Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fava beans

There are buckets of fava beans growing in the garden. When we found them I instantly remembered the pages of fava bean recipes in the pile. So I collected a bunch and vaguely remembered I might need some chives for the recipe, so I took some of that too.
The fava beans doing their thing.

The way to know if fava beans are ready is pretty simple. Look for large firm pods that are heavier than they look. I had to use pruners to harvest them because just ripping them off didn't work so well and pruners were the only tool I could find for the job. The next part is a little trickier. 
Don't they look so shiny and fresh?

Fava beans have a very thick pod that rivals a pillow top mattress. Then when you think you've got the bean out, your wrong. You have to blanch them and then submerge them in ice water. Then, the skins will slide right off and you have one of the tiniest beans for how much work you put in.

The recipes I have for fava beans come from Vegetarian Times.  It's more a list of suggestions really. The first suggestion I tried was for a crudites type dip. 

Steam the beans until tender; mash together with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and cayenne pepper.  
 I am a huge fan of bitter foods, but this one was not pleasant at all. I do not recommend it.

The second suggestion I tried was:  
Simmer favas with peas, veggie stock, mint, and chives, and puree for a green soup.
This one turned out delicious! The peas with it really cuts down on the bitterness and the mint was a nice subtle addition. I used about equal amounts of favas and peas, a handful of chives, and 2 sprigs of mint. After I blended and tasted it, I decided it needed some salt. But I'll leave that up to you. I only used a half teaspoon. Another tasty way I found to enjoy it is adding some swirls of Tapatio in it.  Honestly, this recipe was more work than it was worth. Similar results could probably be had by just using peas and leaving out the favas entirely.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quinoa for breakfast

As I have been grocery shopping for this blog, I realize I need to make a grocery list. I have been relying on my memory alone and it has failed me at every trip. Maybe it's a good thing though, it has forced me to be a little more creative than I might have been otherwise. For instance, I wanted to make a fava bean soup. I forgot half of the ingredients because I had read so many fava bean recipes I got them all mixed up. So I ended up making a dip instead. (That post will come later.) So this morning I get up to make the breakfast quinoa and I forgot to buy maple syrup and I only had red quinoa in the cupboards! So I made it through with what I had and it still came out delicious. 

Hot quinoa breakfast cereal adapted from whole living magazine:

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of hemp milk and 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer, covered, until most of the milk is absorbed, about 14 minutes. (During this step it boiled over 5 times, so keep a close eye on it.)
2. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tsp of pure maple syrup (I ended up using agave nectar), a pinch of ground cinnamon, and chopped walnuts.
3. Top with a sliced banana.

Tasting notes: I had never tried quinoa sweet like this and I loved it! Anyone that regularly eats oatmeal for breakfast would definitely benefit from switching it up with this quinoa dish. I expected it to get a little softer than it was, but the crunch of the walnuts put the slight crunch of the quinoa into perspective. All in all, I will definitely be making it again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

wonderful slow days

It was about 2 weeks ago, but I remember it fondly because I rarely have a day off. I drove to Ballard to spend the afternoon with my friend Alison and her boxer pup Oliver. I brought over some curry paste that I got at Uwajimaya (it's one of the few that doesn't contain shrimp!) The three of us walked to the store and bought some veggies and fruit.  We made a really delicious curry, it could have used some Thai basil, but hey, hindsight is 20/20. Even though we were stuffed, I insisted we make this gluten-free blueberry crumble crisp I had read about on While she made the most delicious coffee in a melitta, I got to work on the dessert. 

Recipe: I followed the recipe exactly except divided the love between blueberries and raspberries.  It calls for virgin coconut oil, which I rarely use but have on hand. I loved the coconut oil so much I think I'm going to start using it as my main pan frying oil. I especially love that it's safe to cook at high heats. If you are trying to watch your sugar intake, honey or agave could be added in. But I haven't tried that, so no promises!

Tasting notes: While I loved the crunch of the quinoa flakes, my gluten loving friend found them a little odd. She did eat two helpings though, if that says anything. In my opinion, it is amazing. All I can say is try it for yourself.

starting out

Hi, I'm Serenity. I have lots of hobbies, but most of them revolve around cooking, baking, and clipping recipes out of magazines.  It's more like tearing them out actually, I usually like the whole page. The thought behind this blog is to finally make a dent on the ENORMOUS pile of recipes I have collected over the years. 
1 binder, 3 folders, 1 box, and some randoms.
The other catch is, I'm a gluten free vegetarian. So, I'm going to try to alter the recipes a little and see if I can make a great collection of standby dinner recipes.  Don't worry, I will always give credit where due! Most of my recipes come from Vegetarian Times, Whole Living, and Pinterest

My kitchen isn't anything special. It's just a tiny apartment kitchen with not enough storage space to hold anything. I also don't have any exceptional cooking skills besides the practice of cooking for myself all the time. So please follow me on this journey of delicious food, and most likely some awful tasting mistakes made by me!