Unusual weather patterns this calendar year have the harvest dates for most garden produce quite out of whack compared to a more typical year. Planting dates were significantly delayed for many, pushing harvest further into the summer for produce that is typically flourishing right now.
Our youngest never got her tiny 4-H garden planted this year. We had a very small window to get it planted before year-end school and graduation activities took over for her older sister and the weather just did not cooperate. Before we knew it, it was the middle of June. We accepted the fact that the she wouldn’t have any vegetables going to the fair this year.
I laughed out loud as I pondered at least throwing some flower seeds into the small garden area that normally contains a couple of tomato plants and tiny rows of lettuce, beans and peas. One glance at the “days to bloom” information on the back of the seed packets quickly told me to let that idea go as well. I knew the frost would come before any flowers presented themselves.
We are without flowers and without garden produce on our little parcel of land, but thankfully the farmers’ markets around us are faring quite well. Beans and peas are always on my list of garden favorites. Normally the fresh pea season would be just about wrapped up by now, but again, there’s nothing normal about this season, so I’m still finding them.Beans are also plentiful.
While I typically like both peas and beans prepared simply and without much fanfare, I know many of you appreciate the dishes with multiple ingredients and going the extra mile to use fresh produce. I’ve found recipes that are perfect for you! I am even inspired to put a little more effort into my own bean and pea preparation after I make my next trek to the farmers’ market.
For those tending your own gardens, a quick peak at the Farmers’ Almanac website shows these tips for July gardening in Minnesota and Wisconsin:
• Remember to continuously harvest fruits and vegetables to prolong growth and production and avoid attracting pests.
• Harvest summer squash when it’s young and tender and about 8 inches long.
• Newly planted trees and shrubs need one to two thorough soakings per week and lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches to water per week. Soak, don’t sprinkle.
• Annual and perennials can be planted at any time to fill in blank spots in the garden.
• Lightly fertilize tomatoes and peppers, but don’t over fertilize.
• Water plants early in the morning or late in the day to reduce the water lost to evaporation.
Green Beans Asian Style
1 lb fresh or frozen green beans if using frozen, thaw completely
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes or more to your liking
1 red pepper, sliced, if using frozen, thaw completely
1 large onion, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
If using fresh green bean, snap the ends of the beans. Blanch fresh green beans in boiling, salted water for about 1 minute. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat dry.
If using frozen green beans, thaw completely. Pat dry.
Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a skillet over medium high heat. Place the green beans, peppers and onions in the pan and saute until the onion and peppers are caramelized and the green beans are charred.
In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, soy sauce and crushed red pepper together. Pour over green bean mixture, stir to coat. Remove from the pan to a platter and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. Recipe and photo courtesy of bunnyswarmoven.net.
Green Pea Salad with Bacon and Cheese
4 slices of bacon
3⁄4 C mayonnaise
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp white sugar
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 20-oz package fresh green peas
2 celery stalks, chopped
1⁄2 C Cheddar cheese, shredded
1⁄3 C onion, chopped
Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon grease.
In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, reserved bacon grease, honey, sugar, salt, and black pepper until the dressing is smooth. Combine bacon, peas, celery, cheddar cheese, and onion in a bowl. Drizzle dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings. Recipe courtesy of kitchme.com.
One Skillet Chicken with Green Beans
1/2 lb green beans or French green beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
Salt and lemon pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp onion powder
10 oz mushrooms
½ cup chicken broth unsalted
½ C heavy cream (or half-and-half, plus 1 Tbsp flour for lighter version)
2/3 C grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Arrange green beans in a microwave-safe dish with 1/2 cup water. Cook in the microwave for 8 to 10 minutes, until almost done but still crisp.
In a large skillet, add olive oil and butter to the pan and heat it over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add sliced chicken, season it with salt and lemon pepper right in the pan, and cook for about 4 minutes on each side until chicken slices are slightly browned. Next add garlic, onion powder, precooked beans and mushrooms. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until cooked to your liking.
Add chicken broth and heavy cream and reduce the sauce for a couple of minutes, until slightly thickened.
Next add Parmesan cheese into the pan. Stir until cheese is incorporated with the sauce. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.
Serve warm and garnish with extra cheese, if desired. Recipe and photo courtesy of whatsinthepan.com.
Easy Lemon Orzo with Parmesan and Peas
1 1/2 C dry orzo pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 C chicken broth
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 lemon, zested
Juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 C peas
1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Fresh cracked pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in garlic followed by thyme. Add the broth, a small amount at a time.
Bring to a boil. Cover the skillet with a lid and turn down to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pasta has absorbed most of the water and is tender.
Remove the lid and add the lemon zest, juice, and peas and stir until the peas are bright and cooked. Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. Recipe and photo courtesy of ohsweetbasil.com.
Creamed Peas and Potatoes
6 to 8 red potatoes, cubed
3 to 4 Tbsp butter
1/4 C flour
1 C milk or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 C peas fresh or frozen
Boil potatoes in salted water until just done/fork tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your potato cubes (you don't want them overdone or they will get mushy real quick). Drain and set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Slowly add flour, stirring, until flour/butter mixture becomes doughy. (You may not need all the flour.)
Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until mixture becomes smooth and creamy. You want it to be a gravy consistency so add more milk if it seems too thick. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Add peas and bring to a slight simmer. Carefully fold creamy mixture into potatoes until potatoes become well covered and serve. Recipe courtesy of favfamilyrecipes.com.
Green Bean Mushroom Stir-fry
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, water, and sesame oil. Add sugar, cornstarch, and pepper and stir until blended. Set aside.
Over high heat, heat a wide, heavy-bottomed pan or wok. Add canola oil and swirl to coat bottom and sides of the pan. Heat until hot but not smoking.
Add green beans and spread in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Stir-fry for about 2 to 4 minutes or until half done.
Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring regularly until vegetables are tender yet crisp. Stir sauce mixture to redistribute cornstarch and add to pan. Cook, stirring regularly until thickened.
Transfer to serving plate and garnish with sesame seeds if desired. Serve hot. Recipe and photo courtesy of Kawalingpinoy.com.
Crunchy Ranch Pea Salad
12 oz frozen peas, thawed
1 C celery, diced
1 C cauliflower, diced
1/4 C green onions, diced
1 C cashews, chopped
1/2 C sour cream
1 C Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (prepared)
Crisp, cooked bacon (crumbled for topping)
Combine all ingredients except bacon. Chill a minimum of 2 hours before serving. Garnish with bacon before serving.
Notes – If using unsalted cashews, you may want to add a bit of salt to taste. The dressing used should be the prepared kind, not the mix. This dish can be made a day or two ahead of time to let the flavors marinate, however, wait until serving to garnish with bacon to prevent the dish from getting soggy. Recipe and photo courtesy of theseoldcookbooks.com.