Green Beans, Raspberries and Almonds Oh My!

 photo IMG_0459.jpgSummer is here FOR REAL. Know how I know? It’s not the lack of school. It’s not the calendar. It’s not the heat. It’s not the clothes and toys strewn around the house with wild abandon. It’s the garden. My garden has told me that summer is well and truly here by giving me a glorious bounty of green beans and raspberries.

We planted a small grouping of raspberry canes three years ago. I now have a raspberry thicket that in the last two days has yielded 8 cups of deliciously sweet and fabulous raspberries. And that’s after the Japanese Beetles take a share. I must have found one of those magic spots in gardening, because frankly I’ve not done anything special for these raspberry canes. They are so vigorous that they are taming the mint that somehow got in the ground over there (what kind of idiot would plant mint in the ground… ahem… yeah…).

 photo IMG_0465.jpgMy favorite summer meal game is to look at the produce I have and find a way to put it together and enjoy it. So a few days ago I was staring at a big bowl of green beans and a big bowl of raspberries. Why not? I’ve done beans with oranges, why not berries? Why not indeed?

Green Beans with Raspberries and Almonds

  • olive oil for the pan
  • green beans – as fresh as possible, so much yummier fresh
  • salt to taste
  • raspberries
  • almonds
  • balsamic vinegar

Yes, that’s it. No I don’t have quantities. I feel confident saying that your own preferences can rule the day on this one. Warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the green beans to the pan. The key is to sauté the beans until they are just al dente. They will get a little deeper green and sweat a little. Add a sprinkle of salt. When beans are very nearly to the tenderness you prefer (yes, you have to taste them to determine this), add the raspberries and almonds. Give them some gentle stirs. Splash in some balsamic vinegar and stir gently to distribute. The raspberries are delicate and will disintegrate if you over-bother them. When warm, remove from heat and serve. Eat as soon as possible and with great summery gusto. Delish!
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Googling Up Easy Delish Dinner

I’ve been a little busier than usual lately – I got some real live PAID work, for which I am extremely grateful, but which throws a pretty big wrench in my normal task accomplishment rhythm.  My fabulous bathroom renovation has been, shall we say, stalled (har, har), the garden’s behind, I’ve stopped planning about 15 home improvements and I’ve had a harder time than usual planning food.  Still spinning a bit I guess.  I’ll get the hang of it again, but in the meantime, we still have to eat.

So the other night, when I didn’t get to the market as planned, I made a quick survey of the ingredients I had available, and decided to just google them.  I typed in potatoes, green beans, and coconut milk… and up came dinner.  Isn’t technology wonderful?  And I really mean it this time (unlike so many of the times I say that).

There were several posts that featured the same basic idea (a gentle curry), so I settled on the one that looked like it would make the amount of food I wanted, put some rice in the rice cooker, and got to work changing the recipe to suit myself, as I do.  So I give you:

Coconut Curry with Green Beans, Potatoes and Kale – inspired by this version Continue reading

Veggie Basics: A String, A Green, We’re Full of Beans!

When I was young, my weary mother occasionally prepared green beans.  They were canned green beans and they were cooked in the style of the day, which is to say that they were boiled until limp.  Now, if you are a canned limp green bean fan, please don’t take offense. I cannot make some “truth” claim about what is a good green bean, but I can tell you what green beans are good TO me, and as you may have guessed canned limp green beans are not in this club.  The only other green bean exposure I had with any regularity was at my dear grandmother’s house.  Her addition to the container of limp green beans was a big piece of fatback.  While I understand that might entice some folks, it didn’t create a veggie siren song for me.  All this is to say that I am a late bloomer where the green bean is concerned.

Years later, I was convinced to try green beans with a promise of something truly different from what I’d experienced before, something that tasted like, well, something other than salt water.  Al dente… tender crisp… a vegetable that is still cooked, but that resists the bite, offers a little crunch, demonstrates a need for teeth.  And so began my love affair with green beans.  I’ve since tried all the varieties I can find (I must confess that the yellow ones still don’t work for me), and have prepared them a variety of ways – and that’s they part you’re probably actually interested in. Continue reading