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)
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
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!