I have a confession to make: my family & I hate canned and most frozen vegetables.
This poses quite a challenge for the whole local food movement because it disallows us from truly utilizing my garden’s bounty by canning and freezing the excess harvest. Come December, I hang my head in shame as I shop the produce aisle of Cub Foods purchasing plastic bags full of imported green beans. It is a serious shame. But isn’t it worse to slave away, steaming and freezing green beans that languish in the freezer, only to get fed to chickens in July? Tough call.
Anyway, because of the frozen food aversion, I give away a lot of my harvest. It is one of the only nice things I do with no ulterior motives. (Really.) I do still end up preserving quite a bit: raspberry jam, tomato salsa, I cook and freeze kale (it suffers none of the indignities that beans or carrots do when boiled and frozen), etc. Oh, and I pickled several pints of green beans this year, completely ignoring my notes from six years ago that said, and I quote, “do not pickle beans. no one eats them,” because I figured a lot can change in six years. But mostly I ignored the note because I have so many effing green beans. Aside from freezing them again — and notes from last year’s wasted frozen beans score a lot higher on my believability chart than the pickled beans from 6 years ago — I just don’t know what else to do with them! You wouldn’t believe how many of today’s fine UPS and FedEx drivers are uninterested in free bags of green beans! In addition, two large families I used to supply started their own home gardens. The nerve!
Anyway. I have never professed to be a good cook. I cook good. There is a difference. A “good cook” is creative and inventive. I cook other people’s recipes “good.” However, today I actually invented a recipe.
I am calling it my KEEPING UP WITH THE BEANS recipe. Plus, I offloaded several zuchini into it, so that is an undeniable bonus. It also happily accepted cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and onion. I’m pretty sure that you could add just about anything — in vast quantities.
I will reiterate that last point: It uses vast quantities of garden produce. I say this because of how many times I have searched for recipes in order to use up some massive quantity of zuchini, for example, only to find that instead of four, 5 lb zuchinis, it calls for only 1/2 cup. Totally pointless. This recipe uses LOTS of beans. And since it’s a salad, you can keep it in your fridge for days and munch on it at will. Fatty finds this very handy, and I’m sure you will, too.
Twp important tips:
1) DON’T OVERCOOK VEGGIES AND
2) USE AN ICE BATH IMMEDIATELY TO STOP THE COOKING AND RETAIN COLOR & CRUNCH!!
I steamed the beans, corn and zuchini all together. I cut up 2 cukes, 1/2 large onion and as many cherry tomatoes as I had on hand. After that I thought “hmmm….” and added a can of garbanzo beans and bacon crumbles, which were both super good. I went scrounging for some blue cheese as the crowning glory, but alas, my hunk was no longer even blue. It was orange and greenish. And while I am a huge proponent of pushing the expiration envelope, even I have standards. I threw it out and chopped up the remaining fresh mozzarella I had, which was good, but blue would have been better.
For the dressing, I used about 1/4 c balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, then slowly whisked in olive oil until the mixture was thick and tasted good. I am guessing it was about 1/4-1/3 cup of olive oil. I added salt and pepper to taste. I tossed the dressing with the cooked, iced and chopped veggies, then chilled. Before serving, I sprinkled skinny strips of basil and mint over the top.
It was FABULOUS and GUILT FREE! Try it. And let me know what changes you made. Pine nuts? edamame? Comment!