It’s the end of summer and the end of a great season for my green beans. I experimented with so many recipes but my favorite is still green beans a la Zinc Cafe.www.zinccafe.com. I’m not sure I’ve exactly duplicated their recipe, but I will say, mine taste really good. I like dishes that are quick, simple, easy to make and preferably require little or no measuring. Give this one a try, and let me know what you think.
Pole Beans–the tall ones on the left. Bush Beans–the little ones in the middle (not climbing the poles). And a butterfly on the Hollyhock.
Growing green beans really is reminiscent of Jack and the Beanstalk. I had no idea! When the directions say, “plant seeds near a tall pole” they really mean it–they can top out at 6 feet. Not one to always follow directions (or measure), I made my own little 4 foot pole. It wasn’t nearly tall enough so my beans wandered into and attached to my lemon tree and my tomatoes, but they all got along pretty well. Now I can see how Jack got to the Giant with his magic beans.
I also grew bush beans, which, as their name implies, grow near the ground. Next year, I’ll stick to pole beans, they’re much easier to harvest since you don’t have to roll around in the dirt trying to find them hanging from their short little bushes. Blue Lake beans are my favorite. They seem to have the best texture and flavor. So next year it’s Blue Lake Pole for me.
Another interesting bean fact — the purple ones turn green when you cook them. That was a bit of a disappointment. I thought a multi-colored salad would have looked great.
Of course, after I cooked them I visited a web site that said the best way to have them retain their color is to “butter baste” them or if you blanch them, add a pinch of baking soda to the water. I’ll try that next season.
This bean salad is always a favorite — just ask Mindy Nokes –I know she loves it. It’s great for a potluck or a cook-ahead dish when you’re having company.
1-2 lbs. green beans
1/2 small finely diced red onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 tsp. Coleman’s mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
First, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the mustard, red wine vinegar and garlic. Slowly add the olive oil and continue to whisk to emulsify your dressing. You could add the ingredients to your food processor, but that just makes a bigger mess and more dishes to wash. I prefer to do it this way.
Add beans to boiling, salted water and cook until just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or they will be mushy and no one will like them.
Immediately drain them and give them an ice water bath. This will stop the cooking process (keeping them crisp) and preserve their bright green color.
While the beans are still slightly warm put them in a Ziploc bag and add half the dressing so they can absorb all the flavors. Marinate for at least a half hour.
Add the finely chopped red onion and toasted almonds to the remainder of the dressing.
Arrange on a nice platter and spoon the onion/almond vinaigrette down the center of the beans. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature and enjoy.
The summer garden is done and I’m getting ready for fall. The beds are pretty empty as you can see, but I still have herbs and a few tomato plants that are producing. Next I will add compost and get the soil ready for the winter crops–cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli (which always give me trouble), lettuce, carrots and so much more!
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