Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chickpea and Green Bean Succotash

 Back in the dorms it’s the first day of classes; summer is dead.  We have swapped beach balls for ball point pens, sun screen for laptop screens.  Yet summer can live on in our meals, at least for a couple more weeks.   Tired of the stuffy classrooms, I wanted dinner to be bursting with sunshine vegetables like sweet corn and green beans.  Not feeling overly creative – I am still allowed a warming up period, right? – I decided to make a different version of succotash.  Of course, corn is the golden star of this dish, but instead of lima beans I chose chickpeas, and added green beans.   To season it, I used fresh herbs for that ‘just picked’ pop of flavor.  While I do prefer fresh over dried, the dankness of my dorm room isn’t conducive to plant growth (mold on the other hand…), so I’ll end up using dried by October, don’t worry.
 After the cooking was complete, I heaped spoonfuls of the sweet, buttery corn, chickpeas, and green beans onto my plate.  The hearty qualities of this vegetarian side dish will fool you into thinking it is a slow cooked meal.  The rosemary and thyme give it a fragrant scent and savory taste, and the butter adds a velvety texture.    A perfect meal to bridge the gap between summer and the fall semester…now let’s hope I can transition as well into my class work…

Chickpea and Green Bean Succotash
3 T butter, divided
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 ears of corn (or about 1 ½ cups frozen corn)
2 cups fresh green beans
1 can garbanzo beans, do not drain
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.       In a medium sized pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. 
2.       Blanch green beans in boiling water, about 3-5 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
3.       Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt 1 T butter over medium high heat. 
4.       Quickly cook garlic until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
5.       Remove pan from heat. 
6.       In the pan, position cob upright.  Using the pan to catch the corn kernels, take a large knife and slice straight down the side of the cob (do not make deep cuts, only enough to remove the kernels; think parallel slide).    

7.       Add remaining 2 T butter and cook corn for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
8.       Add in green beans, garbanzo beans (plus reserved liquid), and herbs; reduce heat to medium low.
9.       Cook until liquid has been absorbed and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 7-10 minutes.   
Serve warm.  Makes about 3 cups.  Great with cornbread muffins. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Break

"Hey! Can you grab the balsamic vinegar next time you go to the car?" Yes, this has been my life for the past month or so.  Long story short, August has been somewhere between chaos, couch surfing, and our kitchen in the car.  Though it felt hot enough to bake bread in the glove box, we didn't manage to test that one out (eggs can scramble on the outside of the car, but I wouldn't try that if I were you).  Needless to say, I apologize for not updating the blog more often.  Once I get settled in for this semester, I will be right back in the kitchen.  So good luck to all that are moving around right now -- I will be back in a few days with some tasty concoctions and recipes to go along :)