Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spiced Fava Bean Soup

Speaking of being distracted, I can see the handle of the vacuum
 cleaner in the background of this photo. Hmmmmmm. Curious.
Want to showcase your spring fava beans in a deliciously spicy and flavorful soup? I thought you might. Bon Appetit’ magazine sends me DAILY recipes on purpose in order to derail my plans for the day, totally friggin’ distract me from what I’m supposed to be doing and, in general, simply FORCE me to try new recipes. All of the recipes are perfectly in tune with the season and the weather and always have something to do with food that you didn’t know you were craving and then all of a sudden, STOP EVERYTHING and let’s hang out in the kitchen! Your messy closet isn’t going anywhere. You can vacuum tomorrow. You don’t need a shower either! No worries, you sloppy dork. Just relax and cook. 
Charlie
So, largely because of Bon Appetit’ and their sneaky, mischievous ways, and partially from all of the other inspiration that keeps throwing me off course (I feel like Charlie on the walking trail when he simply cannot stop sniffing everything in sight)! - - - - because of all of that, this is what I’ve tried out in the last couple of days, what I plan to try and all of the other food paraphernalia, sugar plums and other visions dancing in my head:

Fresh Rhubarb & Strawberry Compote with Dried Tart Cherries (just throwin’ down with no recipe) . . . served with Honey Greek Yogurt (and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - oops YES)

Asparagus & Pea Salad with Crispy Fried Shallots (slightly adapted from this: CLICK) ~ I made this without the favas and without the bacon. Still fab. 

Mark, nailing down his shelling technique
Spiced Fava Bean Soup (which I’m writing about below, but here’s the original recipe from Bon Appetit' if you like.

Spring Greens with Quick Pickled Vegetables (I’m going to try this when I finish writing here) - you can read about it here.

Crispy Fried Shallots (soaked in milk, then coated in seasoned flour) - (will try those when I finish writing here also).  Note: The shallots on the asparagus salad were simply fried naked. These will be a little more like “onion ring style”.

On to the soup. I adapted the recipe below to use fresh fava beans instead of dried fava beans. So, for one, they're FRESH and for two, it cuts down on the total cooking time. The bean flavor and texture are a bit different. Tru Dat. I also reduced the amount of olive oil and added cayenne pepper for a little extra heat. Either way . . . greatness. Here’s a KPK insider tip: Trader Joe’s carries frozen fava beans in 14 ounce bags!!!!! *No need to shell (even though it’s fun). So, with that in mind, you can throw this together in a snap anytime (if you happen to not have the time to embrace fresh favas while in season). I promise you, this is a DELICIOUS recipe either way. And . . . your house will be filled with the exquisite aromas of onions, garlic and exotic spices. 

*THIS JUST IN: TRADER JOE'S NO LONGER CARRIES FROZEN FAVA BEANS. SORRY :( - BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THIS SOUP IS DELICIOUS WITH EDAMAME WHICH YOU CAN BUY AT TJ'S AND EVERYWHERE . . . SHELLED, FROZEN & READY TO GO! MADE THIS WITH EDAMAME! PROTEIN BONUS . . . FABULOUS!

Spiced Fava Bean Soup
with Rice & Tomato

1 large or 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 garlic gloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil 
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
finely ground cayenne pepper to taste
14 ounces canned whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand 
(half of a 28 ounce can with half of the juice)
8 cups (64 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups of shelled fresh fava beans OR
1 (14 ounce) package of frozen lava beans (if you can find them) OR
1 (12 ounce) package (or more) frozen shelled edamame (green soy beans) (Trader Joe’s & everywhere)
1/4 cup of whole grain brown rice
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
chopped, unsalted roasted pistachios for garnish (optional)

Here’s all you need to do:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add the spices and cook another 5 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often for another 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the beans and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, partially covered. Add the rice, simmer and stir occasionally, partially covered, for about 30-45 minutes until the rice is perfectly cooked. Whole grain brown rice holds its firmness nicely and will be delicious. I think white rice cooks faster. Add whatever rice you like. It will be great! Be sure to taste-test for salt, pepper & cayenne. Adjust according to your taste buds. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, or, in Mark’s case, a dollop of sour cream. I opted for "sans nuts" because a) I didn’t have any pistachios in stock and b) I don’t know if I wasn’t feeling the pistachio love. Let me know if you try the pistachio garnish. Report back.

I will make this again and again and swap out the favas for other beans. It's a great basic soup. The spices are spot-on awesome and there’s just enough rice to give the soup heft. My most recent favorite canned tomato is La San Marzano brand (available at Mariano’s and other fine stores). They are sweet and amazing and not loaded with seeds as some other brands. I still love Dei Fratelli but I recommend that you try La San Marzano not to be confused with all of the San Marzano tomatoes on the market). Also, my close buds know that I recommend Swanson brand “Natural Goodness” 100% Fat Free, 33% Less Sodium Chicken Broth. Tastes clean and flavorful. Note: NOT the 99% Fat Free. The two taste completely different. Secrets revealed. Oh, and Morton kosher salt. AND . . . I do love grinding my own spices. It’ll save you some cash too : ). Buy an inexpensive coffee grinder and dedicate it to your spices. You’ll agree with me. I know you will.


ENJOY ALL OF THE INSPIRATION AROUND YOU, MY FRIENDS.......

SPRING LOVE,

Katie

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From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

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