Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Overgrown Green Beans?

My favorite way to eat green beans is to grill or saute them very briefly- so they're bright green and still snappy.  But when I've neglected to harvest the beans for over a week, I end up with overgrown pods that I'm tempted to toss in the compost.  These beans are way too tough to eat nearly raw- you'd get a serious jaw workout trying to get these down.

This is where Southern cuisine saves me.  While I typically shy away from long-simmered vegetables in favor of fresh flavors now, I have to admit there's a place in my kitchen for green beans boiled up until they nearly fall apart.  I just leave out the bacon grease.

I used to sit and eat cold green beans straight out of the can when I was a little girl.  I loved the tenderness of the pods, the way you could split them in half and eat the little beans from inside and, of course, the extreme saltiness of the canned beans.  Even better were canned green beans with little skinned new potatoes (also canned).

So now, when I have overgrown green beans, I just toss them into a pot with some little potatoes (skin on for me, now), a chopped onion, and water to cover and boil away until everything is tender as can be.  A vegetable bouillon cube, sea salt and pepper is all that is needed to flavor this dish.

This past week I served these up with an heirloom tomato salad dressed with olive oil, honey and red wine vinegar.  The bowl of purple hull peas on the side was a last minute addition to the menu- I just dropped the frozen peas into the crockpot with an onion and some water before I went to work.  When I came home, they were perfectly cooked and ready for dinner.


Anonymous said...

I hear ya on the canned green beans--I used to like them when I was younger too--but canned potatoes?!? They put potatoes in cans?! I guess it is no worse than any other canned vegetable...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement to actually use the overgrown beans. I needed that.

Did you grow those beautiful tomoatoes? If so, do you buy plants or start your own seeds? Those are some of the most gorgeous sliced tomatoes I have ever seen.