Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dragon Tongue Beans

Dragon Tongue beans, AKA Dragon Langerie, maintain their designation as a fresh picking bean simply through the Germanic translation of bean: a legume picked when young. Bean also refers to the entire fruit: the pod and the seed. Dragon Tongue beans are a Dutch wax type bush bean. They are a member of the Fabaceae family along with peas and pulses. They should not be confused as a shelling bean variety, such as fava beans and lima beans, as these varieties are beans whose pods cannot be eaten. 

The Dragon Tongue bean is a dual purpose bean, qualifying as a fresh pod bean as well as a dried legume. When harvested fresh, the entire bean, shell and "seeds" are edible. The bean has a warm cream color with vivid violet variegations throughout its stringless pod. Its shape is broad and the bean measures to an average of six inches in length. The pods are crisp and succulent and bear four to six plump bone white seeds with pink to purple stripes that turn tan with age. The fresh seeds are firm, slightly starchy, nutty and sweet. The entire bean can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked, the bean looses its variegated colors. 
The tender pod of this bean is entirely edible. No shelling required. 

Best raw, Dragon Tongue beans are also excellent steamed, but the color fades during cooking. Perfect for pickling with spices, adds its naturally good flavor to bean salads and stir-fries. Serve simply as a delicious side dish. Its unique color makes this bean an attractive edible garnish and an interesting conversation piece when served to curious guests. To store, wrap in plastic; refrigerate. Use beans within one week for optimum flavor and texture. 

Dragon Tongue beans are an open pollinated heirloom variety originally cultivated in the 18th Century in the Netherlands. The original cultivar has never been manipulated and thus maintains its heirloom status a plant whose original seed has been passed down for generations. It has been naturalized in a wide varieties of climates throughout the Americas, having the ability to adapt to extreme heat and humidity. Dragon Tongue beans are a great bean variety for home gardeners, known for their productive high yields and incredible flavor versus other fresh bean varieties. Dragon Tongue beans are available mid summer into fall.

2 lbs or so of beans
4 cups of white vinegar
1/2 cup canning salt
4 cups of water
In this recipe, there is no pre-cooking (also called raw packing), just clean and trim green beans and put them in the canning jar with a couple of cloves of garlic. Heat up water, vinegar and salt. Pour solution in each jar.  

Shake things up by trying different flavorings and veggie combinations. Try adding pepper flakes or whole hot peppers to the beans,bay leaves, fennel seeds, dry mustard, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, etc.

Friday, October 10, 2014

What To Do With Green Tomatoes? Try some of these...

End of the Summer Bonus   Great article from NPR about Green Tomatoes. There are several excellent recipes at the end of the article, too!

Some of our favorite recipes for Green Tomatoes....note that the captions are lthe links to the recipes.
Fried Green Tomatoes


Fried Green Tomato Po'Boy Sandwiches

Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade

Grilled Green Tomato Caprese

Sweet Green Tomato Corn Muffins

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lillian's Recipe for Lasagne Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Lasagna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Makes 4 very generous servings

  • 5 pounds spaghetti squash (2 medium-sized squash)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups ricotta, whole or 2%
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Chopped parsley or basil, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squashes in half and scoop out the seeds. Lay them cut-side down in a roasting pan or other baking dish, and add about an inch of water. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, until soft when poked with a fork. Transfer to a cooling rack until cool enough to handle.

While the squash is roasting, warm the olive oil in a high-sided skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the ground beef and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until well-browned, breaking up the beef into small crumbles, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering the sauce until the squashes are ready, 5 to 20 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more salt if desired.

Use a fork to shred the inside of the squash, leaving about a half-inch of squash left in the shell. Mix the shredded squash into the tomato sauce. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, the parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Wipe out the roasting pan and arrange the squash shells inside, like bowls. Divide half of the ricotta mixture between the shells, using a spoon to spread the ricotta evenly over the bottom of the shells. Divide half the tomato sauce between the shells, spooning over top of the ricotta. Top with another layer of ricotta and tomato sauce.

? At this point, the shells can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Add an extra 10 minutes to the cooking time.

Bake the shells for 15 minutes at 400°F. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the tops of the squashes and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and browned in spots. (For a more golden top, run the squashes under the broiler for a minute or two.)

Sprinkle parsley or basil over the tops and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

Recipe Notes
Casserole Version: Instead of stuffing the squash shells, this can be baked casserole-style in an 2-quart (8x8-inch) baking dish. Layer 1/3 of the tomato sauce into the dish, followed by 1/2 the ricotta and another 1/3 of the sauce. Top with the remaining ricotta and the tomato sauce. Bake for 15 minutes,