Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Green Beans

Green Beans
Originally uploaded by rarichard
My garden is finally at the summer bounty point. That point where you have to get a bit creative about how to use a ton of vegetables. There really aren't tomatoes or chiles or eggplant yet, but there are a lot of green beans, cucumbers, and squash. There is also a ton of basil, New Zealand spinach and probably some other things that I can't see because it is such a jungle in there. I spent a half hour pruning the tomatoes today. I did the whole "Square Foot Gardening" method of planting the tomatoes very close together and training them upwards, but it's still crazy. I might actually pull out a few of them that don't really have any fruit yet.

Since I've literally been picking beans by the bucketful I've taken to stewing them with tomatoes. This is an especially good way to prepare beans that have gotten quite large because you've been out of town or they have been hiding out deep in the hoophouse jungle.

Stewed Green Beans:

Saute an onion in a liberal amount of olive oil in a large pan (with high sides) or pot. Once the onion is softened, add chopped up fresh tomatoes or chopped up canned tomatoes (I use a big can or 1-2 pounds fresh), a half bucket of green beans or so (1 pound?), chopped up garlic (1 or more cloves, I would do at least 3 large cloves), and assorted herbs: thyme, bay leaf, salt & freshly ground pepper, dill, parsley, etc. The recipe is flexible. If you want to add basil I would add that at the end to keep the flavor alive. I think I tossed in some spanish smoked paprika yesterday as well -- something spicy would be good too like cayenne or red chile.

Then I add some broth (chicken or veggie) or water (1/2 to 1 cup, could do even more) so they have plenty of liquid to stew in. I cover and simmer over medium-low heat for at least a half hour. If I'm in a hurry I steam the beans before I simmer them with the other ingredients. You want them to get soft and start falling apart a bit before you serve them.

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