Early September is an exciting time to be at Foxhollow as the farm slowly transitions to fall. The mornings start out cool and crisp, making the country air that much more enjoyable. Our head herdsman, Derek, works around the clock, moving cattle to lush summer pastures while cutting, raking, and bailing hay for the herd’s winter feed. The Corn Maze takes shape, green pumpkins show off hints of orange, and the gardens are at their peak. Summer crops continue to ripen and be picked and fall’s produce is planted and shows signs of meals to come.
Foxhollow Farm’s 100% grassfed beef cattle are definitely my pride and joy. However, four years ago, I decided it was time to venture out to the gardens and grow some biodynamic veggies to accompany our burgers, steaks, and roasts. This time of year, pumpkins are usually my favorite, but this September, my Chinese Red Noodle Beans are stealing the show. This variety from Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds is botanically related to the southern cowpea. Kentucky’s typically hot, humid summers create the perfect climate for these vining plants to thrive. Their delicate stems with hunter green leaves vigorously climb up trellises throughout my Kitchen Garden. This allows the Bordeaux colored, foot long beans to cascade down, showing off their snake like shape that wows children and grownups alike. You can find red or green Chinese long beans at farmers’ markets around town. You might see them marketed as other common names such as yard-long bean, asparagus bean, and snake bean. The flavor is nothing like a typical green bean. It’s nutty, dense, and earthy.
In the last warm days of summer, this is my go-to side item when I serve a juicy grassfed sirloin steak.
Red Noodle Beans with Sesame Seeds
(Adapted, ever so slightly from epicurious.com)
Serves 4 as a side
1 1/2 pounds of Chinese Red Noodle Beans
1 tablespoon toasted Sesame seeds
2 teaspoons Tamari or Soy Sauce
1 jalapeño or 1/4 Habanero pepper (to taste), finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red onions (1/2 cup), cut into thin half moon slices (my favorite are Red Marble onions from Roots Underwood Farm),
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
Special equipment: A well-seasoned 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or cast iron skillet
Garnish: lime wedges
Cook untrimmed beans in a pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain in a colander and pat dry. You can leave the beans long, but I recommend trimming them into 4 inch pieces for easier sautéing and eating.
Stir together Tamari or Soy Sauce, chopped hot pepper, and salt in a small bowl.
Heat wok or skillet over high heat. Add oil, swirling to coat wok or skillet. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until golden brown. Add garlic and stir-fry until garlic begins to turn pale golden, about 5 seconds. Add sesame seeds and stir-fry about 30 seconds more until all of mixture is golden. Add beans, and stir-fry until hot and well coated, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and then stir in Tamari Sauce mixture. Drizzle lime juice over the beans, season with salt, then transfer to a bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature with your Foxhollow Farm Grassfed Sirloin Steak hot off the grill.