Any minute now, we’re going to have another frog-strangler. I know because the hummingbirds are eating twice as fast as usual (and the sky is black). One feeder is covered up with greedy June bugs, but the wee birds aren’t afraid of them like they’re scared of the Japanese hornets.
I just got home with the several quarts of blackberries I picked at Linda W.’s (actually, she was sweet enough to pick half of them), along with a dog that picks and eats his own berries and two miniature horses with Lady Gaga bangs who waited anxiously for their handfuls when we finished. And guess what I just found out? Panda the Polite Pit Bull likes blackberries, too — she gulped 6 and now has the hiccups.
I know there are all kinds of confits and reductions and salsas in which I might use these berries, but I’m thinking big ol’ cobbler when our youngest is home next week. Cobbler and creme anglaise. Ooooo, baby!
My next step this evening, now that I’ve frozen the berries, is to freeze the first of our green beans, such tiny, tender little things we could probably eat them raw. However, we’ll start the season with Mollie Katzen’s Szechwan Green Beans from her Still Life with Menu cookbook (1988, Ten Speed Press).
These beans are great hot, cold or in-between, and my problem making a single batch has always been the same which she cites in her notes: People start sampling and they can’t quit. When it’s time to take the dish to the table, it’s threadbare at best, more likely empty.
Szechwan green beans
4 tablespoons Chinese sesame oil
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Place wok or heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute, add oil. Wait another couple minutes and add the beans. Up heat to high and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until the beans are well seared. Add garlic and salt (and red pepper). Stir-fry for several more minutes, then remove from heat. Katzen suggests this is enough for 4 main-dish servings, 6 side-dish servings or 6 to 8 appetizer/snack servings. She’s never seen my family eat.