Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marinated Bean Salad

The recipe I am going to share in this post is a marinated bean salad from The World's Healthiest Foods. Very simple; you just combine the ingredients, stick it in the fridge, and you have lunch all week long. I love making things like because it makes my lunch prep very easy. Most days I put this salad in a wrap along with some spinach. You could also just eat it plain on the side of something else, like a sandwich or soup.

As I've said before, my dad generously volunteered to stay at our house while we were in Greece, and during that time he picked up our CSA box from week 15 (and even took a picture of it for me, thanks Dad!). He also finished up what was left of the produce from week 14 and a bunch of tomatoes from our garden that ripened while we were gone. He even took photos of some of his meals!

Here is one meal he made using tomatoes from our garden. He cored the tomatoes, sliced them into wedges, and arranged homemade tuna salad in the middle.

Photo by Dad
The day after we got home it was time to pick up another CSA box. So we basically had two full CSA boxes to work with.

At one point I had 16 ears of corn in my refrigerator. That is frightening.

Step one: Do not panic.

Step two: Get your shit together and cook. A lot.

Step three: Enjoy all the delicious food you made!

Since there was so much overlap between the two boxes, I'm going to combine them into one post. This makes it easier for me to get caught up on blogging as well.

CSA Week 15:

Photo by Dad
In the box: 1 head lettuce, 2 cucumbers, 1 basket grape tomatoes, 2 pounds Sweet Girl tomatoes, 8 ears corn, 1 1/2 pounds summer squash, 1 basket blackberries, 1 melon (yellow watermelon), 2 pounds Gala apples

CSA Week 16:

In the box: 1 pound spinach, 2 cucumbers, 1 bunch carrots, 1 basket cherry tomatoes, 2 pounds Sweet Girl tomatoes, 8 ears of corn, 1 pound Romano beans, 1 melon (cantaloupe), 2 pounds Gala apples

We made taco salads one night for dinner (and lunches the next day) using the lettuce, kernels from the first eight ears of corn, some of the grape tomatoes, ground beef, and tortilla chips.

The spinach made a great addition to Mark Bittman's Pasta Carbonara, because apparently I'm always trying to find ways to add veggies to things. Just toss hot cooked pasta with a couple of lightly beaten eggs and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan (the hot pasta will cook the egg). Then stir in cooked crumbled bacon and lightly steamed chopped spinach and dinner's done. I even took a picture I liked it so much:

We had my sister and her boyfriend over for dinner one night and we made quite the feast. The best part for me was the cucumber, an unusual change of pace for me. I used a Julia Child recipe: just peel and slice the cucumber into matchsticks, then saute in a tablespoon or two of butter for a few minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste. It was amazing! I'd never had cooked cucumber before.  We also cooked up the rest of the corn, and made chicken saltimbocca using this recipe.

By the way, if you happen to make that chicken saltimbocca recipe, don't use pancetta thinking it will be the same as prosciutto, even if the whole reason you chose this to make this recipe was because you thought you had prosciutto in the fridge, when it turns out you actually had pancetta. It won't work well. The pancetta seemed to completely disintegrate into the pan, and kind of burned. That made the cheese melt away too. Kind of defeats the whole point. But, if you have been drinking as much as I was while cooking it, you won't care (because who doesn't love My Drunk Kitchen?).

I used the bulk of the cherry/grape tomatoes (including a bunch more from our garden) to make another batch of roasted tomatoes to add to my collection in the freezer. The rest I brought to work for snacks. They are a perfect portable snack for walking home from work.

Joe used all the Sweet Girl tomatoes from both weeks for a batch of his homemade tomato sauce!

The Romano beans obviously went into the bean salad.

We used the cantaloupe for the appetizer I wrote about last time. We didn't do anything special with the watermelon, but it was fantastic! Inside the flesh was bright yellow, so it looked like you were eating pineapple, and it was so, so juicy! We loved the apples too; I brought one to work with me everyday along with a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese for a mid-morning snack.

I froze the blackberries, and I've started using them in smoothies which I drink on the way to work in the morning. I've been doing about 1 1/2 cups of milk, a couple tablespoons of ground flax seed, a heaping cup of frozen mixed berries, and a scoop of pumpkin puree (I had some extra in the fridge). You can't even taste the pumpkin, but it adds fiber and thickens the smoothie. The berries are pretty sweet already so I haven't felt like it needs any extra sweeteners.

Marinated Bean Salad
adapted from The World's Healthiest Foods
serves 4

Note: I didn't have lima beans on hand so I used chickpeas instead.

2 tablespoons minced onion
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups fresh green beans or Romano beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 cups or 1 (15 ounce) can lima beans (or substitute chickpeas like I did), drained and rinsed
2 cups or 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 large ripe fresh tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steam the green beans until crisp tender. I used the microwave, but you could also use a steamer basket on the stove.

Meanwhile, mix all of the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the green beans and toss to combine.

If you have time, marinate at least 15 minutes before eating. It will only get better as it sits and will keep in the fridge for several days.

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