Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Glorious Green Beans

While green beans are available all year, their peak season is from May through October (half the year I know) but wow, the offerings at the farmers markets are pretty lovely these days

Phaseolus Vulgaris sort of sounds like something swingers would do, but it is actually the Latin binomial for green beans. 

Part of the three famed sisters, this vegetable has it's  origins in Peru, and made it's way up the continent through various migrating tribes who planted it where ever they went. 

Probably one of the most consumed vegetable side dishes at weddings or in a now famous casserole for Thanksgiving, there are many ways to enjoy green beans. Steaming in a steamer is probably the easiest and healthiest way to cook green beans. After you steam them, you can use them in salads, or add to stir fry dishes. If you want to freeze them yourself, steam every so slightly, cool and then freeze in a container or freezer proof plastic bag, they keep their taste and shape better that way

My favorite is to roast them .  One way is on a cookie sheet. 

Start with placing washed and trimmed green beans in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper, place on a sheet and put into a preheated 425 degree oven for 4 - 8 minutes.

If you want to get fancy, and who doesn't, try placing the oiled green beans instead in a roasting pan on a bed of rosemary toss in a couple of peeled and halved garlic cloves, cover and place in the same preheated 425 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until cooked but not mushy. Really fancy... cover with fresh lemon slices before roasting, remove after the beans are cooked. When beans are done, serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Ideas for dressing up steamed green beans:

Grate some lemon zest, and add chopped dill with a drizzle of olive oil to finish
Top with shredded Parmesan Cheese
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar syrup and top with chopped basil
Add some truffle oil and ground toasted hazelnuts

Add your steamed green beans to

Classic Three Bean Salad

2 cups of Steamed Green Beans, 1 1/2 cups each Garbanzo and Kidney Beans, 2 celery stalks finely sliced, 1/2 medium red onion, diced. 1 cup chopped fresh parsley. 1/2 cup drained black olive slices. Put all ingredients into a large salad bowl or container, gently fold all together.

In a blender put the following ingredients in to make a dressing: 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp granulated cane sugar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp celery seeds, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Mix together until fully blended. Pour over bean mixture, and allow to marinate for several hours before serving. 

French Potato Salad

2 cups Steamed or Roasted Green Beans, 5 medium red rose potatoes sliced with skins left on, 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into thin slices, 1/4 cup drained capers, 1 cup thinly sliced basil.

Boil potato slices in salted water until soft about 5 - 8 minutes, drain, and set aside. Place onion slices, capers, green beans in a large salad bowl. Stir to combine, add cooked potato slices, and fold in gently.

Make a vinaigrette with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, one clove of garlic, minced, salt and pepper to taste, place everything into a blender and mix until fully blended. Pour this over the salad and fold gently so everything is evenly coated. Top with thinly sliced basil and serve. 

So HAVE FUN and Eat your Green Beans!

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