Szechuan Green Beans

I love the crunchy sweetness of stir-fried green beans, and the dish compels me to slink into Chinese dives for a fix. This version from Whole Foods’ blog lacks the specific taste of a commercial wok, but it’s a fast and tasty rendition. Use the freshest, firmest green beans you can find for an easy side dish.

Ingredients

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1 teaspoon medium-heat oil (canola, peanut, macadamia, etc)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, chopped finely and set aside for 10 minutes (this maximizes the health properties of garlic)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, skin removed and finely chopped

Directions

1. Place the green beans on a baking sheet and broil about 10 minutes or until speckled with black spots. Rotate the sheet once halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn out the beans into a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Add oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook about 3 minutes until golden. Turn off the heat and immediately add the vinegar. Swirl the skillet and then stir in the soy sauce.
3. Pour the garlic-vinegar sauce over the green beans and toss well. Toss in the ginger and serve.

Makes 4 servings. Takes 15 minutes.

Cucumber Gazpacho

Hot, sticky days make cooking a sweltering chore, and this cooling soup is an antidote. Here’s an easy, cold gazpacho-style soup using seasonal cucumbers, avocados and basil from Allyson Kramer.

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
1 medium cucumber, skin on and seeds removed
2 small bunches of basil
1 clove garlic
2 scallions, both green and white parts
2 cups water
1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lime, juiced

Directions

Chill the ingredients and the blend until desired smoothness. Return to the refrigerator and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with thinly sliced cucumbers and basil leaves.

Serves 4. Takes 10 minutes.

Fresh Green Tomato Salsa

Green tomatoes arrive in my CSA box this week, and I love their rich tang. Blend them with alliums and cilantro in a food processor for a light and tasty salsa.

Ingredients

  • 3 green tomatoes
  • 1 spring onion (the bulb)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1⁄2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno

 

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Adjust heat to your taste.
  3. Drain juice through strainer and serve.

Thai style summer berry bowl

I love this Thai take on fruit salad because it delivers all the juicy goodness of fresh berries and delivers it with a twist of salt and lemongrass. I can’t help but drink the juice left in the bottom.

Adapted from “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson.

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

5 cups berries or cubed fruit in season
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass
2/3 cup chopped fresh mint (or 2 tablespoons dried mint)
Grated zest of 2 limes
Optional: fresh whipped cream

Directions

Place the fruit in a medium bowl. Combine sugar, salt, and lime juice into a small bowl; and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the fruit and toss until coated. Let stand for 30 minutes. Osmosis will draw out the sugars in the fruit into the juice. Before serving, add the lemongrass, mint and zest. Best when eaten the same day.

Sesame Ginger Salad

I love how this salad disappears at every party. It’s tangy, cooling and delicious.

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 1 head lettuce
  • 4 small red or orange carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 avocado

Dressing

  • 1⁄4 cup tamari
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)

 

Directions:

  1. Chop all salad ingredients and place in a large bowl.
  2. Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Roasted Zucchini Flatbreads

Zucchini, here they come! This recipes captures early zucchini and bakes them into sweet goodness on a flatbread. It’s delicious served hot, cold or the next day. Substitute gluten-free pita bread as needed.

I first saw this recipe on Suziesfarm.com.

Ingredients

4 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
4 round, pocketless whole-grain pita
1/3 cup prepared hummus
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 lemon, quartered, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the zucchini on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; mix well and spread to 1 layer. Roast until browned and very tender, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Warm the pita on a grill or griddle until nicely toasted, but still soft, and spread each with 1 heaping tablespoon hummus. Top each piece with 1 tablespoon crumbled goat cheese, 1/4 of the roasted zucchini, about 1/2 cup baby arugula, and 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped almonds. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Green Beans with Parsely and Tahini

Beans have been in season for a while now, and they’re still coming. I love this recipe because it’s a creative, healthy take on green beans almondine.

This recipe first appeared on Suziesfarm.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the green beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; drain and cool under cold running water.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the green beans with the dressing, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

Baba Ganoush

Eggplant are starting to come into season, and my favorite way to eat them is in this smoky, creamy dip. The hardest part is peeling off the charred skins, which is made easier by wearing rubber gloves with good finger grips. Take this to a party and watch is disappear.

This recipe first appeared on Suzie’sFarm.com .

Ingredients

2 large eggplants
1 lemon, juiced
2/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste, available in the international aisle at the supermarket)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pita chips, for dipping

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork (this keeps the eggplant from exploding in the oven, so don’t skip this step). Place on a baking sheet and roast until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Once the eggplant is cool enough to touch with your hands, carefully peel the charred skin off the eggplant. Scoop the flesh into a bowl or blender.
Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, parsley, and a little salt and pepper. Blend together until smooth. Feel free to add more lemon juice, more salt and pepper, it will vary depending on the size of your eggplant. Serve with pita chips.

Roasted Green Bean Salad with Quinoa

Most green bean salad recipes call for blanching the beans; this recipe roasts them. I love the way roasting beans brings out a deeper sweetness. Either way, cooked green beans absorb dressings and other flavors while raw ones don’t. While this recipe uses quinoa, which is a high-protein grass seed, not a grain. You can substitute bulgar wheat for the quinoa.

Ingredients

1/2 pounds green beans, cut into halves or thirds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4-6 cups arugula, washed, dried and chopped
2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425.
Trim the stems from the green beans and cut them in halves or thirds.  Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast in the oven.  Stir the beans once or twice so they cook evenly.  When they begin to brown, add 1 minced clove of garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour boiling water to cover over 1 cup of cooked quinoa, then cover it and let steam for 20 minutes.  Drain any excess water.

Mix 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons stoneground mustard, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Toss half of it with the green beans and reserve the rest.

Wash 4-6 cups arugula leaves, spin dry, chop and toss with the green beans.  Sprinkle the bulgar over the salad and toss it, a little at a time until you have a nice balance of the three ingredients.  Add more dressing to taste.

Optional: Crumble 1/2 C. feta cheese over the salad.


How to Grill Sweet Corn

Following these instructions will avoid charred corn, BBQ fires, and other unfortunate July 4th bloopers.

Fill a 5 gallon plastic bucket 3/4s full with clean cold water.  Make sure to rinse out whatever had been in the bucket before first.

Break off the bottoms of the corn cobs.  Some of the husk will come off with them.  You want at least 3 layers of husk to remain on the cobs, but not the darkest green outer leaves.

Grab the silk at the top of the cob and gently pull it out of the husk.  Remove as much of the remaining silk threads as possible.

Drop the ears of corn into the water and let them soak for 10 minutes.

Light your grill.  You want it hot, but not intensely so.  If you are using charcoal, you can grill the corn while it’s still too hot for anything else, but you want to wait 10 minutes or so after lighting.  Put the ears of corn on it in a single layer.  Covering the grill will increase the “smoky” flavor.  Turn each cob 4 times, so that the husk gets nicely browned on all sides.  Remove and allow to steam in the husks for 10 minutes before pulling them off and serving.