Wow, what a hard week this past week has been for Nashville. Devastation hit our lovely city in the form of a flood. SO many friends and friends of friends lost their homes, all their stuff, and in a few instances- their loved ones. It was incredible to see how everyone pulled together to help each other out. This city is even more amazing than I ever knew! For the latest news and information and to see ways in which you can help, no matter where you live, check out this website: NASHVILLEST.
So, having said all that… We cooked very little this week. Luckily, we did still have a kitchen but the entire city lost use of one of our two water filtration plants and thus were all told to conserve water. There was little cooking or bathing going on but those of us who still had houses that were dry were more than happy to conserve!
Grant was in Texas most of this week, touring with db Harris & The Men of Action! While he was away, I did make this yummy veggie meal- a french style potato salad with several different kinds of potatoes, chopped green olives, cornichons (if only- I actually used mini dills because I can only find cornichons in one store which is across town and I always forget to buy them), green onions, a little vinegar, sweet spicy mustard, a little olive oil, salt & pepper. I served this with some beautiful organic green beans which I steamed and then sauteed with a little butter, fresh garlic, roasted hazelnuts, and then topped with a little Humboldt Fog goat cheese! A nice organic, vegetarian meal for one!
So last week before the flooding, we enjoyed many of the new Spring veggies…
“Beans so nice, you have to shell them twice!” was Grant’s response to fava beans. We have cooked them before and certainly had them out before but it has never been one of those Spring delicacies we have searched out. This year though, for some reason, I had a desire to try to appreciate those little gems of Spring. Fava beans and artichokes are definitely on the list. I found a couple interesting artichoke recipes that we tried…
One was a raw artichoke salad in which I had to trim the leaves and cut the choke out. It called for shaved artichokes, toasted hazelnuts, shaved Parmesan Reggiano, fresh parsley (I substituted cilantro because we had it instead), and olive oil. It was messy and I got kind of grumpy but the end result was good!
I also tried stuffed artichokes which were yummy and kind of naughty. I had to trim these like before and then cut them lengthwise and topped with a mixture of bread crumbs, salt, pepper, grated Gruyere cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil. They baked for an hour. We have a book called, Whole Foods Companion, that a friend gave me for my Birthday one year. We often look up whatever we are eating to see what health benefits we will gain from it. “Why is this veggie good for us?” Well, it turns out artichokes aid in digestion, are good for metabolism, and may help neutralize the effects of certain toxins on our bodies.
I found some yummy organic fava beans at The Turnip Truck this week. We shelled them once and Grant steamed them. We shelled the beans twice, and he sauteed them with some garlic and fresh spinach in a little olive oil. These made a nice accompaniment to some sauteed onions and jalapeno & garlic chicken sausages we got from Trader Joes. Fava beans are similar to kidney beans in that they have a ton of iron and potassium in them. Luckily, we aren’t in that small percentage of the population who has Favism, a medical condition in which eating fava beans can cause a painful blood condition which brings upon dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Yikes, who knew that?!
And, just as the rains started last weekend, I listened to our friend Chris Scruggs‘ solo Opry debut on WSM while making one of my favorite cookie recipes from the Rebar cookbook, a favorite restaurant of ours in Victoria, BC. I thought these lime sugar cookies would be great with Ciao Bella’s Prickly Pear Sorbet which we just tried for the first time. And they were! Here is the recipe:
Lime Sugar Cookies
(Makes about 12-16 cookies depending on size.)
1 c granulated sugar (I use organic evap. cane juice)
¼ c unsalted butter, softened
1 T vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
zest of 1 lime
1 large egg
2 T fresh lime juice
1 ¾ c unbleached flour
¼ c pumpkin seeds, toasted and roughly chopped (tonight I was out but substituted pecans!!!)
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
1- Preheat oven to 350*. Cream the sugar, oil, butter and lime zest until light and fluffy. Add egg and lime juice, and beat together to incorporate.
2- Mix in a separate bowl the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir well, to avoid lumps of baking soda. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir together well. Mix in the pumpkin seeds. (Side note: I just throw these on top of 1st step and mix together in my Kitchen Aid mixer. It works just fine!)
3- Use spoon to drop the batter onto a cookie sheet, leaving space in between to allow the cookies to spread during baking. Flatten each slightly with your finger tips. (I usually top each cookie with 2-3 toasted pepitas which create a little leaf design.) Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.