Green Beans Archive

Thursday, May 29, 2008

haricot vert with shallots

haricot vert, shallots, butter, lemon and tomatoes

Nearly a year ago, I told you about my favorite side dish. But what I failed to tell you is that these things change suddenly for no apparent reason. One day I’ll try something I’m certain sounds too uninteresting to be executed well–in that case, zucchini, almonds and a bit of parmesan, barely cooked–and the flavor blows my mind to the point that I must eat it that night, the next one and all the days that follow, then pausing for a couple weeks just to pick it up once more.

haricot vert, trimmed and tailed

Well, it has happened again. Two weeks ago, Alex and I got home late from the gym and decided to order salads from the French diner-ish place a couple blocks away, but I suddenly became worried that my salad would not be enough food and threw in a side of haricot vert, or those skinny French green beans I love so much. Nevertheless, my expectations were very low–I mean, you’ve got to cook these guys to a very specific point and then stop, and I failed to see how that would work when they needed to arrive warm.

haricot vert, drained

Yet here we are, two weeks later and this is the third or fourth time I’ve eaten them since. However, last night was the first time I got off my rump long enough to assemble it myself, which if you consider how ridiculously simple this is to make, is particularly sad.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, May 1, 2008

green bean and cherry tomato salad

green bean and tomato salad

As soon as the weather gets sweeter outside, I lose all interest in make any elaborate effort in the kitchen. It’s not that I don’t want to make dinner; a girl cannot live on tapas and cocktails at sidewalk restaurants alone, though lord knows I have tried. In the end, I just don’t want to fuss, and with all of the bright, seasonal produce slowly trickling into the markets, there’s no reason to. That’s the real secret of super-fresh food: you don’t need to do a lot to it to make it grand.

tipped and tailed beanshalved grape tomatoesgrape tomatoesgreen beans

I can’t recommend Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Vegetables enough to help you along your way. I mentioned it last month in conjunction with the Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts and Feta, but I wasn’t even close to done with it. The preparations are for the most part quite simple, yet every single recipe I’ve tried has embodied a little something-something that I hadn’t done before. I keep it tucked in my desk drawer at work, and feel confident that on that magical day I get to the Greenmarket during lunch, I can get back to the office, look up whatever I grabbed, and be able to cobble together a great dish that is no great time burden, just from the vegetable and some pantry staples.

tossed in the shallot vinaigrette

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

mixed bean salad

mixed bean salad

Adding to my infinite list of gastronomical oddities–I consider meat a side dish, cilantro tastes like dirt to me, I don’t drink tea and the only seafood I can stand is mussels–Alex and I finally ate at Mario Batali’s heroical West Village gastropub, The Spotted Pig, two weekends ago and all I’ve been able to talk about since were the salads.

With house-cured bresaola, prosciutto and various homemade sausages on the menu, it’s not named after swine for nothing. And while these are not to be overlooked, the salads were something of a symphony. I’ve said before that I don’t go to fuss-worthy restaurants because I fancy myself some sort of in-the-know foodie; I go for inspiration. Restaurants that don’t give me any new ideas for the Smitten Kitchen rarely get revisits.

cook them barelybald tomatoes

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

barley, corn and haricot vert salad

arugula, green bean, corn and barley salad

I have an affliction of sorts; no matter how fantastic, transcendent a recipe has been or how much I’ve sung it’s praises from the high mountaintops, I almost never make it a second time. I thought I could blame this website, always pushing me forward and urging me to try new! different! shiny! things, but who am I kidding? I’ve always been this way. Though I always say I’m just looking for tried-and-true recipes to laminate, frame, and keep forever, those that will never fail you or me so that I can stop looking, it’s not true. I’m still looking. I’ll always be looking.

There are exceptions. In one week, I made the Black Bean Confetti Salad twice, shocking myself as much as my dining partner. There have been two batches of Russian Black Bread because a week without it is a week I don’t want any part of. As summer comes ’round again, I’ll be certain to make a new batch of barbeque sauce and the strawberry lemon sorbet so good, you’ll eat none other again. But for the most part, if I’ve cooked something that you’ve liked, you best stuff yourself good and well with it because you’ll probably never see it again.

haricot vert

Continued after the jump »


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