Tag Archives: green bean

Local Box Picnic: Montopolis Sports Complex

The second weekend in our picnic adventure took my husband and me to far east Austin. We stumbled upon the Montopolis Youth Sports Complex when we were looking for Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park on Saturday night.

After a jaunt east on Airport Boulevard from I-35 and a winding drive through the Montopolis neighborhood, Rami and I found ourselves at 400 Grove Boulevard, the address registered with Google Maps for Guerrero Park.There is a parking lot and some trailheads that lead into Guerrero Park at that address, but the more obvious landmark there is this lovely sports area. Montopolis Youth Sports Complex has a few baseball fields with concession stands and bleachers, a batting cage and a small playground. We counted six picnic tables at the park, situated near trash cans at the edges of each playing field.

There are lots of tall trees at the park, and most of the recreation areas around the baseball fields are in full or partial shade. It’s obvious from the manicured lawns and clean trails that the Montopolis Sports Complex is well cared for, and it’s probably very busy during baseball, softball and tee-ball seasons. However, we were the only souls there at dinner time on Saturday night.

The menu for this week’s picnic featured tons of local veggies in various salad preparations. We were gluten free except for some pita bread and vegan, since I forgot my bacon-laden potato salad at home:

These salads were a really easy picnic menu since I was able to make most of them ahead of time during the week. I don’t know what I was thinking packing pickled beets on a picnic. They taste awesome, but the magenta beet juice threatened to stain our orange picnic blanket with every bite!

The wax beans and green beans from Acadian and Tecolote Farms were the standout ingredients in this week’s picnic. I used these fresh treasures in place of canned green beans in my favorite four bean salad recipe.

Four Bean Salad (serves 6)
One bunch fresh green beans
One bunch fresh wax (yellow) beans
15 oz. can garbanzo beans
15 oz. can kidney beans
Two green bell peppers, seeded and ribbed
Red or purple onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup red wine or cider vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation: trim ends off of green and yellow beans, then snap beans into bite-sized pieces.Bring a scant inch of salted water to a boil in a large saute pan. Add fresh beans, cover and cook for about five minutes, until beans are tender. Drain the beans and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, open and drain canned beans. Chop the bell peppers and onion into small pieces.  In a small bowl, whisk together oils, vinegars, sugar, salt and pepper. Put all the beans, onion and pepper into a large salad bowl and pour dressing over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Local Box Meal Plan: Nov. 16-20

Happy Thanksgiving! I realize that I’m a week early, but we’re having some friends over for an early Thanksgiving on Sunday. Because it’s not the actual Thanksgiving day, I’m taking some liberties and veering from my family’s traditional Turkey Day menu (and let’s face it, who wants to have the same meal twice in one week?).

This week, we’re getting sweet potatoes, red onion, and collards or mustard greens from Naegelin, Eureka persimmons from Indian Hill (Texas A&M has a good breakdown of persimmon varieties grown in Texas here), Cameo apples from Top of Texas, pie pumpkin, green beans from Animal Farm, hot and sweet peppers from Green Gate Farm, escarole and Louisiana shallot-scallions from Acadian Family Farm, Bibb lettuce from Bella Verdi and herb from Pure Luck.

So I’m making:


Main course:

  • Herb-roasted turkey
  • Chestnut-apple stuffing (made with a red onion) served inside a roasted pumpkin – this only works if we get a pumpkin, not fennel. Here’s hoping for a pumpkin for the super cool presentatation!
  • Roasted sweet potatoes tossed with herbs
  • Roasted green beans
  • Sauteed greens with garlic
  • Louisiana shallot-scallion dinner rolls (based on this sweet dinner rolls recipe)

And because we still have to eat dinner on Saturday:

I’m also retrying hot pepper jelly with this recipe, since it didn’t work so well last time.

Are you changing up some of your Thanksgiving staples this year, or keeping it traditional?

Soy-Glazed Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

We got a bunch of string beans in our Greenling box last week, and I was planning to make honey-soy-ginger pork tenderloin anyway, so I thought that doing an Asian twist to go with the pork might be nice. I just carried over the some of the flavors that were in the pork to the green beans.

These green beans were so fresh that they honestly didn’t need doctoring up like this, but it was a nice change of pace from the normal steamed or sauteed green bean.


  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. green beans, washed and trimmed (Mine were particularly long, so I also cut them in half.)
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce (The flavor gets pretty concentrated, so low sodium is key here — otherwise, your beans will be way too salty.)
  • 1/4 c. toasted sliced almonds


  • Heat the canola and sesame oils in a skillet over high heat, then add the garlic and green beans and saute for ~4 minutes.
  • After the green beans are almost done (al dente), add the soy sauce. It’ll deglaze the pan. Let it simmer and reduce for ~30 seconds.
  • Remove to a plate, top with the toasted almonds, and serve.

For the pork recipe, click here.

Yum! The soy sauce was reduced just enough to make a nice glaze over everything and make the almonds stick to the beans, while the beans were just cooked enough to still regain their crispness and freshness. The flavor of the beans was accentuated by the other ingredients, rather than hidden. This is a great side dish for any meal, Asian-inspired or not.

Local Box Meal Plan for June 15-19

Great news — we’ve successfully moved! And I now have 2 very important things: a much bigger kitchen and a grill. You’ll see that our meal plan this week reflects my excitement over the grill!

This week, we’re getting: blueberries (Berry Best), cucumber (Buena Tierra), green bell pepper (Buena Tierra), green beans (Animal Farm), yellow squash (Naegelin), leeks (Acadian), sweet corn (Acadian), red potatoes (Guinea Hill), peaches (Caskey), shallots (Lundgren Farms), and chard or kale (Naegelin).



  • “Green” smoothie with bananas, blueberries, and chard or kale (google “green smoothie” for an explanation of what it is. I’ve never had one before, but it sounds great!)


  • Whole-wheat penne with leek pesto and a crispy leek garnish
  • Calabasita with sweet corn and yellow squash



Anyone tried a green smoothie before? What do you think?

Local Box Meal Plan for June 8-12

We’re moving on Saturday, and we’ve been packing up my kitchen little by little. I’ve been trying to keep as many things out as possible, but it’s hard to convince my husband that I’ll need the tagine or the immersion blender in the next few days. As such, I’ve been keeping our meals as simple as possible, not only because there isn’t much to cook with, but also because with all the packing we’ve been doing, I’m exhausted!

So I’m keeping the meal plan really straightforward. Greenling is sending us sorrel from Tecalote, blueberries from Cary’s Berry Best, cucumber from Buena Tierra or My Father’s Farm, green beans from Animal Farm, patty pan squash from Naegelin, mango from G&S groves, basil from My Father’s Farm, peaches from Caskey, sweet corn from Acadian, and French carrots from Tecalote.

Check out what I’m making — rather, “preparing:”

Sunday Brunch (that’s if my nonstick pan makes it out of a box):

  • Sorrel omelette (you can use sorrel in place of spinach in many recipes, and my favorite omelettes have spinach, mushrooms, and lots of good cheese)


  • Green salad with sorrel, basil (I love putting herbs in my salads!), carrots, cucumbers, sweet corn and patty pan squash


Snacks (I’ve enticed those helping us move with pizza and beer, but just in case they want something a bit healthier):

  • Blueberries
  • Mango
  • Peaches

Are you making anything fun with your sorrel this week?