Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Days Countdown

I have been keeping a daily journal since I moved out here. Each day also has a countdown to the last day of summer. It isn't that accurate because here in the lower part of California, we have summer like weather sometimes until October. But it is encouraging the see the days dwindle down and know that eventually, I will be able to bake something, use our refridgerator again, and be able to go outside without having to run back and sit in front of the fan after only about 10 minutes.
I have learned to harvest and cook Palo Verde Beans! They are easy to harvest with a rake and a sheet. Just lay the sheet under the tree and rake the branches. They fall to the ground quickly because they are dry (a nice golden beige color) and many fall off of the sheet for the other desert denizens to enjoy. Hulling them is tedious, and I would have used a flail and basket type method, but some of the hulls had little holes in them and also little holes in the beans! Don't want all that work to be eaten up in the storage jar. They should be soaked before cooking, because those little suckers take up a lot of water. Even after soaking the ratio is about 5/1 for water and beans in the pan. They cook in about 2 hours, and are the consistency of corn kernels. But after that, you can add them to rice pilaf, or salads, or stews. I have used them as a garnish as well. They are black and add a nice contrast to the food colorwise.
Palo Verde Bean Rice Pilaf
1 Cup Cooked palo Verde Beans
1/2 Cup Chopped Onions
2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Canned Corn
1/2 Cup Chopped Tomato
Saute all in Cast Iron or heavy sauce pan until onions are transparent.
1 Cup Uncooked Rice
1 T. Chicken Boullion
Garlic Powder to taste
Saute with other ingredients for about 2 minutes.
2 Cups of liquid (water from the corn, stock or just plain water)
Cook on high until bubbly. then lower heat and place good fitting lid on pan.
Check after about 15-20 minutes, if rice is just starting to stick to the bottom and all the liquid is gone, turn off heat and replace lid. Wait 5-10 minutes before serving. this gives the food enough time to even out liquid wise and the rice will no longer be stuck to the pan. I think it is caused by condensation from the lid.
Garnish with: Chopped greens from the garden or chopped green onions.
Serve with tortilla chips or as a side dish.
We have been eating variations of this dish almost every night so far this summer. It is quick and easy and lends ittself to any extra items you might want to add.


Lrc said...

i have never had that bean before and its cool that you included a recipe in your post. Washington's climate is less dry but i have had luck with some basil,parsley and tomatoes. I live in an apartment so its all about what fits in pots. I hope the weather gets cooler for you, i don't like really hot weather either.I recommend taking washclothes and wetting then freezing them and putting them around your neck

JanetDavies said...

Hi there!
I live in Tucson and have plenty of Palo Verde trees but have never eaten the beans. Thanks for the recipe!
We do use the mesquite beans ground into a fine flour, it tastes like caramel.

Donnalda Does Art said...

Lrc, it is a native desert tree, so you probably won't see any where you are. I dip my washcloth in the ice chest water, oooo baby, it is nice. One of my cats likes to lay in front of the fan with a wet towel on her.
I farmed in pots when I lived in NYC, it was fun.

Donnalda Does Art said...

janet, Mesquite bean recipes will be coming also. Love them.
I want to try Popping Palo Verde beans.