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Long Beans And Spinach Are Shocking In Two Side Dishes

Shock and Awe

One thing that we talk a lot about on Earth Eats is blanching and shocking. This is the process of flash-cooking vegetables in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes and then submerging them in ice water to seal in the nutrients and maintain the green color. "If you were to cook them in less than boiling water, they would turn a khaki army green, and they would also leech out a lot more of their minerals," Chef Daniel Orr advises.

After blanching and shocking the veggies, they are ready to be added to a pan for cooking or they can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days. The long beans we blanched and shocked are tasty in cold salads and even when you're searching the fridge for a midnight snack.

Sauteed Long Beans with Garlic Ginger and Sesame


  • 1 bunch long beans, blanched and shocked
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • serve with lemon slices


  1. Blanch and shock the long beans.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, and long beans to a pan with hot oil.
  3. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and cherry tomatoes.
  4. Season with toasted sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve family style with lemon slices.

More: Here's another way to prepare long beans. You won't be able to keep your hands off this snack-worthy dish.

Pumpkin Pie Tasting

While pumpkin is often mistaken for a vegetable, it is actually a fruit. Pumpkin pies will be making appearances on dinner tables through the month of November, so Earth Eats wanted to hold a pumpkin pie tasting contest to find out what folks value in this very traditional dessert.

That's where blogger Natalie DeWitt comes in. She admits to using her cooking to win friends and influence people. "When people know that you cook well, they want to get you know you better."

She won a bunch of new friends at her recent pumpkin pie tasting event on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She brought 6 pies that included 6 unique pumpkin filling and 4 unique crusts to determine once and for all which is the best pumpkin pie recipe.

Her pies included a vegan pie, a pie made with homemade pumpkin purée, and a store-bought pumpkin pie.

More: Read the complete article about the pumpkin pie tasting event and see pictures of all the pies on our Flickr page.

Japanese Baby Spinach Salad


  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, cut across grain
  • 3-4 scallions, cut thin
  • 1 1/2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Blanch the spinach: Cook it in boiling water until it wilts and then dunk the spinach into ice water using a strainer to keep the ice cubes out of your spinach leaves.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. Add blanched spinach leaves (wring out as much water as you can before adding to the dressing) and toss until the dressing is well distributed.

In the photo you'll notice an orange-colored sauce drizzled around the spinach. And if you've listened to episodes past, you'll remember this stuff from everything from our Grilled Asparagus Salad to the Harrison Lake Garden Burger.

This is a red pepper coulis and it makes a great addition to this dish. Chef Orr describes it "one of those secret ingredients you can keep around and it makes your cooking look snazzy and taste great." Find the recipe here and have fun decorating your next dish with it!

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