Thursday, August 18, 2011

From Seed to Plate: A Green Bean Dinner

I love the Corvallis farmers' market. It's set up along the Mary's River and it feels like one of the biggest Northwest farmers' markets with all the tables laden with fresh produce, demonstration beehives, dancers, singers, cheesemakers and lots of farmers. You must go there, if you get a chance before the season ends.

So that's where I found Peace Seedlings, a seed producing farm at the market and I bought these Red Swan Bush snap beans and was told the seeds would be quick to sprout and ripen. Okay I pictured Jack and the Bean Stalk and suddenly I couldn't wait until spring. I planted a few seeds when I got home, but it was too late in the season (who plants beans in August?). Before long it started raining and got so cold the beans quit growing. I saw flowers on the plants, but they died before beans because it was so cold, the bees quit flying.

Early this spring I got out the gardening seed catalogs.

And I remembered the seeds I had from Peace Seedlings.

Nowyou can have the farmers' market kind of bean experience--buy from abundant bins of beans in the peak season, and there isn't anything wrong with that I've done it for years. I still buy plenty of green beans at the market.

It's gratifying knowing you're buying great locally produced food, but . . .

you could also have this amazing bean experience at home.

I was anxious again and wanted to taste these beans in my garden so much, I picked them too early. Tom mentioned they didn't look quite ripe to him, but I wanted to try them, so I picked them anyway.

See them next to the bigger greener green beans from Rent's Due Ranch.

Even my Cooking Assistant is impressed.

Suddenly I realized it was 5 o'clock. What shall I make? Came to mind.

I got out fresh garlic, carrots, potatoes and onions. The zucchini is nearly ripe, but Tom said, "Let's go a day without zucchini, okay?" Like me, he's had too much zucchini lately.

Here is what I made:

Five O'clock Green Beans
(Serves 4)

1 spring onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Handful of chopped basil
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry hard apple cider
1 potato, cut into bite-size chunks
1 carrot, sliced
2 cups green beans, ends removed and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
Sea salt to taste
Fire Cracker Port Madison Goat Cheese, 1/2 round cut into small chunks

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onions, garlic and oil. Stir and cook until onions are soft. Add tomato paste and cook a few more minutes.

Stir in the basil, wine, potato and carrots. Cook until vegetables are nearly fork tender. Add green beans. Add more wine or water, if necessary. Cover and cook until green beans are tender.
Season to taste with sea salt.

Sprinkle with goat cheese and add pepper as needed to balance the flavors.

This quick dish took about 20 minutes from start to finish. The potatoes and carrots take longest to cook; cut these vegetables in smaller chunks.

Somebody felt a little left out of this and isn't afraid to give me the look.

How could you resist handing him the prewash job?


Joan said...

Hi Debra! That dish looks wonderful! Nothing like garden fresh green beans for your table. They are so much tastier! Mine got a good start in the garden this year but are fizzling out now, just when they should be doing great! I hope it's just the weather. I need to head to my organic vendor at our local farmers market to get a bunch. That Corvalis mkt sounds great!

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Hi Joan, it is so much fun gathering beans from the garden; just a supplement from the beans we get from the market, but so rewarding. Thanks for your gardening inspirations!

Trista said...

Mmm, I love green beans! We've been eating lots of them lately! Definitely one of my favorite summer foods.

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks Trista, it was such fun growing beans, which reminds me, I think more of them are ripe for picking today.