My first idea for what to title this post was something along the lines of The Double Down: Vegan Style, but this was ultimately defeated by two factors: First, the Kentucky Fried Cruelty "chicken" sandwich has already been admirably veganized in multiple online venues. If that piques your curiosity, check it out here and here. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I mean it as a sort of ode to the period of vh1 reality tv of which I was an unabashed fan. I say "was" because the world seems to have moved on from the super-staged, salacious shows that I love and onto more regular life, celebrity-themed reality shows. Basically, the thing now is to get fairly well-known but struggling celebrities and follow them around as they tend to the mundanities of their existence. No hyper-inflated romance narrative. No hilarious elimination scenes. No exploration of the (delightful and ridiculous) terrains of the super-sexed twenty-something's ego. No stormy reunions shows. Color me sad, indeed. Arguably, all of this glory was inaugurated by one man's search for love from a pool of fifty or so scantily clad ladies, all of whom would inevitably follow in Brigitte Nielsen's shoes and kick him and his clock to the curb. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, well, that's weird. Below is that amazonian goddess as I love her best. Am I right?
I also think that Fava of Love is a great name for the dish that I made out of the generous handful of fava beans we got in our farmbox yesterday. When I worked at the coop, I used to pause slightly as I strolled by the highly seasonal offerings of fava beans, their green, fleshy fingers waving at me seductively. In New York, though, they were always pretty expensive. Imagine how my delight at my farmbox was compounded when I discovered that I was allowed to swap out the generous bunch of bok choy that we also got for yet another deliriously large handful of fava. When I got them home and put them in a bowl, it looked like a LOT. We figured we would be able to have the fava as our main dish, with maybe a bit of salad. By the time I finished processing them, though, C had to run to the store to get some additional victuals. With that said, though, this dish was really delicious. The favas are a bit of a bitch, but worth the trouble, especially if you have somebody just sitting around watching tv in the text room who is willing to help.
What makes the fava so much trouble (though so very worth it) is that you have to shell them twice. Well, you have to de-pod them, and then you have to shell them. Two stages of removal. Both are easy, luckily, if a bit time-consuming. But again, WOW.
Fava of Love
2 large handfuls fava beans (I wish I could tell you how many pounds I had, but I have no idea. The bowl in the picture is quite large, though, so that should be helpful, right?)
1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cube vegan bouillon
1 c water
olive oil for the pan
vegan bakun bits
First, prepare your fava beans. Remove the favas from the pods. Boil a medium-sized pot of water, and toss in the beans. Simmer for 2 minutes, then drain and immerse the beans in cold water. When the favas are cool enough to handle, slip the beans out of their shells. Try to pretend that you knew that such a huge bowl of favas would yield so few beans. I think I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of favas.
In a medium-sized frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil until hot. Add the fennel and garlic and saute until fragrant and almost golden. Add the beans and cook one minute more. Add the water and bouillon cube, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow the liquid to reduce until it is almost all gone. Squeeze the lemon over the top, and sprinkle with black pepper. You should have enough for two small servings. Garnish with bakun bits. Amazing, truly. Make this.