Kale, lemons and lima beans at the festival

Rafael Castillejo and Javier Reyes of Reality Changers volunteered at the lima bean festival, serving Mary Dralle's Lemony Lima Poppyseed Cake. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Rafael Castillejo and Javier Reyes of Reality Changers volunteered at the lima bean festival, serving Mary Dralle’s Lemony Lima Poppyseed Cake. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Me with Jean Bruns of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, who was supervising the Encinitas Lima Bean Cookoff and Faire. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Me with Jean Bruns of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. (Photo by Greg Groch)

Kale, lemons and of course, lima beans were the dominant flavors Saturday at the Encinitas Lima Bean Cookoff and Faire, put on by the San Dieguito Heritage Museum off Quail Gardens Drive.

I helped with the judging, sampling everything lima-beanish from Mini Sweet Pepper Poppers to Hawaiian Lima BBQ Beans to Lima-Kale Gratin and Cinnabean Rolls. (Winning recipes in an upcoming post.)

It was a lot of fun, with some very nice people who enjoyed the afternoon, the Continue reading

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It’s all about those beans, ’bout those beans — and Restaurant Week, too

Lima Bean Festival

Cooking instructor Mary “Cooking With Klibs” Dralle was among those exhibiting bean ideas at the 2014 Lima Bean Festival at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Some very local goings-on in this post, starting with:

— Encinitas’ San Dieguito Heritage Museum, which is hosting its 7th annual Lima Bean Festival from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. I’m helping judge the entries in the cooking contest, which is always a fun part of the festivities. But it’s not all about the beans, though — there are other attractions, including a plant sale, silent auction, kids games and tours of the historical Teten House. Come on by and taste-test (from 12:30-2:30 p.m.) the different concoctions dreamed up by area chefs, amateurs and Continue reading

Beans for da Bowl? 2 hearty recipes that will also help take the chill off

marcy jiminez, mackenzie williams, lima bean festival, brownies

People come up with some amazing ideas using beans at the annual Lima Bean Festival. Marcy Jimenez and Mackenzie Willkins created brownies. (Want more bean ideas? Contact the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.) (Photo by Laura Groch)

Gray day in SoCal today, so in solidarity with our East Coast br-r-r-ethren, I think some warming foods are in order. Here are a couple of winners from the 2014 Lima Bean festival, held in September at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas. For the past several years, I’ve been honored to help with the judging (yes, I work cheap) of this boisterous, fun event.

Both recipes are hearty enough for chilly weather, and both would make fine additions to your Super Bowl table (you are planning more than chips and dip, right?).

BTW, if you’ve never visited the museum, or attended the festival, I can Continue reading

Make the ‘Bean Scene’ in Encinitas this Saturday!

crowds at the lima bean festival in Encinitas, California

The bean scene was lively at the 2013 Lima Bean Festival held at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas, Calif.

Time once again to make the bean scene! I’m referring to the sixth annual Lima Bean Festival and cooking competition put on from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 27) by the San Dieguito Heritage Museum at 450 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, California. Folks, when other tasting events can run you upward of $35 a pop, this is a nicely priced alternative at $15 adults and $5 kids (for advance tickets) or $20 adults on event day. Buy them at www.sdheritage.org/limatickets.php.

And the cuisine on call isn’t just lima beans — other legumes are in play, in

Continue reading

Lima Love

Laugh if you like, but I’m growing fonder of lima beans year by year.

This past Saturday marked the fifth year of Encinitas’ Lima Bean Faire, a fundraiser for the San Dieguito Heritage Museum (www.sdheritage.org) and my fourth year (I think) as a judge of the faire’s cooking contest. (Also judging were Coast News columnist David Boylan (“Lick the Plate”) and Chef Marian of ChefMarian.com.)

I was not a fan of lima beans as a child. They were the hated ingredient in the blocks of frozen succotash that were our family’s default dinner vegetable. They were mealy and dry, and far inferior to the corn niblets and green beans they accompanied.

But now, after several years of experiencing limas transformed by amateur and professional chefs, I’ve come to appreciate them. They certainly are no longer the shriveled nubbins I remembered from childhood. Nope. I now know them as moist, inviting, satisfying and savory, not to mention nutritious, full of fiber and economical, as most beans are.

This year’s contest allowed other kinds of beans besides limas, and entries included soups, dips, salads, stews, casseroles and pasta dishes, as well as several (yes!) desserts. According to Jean Bruns, a museum board member, this year’s turnout was 21 cooks entering 26 dishes.

The winners:

People’s choice:  Sean O’Leary – L Im A Piggy Soup;

Professional division:

Salad/Side – Brett Nicholson, Brett’s BBQ: Black Bean Salad

Entree/Side — Steve Molina, Delicias Restaurant, Five Bean Fritters With Spiced Yogurt Tzatziki;

Dessert — Mary Dralle/Cooking With “Klibs,” Xocolatl Bars.

Amateur division:

Salad/Side — Evelyn Weidner, Ginger Citrus and Sweet Chipotle Dips;

Entree/soup — Sean O’Leary, L Im A Piggy Soup;

Dessert — Kristin Gaspar, Mini Lima Bean Pies

Winning recipes, as they have been every year, will be compiled in the group’s fundraising cookbook, soon to be available at the museum, 450 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas (760-632-9711).

Sean O’Leary’s prize-winning soup was one of my favorites. He’s a former chef turned freelance photographer (www.simplysophotography.com). This recipe makes a LOT of soup, but you can cut it down for a smaller batch. The  pork bone is for flavor, not for meat, Sean says. He adds that you can roast it beforehand for more flavor in the soup.

L IM A PIGGY SOUP 

5 pounds dried lima beans

6 stalks celery

3 carrots, peeled

2 1/2 pounds onions, peeled

1 head garlic, peeled

1 Fresno chile, seeded

1 pound ham, chopped

1 pound pork shoulder bone or other pork bone (not meaty)

1 bunch parsley stems

1 bunch green onions

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 1/2 gallons chicken broth

Salt and cracked black pepper

Lime Creme:

12 ounces sour cream

4 ounces mayo

1 lime

Kale Chips:

1 bunch kale

Leek Threads:

1/2 pound leeks, cut lengthwise and cleaned

Soak dried lima beans overnight in a 20-quart stock pot. Make sure water level is at least 4 times the volume of the beans.  The next morning, strain the beans in a colander and set aside.

After cleaning and preparing vegetables, rough-chop them. You don’t want to cut them too small.

Place the dry 20-quart stock pot back on the stove and add some vegetable oil over medium heat.  Let the pot get warm.  Add celery, carrots, onions, garlic and chile, and sweat them until they are translucent by occasionally stirring them. This should take 8 to 10 minutes.

At this point add reserved lima beans, ham, pork bone, parsley stems, green onions, paprika, cumin, oregano and chicken broth.  Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low and simmer for 3 hours or until beans are soft.

Remove pork bone and discard.

Cool soup until it is about room temperature.  It is best to cool soup as quickly as possible by placing pot in your kitchen sink. Surround the pot with ice and fill sink with cold water a quarter full.  Stir soup to cool it faster.  Once soup is cool enough, blend in a blender starting at low speed and working up to high speed until soup is smooth. Do small batches at a time.  Reheat soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lime Creme: While soup is cooling, mix sour cream, mayo and lime juice as desired in a small bowl.  Add a little water and salt until desired thickness and flavor.

Kale Chips: Cut the leafy part off the kale stems.  Now cut kale into desired size.  In a saute pan, add vegetable oil to fill saute pan 1/4 full.  Heat oil to medium-high. Place a little bit of kale in saute pan at a time. Be careful — the kale will splatter oil due to water content in the leaf. Pan fry kale until oil is no longer bubbling around the cut pieces.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and shake over pan to remove excess oil. Place on paper towel to drain and season with a little salt while still hot.  Set aside.

Leek Threads:  This is the exact same method as to make the kale chips. Slice the leeks crosswise into thin shreds and then pan fry.

Once you have all the components ready, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Lime Creme, Kale Chips and Leek Threads.  Enjoy!

Here’s the recipe for Xocolatl Bars from Mary Dralle’s (“Cookin’ With Klibs”). The recipe uses lima bean flour, which she said she gets at the Santa Ysabel General Store. “Frazier Farms in Vista carries bean flours as well as Jimbo’s, Sprouts and Henry’s,” she noted. “A substitute bean flour could be used in place of the lima bean flour.”

XOCOLATL BARS

1/2 cup lima bean puree

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

1 cup raw sugar

1 cup brown sugar, slightly packed

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons creme de cacao liqueur

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks

2 1/4 cups unbleached flour, sifted

3/4 cup lima bean flour, sifted

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream the first four ingredients until fluffy.

Beat eggs in one at a time, then fold in vanilla, creme de cacao, and dark chocolate chunks.

On a large piece of wax paper, measure out all of the dry ingredients. (This method will ensure that all of the items are added.) Fold wax paper in half, pour into sifter and sift into bean mixture. Fold until all is incorporated.

Press dough into a parchment paper-lined 11-by-17-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.

(c) copyright Laura Groch 2013