July temperatures in Seattle turned from an unusually cool 54F on Independence Day to sizzling 94 degrees today. It’s hot by anyone’s standards, especially in Seattle where indoor air conditioning is not so common. In an effort to avoid radiant heat, I like to head outside for al fresco dining from the grill, cold soups and salads complimented with iced beverages and chilled desserts.
Last night I made up a recipe (literally made it up on the spot) using ingredients I had in my pantry (but I admit there are a couple of items I wouldn’t normally keep in my pantry like extra virgin olive oil pressed from ripe, black Texas olives and Rancho Gordo dried heirloom Scarlet Runner beans). Most ingredients in this recipe are staples to stock regularly.
Fresh mushrooms are the co-starring ingredient. I used large button mushrooms, but I also recommend crimini, porcini or portobello, too. Experience the taste of umami – this recipe is satisfying, delicious, nutritious and really cool.
Marinated Scarlet Runner Beans
Serves 8-10 as side dish
8 oz dry Scarlet Runner Beans, soaked overnight
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
Soak beans overnight in a bowl covered with water. In the morning, drain beans and transfer to a crock pot (used because it’s too hot to boil water in my kitchen). Add bay leaves and 4 peeled, smashed garlic cloves. Cook beans for 3-4 hours and then test for tenderness. The skins may be a bit tough but they will soften in the marinade. Drain beans and toss out the bay leaves and garlic. Set aside to cool.
6 large mushrooms, quartered and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp rosemary, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup extra virgin ripe olive oil
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a frying pan, heat olive oil until hot and add mushrooms and pinch of salt. Saute until lightly browned. Add peppers, garlic and rosemary, and continue stirring to keep ingredients moving until peppers are softened but not dark. Turn off the heat and add the beans to the mixture, along with the ripe olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat beans, cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight for flavors to develop fully.
Last night I served this with a green salad from the garden, and Skagit River Ranch mild Italian sausages (see http://www.skagitriverranch.com) cooked on the grill outside. Only one stovetop burner inside the house was used to saute the vegetables for the marinade so the kitchen stayed relatively cool. Serve with a chilled white wine followed by gelato cones from Fainting Goat (see http://faintinggoatseattle.com) for dessert. That’s a cool weeknight meal to welcome the summer weather to Seattle. No complaints.