Summer arrived on Sunday. Hot, humid and not a breeze to be felt. Sometime during the night, the air conditioning clicked on and mostly stayed on all day. Potted flowers and herbs needed a second drink of water at bedtime. Sunday was the first day of 90 degree weather in these parts. Up until then, it had been very pleasant. Just enough rain to keep the grass and plants happy.
The down side of this ideal weather--atypical weather to be sure--has been the effect on many farm crops. What happens in the long term remains to be seen. Many seasonal crops like tomatoes need warmer temperatures to be at their best and you all know how I love the tomato! We've managed to stock up each week at our farmers' market but the variety isn't as great. I particularly mourn the lack of heirloom tomatoes. We'll see how these "dog days" of August treat the plants.
We have been getting some excellent green beans each week. And I had just the recipe to try. I found it in the August 2001 Gourmet. Once again, I've been trying to let go of some of my many, many issues. I'm not doing very well. Not only is this a delicious dish, it can be made ahead a set aside which I appreciate when trying to get dinner on the table. It is a company worthy dish!
Green Beans, Red Onions and Mustard Seed Vinaigrette from Gourmet
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds green beans
For the vinaigrette:
1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, until just hot but not sizzling hot. Add the mustard seeds and stir until they just start to pop and are slightly darkened. This will only take 2 minutes or less. Transfer, along with the oil, to a large bowl.
2. In a microwavable cup/bowl, heat the vinegar and sugar on high for 20 seconds. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
For the onion and beans:
3. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in the skillet, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until a deep reddish brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, then add to the mustard seed and oil.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the green beans and lower the heat. Cover and simmer until crisp tender--about five minutes. Drain and toss in the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve at room temperature.