Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gardening,Green Beans, and Children

In the Lake Champlain region one can tell summer is here. The summer people have returned, the tourist are sampling the Islands, and the beaches are over flowing!! With the heat and humidity gardens are bursting with many vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, basil and green beans. With all these vegetables being harvested our refrigerator is full with garden produce. Green beans are overtaking every inch of free space inside our frig.

One of the little jobs the children do while I cook and prepare for the farmers' market is to pick green beans. The inevitable question is then asked, "How many beans do I need to pick?" of course I say, "Only the ones you see!" Well they return with approximately 2 handfuls of green beans. Which means that I need to return to the garden and find 5 - 10 pounds of green beans dangling from the plants.

We need to pick the beans every 2 to 3 days which leaves us with a lot of green beans. Our creativity kicks in and we try many different ways to cook them and make them appetizing to our children. Boiling with a pinch of salt, grilling them with salt, baking them with a can of cream of mushroom soup are all different ways we slip them into our every day diet. However our favorite way to cook them is to saute them in toasted sesame oil until tender with an onion. Once both the onion and green beans are cooked, we add 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce. Unbelievably, these green beans are simply delicious to everyone around our dinner table and they disappear very quickly.