Yum Peaceful Cooking: BakeSpace Challenge 04/09

Monday, April 20, 2009

BakeSpace Challenge 04/09

Not quite a success, but I wouldn't consider it a failure. I think it might even be worth perfecting.

Everyone month, BakeSpace.com has a "challenge". There are no winners or losers. It's a personal challenge with some fun rules that us members get to choose. Here are the guidelines for this months challenge: (here's the link for BakeSpace Challenge: April 09)

BakeSpace Challenge for April: 
Choose 4 of the following 5 ingredients to create a dish heralding in the Spring or 2009. 

Fava Beans 
 (As a hint: Rhubarb has some of the same flavor as the Herbs, Sorrel and Angelica.) 

Spring is here, 'Old Man' Winter has past. 
Till April's last day shall this challenge last. 
4 of 5 must be choosen and in your pot cast 
Create something incredible for your nightly repast. 

I'm not much of a Rhubarb fan so I chose the other four ingredients: Leeks, Asparagus, Artichokes and Fava Beans. Before this challenge I had never even heard of Fava Beans. So when I couldn't find fresh Fava Beans and canned Fava Beans were no where in sight, I was getting a little frustrated which just made me all the more determined to do this!  And find them I did....dried...argh. Well, better than nothing. Not exactly what I'd consider "spring fresh" though. Anyways...what I planned to make was a hummus type "dip" with the Fava Beans, Asparagus and Leeks for my grilled Artichokes. 

3 large artichokes
about 10 asparagus stalks
1 small leek
1 cup cooked fava beans
2 or 3 garlic cloves
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Because the beans were dried, I had to soak them...which took some time. I soaked about 1 cup of beans. There are 2 methods....the overnight 12 hour method and the quick soak method. Since I didn't leave myself much time (and had been counting on at least finding these beans in a can) I did the quick method (now that I think of it, even if I had lots of time I would've done the quick method). Cover beans in water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak for an hour. Rinse and measure 3 parts water to 1 part beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 2 hours. 

One of the main differences that I noticed about fava beans compared to other beans I've worked with was that after the beans have soak (and in my case cooked) you have to remove the "skins". A bit tedious but after messing with the skins, I imagine its very worth it...not a very good texture. 

I saved some of the water that the beans were cooked in, and put the beans in my little food processor, after I removed the skin. 

Meanwhile, I prepared the asparagus by pealing the tougher outer skins (these guys were a bit thicker than usual and I didn't want anything stringy or chewy in my dip) and steamed until tender. I also washed and chopped the leeks, and chopped up the garlic. These were sauteed together until tender.

I added the reserved cooking water from the beans, and some olive oil, to the beans in my food processor, blended until smooth. 

Then the leeks, garlic and asparagus were added, along with the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste....blend some more until creamy smooth. The dip is intended to be thinner than hummus. Add more olive oil as needed....drizzling in slowly.

(sorry for the sucky picture)

As for the artichokes, I boil mine with a few garlic cloves and some lemon juice, for about 45 minutes or until the bottoms are tender when pierced with a fork. 

For this meal, I cut off the stem, then pealed away the outer leaves. Sliced them in half, removed the fuzzy parts and purple leaves in the middle and then drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the hearts and inner leaves. I think next time I'll leave the out leaves intact. These sat for a bit (30 minutes) and then were grilled, face down, until browned. I drizzled a small amount of balsamic vinegar on the dip just before serving.

My husband balked when I told him I was going to grill the artichokes..."WHY!?" "umm...because I want to?" .oO(wtf?) So I left one whole artichoke intact for him.

I think another leek and more asparagus would've been good. The dip didn't have much flavor but then again, I like lots of flavor when I eat so maybe I'm just weird. We'll see what happens next time. Even if I don't go through the trouble to make the dip...I really want to grill the artichokes again! 


  1. Well the dip sounds good, but if it needs more umph maybe add some onion to add some bite? With all the raw garlic, you don't need to worry about your breath anymore. Heh. Or you could use roasted garlic, that would be more complex flavor. Or caramelize the leeks! I bet that would be good. Hmm, I might have to try this myself. :)

  2. Looks delicious!!! Yay! The first Entry in the BakeSpace Challenge!!

    Gotta agree with Bob, Caramelizing the Leeks or using Roasted garlic, or even roasting the asparagus... may up the Flavor ante...

  3. Wow girl! you did an awesome job! I love humus, but I have to have lots of salt and garlic in it. I agree with the guys, it would be soooo worth revisiting with the roasted garlic, asparagus & leeks.

  4. you guys just might have something there....caramelizing the leeks and roasting the asparagus would be great. As much as I love garlic, I'm not a roasted garlic fan. maybe its cuz the flavor changes so much....i dunno. Thanks guys :) (btw...DD, you're included in "guys". I'd say Ya'll but thats not how its done over here LOL)

  5. OMG! I forgot about this again! What a great, unique idea! I agree with the roasted garlic. How can you NOT like that? LOL This really looks great!

  6. Wow!!! Awesome use of the ingredients and it sounds so tasty too!!!


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