Relaxation Weekend + RECIPE: Garlicky Runner Beans with Fennel

As a CSA veggie farmer, it is rare that we get a whole weekend to relax and enjoy. (Don’t feel too bad for us, we spend many a winter weekend in front of the wood stove. Relaxation is a seasonal commodity for us farmin’ types).

This weekend though. Ah. It was a beaut. Complete with fluffy clouds, blue skies, late-night lighting shows off in the distance, superb food, abundant food, dog walks, beautiful friends, beautiful conversation, brother husband bonding, Tilt-a-Whirls, a spicy bread-and-butter pickle adventure (more on this later!) and just enough trips to the farm sprinkled in between.

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I won’t ramble too long, but let me just tell you about a few of the things that we ate so you can (a) be jealous and hopefully also (b) be inspired!

  • Lemon ginger macarons and free wine (!!!) at a book signing at a great bar that actually looks and feels like a house.
  • Radishes with ricotta, pine nuts, honey and edible flowers at Grampa’s Pizzeria followed by a seasonal pizza with so many fresh things I can’t even remember.
  • My Carrot’s very first funnel cake at the Rock County 4-H Fair! Powdered sugar only because there should be no other way to eat a funnel cake.
  • Fried cheese curds, fried jalapeno poppers and a root beer float at the Rock County 4-H Fair because we really don’t know how to avoid the fried foods when we’re at the fair.
  • Corn cakes at Cow & Quince with a cucumber & tomato salsa on top and (and!?) a buttermilk dressing.
  • These garlicky beans with a little fennel tossed in and way too much hot pepper flakes because I just can’t get enough heat these days. Oh and a side of grilled sirloin steak.
  • Sweet corn with lime butter. Also grilled.
  • Steel-cut oats with milk, maple syrup, nuts and dried figs.
  • So many late-night zucchini fritters with cucumber jalapeno salad on top.


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You guys, it’s summer and everything is ripe and if you are not eating all the vegetables you can find you are doing summer wrong! Love you! Eat your vegetables!

Here’s to hoping you are having a less distracted Monday than I,

CSA6- Spicy Fennel Green Beans

Adapted from Bon Appetit
You guys I made these three times in one week mostly because I love them but also so that I could take a photo for you, but I forgot every single time. Too busy eating immediately.
P.S. Runner beans are pretty much flat green beans. We grow these beautiful purple and white speckled ones. I really love their texture in the dish, but if you can only fine regular green beans, they will work just fine. I’d suggest cooking them 4-5 minutes longer. I’m usually a fan of crunchy beans, but in this recipe, the softer, the better!
P.P.S. If you are scared of fennel, (1) don’t be! the flavor turns oh so mild when cooked down and (2) watch this video to know how to cut it up.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 pounds runner beans, ends trimmed
1 large fennel, stalks and fronds removed (and saved for another use), cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if you’re like me and you can’t get enough heat (1/4 teaspoon if you want the heat to be subtle)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add beans, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat, stirring every couple minutes, for 10 minutes. Some seasoning will stick to the bottom of the pan. After 10 minutes, add a tablespoon or two of water and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced to a nice sauce, about 5 minutes more. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicky says:

    I love the concept of Grampa’s pizza followed by fried fair food! Lovely photos, as always 🙂


    1. Leek says:

      Oh I don’t discriminate when it comes to food 😉


  2. Pingback: CSA Week 9.

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