Today consisted of lots of boring activities. But it also included a trip to Botanic, our local organic food market, where I buy my weekly soup ration. As it’s spring heading into what looks like a very hot summer I decided to take a look at the fresh vegetables for dinner inspiration. Every time I go to the market – any market – I start drooling over all the veggies. I love vegetables. I really do. They are may favorite thing to cook with, to eat, to look at, to smell. I just love vegetables… and garlic.

 I bought tomatoes, I bought potatoes, an eggplant, and then I bought fresh fava beans.

 I’ve only had fava beans once. In a dip Greg made, and they were good, but I didn’t really know what they tasted like or how they were even supposed to be cooked when they are fresh. So back to the apartment we went and I looked up how to cook them on the internet.

First, I had to shell the beans out of their pods.

Then, they needed to be blanched by boiling them in water, draining them and dumping the beans into icy cold water. This causes the outer skin to come off easier and causes the bean to be that pretty green color we all know and love.

Yay.

 

There was a brief pause to feed Pistou. He has a rough life.

So then I sliced the eggplant and salted it. Leaving it fresh, sliced and salted for about 20 minutes brings out the flavor of the eggplant by draining out the water. Obviously you wash off the eggplant before you cook it – otherwise you’ll taste nothing but salt.

I minced some onion. I minced some garlic. I rinsed a tomato.

And then:

Usually I work from recipes. This time, instead of looking for a recipe, I simply looked how to cook the beans and then decided what I wanted to use. I didn’t know what to do. I went out on the balcony and stared at the olive tree for inspiration. I opened the refrigerator and stared at the food inside. Really, I didn’t have any idea what to do with my pretty vegetables.


 I seeded and chopped the tomato. I found some frozen basil (almost as good as fresh). Oil, salt and pepper went into a pan. High heat.

 Everything was sautéed. Eggplant, beans, tomato, and I threw in some pepper. Then I added this:

 

Spicy chili pepper because I like destroying my taste buds.

But then what? I guess rice might have been a good choice. Or quinoa. Couscous maybe?

I decided to hollow out part of a baguette, put a few slices of mimolette on top and then my vegetable – thing – on top of that.

So… how did it taste?

 

Pretty good actually. The beans are have an almost sweet, pea-style flavor that mixed well with the onion and garlic. They worked even well with the chili pepper purée. And the mimolette, which has the look and flavor of a sharp cheddar offset the spice real well. In contrast, slicing the eggplant as thick as I did, and pressing out all the water, made it almost crisp. Nothing can replace the taste of eggplant for me, and I’ll eat it with anything. The tomatoes were probably unnecessary, but I can’t resist a tomato and it made the plate pretty.

Considering this is the first time I’ve made fava beans and the first recipe I’ve totally made up on my own, it was pretty good. I think next time I’ll either leave out the eggplant or the tomato to make a more simpler meal. In any case, I’ll be buying more fava beans the next time I go to the market.

In case you’re wondering, the husband had pizza for dinner.

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