Thursday, June 16, 2011

green beans: boy howdy!

One busy day last week, I hadn't planned on doing much cooking. But then I made sesame green beans for lunch, mixed up some ice cream after work and, let's say, freshened up some jarred pasta sauce with some sauteed summer squash for dinner. None of this was very intensive, but on a day that I'd figured would allow time for nothing but a bowl of cereal, it felt pretty good.

Not long before, Whole Foods downtown had been making a big deal of a new crop of asparagus. And rightly so — I've been ready for it since reading this recipe. I was loitering in the produce section sampling orange wedges and red grapes when I saw a guy behind a wok handing out bites of asparagus stir fried with sesame seeds. As my dad says: boy howdy. The Asian flavors made it so much more interesting than the relatively plain asparagus I'd eaten before.

This is all leading to the green beans I got in my latest vegetable delivery. They're the same size, shape and color as asparagus and, most importantly, were already in my fridge. So I trimmed, blanched, then sauteed them according to the asparagus recipe when I went home during my lunch break — which means this comes together fast. I didn't have sesame seeds, but the sesame oil on its own does the trick. Again: boy howdy! Scrounging for samples in the grocery store pays off.

Later, I acted on an idea that I think makes me a genius, as I've been telling my more eaterly friends since it struck me. So normally, you buy horchata at a taqueria, you drink it, it tastes like the milk leftover after a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and you love it. My idea: throw it in an ice cream maker!

However, it seems I'm not the only genius to think of converting this flavor into ice cream. And I have to report that I experimented, and my lazy method isn't really worth it — it all turns out too icy. So now I'm trying to figure out how I can turn horchata from El Taquito into really creamy ice cream without too much extra work. Maybe use it in place of milk in that Bojon Gourmet recipe? I suppose that lets me skip toasting the rice but I'd still have to cook the eggs. And I'm going for real laziness. Any ideas?

Sesame green beans

Appropriated from an asparagus recipe from Whole Foods

This recipe is labeled as serving four to six as a side, or halved it serves me for lunch. I learned something terrific at a cooking class I took not long ago, which also happened to be at Whole Foods: you can blanche vegetables way ahead of when you want to use them! Just make sure you dry them and seal them up before storing in the refrigerator for a week or so.

1 pound green beans

Half of a lemon

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

A sprinkling of flaky finishing salt

Trim the green beans and blanch them for two to three minutes. Heat a large skillet on medium high. Sprinkle half of the sesame seeds in a pan for a flash toasting.

Pour in the oil. Add the green beans and cook for two to three minutes, then move them to a bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon over and add salt to taste. Add remaining sesame seeds to garnish.