A Plentiful Harvest Of Tomatoes And Beans

IN THE KITCHEN

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A generous neighbor recently shared fresh green beans and tomatoes with my sister. So, I went in search of ideas on ways to prepare them and came across the following recipes:

String Beans Perfecto

Steam beans over boiling water until just tender, but still chewy.

Remove from heat, combine with about 1 tablespoon of oil and some chopped rosemary.

Serve.

Green Beans with Pecans

2 pounds green beans, washed and tipped

2 cups water

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Cook the beans, covered, in the water for about 15 minutes or until just crisp-tender, or longer for a softer texture.

Lightly brown the pecans in the butter, about 3 to 4 minutes over low heat, reserve.

When the beans are done, drain well, return to pan to heat and shake gently to drive off excess moisture. Add browned pecans, sugar, salt and pepper and toss gently to mix. Let mellow over low heat 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Bacon

4 slices bacon, snipped crosswise into julienne strips

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely minced

3/4 pound of mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced thin

5 tablespoons flour

1-3/4 cups milk or light cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds green beans, washed, tipped, then boiled about 10 to 12 minutes in lightly salted water until crisp-tender

Brown bacon in a large, heavy skillet over moderately high heat; with a slotted spoon, lift out crisply-browned bits of bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour all drippings from skillet into sturdy container, then measure out 4 tablespoons and return to skillet.

Sautnion and mushrooms in drippings over moderate heat 5 to 8 minutes, until limp and lightly browned. Off heat, blend in flour. Add milk, salt and pepper, return to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly until thickened and smooth. Lower heat and let sauce mellow, stirring now and then, for about 10 minutes.

Drain beans well, then mix with mushroom sauce and reserved bacon crumbles and serve.

Tomato Salad

4 fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Chives, small scallions or clove of garlic (use choice of one)

Sweet basil

Parsley

Slice tomatoes or cut into wedges and cover with olive oil.

Chop or mince chives, scallions or clove.

Add generous amount of basil and parsley.

Toss together and let sit in refrigerator for about half-an-hour, toss again before serving.

Broiled Tomatoes and Brown Rice

4 large, firm tomatoes

1 cup steamed brown rice

1 tablespoon chopped sweet basil

2 tablespoons onion or chives

1 teaspoon sea salt

Chopped parsley

1/4 cup grated cheese

Mix all ingredients into hot rice, except tomatoes and cheese. Cut each tomato in half. Place on oiled baking dish. Cover cut section well with rice mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Broil under moderate flame for about 15 minutes. Or bake at 375 degrees until browned. Place a sprig of fresh sweet basil on each and serve immediately.

Fried Green Tomatoes

4 medium-size green tomatoes (firm-ripe tomatoes may also be used)

2/3 cup stone-ground corn meal (either yellow or white, but make sure it is stone-ground, which has a floury texture and adheres better to the tomatoes)

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings

Wash tomatoes and pat dry on paper towels. Do not peel or core. Slice each about 1/2-inch thick, then pat cut surface dry on paper towels.

In a pie plate, combine corn meal, salt and pepper. Dredge tomato slices in the seasoned corn meal, making sure each slice is well coated.

Fry tomatoes quickly in sizzling-hot bacon drippings in a large, heavy skillet over moderately high heat. You need only brown the slices on each side, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes should do it.

Serve immediately.

Beans and Tomatoes

1 pound of beans cut in 1-inch lengths

2 cups fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 teaspoon oregano

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon fresh sweet basil

Using clay pot, enamel or glassware pot, brown the onion in hot oil, then add fresh peeled tomatoes and the herbs.

When the tomatoes have cooked down a little, about 15 minutes, add the beans and cook until beans are tender.

Serve with fresh basil.

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