Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Trouble with Seasonality

Well, it's over. I knew I was kidding myself when I saw them at Russo's and decided to give them one more chance... but the heart wants what it wants. There are a few things in this world that I love far more than any rationality could ever dictate... The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The music of The Walkmen. Rainstorms. Fava Beans. With the exception of the music, these things share the feature that they come around for a short time each year and bring me a great deal of happiness (sometimes mixed with pain, in the case of the Bucs), and then they are gone again just as suddenly as they'd arrived. I've enjoyed a fair number of rainstorms lately and the NFL season is just around the corner, but my heart breaks a little knowing that it will be 8-10 months before I am reunited with fresh, beautiful fava beans.
Even as I began my ritual of peeling the beans pre-blanching (as Thomas Keller dictates), I could tell that this wasn't going to be the meal my heart was set on...I threw together the fixins for Fava Bean Crostini (above), but it was not meant to be. As I'd expected/feared when I picked up the fava beans at the market, they were large and starchy, and made me rather sad in the end. The worst part is that I had missed 4 weeks of cooking while repairs were being made to my kitchen, at least one of which may have given me the chance to say a proper farewell to what, for reasons I can't explain, is one of my very favorite vegetables.
I had a bit better luck with the rest of my weekend food prep. After making a big extra-spicy batch of Scorching Chile Chicken to take for lunches this week, I started prepping a Martha Stewart-inspired dinner. While roasting some red bell peppers, I stripped the kernels from a dozen ears of corn and threw them in a skillet with thinly sliced shallots, a touch of melted butter, and a bit of bacon fat. After the corn and shallots started to caramelize, I tossed in some fresh thyme leaves. The corn is served with roasted red peppers, basil, and balsamic-marinated grilled chicken. The dish is extremely light, healthy, and summery and, thanks to the fact that corn (another vegetable I deeply love) is still in season, it was almost tasty enough to push the fava bean disappointment out of my mind.

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