Today’s post is part of a “fun, viral & fluid” series of vegetable musings courtesty of Margaret of the extraordinarily wonderful A Way to Garden blog. Go there and investigate all the other delicious contributions that celebrate summer crops and good eating. That fun illustrated logo is by Matt of Mattbites – and it’s a good thing I grabbed it. My old camera broke last weekend and I don’t know how to use my new one yet…thus I’m photo-free of my lovely ‘Lazy Housewife’ beans…but only for now.
These lovely, meaty, string-less beans (thus the offensive moniker) are now on my ‘must-grow-every-year’ list of plants. I’ve only got a single tee-pee planted – frankly I only purchased the seed because of their goofy name – but I’m sold on their production and more importantly, their flavor! 6-8″ long beans remain tender; their rich green color goes to a brilliant grass green when cooked (as if I know what the color of green grass is!).
Everybody’s thinking beans. Yesterday my good friend and fellow foodie David Perry was waxing eloquent on Facebook about preserved ‘Spicy Dilly Beans’ for a garden-fresh martini garnish – gotta have that recipe. I promise to share when I shake it loose from him.
My go-to method for quick beans:
Place beans in a saute pan with 1/2″ of water and simmer til just tender (beyond “squeeky” but not yet to “bendy”). Drain the rest of the water into the sink (or into a vegetable stock for the truly earnest chefs among us). Add good size knob of butter, a splash or 2 of soy or tamari sauce and shake the pan to lusciously enrobe …ummmm, butter & salt. Add a small handful of sliced almonds and some freshly minced garden thyme – my favorite thyme is ‘Pennsylvania Garden Tea’ with larger, sweetly flavored leaves. Give the whole deal one of those impressive, TV chef tosses-of-the-pan and serve at once.
I’m off to Eastern Washington today for a quickie 3 day road trip and visit with my friend Lois in Leavenworth. Tomorrow morning I’ll be speaking to the Plain, WA. garden club (isn’t that a great town name?). My topic? “Quick preserves in one hour or less” complete with tasty samples and flashy kitchen demo. Actually, I’m not sure about the “flashy kitchen” part. Canning is more about boiling water and watching the clock; not the stuff of kitchen theater if you know what I mean. The only real excitement comes if something goes dreadfully WRONG!
Anyway, I’ll be serving:
- Lavender Lemonade cooler with my homemade Lavender herbal syrup
- Fresh Lemon balm and Mint herbal iced tea (with orange zest and clove)
- Plum jelly on sharp cheese with crackers
- …and we’ll dip fresh greens in my homemade Vanilla Pear infused wine vinegar
I’ll be demo-ing:
- a quick method to freeze fresh herbs like chives and tarragon
- Quick Pickles (I’ve got fistfuls of ‘Lazy Housewife s’ to transform)
- and a luscious infused Provencal Oil. I love to have this oil on hand all winter; just a splash in a hot pan and the kitchen smells like dinner!
All these recipes (and more!) are from my new book Canning & Preserving Your Own Harvest from Sasquatch Books. We’ll also be talking about how to create simple “Live” storage (our grandparents called it a root cellar we’re talking under-the-bed or in an unheated basement), drying, and uncomplicated canning.
A quick roundup touching on the almost alchemical magic of preserving with salt, alcohol, oil/fat, sugar and smoke for added flavor as well as extended shelf life will have my audience drooling in their laps. Don’t you wish you were going to be in Plain, Washington tomorrow?!?
Join the Canvolution! Follow a nation-wide series of activities, demonstrations, blog posts and more at Canning Across America.