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Gardening in central Texas is great – and such a change from trying to grow anything in northern California! Here it’s hot, it’s humid, Spring is at least a month of heavy rain alternating with hot sunny days – basically, a little heaven on Earth for all those fruits and veggies that are waiting to take flight.
However, I must be honest… last year’s garden didn’t go so well. There was quite a learning curve for me. This year, though, it seems either I have figured it out, or the plants have. In the last week, I have harvested 1lb of hatch chiles, 15 padron peppers, 1lb of mixed pole beans, multiple pounds of zucchini, 4 pumpkins, and a single 1.5lb eggplant.
Next weeks harvest should be about the same, maybe more.
So my big job now is to figure out how to use all this before next weeks harvests fills my fridge all over again.
Beans and Eggs
This is a simple recipe that seems a lot fancier than it is. I like it for lunch, but it can be used for brunch, dinner, whenever.
Double or triple the sauce to keep the extra on hand in the fridge; reuse it for rice, salad, marinades etc.. Keep the more unusual ingredients on hand in your pantry; they’re so versatile and great to have around when a dish is lacking that unidentifiable pizzazz.
Some of the ingredients sound elite, but most are available at your local Whole Foods or asian grocery stores and – true story – Amazon actually carries all of them. Worse comes to worst, many can be substituted with more ubiquitous products, noted at the end of this article.
Make your dressing first and set aside so you can pay attention to the eggs and beans. Recipe is for 2 people. Adjust amount of beans and eggs as necessary.
Mixed Pole Beans, Soy-Yuzu Dressing, Soft Poached Eggs
Whisk together the following; taste and adjust as necessary, set aside
- Large palm full of Galangal, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon Black vinegar (Kong Yen brand recommended)
- 1 Lime, juice and zest
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tableslpoon yuzu ponzu (Marukan brand recommended)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- Rinse and trim ends of beans
- Blanch large handful in boiling, salted water until slightly tender
- Remove from water, quickly stop the cooking process by shocking in bowl of ice, then while still warm, toss with coarse citrus salt (substitute coarse sea salt), coat heavily with dressing (saving the extra) and plate in shallow bowl
- Bring pot of water with tablespoon of rice vinegar to a strong simmer.
- Crack fresh, refrigerated egg into ramekin, small tea cup or measuring cup and drop slow and easy into water. Repeat process for 2-3 eggs.
- Poach in water for about 4 minutes. (Here’s a great lesson on poaching if you need some guidance.)
- Using a slotted spoon, top beans with poached eggs
While my husband slept late and my dad made us all tea and avocado toast, my mom and I spent New Years morning experimenting with roasted lemon.
It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive: grab a few lemons, slice them, half them, quarter them or chop into large squares, toss with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and toss into an oven that has been preheated to 425 and wait for them to brown.
My mom uses the crispy browned slices as a snack, but I like to chop them up and toss them into arugula salad, cream sauce, with roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts, stirred into hummus etc. . Remember the peel and rind are the best parts now that they’re cooked!
Give it a try and let me know how you like to use them!
Sorghum molasses is a sweet syrup made from sorghum grass. It’s a common non-sugar sweetener throughout the south, and it’s often compared to honey. It’s thick and sticky like true honey, but the flavor is much much deeper. You can find it labeled as both “sorghum syrup” and “sorghum molasses”. As long as you are sure that it has no added sugar, they are mostly the same. I do prefer the molasses because it is cooked down longer, making it thicker, darker, more concentrated and so much fuller and richer. Sorghum itself (the grass) is also processed into a flour to use as a gluten-free replacement. It does a good job of mimicking the taste of wheat without being as dense as flax or spelt.
It is pretty regularly available at fancy-pants markets (aka “specialty stores) – most Whole Foods carry it, and Amazon has a number of options; just make sure that whatever you choose doesn’t have any added sugars (be it the syrup or molasses).
Here is a quick recipe (seriously, like 5 minutes) to mix up and use on EVERYTHING.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (preferably Plugra or another European butter), softened to room temp
- 1/4 cup sorghum molasses (+ more by the teaspoon if you want it richer)
- 2 decent pinches of coarse grey salt
- Use the bread paddle for a KitchenAid to slightly whip the butter in the mixer (if you do not have a KitchenAid, a hand mixer will work just fine)
- Slowly add in the sorghum and salt, whipping continuously
My favorite use is on crunchy, sweet wheat toast with soft boiled eggs from my lovely backyard ladiesSorghum syrup is pretty regularly available at fancy-pants markets (aka “specialty stores) – most Whole Foods carry it, and Amazon has a number of options; just make sure that whatever option you choose doesn’t have any added sugars (be it the syrup or molasses).
- on roasted corn
- with toasty biscuits, cornbread, pancakes or waffles
- mix into a mild mac n’ cheese
- as a substitute for any sweetener
- as a condiment put out to a table full of food (you’ll just put it on everything)
Tell me what you enjoy it on!