Navy Bean, Melon, and Sweet Potato Salad — UPDATED

(UPDATE 7/19/12– The funny thing about entering a small fair is that your entry may be the only one in it’s category, meaning you win a lot of prizes.
 

However, there was more than just my entry in the bean salad category, and I still took first. It’s the ribbon second from right, being shy behind my mixed herb display ribbon.)

I just got back home (muggy, humid home) from entering the local Country Fair. My entries include items from my garden (herb bunches, lettuce — ran out of time to scrub beets, but boy do we have a lot of beets!) as well as some original creations.

Chocolate Coconut Curry Caramel Corn, easily adapted from Molly’s post, David Guas’ recipe.

Gardening has been really rewarding so far. I’ve never been successful (really never, not just hyperbole there) at gardening, so to have things sprout up! and blossom! and produce edibles! is wildly exhilarating. I’ll post some pictures soon. I’ve been so ashamed of my weeds, but much like body shaming, I realize I can choose to ignore the shamings of others and embrace the weeds. Or attack them with a hoe. Whatever. Either way, we’ve been up to our ears in lettuce, the beets are crazy, and everything else just needs another week or two of sunshine to start blushing ripe at me.

You may not be aware of this, but I now live in the Bean Capital of the West. This great honor means that in our local country fair, there are entire sections of bean categories. I did not have the time to make some Bean Art, or Bean Muffins, so I settled on making Bean Salad. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is some sort of Mexican-influenced dish, or perhaps hints of Mediterranean flavors*. I wanted to go somewhere else, ethnically speaking, with my Bean offering. Recalling that the Japanese sometimes use beans in their desserts, I went slightly sweet, and used other vaguely Japanese flavors.

*try black bean, feta, and oregano, or white bean and tuna with garlicky olives.

Presenting:

Navy Bean, Melon, and Sweet Potato Salad

½ cup dry Navy beans

3 cups water

Bring the water and beans to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce to low, cover, and let simmer until beans are just tender, about 90 minutes. Drain and cool.

1 ½ cups diced melon (about half a melon)

1 cup diced boiled sweet potato, peeled

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons coconut oil or sesame oil

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar

Soy sauce (I used Ponzu shōyu), to taste

Combine beans, melon, sweet potato, sesame seeds, and oils. Stir gently to combine. Stir in salt and vinegar.

Before serving, taste for seasonings. Add more vinegar, salt, oil, or a pinch of sugar as desired. Sprinkle with soy sauce.

That video you may have seen showing how to easily peel a potato? Works on sweet potatoes too. May not really be worth it (besides the chance to scream out “It works! Magic!” and then force your partner to come look at a sweet potato at eleven o’clock at night) for just one potato, but would be for more.