August 2, 2008

Green beans from my garden

Beans are one of the most forgiving plants in the kitchen garden. Pole beans are great for their long period of productivity but I've always preferred growing bush beans. There are many lovely, tender varieties available and there is no need to worry about creating a structure for them to grow on. The big seeds of beans make them easy for little hands to plant. The big, noticable shoots sprout quickly to reward the younger gardener that is short on patience. A short stature also comes in handy when harvesting since the dangling beans are easier to spot from underneath the canopy of leaves.

Alex is fond of eating just the seeds from green beans which means I have to let at least some get past the delicate, thin haricot vert stage. I couldn't wait and had to pick the first batch for myself. Here is how I had them:

Green beans with mushrooms and thyme
Serves 4-6
1 quart (4 cups) green beans
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smashed garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper

-Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
-Trim the stem ends and wash the green beans.
-When the water comes to a boil add ~1 tablespoon of kosher salt.
-Add the green beans and cook covered 3-5 minutes. Check the beans often, you want the beans to remain bright green but be completely tender. Cooked green beans should not be squeaky when you bite into them! As soon as the beans are done, drain them and leave them to cool. *If you want to insure the green color you can immediately shock them in ice water.
-Add the olive oil to a large hot skillet. Add the mushrooms and do not stir. When the mushrooms have caramelized a little on the first side then stir the pan and add the garlic and a little salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are fully cooked.
-Add the thyme and the green beans to the mushrooms and toss. Taste to see if additional salt and pepper is needed. Serve warm or room temperature.
My container of herbs with thyme,
notice the stray bean planted by Alex