Green Beans / Food Loves Writing
Green Beans / Food Loves Writing

Green Beans / Food Loves Writing

It’s sort of ironic that, while as a child, green beans were the vegetable I hated least, as an adult, they are the everyday vegetable I overlook most. I mean, it’s true I love them slow-cooked with tomatoes, the way Tim’s grandma taught him to like them and the way he later taught me, but I only make them that way when Roma beans show up in our CSA or Tim throws a bag of fresh green beans in the shopping cart because, most of the time, the other, more alluring vegetables win out.

If I were ranking vegetables in order of the excitement I feel about eating them, the very nonofficial, I-reserve-the-right-to-change-it-later list would look like something like this:

  1. Onion: I have to rank onions (white, yellow, red; shallots; green onions, leeks) as #1 because a world without onions would be a world without mire poix, a world without onion rings, a world without the smell of sliced onions caramelizing on the stove—in short, a world with less flavor and a world I’m glad not to know.
  2. Brussels sprouts: Roast them! Shred them! Fight Tim for the last bite of the brown buttered ones, right off the stove!
  3. Summer Tomatoes: I always think of tomatoes as a vegetable. Every year when tomato season hits, I tell myself I’ll make giant batches of sauce to freeze for the winter months, and every year I forget, eating every last one straightaway instead.
  4. Kale: I literally crave kale salad, especially kale salad with Pecorino cheese, garlic, olive oil, and bread crumbs. As proof, the very act of typing those words here just now has made my mouth water.
  5. Broccoli, roasted: I have to say “broccoli, roasted,” because I don’t exactly want to shout about raw broccoli, even if it is good with hummus, but roasted broccoli? Come on. It’s practically candy.
  6. Cauliflower: And the most versatile vegetable award goes to…! Make flatbread pizzas. Make fried rice. Roast it like broccoli. Turn it into soup. Some people even bake it with cheese into a giant casserole.

Runners up for Top Five Favorites would have to include eggplant and probably bell peppers; and, of course, I could argue leaf lettuce right up into first place if I give myself time because salad is one of my favorite things to eat, so fresh and crunchable and bright. Also, there are mushrooms, which are fairly neck-in-neck with broccoli or cauliflower, now that I think of it, so meaty and flavorful sauteéd on the stove. But what of green beans? The last decade has sent my former favorite right off the top ten.

But lest you think I’ve spent this entire post talking you out of eating green beans, Wait, wait!

About an hour ago, I asked Tim to name his favorite vegetable. “Out of all of them,” I said to him. “Which one do you like best?”

I’ll give you one guess which he picked.

And so behold, the beauty of marriage! His favorite vegetable, dressed up with one of mine:

Green Beans with Shallots, Garlic, Toasted Almonds, and Cranberries

By: FoodLovesWriting.com

Serving Size: 3 to 4

Green Beans with Shallots, Garlic, Toasted Almonds, and Cranberries

Adapted from the popular method outlined by everyone from Mark Bittman and Ina Garten to Martha Stewart and Whole Foods Market.

You’ll note that, in contrast to all of the resources linked to above, from which this basic method is adapted, we did not submerge our cooked green beans in an ice bath. This is for a few reasons: 1) Blame it on our 1990s childhoods or love of Italian-style slow-cooked beans, we are averse to green beans that taste raw. If we’re going to err, we like to err on the soft side. 2) Personally, I find it easier to monitor the shallot mixture, get it where I like it, and then do the easy bit of boiling green beans and combining them with the mixture. Of course, the alternate option is also available to you, which is to boil the green beans to the texture you like, remove them immediately to a bowl of ice water, and then combine them with the shallot mixture when it’s done.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 medium (95 g) shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove (5 g) garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or other sugar)
  • 1.25 pounds (525 g) green beans, ends snapped off and bruised bits removed
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) dried cranberries

Directions:

Fill a 3.5-quart or larger stockpot with water and add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn heat to medium-high, and while water comes to a boil, start the shallot mixture: In a large sauté pan, melt ghee. Once pan is warm, add sliced shallots, garlic, and almonds. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until wilted and dark throughout. Then, lower heat to its lowest possible setting, stir in sugar, and leave mixture alone.

Meanwhile, once the water has boiled, add trimmed green beans and cook for 4 to 10 minutes, until soft but still crunchy (the beans only need 3 to 5 minutes to cook, but we tend to like our blanched beans a little softer than most people, so we let ours cook even longer; just taste to measure crispness along the way, and stop cooking when the beans are the doneness you like). Once beans are cooked, remove with a slotted spoon to the pan of shallots, garlic, and almonds. Toss right in the skillet, and add Pecorino and cranberries, mixing everything to coat.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

http://foodloveswriting.com/2014/01/27/green-beans-with-shallots-garlic-toasted-almonds-and-cranberries/

ps: It’s worth mentioning here that we were so encouraged by your comments on the last post, guys. Thank you. We’re pressing forward with cookbook stuff, greatly buoyed both by a week of sourdough successes and by kind words from you. Thanks for lifting up our hands and helping. More updates soon.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Rachel Q

    It’s fascinating how much tastes can vary from person to person. I see your vegetable list and it looks nothing like mine, yet your justifications are valid and you produce amazing dishes through that point of view. I, for one, would agree with Tim on the green beans. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      It is! After reading your comment, I got thinking about it. Taste is so subjective, and it’s not like kale is objectively the best vegetable ever, even if it has high nutrients and some people find it delicious, etc., but it’s worth saying because I don’t think about it enough. I love that we’re each individually made, with individual tastes and preferences, even right down to the vegetables we like.

  2. Kathryn

    We so often grab green beans because they’re in easy option to through into a pan alongside whatever else we’re eating but they’re so rarely the star of the show in our house – I love that this recipe really makes the most of them and allows them to shine.

  3. Heather

    Oh, you had me at “Broccoli, Roasted” which is one of my very favorite things to eat (with salt, pepper, a little red pepper flake and olive oil – oh, yum). I like keeping it in the oven almost too long. As a side dish, roasted broccoli takes care of sudden french fry cravings because that crispiness and little bite of salt has the same effect in my mind. And, I simply adore cauliflower these days – SO versatile!

    Now, eggplant is my overlooked vegetable. My husband and I were talking about it Sunday night as we flipped through the cookbook Plenty (which features plenty of eggplant dishes – pun intended) looking for recipes. I’ve never had an eggplant dish that wowed me, and I’ve never been able to cook eggplant in way where I thought, “Now, THAT is fantastic!” So, I shall continue my quest for an eggplant dish that really makes me change my mind about it.

  4. Jacqui

    Oooh favorite veggies! I’d have to say tomatoes — they get me the most excited. So many gorgeous, delicious varieties, and fresh tomatoes means summer and BLTs and caprese salads and and and … :) Although, when you said onions, I realized how important those are to everyday cooking and I don’t think I could live without them. Also, I can’t get beets out of my head. Great post!

  5. felicia | Dish by Dish

    I like you more each day Shanna! It’s good to find another onion-advocate (for me, my kitchen would be incomplete without onions, garlic, eggs, and rice – in that particular order). And you’re darn right – a world without onions is like a boring, flat world. And there would be no aroma of caramelized onions teasing you, or raw onions mixed in with favorite greens in a summer salad, or roasted onions that go so well with bell peppers and potatoes.

    This salad sounds good and exotic (so many cool ingredients – cranberries!! almonds!!!) sending a high-five to you friend!

    xoxo,
    F.

  6. Renee Shuman (@FrolicChocolate)

    question: do you ever use a light box or other artificial light when photographing? i’m having such a hard time finding the time to make and photograph meals when the sun is out — which is why almost all of my posts recently have been baked goods (easy to save and shoot in the AM) or breakfast.

    any suggestions? or do you exclusively shoot in natural light?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Renee, We haven’t ever used a light box or anything like that, and we do shoot in exclusively natural light when it comes to blog pictures. It is definitely easier in the summer than in the winter, but we’re blessed to both work from home so we can move things around to take shots as we like! So I might make green beans in the afternoon that we’ll have for dinner, for example. Hope that helps a little! ps I see nothing wrong with baked goods alllll winter. : )

      1. Renee Shuman (@FrolicChocolate)

        Thanks Shanna! I’m going to stick with natural light. It’s so much easier when you work from home — that’s my dream! I’ll just keep w/ my current photos-in-the-morning-and-weekends routine during the Winter. Sweets and breakfast and baked goods it shall be until … April? haha.

        1. Shanna Mallon

          You know who’s super inspiring along that vein is A Couple Cooks — Alex and Sonja both work full-time jobs away from home and yet work it out to do two beautifully photographed recipes each week. Love their site!

          1. Renee Shuman (@FrolicChocolate)

            Wow I had no idea they worked full time! That’s really encouraging — to know there are other food bloggers doing their work beautifully even if they’re not doing it full time. I follow their twitter but completely forgot to add them to my feedly. Great reminder. I want to follow their everything!

  7. Joyti

    I love your vegetable list. I’d probably forget to add tomatoes, and have leeks instead…and put broccoli rabe instead of broccoli. But WOW, love it!

    And your green beans sound really delicious…I usually just put shallots and almonds myself but CRANBERRIES sound so good! And garlic! Yum! Bookmarking to try this in summer, when my favorite green beans – haricots vert – are available again.

  8. Medha

    Lovely post shanna! I learn to cook and eat so many new vegetables after joining CSA. My favorite is kale with garlic-oliveoil and lemon juice! Yum!
    Your green beans salad looks fantastic. I am getting hooked on your pictures – really good photography!

  9. Pingback: “What’s for Dinner?” Two Templates for Stress-Free Meal Planning | The Health Sessions

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