Friday, July 2, 2010

Lima beans - I'll convert you on this one!

As a kid, I could not bear to eat them. Then one year I saw them fresh at the Jack London Farmer's Market and everybody was going crazy for them so I thought, why not give them another try? Many mushy, overcooked, canned vegetables from childhood are now palatable to me in a fresh, lightly cooked version so why not the dreaded "slima beans." I brought them home, boiled them for about 15-20 min, drained then sauteed some garlic in a lot of (I'll admit it) butter and then tossed them together. I was hooked. It was a very short season; I seem to remember it was fall here. I went back every week and bought pounds and pounds of them. The farmer told me I could freeze them too, so that's where the excess ended up. I told my friend Lonnie about them and she got some too. We slowly used up our stockpile and when the season finally arrived again Lonnie was calling me saying "ok, can you get me 5 pounds?" I was like a lima bean dealer. Jen came over to my house one day and saw me cooking them and said "are you crazy - who likes lima beans?" She was quickly converted when she tasted my firm, garlic buttery beans. They are not slimy, but firm with a texture not unlike a little potato. Of course now that farmer is nowhere to be found! I called the market, looked on the Internet - and just could not find any fresh lima beans in this state! One year I got so desperate that I called my mom in Texas and had her fedex some as her little farm outside of town grows them. Those were the most expensive lima beans in the world. This last year Jen noticed that the company she orders vegetables from for their restaurants carried them, frozen and in a min. order of 10 pounds. Needless to say, that was more than enough. Anyway, here are my two favorite ways to eat them, I promise these are not the gross vegetable of your childhood!

Lima Bean Hummus

about 1 pound limas, cooked in boiling salted water until tender 15-20 min
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor put the beans, garlic and lemon juice and start to puree. Add the oil in slowly until it makes a nice creamy puree. S&p to taste drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve as a dip with carrots or pita chips or on toasted baguettes.

Now that it's corn season, this is my favorite way to eat them... don't be scared off by the name! This is sooo much better than the slop you were served in the school cafeteria - I promise!

Succotash serves 6-8

about 12 oz of lima beans
about 4 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
couple tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 poblano pepper chopped
couple cloves garlic chopped
teaspoon oregano
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
s&p to taste

Cook the limas in salted water until they are mostly done, not total mush. Heat up a large saute pan, add the oil and then the cumin and onions and cook until soft, 5 min or so. Add the peppers, garlic and oregano and cook another 5 min. Stir in lima beans, corn, broth and cream. Simmer all together until tender and the liquid is reduced about 20 min. S&P to taste.

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