Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Beans of August

Note from Aaron: Since the end of July, our most consistent producer from the garden has been our beans. Despite daily infestations of Japanese Beetles, the beans have persevered and have been tasty (I don't mind eating them straight off the vine).

We grew various plants from seed this year, but beans and arugula were the two Amy tried from the Seed Savers Catalog. She picked the Ideal Market variety. The seeds were black and hardy. The seedlings survived an early frost when we planted them in mid-May. Having planted them for the first time this year, they were fun to watch grow, with their shoots hooking onto everything, including a nearby sunflower plant. I also enjoy harvesting them. It is a kind of game, searching through the gnarl of vines to locate the hanging beans. Next year, we may try a number of bean varieties to see if any of them are resistant to the beetles. On Iron Chef America, they used a beautiful clutch of long beans and Amy said she wanted to try those.

Like the asparagus were at the beginning of the season, beans have been a staple of the diet, with Amy concocting variations to keep them a fresh flavor despite eating them almost daily. We used them in a few fresh greek-style pastas with feta. A couple of the other highlight recipes were a stir-fry full of fresh ingredients and a delicious bean salad with dill dressing (with a touch of heat).

Bean and Potato Stir-fry
Zucchini, from the garden
Tomatoes, from the garden
3 New Red Potatoes
2 Carrots
1/2 chopped Onion
1/2 chopped Green Pepper
1 ear Corn, cut off a fresh cob
2 stalks chopped Celery
Garlic, minced
3 Eggs

Soy Sauce
Dijon Mustard

Saute the onion, beans, carrots, zucchini, potatoes in olive oil until soft. Then add tomato, garlic, celery, green pepper until hot but not overcooked to preserve texture. Stir in eggs, soy sauce, mustard. Cook until eggs are scrambled.

Bean Salad with Dill Dressing

Beans, from the garden
2 cloves Garlic
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 whole milk
3/4 tsp cayenne
A bunch of dill, chopped

Blanch the beans in hot water with 1 garlic clove. Mix the yogurt, milk, dill, 1 clove minced garlic and cayenne. When the beans are finished, combine with the dressing. Salt to taste and serve.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Meals for a waning spring, approaching summer

The Curry

Aaron’s note: With Spring getting late, fresh vegetables are starting crop up and our menu is gaining momentum. Amy’s creativity in the kitchen always surprises. She really conjured some wonderful things this past week, full of splendor and variety (the variety is impressive considering how much asparagus we’ve had). On Saturday, we picked up some majoram for the garden and it really inspired her to outdo herself, putting together an incredible rosemary and majoram flavored cold pasta (with a Greek yogurt-base (Greek yogurt has enlivens many of our meals, enhancing the taste of anything, whether sweet or savory)). It was the perfect close to an exciting week. We’ll see what she does this week with rhubarb…

Wild Leek & Split Pea Soup

(Served with 2 strawberries from the garden, homemade bagels with homemade couscous burgers)

5-6 sliced wild leeks

2 c. frozen peas

2 T. olive oil

Ground pepper

3 c. water boil

Add 1 t. salt

Add leeks & peas

Boil 3 min until softened

Reserve 4-5 T. of broth

Puree vegetable soup, add reserved broth, as needed

Top with feta

Purpleleaf Basil

Mixed Vegetables

Spring Curry Stir Fry


1 c. coconut milk

½ t. red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic

1 t. ginger

1 T. dijon mustard

2 T. soy sauce

1-2 T. curry powder

Blend sauce to mix


Asparagus (local)

Broccoli (from the garden)

Purple cabbage (local)


Lettuce (from the garden)


Leeks (local)

Chopped herbs (From the garden)

Purple basil



Flat-leaf parlsey

Saute veggies until just softened, add curry sauce hard-boiled egg (quartered) and fresh herbs and heat through

Serve over rice or other whole grain

Breaded Asparagus


½ cup whole wheat flour

1 cup of cornmeal

1 t salt

2 t finely ground white pepper

½ t cayenne



Beer & egg


Eggs & pickle juice

Dredge asparagus then coat with breading mix in plastic bag then sauté in olive oil

Rosemary & Marjoram Pasta Salad


2 T Greek yogurt

1 T red wine vinegar

1 T olive oil

1 T water

1 green onion (chop greens with pasta)

1 clove garlic

¼ tomato

2 T assorted herbs & greens (marjoram, rosemary, local spinach, purple-leaf basil, oregano, flat-leaf parsley, thyme, summer savory

1 T. shredded parmesan

Reserve leaves of rosemary and majoram to flavor pasta

Puree ingredients to smooth sauce


Shredded parmesan

Chopped broccoli

Remaining ¾ tomato

½ carrot-shredded

Greens from green onion

Prepare vegetables and pasta. Mix sauce, vegetables, parmesan with fettuccini. Add rosemary and marjoram leaves. Salt & pepper to taste.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Asparagus Stir Fry and Black Bean Couscous Hash

Picked up the first asparagus of the season this week at the Muskegon Farmer's Market. The farmer told me that in peak season it can grow four inches an hour (!!!) and that you have to pick it everyday. Glad we got it on Tuesday before the rain, otherwise it gets sandy. Had some on the side with black bean couscous hash and an egg and barley stir fry on Saturday night. (Aaron loved both). Here are the recipes:

Black Bean Couscous Hash with Asparagus

Handful Asparagus, sauteed in a little olive oil (cast iron pan for best flavor), add salt and pepper (lots)

3 C. cooked whole wheat couscous
3/4 C. dried black beans
1 large carrot, shredded
1/2 red onion and a handful of walnuts, chopped
1 egg plus 1 yolk
2 T. whole wheat flour
A little hot sauce
fresh parsley and cilantro

Soak beans overnight. Mix ingredients and stir to thicken. Saute in olive oil to cook through. I like it best when it's fully browned.

Asparagus Stir Fry

Handful chopped asparagus
4 hard boils eggs
1 large carrot, chopped
Sunflower seeds
Ginger-to taste
Garlic-to taste
1 T. dijon mustard
Soy sauce-to taste

2 cups cooked barley

Saute garlic and ginger in olive (cast iron pan for best flavor). Add asparagus, carrots, seeds, dijon until asparagus softens. Cut eggs the into quarters and add to saute. Add soy sauce to taste. Serve with barley.