Sue and the beanstalk?

The Yakima Valley is paradise when it comes to summer produce.   The rural farm stands and city farmer’s markets are filled with a huge variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Dave and I went down this morning to check out the Yakima Farmer’s market, and left when we could not easily carry anything more.  Since we’d been gone for two weeks, the refrigerator was pretty empty.

We brought home  sweet peppers (green and purple), several pounds of nectarines, an eggplant, cucumbers, beets, leeks, and sweet cornWe didn’t buy tomatoes since our tomato plants in back of the house are starting to bear lots of both cherry and large tomatoes.  The surprise in the backyard is that the pole beans I planted last spring are still alive and thriving.  We don’t have much garden space so I decided to try container gardening for beans.  We filled up two barrels with soil, and added a tepee of bamboo poles for the beans to climb on.

First the birds ate the sprouting seeds until I covered the entire area with netting. Then the insects came in and munched away.  I seriously considered ripping out the plants and giving up.  But I didn’t.  At some point the vines started to thrive, and when we returned from vacation I was pleased to find that the two containers are now forming a trellis.

Yes, here I am, barefoot as usual.  And drawfed by the bean stalks.   I picked off the “too large” beans yesterday when we got home and was surprised that they weren’t tough like I expected after cooking.  Today I picked a bunch of “just right” sized  beans, and will make a Chinese inspired dish of sizzling green beans (like we enjoy in Seattle when out for dim sum).

Chinese style Green Beans

1 lb fresh green beans
vegetable oil cooking spray or 2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon gingerroot, peeled, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


Wash beans, trim ends and remove strings.

Arrange beans in a vegetable steamer (or a colander that will sit nicely in saucepan), and place over boiling water.

Cover and steam 5 minutes.

Drain and plunge into cold water, drain again.

Coat a large nonstick skillet (or wok) with cooking spray or peanut oil and heat until hot.

Add gingerroot and garlic and saute 30 seconds.

Add beans, saute 5 minutes.

Combine 2 tablespoons water and remaining 5 ingredients.

Stir well.

Add to beans, cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.