the garden is winding down, but it has been a bountiful summer - borlotti beans (that's the red pods here), tomatoes, small delectable aubergines, tasty cucumbers (so much more flavor than the store-bought kind), artichokes (none visible in this photo), small succulent squash, broad beans and autumn raspberries coming out of our ears for more than a month. the bounty from the garden has been so good that it's almost turned us vegetarian without any effort (tho' we haven't given up bacon - can one be a bacon-tarian?).
with tomatoes and cucumbers as plentiful as they've been, we've tossed them together with feta or mozzarella and a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and some fresh, chopped parsley (it's been a good year for parsley with all of the rain we've had) or sometimes mint for salads nearly every night.
but the real revelation has been a nigel slater-inspired broad bean hummus. we've experienced the entire spectrum of the broad bean...from tiny little green and nearly pealike ones, to the large mature kind that you have to boil and then peel away the grey outer husk before pureeing them into a delicious green hummus.
20-25 large broad bean pods (these may be called favas in the US or hestebønner in denmark)
2 cloves garlic
1 big spoonful of tahini
salt & freshly-ground pepper
handful of parsley or mint
shell the broad beans - it should result in a generous cup or so (you don't have to be that exact), boil them in salted water until they're tender (about 20 minutes). drain the water, allow them to cool and remove the greyish outer covering (it comes off easily after boiling). throw the beans into your food processor with the garlic, tahini (nigel doesn't use tahini in his, but i liked it better with tahini - it gives it that hummus kick that it otherwise lacks) and the herb of your choice (sometimes we wanted the freshness of mint, sometimes the brightness of parsley - use whichever, according to your mood), add a generous sprinkle of salt and a good glug of olive oil. whirr it up in the food processor. if it doesn't go smooth, add more olive oil until it's a smooth, hummus-like consistency. serve it with freshly-baked bread.
if you make a simple chopped tomato, garlic, basil mixture with a bit of olive oil and balsamic for bruschetta, you'll have a meal with simple ingredients from the garden paired with a loaf of bread lovingly baked.
i made this at least once a week, all summer long. the beans give you the protein you need so you don't have to eat meat. it refrigerates well and tastes even better the next day, once the garlic and tahini have melded with the broad beans.
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very often this summer, i would wander out to the garden around 5:30 or so, with nothing much in mind for dinner. the day i gathered the veggies you see above, i brought them in, washed them and just started chopping, not sure where it would take me.
garden bounty pasta
handful of borlotti beans
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small aubergine, diced
1 small zucchini/courgette, diced
handful of swiss chard leaves, chopped
2-3 small/medium tomatoes, diced
salt & pepper
chopped, fresh parsley (or oregano or marjoram or basil if you have it)
1 package linguini (or spaghetti or shells or whatever pasta you like).
freshly grated parmesan to garnish
boiled up the pretty pink-spotted borlotti beans and crisped up some chopped bacon with some onion and garlic while they were boiling. add the diced aubergine and zucchini (courgette) squash. when the beans are done, drain them and turn them in the bacon and veggie mixture. boil up some fresh linguini noodles, or whatever pasta you have on hand would be fine. once the pasta is nearly done, add some chopped tomatoes and chopped swiss chard to the vegetable mix at the last minute, so that the tomatoes are just warmed, but keep their structure and the chard wilted, but retains its green brilliance. salt and pepper to taste and it is ready to serve over the pasta. garnish with freshly chopped parsley and fresh parmesan. you could also sprinkle some toasted pine nuts on top if you had some on hand.
this became a fast favorite and has also been on our table, with slight adjustments for what veggies were ready, for much of the summer.
if you don't have a garden, just visit your local farmer's market or the fruit and vegetable counter of your local grocery store, and see what's in season.