Archive for the ‘green beans’ Category

Are you still able to get fresh green beans at your local farmers’ markets? Sometimes the ones in the grocery stores are okay, but the best ones are so fresh you can practically see the dew still on them. Here’s an easy and extremely tasty recipe to take advantage of the last of nature’s green bean bounty.

The only special things you need are bacon, some pearl onions, dried thyme and cider vinegar. These aren’t really “special”, but not everyone craves bacon and vinegar like we do. After all, you can’t have too much bacon – my brother-in-law’s personal motto. For the pearl onions, you have a choice of three. Fresh whole pearl onions (which you will need to parboil and peel), frozen pearl onions (which you will need to thaw), or a jar of cocktail onions (which you will need to drain).  

I try to keep a jar of these handy as well as a bag of frozen ones. Personally, I dislike peeling the tiny ones. I know all the tips. But it’s still sometimes a sticking point when I’m deciding whether or not to try a specific recipe that calls for fresh ones. Anyway, the cocktail onions have a special tang which adds to this dish so if that floats your boat, use them.


1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved

4 slices bacon

1 bottle cocktail onions, drained, or a cup or so of thawed frozen pearl onions

2 t. sugar

1/2  t. thyme

1-2 T. cider vinegar

3/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1. Cook beans four minutes in boiling water. Rinse with cold water. Drain and pat dry.

2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet until crisp. Remove from pan. Keep two tablespoons of drippins in the skillet and discard the rest. Crumble bacon and set aside.

3. Add onions to pan. Cook three minutes if using previously frozen onions, one minute to warm the bottled ones. Add sugar and thyme. Cook three minutes, till golden brown.

4. Add the green beans to the pan. Cook two minutes, stirring. Add vinegar and salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.

5. Add bacon bits and serve.

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Potato salad is one of our favorite summertime side dishes, as it is for many people. We like both the traditional mayonnaise based salad and a new one using a vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar. Today I added some fresh green beans.

First I steamed the beans, after trimming and breaking them into bite-sized pieces. I refreshed them in cold water, and blotted them partially dry with a kitchen towel. Then I drizzled them with a teaspoon or so of balsamic vinegar and added a small handful of chopped red onion.

In the meantime, I steamed some small red potatoes and left them unpeeled. As soon as them were tender, I added them to the mixing bowl with the green beans and onions and another teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar, just enough to coat the potatoes. By the way, I cut the larger potatoes in half to make them more manageable to eat and to provide more surface area for the vinegar. Then they sat on the counter for a few minutes to cool a bit while I went outside to pick some fresh parsley. I chopped the parsley and added it to the vegetables along with a tablespoon of vinaigrette that I had already made. A good grind of pepper and a tablespoon of mayonnaise when the potatoes were cool, and the dish was ready to serve. It is best at room temperature, but can be kept in the frig until time to eat.

With the potato salad all ready at 4:00, I had no choice but to put in in the refrigerator until dinner, which I knew would be around 8:00. I had a flank steak marinating in a teriyaki sauce and fresh cherry tomatoes from our tomato plants ripe and ready to harvest. About 20 minutes before we ate, Mac started the grill and I sliced two zucchini, some green onions, and a handful of mushrooms. I sauteed these in a tablespoon of olive oil and a dab of butter. After 10 minutes, I added a chopped garlic clove, salt and pepper, gave it all a couple of stirs and it was ready to go.

Mac cooked the steak, brought it in and we sliced it thinly on the diagonal to keep it tender. It tasted great and was nice and juicy.

In the summer, I like to sit outside in the evening with a glass of wine and discuss the day with my husband or play with the grandchildren if they come over. I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time fixing dinner after we go inside. I therefore try to make some preparations early in the day, or plan a meal that requires little work right before mealtime. Here was a meal that was delicious, but not time consuming. The steak had been marinating since noon; it took 1 minute to prepare (I used Kikkoman teriyaki sauce), and eight minutes to cook. The potato salad took 40 minutes, but a lot of that was just waiting for the potatoes to cook, and I did that early in the day. The zucchini was fixed internal to the steak cooking, and required only slicing the veggies and giving them a stir while they cooked every now and then. That’s what I call a no-stress meal.

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