The Future of Small Biz IT and Fava Beans

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Fava Bean Recipe …Or how technology can touch any small business

Susan Bradley has written a fun piece for the SMBKitchen Project. I thought I would share it here because to me and I think to Susan it exemplifies that we all love about working for small businesses. I hope that you enjoy the article and will subscribe to the SMBKitchen Project, not for Fava Bean recipes but so that you can continue to grow you small IT firm well into the future and continue working in this amazing corner of the IT world.

by Susan Bradley, SMBKitchen Crew

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Thinking about what’s next for your SMB client in the post SBS era?
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It all started when I stumbled on a concept called “Community supported agriculture” or CSA. I had come across a web site that listed local growers all around the United States and showcased how you could sign up with a monthly fee and receive a box full of locally grown seasonable fruits and vegetables. Then this year when I went into my local Target and WalMart and saw all of those cellophane wrapped packages of fruits and vegetables grown many miles away from me, trucked many miles to me and picked when they were not ripe and mechanically forced into looking ripe, I knew I wanted to start eating better and eating fresher. After all, I live in the fruit and vegetable basket of the world in Central California. Why was I buying vegetables that had driven more miles than I do on a regular basis? More importantly for me as a small business owner myself, I wanted to ensure that I focused on buying locally and supporting my local small business owners.

So I signed up for my first box of Community supported agriculture (CSA) box. In picking up my box of fresh vegetables through the CSA site I also found a small firm that was using technology. It had a web site, was on facebook, and accepted credit cards through

Figure 1 – my first box of CSA vegetables – Scarlet Nantes carrots, Romaine lettuce, Green kale, Yukon gold potatoes, Red Potatoes, Tomatoes, not shown Broccoli

Every week I get an email asking me what I want for the week in my order. In week number three I decided to be adventurous and try Fava Beans. Yes, THAT Fava beans. Of the Silence of the Lamb Fava beans. Like any good geek I found a recipe online that used Fava beans. I tried it out and loved it!

So what does this Fava bean recipe below have to do with technology? Absolutely nothing at all. This article is merely an oddball extra bonus and not a true subscription document to the SMB kitchen project. It’s merely a teaser I’m using on my email tag line advertisements.

But consider it a kind and gentle reminder that there is life outside of technology and you need to stop sometimes and eat the Fava Beans. It’s also a reminder that one finds technology being used by small businesses in all sorts of places and in all sorts of ways. Even the most old fashioned of businesses – growing food that we eat – has found a way to capitalize on a web presence, a social network and an email domain. Furthermore, I think as small business supporters and as small businesses ourselves we should try to remember and to seek out ways that we too can support local small businesses, gain more of a one to one communication with the businesses that may ultimately seek out your services.

So here’s my favorite (so far at least) fava bean recipe from Fine Cooking. I hope you enjoy it too!

Susan – one of the chefs of the SMBKitchen

Fettuccine Primavera

This quintessential springtime pasta includes lots and lots of fresh herbs, as well as leafy greens. The specific vegetables and herbs used are up to you; choose what looks best at the market. Serves six.

Kosher salt
1 lb. fettuccine
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups very thinly sliced mixed spring vegetables, such as asparagus (leave tips whole), baby carrots, baby leeks, baby turnips, baby zucchini, spring onions, and sugar snap peas
1 cup whole, shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas, baby lima beans (preferably peeled), or fava beans (peeled); or a mix of all
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. thinly sliced lemon zest (remove zest with a vegetable peeler and thinly slice)
2 cups loosely packed pea shoots, watercress sprigs, or baby arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigianino Reggiano
1/2 cup roughly chopped mixed fresh herbs such as basil, chervil, chives, mint, parsley, and tarragon
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 6 minutes. (While pasta is cooking, scoop out 1-1/2 cups of pasta cooking water.)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, but not browned, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of of reserved pasta water. Add the sliced vegetables and peas or lima beans (if using fresh). Cover and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and lemon zest along with any fava beans or thawed, frozen peas or lima beans (if using). Bring to a simmer.

Drain the fettuccine and return to its cooking pot. Toss with the vegetables and cream sauce, pea shoots (or watercress or arugula), Parmigianino, all but 1 Tbs. of the herbs, and the pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the sauce with the reserved 1/2 cup pasta water; the sauce should generously coat the vegetables and pasta. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining fresh herbs and the pine nuts.

How to peel Fava beans:

Fresh Favas

Though they are a bit of work to prepare, fresh favas are a fleeting spring treat worth seeking out.

Let’s be up front about it: Favas are a bit of work. But their rich and complex flavor is so delicious, they’re worth the effort it takes to shuck the floppy pods and then peel each bean.

Favas are nutty and slightly sweet, with just a hint of bitterness and a discernible and intriguing taste of cheese. Cooked until tender, they turn buttery and can be added to soups, salads, or pastas, braised as a side dish, puréed for a dip, or eaten plain out of hand as a delightful snack.

Technically, the fava isn’t a bean at all; it’s more closely related to peas. But this vegetable has been called a bean for hundreds of years, and the appellation continues to stick. Fresh favas are a spring favorite in England (where they’re called broad beans), and both fresh and dried favas are eaten throughout the Middle East. In North America, fresh favas are considered a specialty vegetable and can be hard to find, but they are well worth seeking out. Small to medium fava beans are more tender and sweeter than large beans, which are starchier.

Showcase favas’ flavor simply

Peeled favas (directions in “Getting to the heart of the matter” below) need to be cooked just until tender, anywhere from several to about 12 minutes, depending on size and freshness. Most fava recipes call for braising, starting by warming the favas in a little oil or butter and then adding liquid and cooking until tender. For soups, add peeled favas during the last quarter hour of cooking, so there’s time for them to get tender and for the flavors to meld. Or you can boil peeled favas in salted water until tender and store them in the refrigerator (for up to a week) to use cold in salads or to add to risottos and pastas near the end of cooking. In the sidebar at bottom right I’ve included some ways to use favas when you don’t have a lot. If you find yourself with 3 pounds or more in the shell, though, make the versatile and delicious Fava Bean Purée or try one of the suggestions in the panel “If you have lots of favas.”

Favas’ flavor is enhanced by onions, garlic, and their kin and by cured pork, olive oil, butter, cream, and cheeses. Good herb companions include rosemary, thyme, savory, chives, dill, and mint. Classic vegetable partners are those that are in season at the same time—artichokes, asparagus, peas, beets, new potatoes, spring onions, and fennel. Lemon and vinegar add zip.

Getting to the heart of the matter

Favas grow inside bright green, fleshy pods that have a thick, white, cottony lining. Each flat fava is encased in a pale, fairly thick skin, which becomes thicker and bitter as the favas grow larger. It’s this double shelling that gives favas the reputation of being labor-intensive.

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