Sous Chef Guest Blog! Black Eyed Peas and Greens with Dragon’s Tongue Beans!

9 07 2009

Cheers, internet!

So here’s what happened: the chef was on vacation. The evening before the local farmer’s market (and two days before he was supposed to fly back) I texted him to see if he happened to have anything in mind that he might like me to pick up there. He said, get this, “I TRUST YOU.” Trust me? To buy vegetables for cooking?!

Basically, internet, he charged me with the task of coming up with one meal for the week. And he trusted me not to mess it up. At the time, I joked that we would have straight-up peaches, because I’d just read the farmer’s market’s Official Blog which thereby announced Peaches In Season! (Which was what made me think to ask the chef about veggies – because I knew I’d be going to stock up on fresh peaches.)

The first thing that happened at the market was that my eyes zeroed on a colorful vegetable I hadn’t yet noticed there: Dragon’s Tongue Beans.

They're PURPLE!

They're PURPLE!

Familiar as I am with the chef’s penchant for Buying Vegetables That Look Cool and figuring out what to do with them later, I went ahead and threw a few handfuls in a bag and figured beans really aren’t that hard to cook. I know beans. These ones are just prettier than usual!

Side dish taken care of, I needed a main dish. For this, my mind quickly shuffled through the handful of recipes I actually know, and settled on a recent favorite from the super-easy vegetarian cookbook I have – Black Eyed Peas and Greens.

So, I bought kale.

See? Gorgeous, fresh kale.

See? Gorgeous, fresh kale.

Among other things I bought unrelated to this meal (a bouquet of fantastic flowers, a pastry from the adorable Little Prague bakery, and three dollar bills thrown in the guitar case of a local), I did manage to buy one more ingredient: SUPER FRESH GARLIC!! (As in, it’s still attached to the rest of the garlic plant. But not in the picture cuz I’d already chopped the tops off.)

Dude. Roll that beautiful garlic footage!

Dude. Roll that beautiful garlic footage!

Down, then, to the “nitty gritty” (as they say). The recipe for the greens is insanely easy. After cleaning the kale and chopping out the thick centers, they went into a deep pan to sautee/steam for 15 minutes. Once they’re steamed to your preferred done-ness level, you add a can of black eyed peas and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (which I had purchased at the same farmer’s market a few months ago – homemade by some folks who make cider, hard cider, apple wine, apple cider vinegar, etc etc). Salt and pepper to taste and VOILA! Done. The apple cider vinegar really is what makes this recipe, so it might sound gross but I definitely recommend it.

Also, apple cider vinegar is HELLA good for you. So I’ve heard.

For the beans, I googled. The food blog I found had a simple recipe which I had to make even simpler, as I was short the basil. Basically I’ll refer to this one as the “beans with a ****ton of garlic” recipe. It calls for 5-6 cloves of garlic, and we love garlic so we went whole hog. It was VERY garlicky. (Incidentally, fresh garlic is ALSO hella good for you.)

Here’s a picture of the beans being steamed! In black and white, for maximum artsy-fartsy-ness.

Steamy!

Steamy!

It was at this point that I did some mild cursing and took down the smoke detector from the kitchen ceiling – even boiling water in a teapot sometimes makes enough steam to set it off!

The final meal looked a little boring – though note in the photo below that almost all the purple steams right out of those dragon’s tongue beans – but it was simple and full of lots of ingredients that are pretty good for you. We had some bread on the side! And the sous chef made an entire meal herself! The chef approved. (Although he may have done so out of misguided obligation!)

The finished meal. Boring looking, eh?

The finished meal. Boring looking, eh?

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