Sunday, July 7, 2013
Back in LC: Green, and Green Beans
I arrived in Little Compton late Wednesday, after a series of travel setbacks, but in time for the Fourth. I brought the sun and the warmth and blue skies with me from Arizona, as I promised I would. Everyone is grateful, and I was happy to oblige. Who knew I had such power.
The fact that everyone was begging for sun and warmth, however, tells you what it has been like here. In a word, raining. And in another word, cool. In addition to being a total drag after a brutal winter and miserable spring, it has been quite difficult for the farmers. I can only imagine the stress as we approached the fourth, and they had no corn: it’s like having to tell a bunch of kids on Christmas that there will be no presents. At least, that’s how it is here. We’ve been known to eat corn as a main course.
Coll Walker had no corn (we looked for the corn flag, a sign of victory if there ever was one, in vain—the second time in history that there was, yikes, no corn on the 4th), but he did have beautiful slim beans, bushy basil, and truly giant lettuces (there’s always someone who thrives on the chilly weather). Young Farm, however, managed to pick a small amount of corn, and I snagged a few ears. I can be a creature of habit on holidays, but decided to forgo the potato salad in honor of these determined vegetables. Corn and beans are starchy sisters.
And I made a home version of the Newport Creamery burger—a relatively thin burger, grilled, and immediately placed between two buttered pieces of lightly toasted white bread, with tomato (also Coll’s) and lettuce, mayo and ketchup, and a generous amount of salt and paper. The toast absorbs some of the burger juices, and it is all very tasty; toast should be very light (lighter than in the photo) so the bread won't break on cutting. Times have changed—Newport Creamery used to make all their burgers this way—but thankfully, still have one on the menu.
Everything here in Rhode Island is so green, in stark contrast to the desert I just left. The air smells of grass and the sea, and the humidity (100% a few days ago!) was a welcome wave over my parched skin when I first landed. But I am settling back in, I guess: it's getting a little too humid even for me. Off to the beach!
Summer Veggies with Sour Cream
Long before recycling, waste not, want not New Englanders put sour dairy products to good use. We love our sour milk and sour cream, and of course, our buttermilk. All contribute to tender and tangy baking products. But sour cream, like plain heavy cream, does amazing quick duty as a sauce—for noodles and meats, and also for vegetables. This is a very New England side dish. Adjust according to whatever quantities you have on hand. Serves 2.
½ lb fresh new green beans
2 ears fresh-picked corn, shucked
1 T unsalted butter
2-3 T sour cream
1 large scallion, white and green parts, sliced
2-3 big leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
Break the stem ends from the beans and cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife. Bring a pot of water to the boil; drop in the beans and a little salt, and cook for about 3 minutes; add the corn and cook for another minute. Drain.
Melt the butter in a sauté pan and add the beans and corn, tossing to coat and heat through. Add the scallions and toss for a minute or so over low heat—don’t brown anything. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper, and stir for another minute or so. Add the basil, toss once more, and taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. If you make it a little ahead, add up to another T of sour cream when reheating. You could add some chopped tomato if you wish.