Even when I am tired from a long week, the farmers market calls to me. I try to ignore the overflowing tables of beautiful produce. I don't feel up to cooking, I think.
But then I smell an Athena melon and I know it's going to be the best I will have all year. The first blackberries are in, Some so ripe, the berries are about to burst.
From the corner of my eye, I glimpse purple cauliflower peeking between the green leaves. Yellow-striped, lemony cucumbers that I have yet to try end up in my basket. The very last bunch of purple asparagus I will see for a year is too big a prize to pass up.
Heirloom tomatoes in brilliant stripes, salmon-pink ones, green stripes, all rainbow hues will not let me ignore them either.
Even my own haphazard garden mocks me that day by bringing forth long beans — a favorite type of Asian green bean. I harvest a pound of these, and even find myself angry at the rabbit who stopped to eat half of one.
I contemplate a bit of hunting and a few rabbit stew recipes for a moment. Then, I go in, and find I am no longer too tired to cook.
Marinated Long Beans
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce, tamari
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. Oriental mustard powder
pinch red pepper flakes
3 tbs. canola oil
1 lb. long beans, chopped to 1" pieces
1 lb. asparagus, chopped to 1" pieces
(you can use all green beans)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
Mix the dressing ingredients and set aside to marry the flavors.
Boil water, add the beans and asparagus and blanch for 2 minutes. Strain the water and put the vegetables into ice water to stop cooking and set the color and crispness.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing to keep them from browning unevenly. About 5 minutes.
Combine the dressing, vegetables and sesame seeds. Chill at least 2-4 hours before serving.