Friday, August 15, 2008

Blueberry Pancakes

The end result, served for breakfast at my parents' house in Ohio.

Blueberries ripe for the picking

Last week after work a co-worker, Lori, and I headed out to The Blueberry Patch, an organic blueberry farm in Grass Lake. I have driven past this establishment countless times in the past but never stopped. It was time! Time for ripe, luscious, sweet Michigan blueberries! I had never really thought about where blueberries came from before. I had an incorrect idea that they grew on vines or in watery bogs a la cranberries. Imagine my surprise when they turned out to grow on upright shrubs. I took these blueberries down to my parents' in Ohio last weekend where my dad turned them into fantastic blueberry pancakes. I collected almost three pounds of blueberries and have been eating them all week in my regular morning yogurt. I highly recommend the Blueberry Patch as a berry-picking destination for anyone in the Ann Arbor area.

Entrance to the blueberry bush area.

Ready for picking

Lori elbow-deep in ripe blueberries

Sampling the merchandise

Steve Toth, owner of the Blueberry Patch

Fresh Michigan blueberries, washed and ready to use

Blueberry pancakes on the griddle

Getting closer...

Ahhhh...perfection! Blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon and good strong coffee. Maple syrup courtesy of a neighbor who tapped the street's sugar maples and made her own syrup.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans

The summer's bounty of fresh green beans is upon us. What to do with the flood of beans! Thanks to a generous friend I acquired the book A Canon of Vegetables: 101 Classic Recipes by Raymond Sokolov and in it I found this recipe (page 28). It was just meant to be.

  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb green beans, ends snipped and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 tbsp rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Heat 3 tbsp of the canola oil in a wok or large skillet until the oil smokes. Lower the heat to medium. Add the beans all at once and stir-fry until tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain and discard any remaining oil. Set the beans aside.

Heat the remaining 3 tbsp canola oil in the pan until it just begins to smoke. Add the pork and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the rice wine and soy sauce and stir. Return the beans to the pan and stir. Add the sesame oil and stir. Distribute among plates and enjoy!

I had this mystery vegetable in the crisper drawer and decided to shred it to add to this dish. I used my trusty mandoline slicer and julienned the crap out of this thing and added it to the pan with the beans. It browned up nicely and was a pleasant, if slightly bland, addition to the dish. I only found out later that it was kohlrabi. It worked, and that's all I wanted.

I made a batch of brown rice to accompany the bean dish. Everything is better when mixed with brown rice and eaten (clumsily!) with chopsticks. The miracle of the evening was that John ate the green beans without complaining. People. you have no idea how momentous that was!