Saturday, May 22, 2010

Green Beans, Blue Skies. The Perfect Do Ahead Cook-Out Salad.


 I keep waiting for the sunshine here in Sonoma. Right now the fog is blowing around in wisps and the wind is shaking the blossoms out of the trees and it's chilly out. There is more rain predicted for the next week and my friend Diana the checker at Sonoma Market told me that it's snowing in the Sierras. So why oh why am I so obsessed with summer salads?? Search me. In another month I'll most likely be complaining that it's too hot out and guzzling ice cold lassi like it's going out of style. I've already started making pitchers of mugicha which would be perfect if only I could drink them outside in my dining tent. Instead, I'm indoors making summer salads and baking endless loaves of artisan bread.
Paula and I had coffee this morning and I was telling her how much I loved the Clay Coyote skillet she gave me. She pointed out that it's practically a non-stick skillet due to the way the Flameware  acts . Now this I'm going to have to try. I don't use non-stick cookware and I know I need something like that for a couple of dishes. Now, my non stick problem may be solved. I can't wait to test some paneer cheese in it and see what happens.
  I wondered what I could cook this afternoon for lunch that would be a salad and still use my new skillet. Then I saw the green bean sale and knew. A simple traditional cold bean salad.
 Ideally I'd be using Chinese Long Beans if any could be found here in Sonoma. Any long bean shopping I do has to be done in Santa Rosa about 25 miles away..each way. So I figured  simple old Blue Lake green beans would do. This is a make ahead salad. It's served at room temperature and it's another dish that Alan is going to be seeing a lot of  this summer. This recipe feeds 4.
  Here's what you do.
  Wash and chop 3/4 lbs of green beans into 1/2 inch pieces.
 Set them aside.

 In a skillet or kadhai heat 2 Tbs of coconut oil. I use cold pressed virgin coconut oil (which is more info on the coconut than I ever wanted to know).
   When the oil is hot toss in:
 1/2 tsp of black mustard seed.

  When the seeds start to sputter and pop add in the green beans. Stir them around for a bit then put a lid on the pan, turn the heat to medium low, cover the pan and let them cook for about 7 to 8 minutes. The beans should still be fresh and green looking and  as they say, toothsome.

  Let the beans come to room temperature than add in:
 1/2 tsp of salt
 1/2 tsp. of sugar
 1/4 cup of peanut powder

 1 tsp of finely minced  fresh green chili
 1/2 cup of grated unsweetened coconut, raw or dried.
  Mix it all together and it's done.

 As simple as that.

 This is a dish that I love. Alan is still talking about it, and any dish that gets a grown man to eat green beans  and ask for more, is definitely a keeper.

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