Apr 22, 2009

(Green Beans) (2)

Yep. Really clever title. Two green bean recipes today.

I'm typing this at the last minute (which, for me, is the afternoon before I'm scheduled to post). Can't seem to get inspired to say anything about green beans. I like them, but so what? They're one of my favorite vegetables...umm...fruit.

That's right. Green beans are actually fruit. Well, I guess it depends on how you look at it. In a traditional or cultural sense, green beans are labeled as vegetables. Traditionally, if it's sweet, it's fruit. If it's not, it's a vegetable. But botanically green beans are fruit...they come from flowers and have seeds inside. Lots of what we refer to as vegetables are really fruit. Tomatoes are fruit (although in the 1800s the US Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are vegetables, so take that how you want). Squash, zucchini, bell peppers...all fruit. True vegetables would be anything that is a root, leaf, or stem of a plant. Like spinach, lettuce, potatoes (which are really underground stems, not roots!), carrots, turnips.

I guess that's interesting, at least to me. But I like to study plant structures.

Green beans remind me of my great-grandparents...a strange thing to say, I suppose. They lived on two lots. One lot for the house, garage, and very long drive-way which was good for playing red-light, green-light. The other lot was for Grandpa Vick's garden, almost the entire lot. He grew many things including green beans--which he called string beans. I can remember helping him harvest the fruits and vegetables from his garden. He'd go inside and sip his beer while he sat in his rocking chair. He always sat with his right leg cocked over the arm of the chair. Back outside, there were a couple of old lawn chairs--they're called "retro" now (like the one in the picture above, only bleached out by the sun)--between the garden and drive-way. I remember sitting there with my grandma and great-grandma learning how to remove the strings from the string beans and how to snap them.

I cook green beans some kind of way almost once a week. Below are my two favorite green bean recipes.

Green Beans Amandine
from Ms. enPlace

1 pound green beans
2-3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove ends and strings from green beans; cut into 1 inch pieces. Place beans in boiling salted water. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes, or until desired tenderness. While green beans cook, sauté almonds in butter in a skillet. Drain beans, add to skillet with almonds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Serves 4
Note: canned green beans can also be used if fresh are not available.

Mise en place for Green Beans Amandine. Very simple, very quick, very tasty. To tell the truth...I'd eat just about anything "amandine." I used canned green beans here because it was December when I took the pictures.

If using fresh green beans, cook them as tender as you want (I like them soft, but Southerners usually do). While they cook, melt butter in a pan. When it gets foamy, add the almonds and saute. How do you know enough's enough? Smell 'em. Taste 'em too. Just don't burn 'em.

Drain the beans and add them to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat in all the buttery, nutty goodness.

Eat. Be happy.

Favorite String Beans
from Ms. enPlace

16 oz green beans
3-4 slices bacon, each cut in 6-8 pieces
1 medium baking potato, diced small
1/2 c chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
just under 3/4 c water

Fry bacon pieces until almost crisp. Add potatoes and onion. Cook until browned. Add green beans and season with salt and pepper. Add water and cover, but allow some steam to escape. Simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes. Serves 4-5

Mise en place for Favorite String Beans. A little more work than the other recipe, but worth it. Everything's better with bacon, right?

Start by frying the bacon until it is almost crisp.

Add the potatoes and onions. Cook until browned. The magic of this recipe is to saute the onion and potatoes in the bacon fat.
Add green beans, salt, pepper, and water. Cover, but crack the lid to allow some steam to escape. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. My mother-in-law likes to add a pinch of sugar. I am not about the sweet. You may as well get that straight right now.

Serve 'em up and make sure you get a little bit of everything, especially bacon.


  1. Just found your blog...and LOVE IT. I love the stories.
    I'll be back.

  2. I love green beans with bacon, onions, S&P. I love your chair!! Thanks Kathy.


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