves. Add ice and the Lillet, gin and Simple Syrup and shake well.  Strain well, using cheese cloth,  into a chilled glass and garnish with the remaining basil leaf.

The drink was amazing.  My only complaint is that this drink was very sweet.  I prefer less sweet cocktails, and if  you do, I suggest reducing the simple sugar and the Lillet and increasing the gin by equal amounts to get to a balance that works for you. 

To accompany it, I wanted something mild tasting that wouldn’t taste weird with the basil drink.  I made a simple white bean puree and some pickled crudite.

White Bean Puree

I’ve made this dip a number of times, and each time it turns out differently.  Basically, I throw a can of white beans into the food processor and add whatever is around – herbs, spices, onions, garlic, whatever.  This time, I used 12 scallions, a clove of garlic, juice of half a lemon, and a splash of olive oil.  Add some salt and you are good to go.

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Salt and Sugar Pickles

Back in February, I wrote about the easiest appetizers ever.  I take that back.  These are the easiest appetizers ever.  I got the recipe from the June 2007 Food and Wine.  Mix equal parts sea salt and sugar and sprinkle on cut vegetables.   Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and the mixture quickly brines the vegetables.  Serve immediately, because the vegetables get watery and soggy after about an hour.

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Food and Wine recommends radishes, daikons, cucumbers, and watermelon.  I used radishes and lemon cucumbers, both of which were great.  The salt and sugar mixture is very subtle, but cuts the raw taste of the vegetable just enough, so you feel like you are eating a yummy snack and not just a pile of bland vegetables.  I really think this might become an entertaining staple. 

Later this week, I’ll blog about the sides and the main course.

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My husband hates lentils.  They were a staple in my kitchen for years, back in my fresh out of college, underpaid world saving vegetarian days.  I moved in with my husband almost six years ago, and I don’t think I’ve cooked them since. 

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I miss them and I frequently joke that one day, I’m just going to make them and he will just have to deal.  I haven’t carried through with this threat yet, probably because I don’t want him to take out his revenge on me through steaming bowls of French onion soup.

Well, he’s out of town this week, so I made myself a big pot of lentil soup for dinner, using carrots and sweet potatoes from our CSA box.   The carrots I used were Thumbelina carrots.  I felt guilty for chopping them up into unrecognizable little bits and not taking advantage of their adorable, pudgy shape, but such is life.

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I don’t remember how I used to make my old lentil soup since it had been so long, but I found a great recipe on Epicurious.  Maybe it was like stumbling upon an oasis after a long walk through the desert or maybe my cooking skills have just improved a lot over the last six years, but either way, the soup was better than I remember.   I may need to make him go out of town more often. 

The original recipe comes from the May 1998 issue of Bon Appetit and can be found here.  I halved it because I didn’t need 6-8 servings and tweaked it a bit, so I’m giving you my version. 

Curried Lentil Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion or large shallot, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, chopped
1 cup of carrot, peeled, chopped
1-2 tablespoons curry powder 
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
   * with the spices, I recommend starting with 1T and 1 pinch, then adding
      more later in the cooking process if needed
3 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice 
1  cup lentils (about 6 ounces), rinsed, drained
Fresh cilantro for serving

Directions

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, potato and carrot and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Mix in curry powder and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

Add broth, tomatoes with juices and lentils and bring to boil.  Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are very tender.  The recipe suggests 45 minutes, but I needed closer to an hour. 

Season soup to taste with salt and pepper and additional spices if needed.  Garnish with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro.

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img_6211When Sabra is so good, is it really worth it to make hummus from scratch?

I’m underemployed right now, so I’ve got the time to ponder such things.  And I must say, this recipe is pretty damn good.  It’s so creamy and soft, that I’d probably take the time to make it even if I were a contributing member of society.

The recipe was created by Michael Solomonov and was published in Food and Wine

Israeli Hummus with Paprika and Whole Chickpeas

Ingredients

1/2 pound dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon baking soda
7 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup tahini, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt
Paprika, for garnish
1/4 cup chopped parsley

This recipe makes 4 cups.  This seemed like more hummus that I would ever eat, so I halved it and it worked out well.  

Directions

In a medium bowl, cover the dried chickpeas with 2 inches of water and stir in the baking soda. Refrigerate the chickpeas overnight. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them under cold water.

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In a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of fresh water. Add the garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the chickpeas are tender, about 40 minutes.  Drain, reserving 10 tablespoons of the cooking water and 2 tablespoons of the chickpeas. Rinse the chickpeas under cold water. Peel the garlic cloves.

I found they were looking pretty mushy after about 30 minutes, so just keep an eye on them.  I stopped the cooking at 30 minutes, when they looked like this. 

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In a food processor, blend 1/4 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, one garlic clove, and a pinch of salt.   Pour that mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Then, puree the chickpeas with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and 6 of the garlic cloves. Add the cumin along with 1/4 cup each of the tahini and lemon juice and process until creamy.  Season the hummus with salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

The recipe suggests making an indent in the hummus with a ladle and spooning in the tahini-lemon mixture.  My mixture was on the thick side and strong tasting, so I wasn’t too sure about that.  Rather, I took a butter knife, swirled it through the hummus to make a spiraling indentation, and drizzled the tahini-lemon mixture in to the crevices.  I then swirled the knife through a little more to slightly mix the two together.

It still didn’t look quite as pretty as the picture in the magazine, so I drizzled a little extra olive oil into the crevices.  About a teaspoon or two.  And then it looked pretty.   I finished it off by garnishing with the whole chickpeas, a light sprinkling of the paprika and cumin, and the chopped parsley.

Definitely more work than picking up a plastic container of the stuff at the store, but you have to admit, doesn’t this look a lot more appetizing?

It definitely tastes better too. 

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When I lived in Washington, there was this local chain, Lebanese Taverna, that had this one amazing dish…consisting of either chicken, lamb, or eggplant, served with yogurt, chickpeas, pomegranates, and tons of garlic. It was to die for.

There is no Lebanese Taverna in Berkeley, and I had a craving. Through the magic of the internets, I was able to hunt down a recipe for this dish. The recipe I used was posted by a poster on the Chowhound boards. I improvised a little, so I’ll try to describe it the way I did it. And while I used a whole chicken as the recipe suggested, next time I will just use boneless chicken pieces, which will make preparing this a lot easier. Or perhaps I’ll try lamb or a vegetarian version with eggplant.
While not exactly like Lebanese Taverna’s, this version was still really, really good. I’ll definitely make this again.
Fatteh Bel Djaje
For chicken and broth:
1 chicken, quartered (or 2-2.5 pounds or so of boneless chicken pieces)
1/2 lemon, cut into quarters (I used half an orange)
1 Tb ground cinnamon
1 tb salt
2 cups water (I needed a little more water to cover everything in the pot)
1 onion with 3 cloves stuck in it
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 large can chickpeas
For serving
1 quart plain yogurt (i use labneh or the thick greek yogurt, they work best)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup mints leaves, torn
1 cup pine nuts
3 Tb butter
2 pita breads cut into 1 inch squares
1/2 a pomegranate (if available)
Rice or couscous, for serving, if you want.
First, mix the yogurt with garlic and a pinch of salt and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. I’d keep it out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature.
Brown the chicken in a large large dutch oven or stockpot. Add lemon or orange, ground cinnamon, salt, water, onion with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. If you are using boneless chicken in small chunks, you can probably just leave it on the stove to to simmer. If you are using bigger pieces with the bone in, bring the water to a boil and put it in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on how big the pieces are.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the broth. Let it cool if you need to debone it. Strain and skim broth, pour over chickpeas and cook for 15-20 minutes. I reserved a little bit of broth and poured it back over the deboned chicken, covered it, and simmered on very low heat to keep it warm.
Cook the rice or couscous, if you are using it. (I used basmati rice, which works well with this.)
Fry pine nuts in 1 tb butter until brown.
Set them aside and fry the pita cubes in remaining butter until crisp.
To serve
Put rice or couscous in a shallow bowl. Top with chicken, chickpeas and a couple tablespoons of broth, and the yogurt mixture. Sprinkle the pine nuts, pita, mint, and pomegranate on top.
And convince people that despite the odd ingredient list, it is actually an incredibly delicious meal. The pomegranate seeds add sweetness, the pine nuts and pita are crunchy, the mint makes it fresh and bright, and all of them compliment the spicy chicken and garlicky yogurt beautifully.

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I made this last week for my elections party, and named it “October Surprise.” While the official recipe name is a salsa, it really is more like a bean dip, and it was so delicious that I would probably just eat a bowl of it, like chili.

The recipe comes from the Washington Post. (No, I won’t give up east coast newspapers ever. The San Francisco Chronicle sucks.)

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (may substitute 3/4 pound prepped butternut squash cubes)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
14 to 15 ounces canned, diced no-sodium tomatoes, drained
15 to 19 ounces canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted

The recipe also called for a zucchini, diced up, but that sounded disgusting to me, so I left it out. Who wants slimy, watered down zucchini in their salsa/chili? Not me.

The recipe is a labor intensive one, as it involves a lot of chopping, so I highly recommend buying the pre-diced squash, as it will really cut down on prep time. You’ll still have to chop it even smaller, but it does save time.

Directions
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Spread the squash cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss to coat evenly. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, until slightly browned and fork-tender.
When the squash has about 15 minutes of roasting time to go, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeño; cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden.

Add the tomatoes, beans, and cilantro (plus the zucchini if you are using it); cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Add the roasted squash and stir to incorporate; cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

At this point, the salsa can be transferred to a slow cooker to keep warm, or it can be cooled completely, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Just before serving, sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top of the salsa.

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