Tag Archives: yard long beans

How do I love thee, watermelon?

With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let’s talk about watermelon.

Watermelon is one of those iconic American foods and the ones we have got from Frog Song Organics every week have been delicious. Often the ones I have bought in the store have been too large and lacking in flavor. You grow bored of their wateriness and the rest rots in the fridge. Not these ones. They aren’t too big and the flavor is sweet, fruity and refreshing. Still, there is a limit to how many watermelon slices you can eat. So here are some others things we have done with them.

Watermelon, Green Bean, and Feta Salad

This was inspired by a recent recipe in the New York Times, which, in an epic librarian fail, I cannot find. Anyway.

Watermelon, green bean, and feta salad
Watermelon, green bean, and feta salad
  • A good amount of watermelon, cubed.
  • 8 oz of green beans (we used yard long beans from the garden, but regular green beans would work as well) cut into 2 inch lengths.
  • 2 oz of feta cheese, crumbled.
  • Sliced almonds (the NYT used pistachios, but I prefer almonds.)
  • Good olive oil and a little lemon juice.
  • Very little salt and enough pepper to taste.

With a bowl of iced water to hand, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the beans for 2 to 3 minutes until they turn bright green. Strain the beans and immediately plunge into the iced water. They turn and remain a gorgeous vibrant green that complements the red water melon beautifully. Set aside. Add the cubed watermelon to the salad bowl. Strain the beans and add them. Gently toss with oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Crumble the feta on top and sprinkle with almonds. Serve chilled.

Watermelon Margaritas

Bethany enjoying a watermelon margarita
Bethany enjoying a watermelon margarita

 

Place two large tumblers filled with ice in the freezer.

In a cocktail shaker add 4 oz of reposada tequila, 1 oz of triple sec, the juice of half a lime, and the cup of watermelon juice. Add a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake. Strain into the tumblers and garnish with a small wedge of watermelon. Some like a salt rim. I don’t.

Watermelon Pickles

This recipe is a variation on one Sam introduced me to from John Currence’s Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey. Strangely, because I have never made watermelon rind pickles before, I peeled the dark green skin from the rind. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but it tastes good. Maybe next time I will try it with the skin.

Watermelon Rind Pickle in the fridge.
Watermelon Rind Pickle in the fridge.
  • As you use the watermelon throughout the week, retain the rinds, peel them, or not, and cut them into strips (half an inch by two inches.) place in a bowl of water with a good handful of salt in the fridge. You should end up with about 4 cups of watermelon rinds.
  • 2 cups of sugar.
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of vinegar (Currence calls for Apple cider, I just use distilled.)
  • 2 tsp of mustard seeds.
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.
  • 6 lemon slices.
  • 1 tsp whole cloves.
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed.
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns.

 

Mix the sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, pepper flakes, and 1 cup of water in a large non-reactive pot. Once simmering, lower the heat. Tie the lemon slices, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns in a coffee filter or cheese clothe and place in the pot with developing the syrup. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the strained watermelon rind and bring back to the boil. Remove the spice packet. Ladle the mixture into quart jars, so that the syrup covers the rind. Fill to just below the neck of the jars. Screw on the lids and store in the refrigerator. Let them mature for a week.  Currence says they last for 6 to 8 months, but mine get eaten long before that!

These are sweet and sour and pretty spicy, so adjust the spices according to your taste.

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Week three pick box

Watermelon, Chinese eggplant, okra, peppers, red onions, Malabar spinach, and corn.
Watermelon, Chinese eggplant, okra, peppers, red onions, Malabar spinach, and corn.

Here is what we got in the box this week. John kindly swapped out the yard long beans for some malabar spinach, since we have so many of the beans from our own garden. By the way, here is the recipe I use for pickled yard long beans. You curl them into the jars whole so they look great in the jar and they come out like a Slinky.

Amaranth in Hot Garlicky Sauce (Suan Ni Xian Cai)*

My new favorite way to cook amaranth leaves. This is another variation on a Fuchsia Dunlop recipe from Land of Plenty.

Amaranth, all ready to go.
Amaranth, all ready to go.

Amaranth can be a somewhat fibrous vegetable, so prepping is well worth the time. Nip off the smallest leaves and set aside. Nip the leaves from the petiole at the base, so that the petiole remains on the stem (not sure about your parts of the leaf? See here.) using a paring knife, strip the petioles from the stem pulling them down the stem so that you remove the petiole and some of the fibers from the stem, just like you would peal a stick of rhubarb. Wash everything thoroughly. Amaranth can be gritty as well. Chop the stems in half inch pieces and roughly chop the leaves. Now you are ready to begin. By the way, this prep is pretty much what I use for any amaranth recipe. Here is the recipe.

 

Amaranth in Hot Garlicky Sauce

  • One bunch of amaranth, prepped as above.
  • Four tablespoons of sweet aromatic soy sauce (fu zhi jiang you).
  • Four tablespoons of chili oil.
  • 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic.
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.
  • Chopped papalo (or cilantro) for garnish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In the meantime mix the soy sauce, chili oil, garlic, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Blanch the amaranth for about 3-5 minutes. Test a leaf to check if it is cooked. Strain the amaranth from the water. Thoroughly mix the sauce into the amaranth and place in a serving bowl, sprinkle with the papalo. Serve warm.

image
Front; amaranth in hot and garlicky sauce. Back dried fried beans.

We had this with dry fried yard long beans (gain bian si ji dou) and we just couldn’t resist traditional corn on the cob with lashings of butter, since it was so fresh. So this was an all-CSA meal tonight. The pork in the beans is just a flavoring and the beans are crunchy, the amaranth is very garlicky and somewhat spicy. All in all a great combination. ll washed down with a Vouvray.

* My Chinese is virtually non-existent. So I hope I have this right. Let me know if I need to correct it.

More than we expected this week.

We got more than we expected this week. Amaranth, sweet corn (John threw in a couple of extra ears), sunflowers, sweet onions, sweet peppers, yard long beans, and papalo, but also another gorgeous watermelon and some nice complements on the blog from the good folks at  Frog Song.

That papalo is definitely the most intriguing. I am going to have to do a whole post on that. Anyone have any ideas how to use it?

Clockwise from the sunflowers, sweet corn, sweet onions, papalo, sweet peppers,  amaranth, and watermelon.
Clockwise from the sunflowers, sweet corn, sweet onions, papalo, sweet peppers, yard long beans, amaranth, and watermelon.