Where’s the beef? Remember, in 1984 that was a Wendy’s famous commercial, brought on to point out how much beef they have in their burgers. Growing up on a farm in the Midwest where my father raised livestock, we had access to a freezer full of beef and pork. As children, it was nothing to eat an entire T-Bone steak apiece.
As we settle into yet another new consequence of the Covid-19 virus, that of having a shortage in our meat supply, it’s time to welcome in a healthier lifestyle of plant-based eating. I try to eat healthy, but this will be a challenge for me as well since I often go back to preparing the familiar meals I have made for years.
When a box of produce arrived from Melissa’s Produce, based in the Los Angeles area, and home to the largest distributor of specialty produce in the United States, it was a chance for me to see what I could do with some produce I don’t usually buy.
In my box of produce were fava beans. To my surprise, fava beans end up being a real treat for me. Looking at them once they were removed from their shell, they first reminded me of lima beans which I don’t like (or don’t think I like since I haven’t tried one since I was a child.) I discovered that on Melissa’s Produce website there are lots of recipes just waiting for consumers to try. However, I decided to make a Middle Eastern dish called Foul (Ful) Medamme, a spicy fava bean dip, from a recipe I found online.
Fava beans can be a lot of work because they first need to be shelled similar to peas. Once they are shelled, you have the option of leaving on the outside shell and frying them which gives a crunchy texture to them or you can quickly par boil them and peel off the outside shell for a more tender bean. (You can also order already shelled fava beans from Melissa’s so that you save one step.)
After the beans are ready to use, the rest is very simple and takes a very short time to prepare. While this dip is often eaten in the Middle East for breakfast, I found this dish to be a satisfying lunch alternative. I would describe the flavor as earthy and buttery. To learn how to prepare the
Foul (Ful) Medammes, just click on the link.
Next, I prepared a dinner using the dried mushrooms, quinoa, shallots, beets, and Ojai Pixie Tangerines. I have to admit, I did grill a piece of salmon to accompany all of the vegetables and grains. But, salmon is healthy, right?
The quinoa comes in a sealed log shape that can be easily sliced and fried, but I wanted to have the grain loose with the reconstituted mushrooms mixed into the quinoa. I added a bit of mushroom water left from soaking the mushrooms to the quinoa. Since the quinoa just needed to be warmed, there was no cooking involved. This was an easy side dish to prepare.
I followed the recipe on the back of the peeled, steamed, and vacuum sealed baby beets for a Peeled & Steamed Baby Beet Salad. I can guarantee just how simple it is to make a beet salad with the packaged beets. I used the Ojai Pixie Tangerines for the oranges in the recipes and topped everything with a little goat cheese just to add a bit of creaminess.
Peeled & Steamed Baby Beets
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 (8 ounce) package Melissa’s Peeled & Steamed Baby Beets, sliced
1 small orange, peeled and segmented
¼ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/3 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Goat Cheese, broken into small pieces (optional)
Whisk together the first three ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, toss together the rest of the other ingredients and gently mix in the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Makes about 2 servings.
Because every meal needs dessert, there were a couple of desserts that I made from my box of produce, too. I made one of my favorites, a strawberry rhubarb pie. In addition, I decided to try something new, a Tropical Mango Coconut Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce. These are both great ways to end a meal.
My box of produce was a promotional box from Melissa’s Produce. In the past, I have had the opportunity to go to their warehouse and try what their chef creates. Of course, this wasn’t possible during this time, so having a box full of the freshest produce sent to me was a treasure.
To get your box of fresh produce (and I mean the freshest produce) delivered from Melissa’s Produce, just go to their website and see what you can create with a world full of specialty produce right at your fingertips. It’s fun.