Bumper Crop

Bumper Crop is my attempt to celebrate the intersection of the garden and the kitchen — an intersection at which many of us love to linger, I think.  This week’s Bumper Crop is green beans.  We grow two kinds of green beans: Maxibel Haricot Vert (a nice skinny bean) and Romano Italian flats, and we’ve been very lucky to have a great crop of each this year.  That said, there are only so many times I want simple steamed beans, or roasted beans, or green beans with potatoes and ham, or the hundreds of ways I’ve been cooking green beans this and every summer of my adulthood!  So I came up with a new one:

Soy and Sesame Beans

Steam green beans for about 6 minutes. Immediately plunge them into some ice water to stop the cooking so they’ll be bright green and crisp-tender.

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Put a little drizzle of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil in a bowl.  Add the beans and swirl them around to coat.

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Put the beans in the refrigerator and chill for a few hours to get them good and cold.

Eat with chopsticks!

This is how I like my recipes: so simple it’s almost a crime.  Note: I’m not being cheeky with the last instruction—I firmly believe these beans are a more pleasing food experience if eaten with chopsticks.  Don’t you find that to be true about some foods?

For this iteration of Soy and Sesame Beans I sliced some Italian flats into two skinny pieces before steaming them.

Please leave a comment and tell us about your Bumper Crop; in other words, what are you doing with what you’re growing?

Bumper Crop

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It’s time for Bumper Crop: What’s coming out of your garden, and, more importantly, what are you doing with it?  Every gardener knows the beautiful dilemma of having so much of a certain crop or two that you actually wish for the plants to stop producing, right?  So, leave a comment and tell me how you deal with your bumper crop.

Like so many southern gardeners, we have squash and squash and squash and squash.  I learned a great way to use it and some other vegetables that are also prolific in the summer: Summer Soup.  This recipe comes courtesy of Lynn Pugh at Cane Creek Farms in Cumming, GA.

Summer Soup

Chop up summer squash, potatoes, carrots and onion into relatively uniform pieces.  Chop up another 2 potatoes into bigger chunks and set these aside.

Put the uniformly chopped vegetables in a big stock pot with plenty of vegetable stock or bouillon to cover it (and maybe have an extra inch of liquid).  Bring it all to a boil, and add the bigger potato chunks at this point.  Let it all simmer until the first vegetables are nice and soft and the bigger potatoes are, y’know, soft enough.

Use an immersion blender (easiest) or pour the whole shebang into your blender (be careful not to burn yourself with splashing soup!).  Blend it into a nice smooth pureed soup, but leave some of the big potato chunks unblended or semi-blended.  They add a nice texture.

Add chopped dill and salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Hot farm, summer in the country

June is departing and, very nicely, leaving us with some cooler temperatures.  The Etc. garden is packed full, and I’m enjoying the bounty so much.  Tonight’s menu included roasted beets with their own sautéed greens and a Zephyr squash pie that turned out so much better than I imagined.  I used leftover Riverview Farms grits, mixed in a little garlic powder and pressed it into a pie crust.  Baked that about 12 minutes to firm it up.  Then I sautéed squash and minced onions, mixed them with some chopped flat-leaf parsley and the fantastic goat’s milk feta that I bought from The Goat Farmer at the Big Canoe farmers’ market.  Dumped the filling into the cooled grits crust, topped it all with some panko and put it in the refrigerator to wait until dinner time.  At dinner time, I baked it about 20 minutes total, and then L’Homme and I wolfed it down.  Yum!

What is coming out of your garden, and what are you doing with it?