A Short Story About Long Beans by Mike Verano

In the Verano household, the transition from Summer to Fall is often heralded by cries of “Oh no, football again already?” “What happened to daylight?” and, more recently, “Check out what we got in our share this time.”

So it was that on a  late summer day, I found myself mindlessly watching the University of So-and-So dismantling the College of Whomever, when the following conversation took place:

Kath: I’m fixing long beans for dinner
Me: What’s a long bean?
Kath: It’s a green bean only longer…
Me: Hold it. . . no way that was holding, come on! Ok, what?
Kath: (Heading towards the remote.) It’s a long bean, Vigna unguiculata, subspecies sesquipedalis, the yardlong bean, is also known as bora, the long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean.
Me: Ok, you’re just messing with me
Kath: I’m not, Mr. Football Head. They’re from our share and they’re a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.
Me: Ok, you’re freaking me out a little. I think we need to limit your access to Google.
Kath: What else am I supposed to do while you are watching football?

Turns out that my fears regarding this strange vegetable were unfounded.  Kath was right; the long bean is the bomb! The “long bomb,” in football parlance.

One of the many benefits of belonging to Off the Vine is not just the fresh, local food, but the added benefit of Tess’s suggestions for how to prepare the goodies. This is a great relief as the question, “And what do we do with this?” need not be asked.

So it was with great excitement that Kath prepared the recipe for the Stir Fry Long Beans that Tess had included with the recent order. If you missed the recipe or misplaced it, it’s attached. In a word, “wow!” These babies cooked to just the right texture and the flavors exploded more than any green bean dish I’ve ever tasted. Served with the chicken tenders that Kath prepared (recipe also included) it was one of those dishes that when finished one thinks, “I want to start this meal all over again and this time linger over every bite.”

Ok, maybe it’s the football-induced adrenaline high talking, but I gotta say that the recipe rocked the house! So, if you have been staring at those elongated, green, mutant pods wondering if you should eat them or use them as shoelaces; grab the recipe and hit the kitchen. Not only will you have a wonderful meal, you have yet one more great Off the Vine story to tell your friends that will start with the tag line, “Guess what we just ate?”

STIR FRY LONG BEANS

(from www.foodandwine.com)
1 tablespoon olive or grape seed oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 pound Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into 3-inch lengths
1/2 medium red bell pepper, peeled with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1/3-inch dice*
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
* we used roasted red pepper for and added zing

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the long beans and red pepper and stir-fry until the beans are slightly softened and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and stir to coat. Add the water, cover and cook over moderately low heat until the water has evaporated and the beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and cracked pepper and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Z’s FAVORITE CHICKEN
(courtesy of Scott Turner)

Chicken Tenders
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon or Spicy Brown Mustard
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
Black Pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and spread over chicken tenders and bake @ 400 for 15 mins or until done and brown on top .  Before serving, sprinkle with chopped chives.

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