In Season Now : Fava Beans

Thu, Jun 5 • 0

Also known as the broad bean, the horse bean, or the field bean, favas need a little more work than other varieties.


After you’ve peeled the outer covering, which have a weird, spongy interior, you have to parboil the beans, and remove their waxy skin covering, to reveal a deep, dark, and satisfyingly meaty green bean.

I used them in a spring vegetable fried rice for dinner tonight, using a bit of sauteed bacon, leftover pork loin, parboiled english peas, and parboiled asparagus, and 2 beaten eggs, all with some brown rice.

In Season Now : Asparagus

Fri, Apr 18 • 0

(This post is the first in a series of posts planned for Cooking Monster, where we’ll take an item that’s in season right now, and help you figure out delicious ways to take advantage of them.)

Asparagus is at its peak in the months of March, April, and May. Whether you prefer thick or thin asparagus stalks, look for specimens with tight, closed buds. White asparagus is exactly the same plant as green asparagus, but they’ve been grown in the dark to prevent photosynthesis, with the farmer either mounding the dirt over the plants as they grow, or by covering them with a box.

The bottoms of the stems tends to be a tough and inedible. You have two options of dealing with this problem. Option one has you taking one stem in your hands and bending it until it snaps, then trim the rest of the stems to that length. Option 2 has you trimming off tough green skin towards the bottom, and then snapping it off further down.

One easy, delicious method of cooking asparagus is to roast it, which will intensify the flavor. Toss trimmed asparagus in a bowl with some olive oil and plenty of salt. Spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan, and roast in a hot oven for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Or toss them on the cool side of the grill for a smoky flavor.

Another of my favorites is to make an asparagus risotto…

Keep reading…

Sunday Supper : Stovetop Spring Gratin

Sun, Apr 13 • 0

1½c orrachetti or capelletti
½ package frozen vegetables (spinach, asparagus, edamame, broccoli)
4oz diced cooked ham
chopped leeks
2T butter
1T dijon mustard
½t dried thyme
salt & pepper
¼c cream
4oz shredded cheese (I used jack)

So I start the well-salted water boiling for the pasta. Once that was going, I toss in the pasta and set the timer for 10 minutes. In a large frying pan, over high heat, I put in the frozen vegetables and some water, and put a lid on to let the steam thaw them. Meanwhile, I diced the ham, and the leeks, and stir them in to heat up, too, along with the mustard and thyme, mixing the mustard in with the water to loosen it. Once the pasta is done, I remove the lid and, using a spider, I put it in the pan with the butter. I waited until the water was almost gone, stirring frequently, at which point I turned the heat to low, and added the cream and the cheese, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Start to finish, 17 minutes, not counting the time it took for the pasta water to come to the boil.

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