Thursday, September 10, 2009

Green Beans, Again

When I left for Mexico over a month ago, I was writing about how to use the green beans that we picked from our CSA and that were just beginning to show on my plants. Now my back garden green beans have climbed up to the second floor porch, and even though my neighbor Meghan picked at least weekly while I was gone, they are absolutely covered with beans and still producing more flowers (Actually, it's probably because Meghan picked them while I was gone that they're still producing. Green beans, like many other plants, produce more when they are picked regularly)! The big problem with my green beans, though, is that they have blocked the sun from half of my garden. I realize, now, that I made a rather big mistake when I planted them: I put the green beans in a long row in the middle of the garden. Something that grows tall and thick like that, really belongs at one end of the garden, and positioned in relation to the sun so that it's longest shadow-casting will go not over the rest of the garden but over whatever is alongside the garden. Indeed, green beans can be wonderful in creating a nice shady seating spot beside the garden, and work wonderfully on trellises. But the better their location, the more they produce and then what (else) to do with them?

I've already listed a green bean salad recipe, a steamed green bean recipe, and a green bean stir-fry recipe, and of course put them into salade nicoise, but there are still more green beans!

So this week I've tried a few new things:

Grilled Green Beans and Onions
Trim the ends off of about 3/4 lb of green beans but leave them whole
Cut one large onion in half and then slice it into long thin slices

Toss the green beans and onions with about 2 T olive oil, sea salt, and pepper

Place everything in a grilling basket (the shape of a wok, but full of holes) and put over medium-hot coals. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the beans and onions just start to get little brown-black spots, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside. Then grill your meat or whatever else you're making, and just before serving return the green beans and onions to the heat long enough to reheat.

Bean, Bean, and Beet Salad
Roast 1 lb beets by slicing off the tops and bottoms and baking on a pan at 350 for abotu one hour, or until tender when pierced. Put into a bowl and cover tightly (with saran wrap, aluminium foil, or a lid) for aout ten minutes, then remove cover, slide off skins, and cut into 1" dice. Place back in covered container with 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette. Let sit at room temperature or in fridge at least 30 minutes and up to 48 hours.

Trim and cut into 1" pieces about 1/2 lb green beans. Steam until just tender. Place in a covered container with 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette. Let sit at room temperature or in fridge at least 30 minutes and up to 48 hours.

Just before serving, mix together the green beans, beets, and one can of garbanzo beans.

If you want, add crumbled feta cheese.

This packs up wonderfully for a picnic or brown bag lunch, and also is great served on a bed of lettuce at home.

Beans in Soup
The other thing to remember about green beans, is that they are great in almost any soup. Cut them to a size that matches other things in the soup and add them at the beginning if you want them super-soft, or 30 minutes before serving if you want them a little crunchy.