Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fava Beans, Asparagus, and General Springtimeyness

For some reason I was completely feeling the springtime thing this weekend, and the produce selection at Russo's helped to feed that mood. (If I didn't have so many awesome shortcuts to get around my neighborhood, I would have noticed that there was a sneak-preview Farmers' Market 6 blocks from my apartment, which would have been fun to check out... Ah, well. It apparently opens for reals in mid-June.) I've been whining about wanting fava beans for so long that I'd almost given up hope, but (finally) this weekend the favas were looking pretty tasty so I got to have one of my favorite foods: Fava Bean Crostini with Ricotta. The very complicated ingredients are pictured below:
The key to Fava Bean Crostini is to get the best possible ingredients since there's nothing complex going on to mask any sub-par flavors. The ricotta I bought was pretty awesome, but I think I'll make my own next time just so I can say that I make my own ricotta... I think my fava bean obsession started with a Thomas Keller interview I saw, but I learned because of that interview that you need to prepare fava beans in the tedious way (rather than the easy way) to enjoy them at their best. This means peeling off the thin shell before blanching them rather than after (when they slip off quite easily, but at which point you have apparently ruined everything...).
I'll be honest: I'm pretty sure my palate wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two methods... but it's become a part of my fava bean ritual to do this the "proper" way, and I'm not going to try the method that Keller considers an abomination just to test that... Anyway, this is how it all looks assembled:
Yummy. I'm a person who spends hours in the kitchen quite regularly, but a lot of my very favorite meals are something simple like that: Nice baguette, fresh fava beans, fresh ricotta, sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon. Awesome... Along with my surprise favas, I knew before I went to the market that I'd need to get some dill and asparagus to celebrate the spring vibe. These paired up with some lemons and chicken to make a light and refreshing dish of Chicken and Asparagus in a Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce:
Good stuff. Speaking of lemons, I mentioned this over at my other blog, but whenever I have citrus fruit to juice, for my money the best juicer on the entire planet is the aluminum juicer from the good people at WearEver pictured below. It's strange to me that this isn't being produced anymore (and apparently hasn't been for about 50 years), but you can find them on eBay or at antique stores, and I highly recommend picking one up if juicing citrus fruit is something you ever have to do...
In other news, my new ice cream maker (which the incompetent movers who broke my old one bought for me) arrived on Friday, so I made an awesome batch of Cappuccino Gelato (I'll try to remember to post the recipe soon) on Saturday along with the rest of my cooking...
I'd forgotten how delicious that stuff is, and it's very nice to be able to make ice cream again... just in time for summer... Yet another relaxing weekend where I seldom left my kitchen (much less my apartment) in the books. Luckily, those are pretty much my favorite kind...

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