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Monday, August 27, 2012

Attack of the Garden Produce

The east side of the garden
I don't have a big garden. I live on a fairly small lot in a small neighborhood full of trees. My garden occupies a good chunk of my front yard, where everyone else has a lawn. Who needs a lawn? I'm no sheep. I can't eat grass. But, I can grow lots of delicious produce. During the summer, I buy few vegetables. I get plenty of beets, carrots, beans (and more beans), eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, zucchini (and this goes without saying, more zucchini), winter squash, lettuce, chard, kale, and collards from the garden. It is kind of amazing how much delicious produce comes out of a garden as small as mine. I have bags of beans, eggplant, and zucchini in the freezer because, at times, there is just too much for my family of two to consume.

The west side. It's only about 14 ft long and 7 ft wide (minus 1 ft for the path)
The beans have been particularly fruitful this year. I have 3 varieties: a yellow bush bean, a green pole bean, and a purple bush bean (which I won't grow again because it cooks up to a particularly dull green and tends toward stringiness). Being creative is helpful when confronted with a fridge full of garden produce. I can't stand to throw good produce on the compost pile.

Here's one of those recipes that just happened because there was stuff in the garden and in the fridge. Succotash usually contains beans (lima beans are traditional but I don't grow them nor do I actually like them), corn (I don't grow that either, but I had some from a local farm), and squash (usually pumpkin). My recipe contains all these things, sort of. As I said, you use up what you got!
My chiles were ripe and red which explains the red bits

Sharon's Succotash
(serves 4)

3-4 Tablespoons bacon fat (or you can use butter but bacon tastes even better)
½ medium onion, chopped
2 mild to medium New Mexican green chiles, roasted, cleaned and chopped
3 cups cleaned string beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off the cob
1 zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
salt and pepper
1-3 dashes of hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)

Saute onion and chiles in bacon fat. Add the string beans, corn, and zucchini. Cook over medium-low heat until beans are tender. I used fairly mature beans so it took about 20 minutes, but if you use young beans, it should be done in under 10 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce, (if you want a little zip), and chopped parsley.