The front yard vegetable garden is cranking. No, really:
While these varieties of green bean I have planted are not very vigorous climbers they more than make up for that fact in beautiful stringless flavor. For years I have toiled with my Blue Lake variety beans who can certainly climb the trellis, and, if picked within the proper 5 second window, feature no strings. I grew frustrated with the string part, particularly after canning a batch or two which my family passive aggressively declared "inedible". By passive aggressive, I mean that they hid the jars in the far reaches of the pantry, and dined elsewhere when I managed to locate them.
In the doldrums of winter I paged through my seed catalogs and discovered Fortex and Emerite variety beans. They were a bit of a bitch to germinate at first, and kind of depressing to watch weakly climb, but one day I wandered out there expecting to be disappointed and instead discovered a huge harvest of 7 inch pods. "Uh, oh" I thought dismally, 5 second window missed. But then I snapped them. Stringless! I've always scoffed when I read about bean varieties in catalogs as being "meaty", but now I totally get it. 'Em are meaty A. F.
The first time I simply steamed them stovetop and topped them with a dab of vegan butter. This definitely did not do these beans justice. So, the next time, I took a gamble with a rather large harvest and sautéed them. Boom. Family went nuts. Done, and done.
You'll need a fairly large frying pan with a lid. I like to use non-stick so I can use less oil.
A mess of raw, trimmed green beans
2 tsp. oil (olive or vegetable, or pretentious high dollar stuff)
1 onion (vidalia tastes beast), sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped (use less, or use more-you know who you have to kiss later)
3 Tbsp soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos (my preference)
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
Sauté your chopped onion in the oil over medium heat until translucent and browning, about 5 minutes. Add the green beans and sauté with the onions for about 10 minutes. The beans should start to blister and begin to brown. Add soy sauce/Bragg's, water and garlic. Mix well and cover with lid. Steam beans to desired firm-ness. I prefer mine a bit on the soft side, not much "bite" when you bite into them. Remove lid and continue to cook until liquid is gone and beans are continuing to brown a bit. Just before serving, squirt or spoon on some Hoisin sauce and toss beans well.
These are great alongside some couscous and sautéed squash, or serve with mashed potatoes and vegan meatloaf (see Oh She Glows for that awesome recipe).
*Hoisin sauce can be found in the Asian section of even the most lame grocery store in our area.
For you garden nerds like me: bean seeds were purchased from www.superseeds.com (Pinetree Garden Seeds). Believe me it took a lot of effort not to waste the bulk of this post raving about these seeds and this seed retailer. But while I have your attention down here, the Lacinato kale I planted this year is by far the best thing I have planted. It is simply gorgeous, vigorous, pest free, and delicious. It works as food, and as a beautiful accent plant for non-veggie growers.