October 08, 2012

Warm lima bean salad | Earliest memory #1

I've been writing this blog since 2007, and since then, a lot of recipes have been shared on its pages. Most of them probably get buried and are never seen again, but many are favorites at our house, and are cooked over and over. This week I decided to re-post a few of our favorites, and since I'm digging into the past for recipes, I thought I'd also dig into the past for old memories, and share a few unusual recollections. Have you ever been asked about your earliest memories? Here are some of mine.

I adored my maternal grandmother, and spent quite a lot of time at her house. In fact, my family lived with my grandparents for a while before we moved into our first house when I was 15 months old, though I don't remember sharing their home. My earliest memory is an incident involving my grandmother (Nannie) and nap time. It was my nap time, and Nannie placed me into the crib that was in the middle bedroom of her house. I can still picture it in a fuzzy sort of way. She covered me up and kissed me before going downstairs. It was very warm in the room and I got too hot, but didn't know what I should do. I was worried about kicking off the blanket because my grandmother had covered me, and I believed she knew what was best. I wondered if she would be mad? Then I got an idea — if I very carefully pushed the blanket against the crib edges, as neatly as I could, she might not mind. I did my best to arrange the blanket against the two sides and foot of the crib and when it was as neat as I could make it, I went to sleep.

I never told anyone about this until years later when I was an adult with kids of my own, and my grandmother and I were talking about memories. We decided to exchange early memories to see if we shared any of the same ones. When I told her this one, her jaw dropped, and she practically went into shock. When she finally recovered herself, she said she remembered it well. When she had come to check on me and had seen the folded-back blanket she'd felt horribly guilty. She said, "I felt like I'd tried to suffocate you! I thought to myself, this baby is smarter than I am. How did I not realize it was too warm for the blanket?" I think she still felt bad after all those years! But then she said, "How can you remember this? You were only 12-months old!" That was certainly a surprise to me. I knew I was young since I was sleeping in a crib, but I didn't know my actual age. Babies have complex thoughts before they have the language to express the thoughts — something to keep in mind when caring for young children!

That's my earliest confirmed memory — I knew I was a baby but I never knew how young until the conversation with my grandmother. If you have old memories, chances are someone shares them with you and can provide more details. I encourage you to find out.

Today's recipe is warm lima bean salad, in deference to the too-warm baby. I read somewhere that lima beans are good for your bones, so I disregarded the fact that I've never been fond of limas, and used them in a salad. I've changed my mind, and now I think that lima beans taste good! Limas always seem to me to be dirtier than other beans, but after soaking it's pretty easy to rub the beans together in a colander to get the dirt off.

Warm lima bean salad (no added oil but feel free to add some if you wish)
serves 10-12 as a side dish, with leftovers
The amounts in this recipe are flexible and open to interpretation.
  • 1-1/2 cups dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight, drained, rinsed and cooked with fresh water, then drained (or 2 to 3 16-ounce cans cooked lima beans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons stone ground prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons grated palm sugar (or 2 tablespoons dark evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 large carrots, small dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, (about two teaspoons)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained, rinsed if desired, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced green onions
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
  1. Cook the lima beans in your preferred way. You can simmer them in a large, covered pot until they are tender, or cook them in a pressure cooker. The pot will take about two hours, and the pressure cooker will take five to seven minutes. You could also buy them already cooked, in a can. (two to three cans) If you cook the beans, save the cooking liquid to use as soup stock.
  2. Make the dressing by mixing together the lemon juice, mustard and sugar.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, steam the garlic, carrots, corn, peas and artichokes in about 1/4 cup of water until the carrots are bright orange and a little tender, and the frozen veggies are cooked, about three to five minutes. Add more water if needed but aim to have all the water evaporate.
  4. Add the drained beans and cumin. Cook until beans are warm.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in the onions, parsley, and dressing.
  6. Add the salt, to taste.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nut butter and nut-butter product recall
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  1. Wow, that's pretty amazing that you have a memory from when you were that young! I like it that your grandma also remembered that particular incident. I'm sure she took care of you many times, and so it's interesting that it stood out to her too since she felt bad about you being too hot. I also find it fascinating that, even without words to express it at that point, you had the logical dexterity to think about your grandma having a better grip on the situation than you and figuring out a workaround.

    That looks like my kind of salad! I don't eat lima beans very often, but for no particular reason. I should look into incorporating them into my diet, just to mix things up.

    I noticed online that Gotham Bagels closed down! That's too bad. It was a really nice place!

    1. I often forget about lima beans but I've really grown to like them and want to eat them more often.

      I think only the Park St. store has closed. Too bad if the downtown one closes, too. I hope not.

  2. Wow, that's really young to have a recollection of! I wonder if that's common. What an interesting one, too.
    Like Cadry, I like lima beans but don't often eat them. This sounds like a fun salad. If lima beans could be considered fun.

  3. My earliest memory is of someone taking the blankets off me and covering me with a plastic bag.
    Really, I love this post,it's beautiful. Since 2007? I give you the week off.
    And I have a fond memory of my late sister-in-law. She made the best macaronies with lima beans. It was the first time I ever enjoyed lima beans. I like them in succotash. Love this post.

    1. Thanks, Gigi. You should re-create your sister-in-law's recipe for mofo. It sounds good.

  4. oh my gosh that looks AMAAAAAZING!

  5. My earliest memory is from when I was about 2, but it was unpleasant, so I won't share!

    My mom recently made me vegetable lasagna. For some reason, she didn't use the broccoli/cauliflour/string beans/carrots/corn mix she usually does, and instead chose the one with the lima beans: succotash. Total fail! I can see them being tolerable in this fine salad, but limas do not reach the level of being coated with pasta, sauce, and 2 kinds of vegan cheese!

    1. I might have to agree with you about limas in lasagna. I like the first mix better. :)

  6. That is insane to remember such an early memory! Can you remember anything else from when you were that little?

    I think a lot of my early memories are connected with food - I remember particularly when we would stay with my granny we'd always have pies for dinner. Heaven.

    I'm a big fan of limas - normally I make a pate with sage and red onions. It's really nice, I promise...

    1. I like the sound of your paté - limas would be good served that way.

  7. My family lived with my grandparents when I was very young too, so many of my first memories involve my grandmother and grandfather also! I love that you and your grandmother have the same memory.

    That lima bean dish looks fantastic! I like lima beans, and anything with artichokes has my name all over it ;-)


  8. It's so amazing to compare memories and get another perspective.

    Artichoke hearts make nearly everything taste better. Artichokes and olives.

    1. I agree--only, I would say artichokes and watermelon :-)

  9. I'm so amazed that you remember something from such a young age, and also that at that age, you were able to form the plan to pus the blanket up next to the edge of the crib.

    I never think to use lima beans, even though I really like them. This looks like a very tempting reminder. Those artichoke hearts... *swoon*.

    1. I'm surprised by the coherent memory, too. I used to wonder why I didn't just call my grandmother and tell her I was too hot, but that was before I found out how old I was.

    2. I wonder what it is about lima beans that makes them so ignored. I never used to eat them, either, and I seldom see them in recipes. It's too bad, because they are very tasty!

  10. I also think that it's amazing you can recall something from 12 months!! I do remember wanting to express things that were beyond my vocabulary. I remember how frustrated I felt!


    1. I don'[t remember not being able to communicate my thoughts — only the thoughts. I remember them as if I could talk. Weird.


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