Sunday, June 19, 2011

loving the simple things



i have an aunt and uncle that live in idaho springs- a small mountain town just this side of ski country. for years i have been hanging with them for a weekend here and there- getting some r and r and getting outa dodge. this weekend was no exception.

the last 5 years or so, i have been spending much of my time there cooking for them. grilling, sauteing, baking, boiling, chopping, and seasoning. it has become an immense sense of release for me. i look forward to seeing them 4 or 5 times a year, and i think they have looked forward to seeing me perhaps just as much.

my last visit i had mentioned pasta and so my aunt has had that in her mind ever since. my plan didn't formalize until friday when i went shopping. i decided to make bowtie pasta with peas and pesto, chicken piccata, and roasted pears with caramel gelato. but my favorite surprise this year (mine-not theirs) was fava bean spread. fresh favas with parmesan, lemon, mint, garlic, and seasoning blended into a refreshing and  earthy tasting concoction that spread beautifully onto crackers and whetted our appetites for the rest.

i also made a strata for breakfast this morning with artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers that seemed to be everyone else's favorite thing. there were an unbelievable amount of ooohs as we had breakfast this morning.

i admit i love this part of my life. i really love cooking and i love doing it for people who want to experience it. it makes for a fantastic weekend...

basic fava bean spread recipeapproximately 1 cup of shelled fava beans
1-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded parmesan or pecorino
2 to 4 Tbsp. of olive oil - add until desired consistency is achieved
fresh herb of choice - mint is standard, but basil is also a great choice
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste... recipe reprinted from paris and back