Monday, September 2, 2013

Garden Rescue: Green Bean & Tomato Casserole

Away from our August garden for a whole week, I came back to take on the challenge of making something delicious from the wreckage. Our pretty "Black Prince" tomatoes all split in concentric circles from the rain, and the slugs had a feast. The "provider bush beans" had recovered from their mid-summer doldrums and produced an enormous amount of fresh and tasty overly large green beans. When asked what he might envision as a casserole with green beans, my husband said, "maybe millet? mushrooms? some kind of creamy sauce?"  And so it began. This dish doesn't require over-the-top garden materials, and could actually be made any time with a variety of tomatoes, green beans, millet, mushrooms, onion, garlic, corn, and a tahini-based "creamy" sauce. I threw sesame seeds on top for fun.

Green Bean & Tomato Summer Casserole
(easily serves 4)

4 cups of chunky cut up mixed tomatoes (green/red)
3 cups green beans, cut into 1-1.5inch pieces
1 cup corn kernels
4 large white mushrooms, sliced and then rough cut (or whatever you like)
2 medium onions, chopped fine (your choice, I used red tropea onions)
2 cloves fresh garlic or use powdered garlic
1 cup organic millet
2 cups water to cook the millet
2 cups water to blanche the beans
1/4-1/2 cup water for "creamy sauce"
2 tsp Braggs Liquid Amino
1 tsp dry tarragon
2 Tblsp tahini
1 Tblsp tamari
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp tumeric
1/8 tsp mustard powder (or mustard)
2-4 Tblsp sesame seeds

1. Bring the millet to a boil in the water over medium heat and then turn to low for about 15 minutes, turning off and covering when it begins to look as though all the water is gone.

2. Wash and cut the tomatoes into 1-3" chunks of any size or slice you like. The chunkier it is the more likely it will retain some shape, slices will disintegrate (both nice). Wash, trim and cut the green beans into 1-1.5" pieces, and in a separate pot bring about 2 cups water to a boil, then toss in the bean pieces, stirring to be sure they all make good contact with the hot water, then turn down a bit and cover for just about 2-3 minutes NO MORE because you really don't want them turning to mush.

3. In a large non-stick saute pan, put the finely chopped onions, tomato chunks, corn (fresh or frozen), mushrooms, tarragon and Bragg's Liquid Amino. Cover and saute quietly for about 10 minutes while you rinse the beans in cold water in a colander, and turn off the millet.

4. Sauce: Mix together the tahini, tamari, water, tumeric, mustard powder, and dry powdered garlic or totally crushed/smashed fresh garlic. Beat until smooth - adding water if necessary to make about 1/2-2/3 cup in all.

5. Construction:  In a round or rectangular cast iron enamel lidded casserole, spread out the millet, put the green beans on top of that, pour the vegetable mixture on top and gently combine. Pour out the sauce onto this in a thin concentric drizzle starting around the outside edge and working your way until there is some on the whole surface. Sprinkle with sesame seeds - as much or as little as you like.

6. Bake at 350F with the lid on for about 20-25
minutes, then turning the oven up to 450F, crisp with the lid off for about 10 minutes. Great with applesauce, arugula salad or really anything you want! (Also good cold for breakfast if you like that sort of leftover to start your day.)

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