green beans

In Praise of Fresh

Wow. Summer is going strong, and if you aren't eating Market fresh yet, let me persuade you not to miss this! Take just one, eeny weeny example:

It's green bean season, people. They're skinny and crisp and flavorful, and they're on our dinner menu just about every day this week. So far we've had them two ways, both so delicious that I had to share them with you. As always, ingredients found at the Market are marked with an asterisk (*).

Green Beans with Bacon and Goat Cheese
1 lb green beans, trimmed*
1 Tbsp butter
2-3 slices bacon*
1 dried-fig-encrusted goat-and-sheepmilk cheese from Tieton Farms* (1 little cheese is enough for 2 recipes)

Steam beans till crisp-tender. Drain and add butter. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble cooked bacon and cheese over and serve warm or at room temperature.

Once you've run out of the awesome cheese, you might want to try a more international recipe. My book club met last night, and as always, we tried to theme the food to the book. In this case we had read Lost in Shangri-La, a fascinating nonfiction account of a plane that went down in WWII in a highland Papuan valley. The survivors of the wreck encountered Papuan tribespeople with Stone Age technology, who had never before seen white people or modernity.

 I highly recommend it for WWII and adventure buffs or those with an anthropological bent. One of the members of our book club had lived as a missionary in Wamena and knew all the places mentioned in the story, so we had her draw up a typical Indonesian menu for us, for which each of us prepared a dish. Everything was so tasty that most of us went home uncomfortable, but a particular hit were the "Buncis Tumis," the stir-fried green beans. Thus:

Buncis Tumis

Heat in a wok or large skillet:
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 tsp crushed garlic (3-4 cloves)*
2 tsp grated ginger (about a finger length)
½ sweet onion, sliced to shape of green beans*
1 cup sliced carrots, sliced in shape of green beans*
2 cups green beans, cut in 1-2” lengths*
½ cup water

2-3 T kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce found at Asian markets)

Stir fry until beans just begin to grow tender, maybe 3-4 minutes.

Remove to serving dish.  Toss well with fresh ground black pepper.

Clockwise from top: Chicken Curry, Buncis Tumis, Turmeric Rice, Gado Gado ("Mix Mix")

As long as you're stopping by Uwajimaya or the Asian Food Market for kecap manis (pronounced "ketchup mayonnaise," if you need to ask the clerk), you might as well grab some Indonesian Gado Gado dressing or a packet of "Bumba Gado Gado" (Gado Gado Spices) to make your own. Then just make up a tray of your favorite fresh items--

  • potatoes, boiled and cubed*
  • cucumbers, peeled and cubed*
  • boiled eggs*
  • tomatoes*
  • green beans*
  • sweet potatoes 

--sprinkle cilantro* over and drizzle with dressing. You can also squeeze fresh lime over it. 

And lastly, while I'm on the subject of fresh, did you notice the newly-caught salmon from Two If By Seafoods?

From the bin labeled "Grill Me"

 Get 'em while they last!