Summertime Is Almost Over

Nearing the end of summer is always bittersweet – corn is disappearing, tomatoes are winding down, peaches are almost gone and we are getting into the garden lull where we are between summer and fall.  And I’ve been neglecting the entire blog-o-sphere to do other things.  I can’t say I will fix that entirely but Leslie and I will both try to do better at posting from our garden.

While we’ve always had a garden of some type of another, this year we brought in some help (the amazing and wonderful Jena Paice) to help turn our moderately successful personal garden into a space with more production capacity.  We are focused on products that we can use to support Night Kitchen Coffee and keep us in local veg through the winter.  As with everything, it’s been a learning experience.  Some good.  Some disappointing.  Some downright confusing.  But we are getting there and next year will have a better grip on what we want to grow.

One of my favorite success stories this year are our long beans.  Turns out that if you stay on top of picking them, they will keep producing, and producing, and producing some more.  I thought we’d long hit the point where we needed to pull them out but as you can see below, we have some more to head to the freezer.


(In the background are some of our canned San Marzano tomatoes and some house made ketchups made with our own Mo’Spanish and Five Spice spice blends but that’s a topic for another day.)

So far we’ve blanched and frozen about 4 pounds of the long beans, done more as a pickle (spicy of course) for use as a martini garnish, and used them in several meals (love them in a stir fry).  This batch will give us another 2 or so pounds in the freezer and the plants are still throwing off blooms.

Stir Fried Long Beans

This is more of a process than a recipe – I never come up with the same flavor or approach twice in a row.  It’s always good though.

1/2 pound of long beans, washed and cut into 2″ long pieces.  The older beans actually work well here

1 white onion, thin sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1″ piece of fresh garlic, finely minced

1/2 pound of chicken things or pork tenderloin cut into thin strips

5 spice powder (I recommend Night Kitchen’s of course)

1/2 cup of water or chicken stock

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

Low sodium soy sauce

Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Optional Adds:

Chinese chili paste (I prefer a Sambal Olek but Siriracha would work as well)

Fermented black black beans

Toasted Sesame Seed Oil

Yuzu juice

Add a tablespoon of the five spice powder and salt to the chicken or pork and toss together.  Allow to marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

In a large skillet with a lid, preferably not a non-stick, heat ~1 tablespoon oil until it is shimmering.  Add the long beans and fry stirring and tossing constantly until the beans begin to shrivel.  Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon.  Add the chicken or pork to the skillet and cook until the outside looks cooked through and slightly browned.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.  If necessary add in more oil.  Add the onions and sauté until the begin to turn translucent and add in the garlic.  Cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the long beans and protein back to the skillet along with any accumulated juice in the bowl.  Deglaze with chicken stock and the vinegar.  Turn the heat down and cover.  Cook for ~10 minutes or until the protein is cooked through.  Remove the lid, add in the soy sauce, turn the heat back up to medium high, and cook down most of the liquid.  Add in the ginger and any optional ingredients you might want to play with.  The chili paste and fermented black beans can go in earlier.  Sesame Oil and Yuzu you want to add in at the end so they aren’t over cooked.

Cilantro, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds are a great garnish.

Serve over rice.  This is a good portion size for two people.