Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beans and Greens (Green Beans and Dandelion Greens)

Summer is just chugging right along here in Alaska.  This year, summer has actually been really nice and sunny.  The last two or three days, though, we're finally getting rain, which while the sun is nice and appreciated, we do need the precipitation.  Exhibit A to support this theory is the way my garden has grown TONS in the past days of rain where before it was struggling to grow in the heat.  So, woohoo for rain!

Being summer, though, also means that things get busy.  And we've had a LOT of unexpected things happening around here this summer that just have been costing us money.  Which is always great, right?  Note the sarcasm there.

Anyway, yesterday I had a hankering for dark greens.  Really bad.  And I really didn't want to waste the gas to run into town to get greens where I'd then start looking at reduced meat and things and end up spending more money than I had planned (oh don't give me that look. you know you do it too!).  So, I decided to turn to good old Mother Nature to help me make my dark greens dream a reality.

Enter foraging for dandelion greens.  I have been doing this since I was a kid, but if you have no experience at this, let me give you some tips.  One:  The unopened dandelion bud is completely edible (just pop it off the stem or you'll be sorry there).  Two:  Go for young, small and tender specimens as the older leaves are REALLY bitter and pretty tough to chew.  And three (this one I consider to be the most important):  If you use pesticides on your lawn I wouldn't do this because I'm not sure if you could get all the pesticides off the plants and those pesticides are NOT rated for human consumption I can guarantee you that.  Same with picking greens at say a park or something.  You don't know what was sprayed on those plants.  So, just know where your greens are coming from okay?

After I had about 2 cups of greens I sat there and looked at them for a few minutes and contemplated my next move.  See, dandelion greens are pretty bitter stuff and while I wanted the dark greens I also didn't want to sit there eating a plate of bitter.  Finally an epiphany hit me and I decided to mix the greens in with frozen green beans at the last moment as green beans are sweet, so I figured it'd counteract the bitter attributes a bit in the dandelion greens.  And it did!  Perfectly!

So, here you go folks.  A recipe to try out the next time you're out playing in the yard with your kids and cursing the dandelions taking over your yard.

Beans and Greens (Green Beans and Dandelion Greens)
  • 2 Cups young and tender dandelion greens, picked and well washed
  • 1/2 to 1 bag frozen green beans (I used french cut because that is what I had)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic (you can also use one small shallot if garlic allergic), peeled and diced fine
  • 1 cup (about 1 can) chicken stock (I use Kirkland Organic chicken broth as it's gluten free and free of a lot of different allergens)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Heat a large skillet (I use an everyday pan for stuff like's like a skillet but has about 2 inch deep sides on you room to move) over medium high heat.  Coat with extra virgin olive oil (you could also use coconut oil or butter) to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is lightly golden in places and garlic is fragrant, about four minutes, stirring constantly.

Add dandelion greens to pan and add chicken broth.  Return mixture to boil.  Reduce heat to medium.  Put lid on pan and cook until dandelion greens are tender and well cooked.  It took mine about 10 minutes, but it'll depend on your greens.

Once greens are tender, add green beans and cook until green beans are done (it took mine literally three minutes, but mine were french cut).  Salt and pepper to taste, remove greens and beans from broth with a slotted spoon to put in serving dish (the broth gives the bitterness from the greens an additional place to go, so it's best to leave the leftover broth behind) and eat!

Makes two to four servings as a side dish, depending on how many green beans you use.


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