Thursday, August 15, 2013

CRISP THREE BEAN SALAD + GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Our Annual Trip

One of mine and Billy’s favorite events each summer is our family visit up to Glacier National Park.  We only go for the day.  We drive to the summit on the Going to the Sun Road, and then we come back.  This year we took two vehicles up so Billy and I stayed and walked the trail at the top of the mountain.  I guess that since Billy and I became Floridians we’d forgotten that flip flops do not make for good hiking shoes.  Note to self: next time wear sneakers.

This Big Horn Sheep was roaming the parking lot.  I maintained a respectful distance (see the size of those horns) and snapped pics (with the zoom on) from my phone.  I couldn't see a thing in my screen, so this is the best picture I got.
I kept getting pics of the rear, that were quite obscene...I'll just say, he's definitely a he.                                                                                                                                  
The view speaks for itself.
                                                                                                                                                   
This Mountain Goat was just hangin' on the edge of the trail.

This was the end of the line and we weren't about to cross it.  
On our return trip down the trail we had several people ask us excitedly if we'd seen any bears, and we replied that thankfully we hadn't! 

We may be city folk now, but Billy and I grew up bear country, and we know that bears are nothing to be fooled with.

Baby goat came out for a stroll.  That's a piece of Hidden Lake in the back ground.

I suspect that this Yellow Bellied Marmot has been fed by tourists, because it came right up and posed for us and acted as if it were waiting for it's reward.
Billy and I usually just take a day trip because when we're in Montana it's to visit family; but every time we're at Glacier, we say that we need to spend more time there and explore.

Most times when we go up to The Park we take a picnic lunch, and what’s a picnic lunch without a bean salad? 

Isn’t it funny that most picnics must have a bean salad, yet it’s usually the salad that nobody wants to eat?  It will get packed up as dreaded leftovers and sit in the fridge for a month before it finally gets chucked out.

That’ because usually the salad is a combo of mushy and rubbery canned beans that squeak against your teeth as you chew; not to mention that the dressing is cloyingly sweet.

Crisp Three Bean Salad is crispy and the dressing is the perfect not too sweet nor to sour.  This salad uses garden fresh green beans as well as red bell pepper and sweet Walla Walla (Vidalia in the South) onions, which all stay nice and crisp.  The dressing is slightly sweet; it’s a nice balance of sugar, vinegar, oil and herbs.

Healthy, Crisp Three Bean Salad will have you coming back for seconds and hoping for leftovers to enjoy all over again!

Here's what you do.

Trim the stem end from the fresh green beans, and cut the beans into about 1 inch long pieces.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

What ever you do, don't watch the pot, or it will never boil!

When the water is boiling, add some salt and the green beans.  Blanch the beans for about 45 seconds.

Drain the beans, and then immediately plunge them into a large bowl that is filled with water and lots of ice.

This shocks the beans so that they retain their bright green color and their crispness; if this step is skipped the result is grey, limp beans...and nobody wants that!

Drain and rinse a couple of cans of beans, these are kidney and cannellini beans.

Sweet onion and red bell pepper have supporting roles in this dish, they add more sweetness and crispness to the salad.

When I'm in the Western part of the country I use Walla Walla onions, and in the Eastern part of the country I use Vidalia onions, the onions are sweet and lovely, even when raw.

I like to dice the onion and cut the bell pepper the same size and shape as the green beans.
Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.

Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.



Add all the veggies to a large bowl and pour the dressing over the top.

Mix until all the ingredients are combined, and then refrigerate for at least to hours so that the veggies have a chance to marinate.

Crisp Three Bean Salad keeps well, so it can be made a couple of days ahead of service if you so desire.

 Bring this salad to any picnic, barbecue or potluck and it will be gobbled up in no time!



CRISP THREE BEAN SALAD

Serves 6 to 8

½            lb.              Fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1-15          oz. can       Red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-15          oz. can      Cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
1                              Red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch long strips
½                            Medium sweet onion, medium dice
1/3           cup           Brown sugar
2/3           cup           Apple cider vinegar
1               tsp.          Italian seasoning
¼             tsp.          Garlic powder
¼             tsp.          Salt
¼             tsp.          Pepper
¼             cup          canola oil
¼             cup          olive oil
¼             cup          Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

   1.        Bring a medium sauce pan of water to a boil, have a large bowl of ice water standing by.  Add salt to the water when it boils and add the green beans to blanch for about 45 seconds; drain the beans and immediately plunge them into the ice water to shock them (this will keep the beans crisp and bright green).  When the beans are completely cooled drain them and remove any ice.
   2.       To a large bowl add the blanched green beans, the kidney and cannellini beans, bell pepper and onions.
   3.       In a small bowl whisk together the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, canola oil, olive oil and the flat leaf parsley.  Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.
   4.       Pour the dressing over the beans, and toss so that the ingredients are combined.
   5.       Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


*Note, this bean salad can be made a day or two before serving, it will keep in the refrigerator for several days.


 Some other great picnic foods!

Tomato and Cheddar Pie
Chick Pea and Spinach Salad with Tahini Dressing



Corn Tomato and Avocado Salad


3 comments:

  1. Glad you had a good trip and that big horn sheep is well - well - you know - a big boy! The salad looks delicious and the colors are amazing. So jealous - I think that looks like an amazing trip.

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  2. These pictures are beautiful, landscape and nature is very impressive.
    Looks like you had wonderful vacations.
    The 3 bean salad looks so pretty, lovely colors!

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  3. Your photos are so cool!! Thanks for sharing :D

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