Friday, April 6, 2012

Potato Pancakes and Fava Beans!

These delicious lemon-ricotta-thyme potato pancakes with homemade applesauce were made using a recipe from The Fresh 20, a site I recently found through Groupon. It's a meal planning service that gives you a shopping list and five nights of recipes a week that use 20 in-season ingredients total (plus pantry staples like salt and olive oil, which are separately listed). You can choose from Classic, Vegetarian, or Gluten-free menus. One thing that's very cool about the service is that it considers costs in the planning, so a week's worth of ingredients for a family of four costs around $55 for Vegetarian meals and $75 for meals with meat. Recipes are all supposed to be doable for weeknights and kid-friendly, with all time-consuming tasks that can be done in advance listed upfront. Pretty cool. I knew that I had to make mashed potatoes and applesauce ahead of time, so I did that after dinner the night before. The rest of the prep was easy.

Jonathan made the accompanying fava beans (which came to us from Out of the Box), using a recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Let me tell you, I am in love with this book! I finally got my hands on a copy recently (Thanks, Tim and Christine!), but hadn't had a lot of time to really go through it until this week. The book is well-loved for a reason. There's a lot more information to digest than in your typical cookbook, and Madison takes the time to explain a lot of techniques, as well as the reasons-why behind them. Sections like "How to Make (Most) Stir-Fries" and "How to Make (Most) Vegetable Soups"make it so that you can almost fly blind on making a meal from what you have on hand right off the bat. There are also over 1,400 actual detailed recipes if you're looking for more structure. Love!

So, back to those delicious fava beans! Did you know that you have to remove them from their pods, then (if possible) blanch them and remove their individual skins before cooking? I had no idea! Madison's recipe calls for the cooked beans to be tossed in plain yogurt, lemon juice, and dill. So yummy, and the sauce also tasted great on the potato pancakes!

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