Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The long and Short of it

Last night for dinner I made an odd vegetable for one of our sides- long beans. I choose these because our market had them for a low price, and I am a big fan of choosing any vegetable that is a little different than the normal 11 varieties available year round as frozen.

These are similar in taste and texture to green beans, but yet different. They have a more compact consistency and a more earthy sort of taste. The beans within the strands are small and compact, much like those in okra. Amongst oriental people these are served on Chinese New Year because it is believed that they encourage a long life. In truth they are not related to the green bean, but rather a member of the cow pea family.They are a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese. They are sometimes called Asparagus beans .

There are several different recipes out there as to how to cook them, but I choose to keep it simple. I trimmed the ends from the beans( tail and tip), and then broke them into smaller portions for cooking. For our small family, the pound bunch yielded enough for two meals, so half were cooked and half were kept for another meal. I put them in a frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil and about a quarter cup of my chicken stock and stir steamed them till tender. Definate yum !These would also go well with sliced mushrooms, onions, tofu and more.If you see them in your market, give them a try !

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