Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yard Long Beans Red Noodle Beans and Dumplings

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We began harvesting Baby Monkey's yard long beans a couple of days ago. We grow both the green variety and the red noodle variety. The picture above is disappointing. The bean pod that looks black is actually a very beautiful dark red. They stay pretty red when they are cooked unlike other colored vegetables that tend to turn green when put to heat. These need to be harvested everyday. If one is missed, it will turn into something that resembles a lumpy snake. Even then, all is not lost, those can be saved for seeds for next year. Racquel from Perennial Garden Lover showed off her yard long beans a couple of days ago, I just couldn't resist showing ours off as well.

Yard long beans (Vigna unguiculata) are also known as asparagus beans. I have saved the seeds of the green variety for years. I bought the seeds for the red noodle variety from Territorial Seed Company last year. They are easy and a lot of fun for the kids.

We had chicken and dumplings for dinner tonight.

I make chicken stock from 1/2 half an onion, 1 celery stalk, 3 chicken bullion cubes (Mexican varieties are best), pepper, three chicken leg quarters and about a gallon of water give or take. It simmers most of the day and the house smells wonderful. When the chicken is done put it out to cool, skin and bone it then return to the stock. Add extra water as needed.

Dumplings = 3 cups flour, 1 cup shortening, 1/4 cup dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. Cut the shortening into the dried ingredients and add the buttermilk. Turn the mixture out onto a cutting board and kneed until the dough is elastic and smooth. Roll it out to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a pizza cutter. I make a diamond shape just for giggles. Add them to the boiling chicken stock in two batches. It takes about five minutes for the dumplings cook through. Stand back so as not to get trampled when the family realizes it is ready.

Disclaimer- I don't really ever measure anything. My grandmothers taught me to cook. They seemed to feel that measuring cups were optional. Things rarely taste exactly the same from batch to batch. The above measurements are fairly close. If the dough seems to stiff add more milk, too loose, more flour. I would rather teach someone how to make something than write down a recipe.

Did you have anything special for Sunday dinner?