We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We served only two side dishes at dinner last weekend: Wild Rice with Apple and Cranberry, and simple String Beans.
At our house, we only eat those skinny string beans that come fresh in packages. French String Beans, Haricot verts. No strings in them. We eat them like candy. Costco sells them in big packages, and our supermarket overprices them in smaller bags. We steam them all up and they are good green food for a week in the fridge. I feel that the full-sized string beans that I was raised on are not really fit for human consumption.
We do them the Italian way:
Steamed for a few minutes until tender but still bright green. Drain, then tossed in the best olive oil you have, with sea salt. In Italy, simple is the best when the ingredients are the best.
I don't like those "skinny string beans" much. Tried them a couple of times and have avoided them ever since. I'm really fond of the common varieties though, and love it when I can pick them fresh in the garden. Fresh beats almost everything.
Certainly agree that fresh is best. I grew up eating the standard varieties of green beans, but my mom cooked them low and slow with a piece of ham rind or smoked ham hock. I eat them (and enjoy them) cooked much more quickly these days, but sometimes I still cook them the old way. Almost as much a comfort food as macaroni and cheese.
I like the skinnies and the flats. The flats are a pain in the butt though. My grandmother used to grow the "Kentucky Wonder" variety and I would be tasked to string them. But if you do it carefully you can get most of the really tough string out. Then cook 'em forever on a low low simmer with a ham-hock or the like, they're delicious.
That SW Louisian Cajun roots music 'Zydeco' --the creole word translates 'unsalted green beans' --a colloquial meaning 'times is hard'. The actual colloquial as in Zydeco music is flipped, of course, and means something like in this old Depression Era pop song, "Side by Side":
The Haricot Verts are our favorites, as well. I rinse (don't dry), toss them in the skillet with a few tablespoons each of olive oil and butter, and stir fry them just a few minutes (still bright green). Squeeze fresh lemon juice and sprinkle on fresh parmesan, a little salt and pepper - and they're heavenly.
The haricot verts are ok and fairly tasty. But I'll tell you what I really miss -- the old fashioned Kentucky Wonder green beans my Mom used to raise. They were truly delicious ... rich and smooth in taste, and even better with quite a bit of butter and some summer savory mixed in.
I wonder what happened to all of the Kentucky Wonders. Does anyone raise them any more?
Yes, yes! And you can certainly grow them in Houston. The seed catalogs have many varieties. If you've got any decent light at all and a place for them to climb, they're one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It's not quite too late to plant them this year if you send off for the seeds quickly now.
Green beans blanched and then sauteed in a bit of bacon fat and shallots....mmmm.
Roasted green beans. Fresh beans tossed with olive oil and roasted in a 425 degree oven. The browned tips are to die for.
Simple steamed green beans drizzled with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Happy sighs all around.
--dunno the secret, but the Chinese restaurants hereabouts have the best-tasting version in my 'sperience. Stir-fried, wok, bacon fat --and somehow, some way of softening, steam-style. Great combo, whatever it is.