(Green) Beans…(Green) Beans…the non-musical fruit

In Recipies on September 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Wow!  I looked away and the weeks flew by.

Providing hospice care to “Abe” in the closing days of his life set me behind on many projects.  I resumed them as best I could and then began dealing with the emerging task of (as my Marine buddies say) “un-assing this (Iowa) AO”.  Our last old hound, “Jack” keeps going on like the Energizer Bunny.  He needs care every other hour and we do it with a song in our heart.  Add to that, the usual fall-time activities (herb drying and auto repair) and you have a sure-fire way to let the other stuff fall by the wayside.

So, what is cooking?

Today, I have a couple of wonderful sides that I have been playing with over the past two weeks.

Green beans!

Green beans go with almost any dish.  They are a favorite in the Near East, particularly in Iraq and Iran and there are almost any number of ways to make them fit in with any main course.  With fresh green beans available much of the year and with flash frozen beans being a pretty fair substitute for fresh, green beans offer up a nice accompaniment to year-round main dishes.

There just does not seem to be any room for canned green beans, except as survival rations.

I was shocked to learn that green beans figure pretty low on toddler food preferences.  Since many youngsters are only introduced to the horrid canned version, it is no wonder they acquire a dislike for something they learned to be “slimy” and “like biting into a caterpillar in full rigor mortis”.

Try giving the kiddoes some fresh (or flash frozen) green beans!

Today, I will offer up (my own) sedate (traditional European) style alongside (my own) zippy Mediterranean version.

Let’s get cooking.

Green Beans with Red pepper and Chickpeas

2 TBS olive oil

12 oz fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 4” lengths with strings removed

1 C canned chickpeas (drained)

½ medium yellow onion thinly sliced

½ sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp Aleppo pepper (or 1/8 tsp cayenne)

1 TBS lemon juice

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the green beans, onion, and red pepper.  Add in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Then, cook for 3-5 more minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.  Add in the remaining ingredients (except lemon juice) and heat chickpeas through.  Splash in the lemon juice and check salt and pepper just before serving.

Green Beans Royale

12-16oz fresh or frozen green beans, 4” length with strings removed

2 C thinly sliced white (cremini) mushrooms

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp “Bouquet Garni” herb blend*

½ sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

3 TBS butter, faux butter, or olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

dash lemon juice

kosher salt and pepper to taste

  • Penzey’s brand or make your own by mixing:  1/8 tsp each of ground savory, ground thyme, ground oregano, ground rosemary, ground basil, and ground tarragon and 1 tsp ground sage.

Heat oil or butter in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add in the green beans, mushrooms, onion, red pepper, and garlic.   Stir in the herbs and sauté 5-6 minute (beans should remain crisp).  Dash in the lemon juice and check seasoning before service.

In both recipes, the beans and red peppers should retain some “crunch”.  Do not over-cook them and let them turn pale green (YECH!).  We love the beans with chickpeas as a side to Israeli-style garlic chicken and the “royale” version goes with any European main course, such as prime rib, roasted chicken, etc.


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