Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Grilled Green Beans with Parmesan & Tomatoes
For many summers, garden fresh green beans were just not a reality in my garden. I would plant packet after packet of seeds, watch them sprout and reach for the sun, and when they seemed to be happy and thriving, I'd go out and discover the tiny plants had been eaten to the ground by rabbits.
I tried sprinkling dried blood, poking smelly garlic capsules, spraying a foul 'Liquid Fence". One year mama bunny conveniently (for her), dug her nest, filled with downy fur, I am not kidding, dead center in the middle of my fallow vegetable garden, and gave birth and tucked her babies under with my rotting straw mulch. I heard tiny cries as I was raking the garden in the spring, and discovered a nest full of tiny, eyes not yet open, baby bunnies, making like locavores.
That all changed a few years ago when a frisky black and white cat gave birth to several litters that regularly patrolled the gardens. A few of them lucked out and now live in luxury in the house. One black cat, who I think escaped the two enormous hawks who made snacks of some of the kittens, is now the outdoor cat in residence.
I started feeding him a few years ago on Christmas day. He looked sad and hungry, and I was feeling the Christmas spirit, so I broke out a can of cat food and let him feast. Which of course, led to him coming back every day hoping for more. When spring arrived, I borrowed a live trap and took him to the clinic to make sure he wasn't contributing to the neighborhood cat population.
When I went to collect him at the end of the day, the staff went to fetch him, brought out a blanket covered carrier, thrust him out, and declared "THIS ONE HAS LICE". Like I was a bad parent, or otherwise irrresponsible. He was feral, and I was cutting him a break for crying out loud. So henceforth, he has been known as "Cootie".
He gladly accepted my handouts for nearly two years, while eyeing me warily and rebuffing any attempts to come close. Then one day last summer he decided he trusted me. He came close, brushed my leg. I was shocked. Then again. Then he let me briefly pet him. He purred. And it didn't take long before he started flopping on his back, revealing the diamond shaped white spot on his belly, and I'll be darned, letting me rub his belly.
He is of course, a good hunter. He sometimes brings me furry bits of his conquests, and occasionally, to my dismay, a bird, and he is particularly fond of rabbit. Which brings me back to the green beans. Which have grown very successfully in the garden this year - green ones, purple ones, Dragon Tongue, all thanks to the watchful patrol of Cootie the Cat.
So now truthfully, between the garden and the CSA hauls, I am getting a little tired of green beans. So tonight I was grilling a steak, and I decided to grill some green beans as well.
I tossed them with a little lemon flavored olive oil and citrus Borsari seasoning. I grilled them in a grill stir-fry basket, tossing occasionally until they started to blacken. When I pulled them off, I tossed them with some grated Parmesan and tossed in handful of oil packed dried tomatoes from the deli.
Delicious, simple. Thanks Cootie, you've earned your cat food and belly rubs.