One year, quite a few years ago now, for my birthday my coworkers gave me a gift basket filled with green beans and beer, in front of a store full of customers, all singing ‘Happy Birthday.’ By turns mortifying and wonderful. My oh-so-thoughtful co-workers got me such a fabulous gift because of my oft-repeated dinner plans of going home to crack a cool one and steam some green beans -my default plan in the era of minimal cooking. Since then, I’ve found anew a great deal of joy in preparing (and consuming) thoughtfully made, high quality fresh ingredients for the enjoyment of myself and my loved ones. But tonight! It was a green bean dinner night! A throwback to my days of dirtying only one pan! (Not really -this recipe required 2-3). But I did have a beer after dinner -my favorite, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.
Anyway, here’s the recipe:
Green beans -maybe 3/4 lbs.?
Salt (salt is my father’s 2nd favorite food, preceded only by butter)
Chopped almonds -maybe 1 cup? or slightly less? (I threw some away because I burned them, so wound up with less than intended amount -worked out just fine)
1 shallot (red onion could also be used, I just wanted to show G what a shallot was)
< 1 Tbs white wine vinegar
s & p to taste
Did I number the steps in the last recipe? Don’t recall…
Anyway, first clean and snap the ends off of the green beans.
Cover greenies with water in a pot, add some salt, cover, and set to boil
Chop up shallot, lady
Heat <1 Tbs olive oil in a pan, then add shallot pieces, cook until translucent
In a different pan (told you it was more than one -I’m getting complicated), lightly brown chopped almond pieces until fragrant (here’s where you need to pay attention)
At some point, drain your green beans and add the shallot and olive oil mixture. Add more olive oil if necessary, also add white wine vinegar and toasted almonds. And s & p, depending on your sodium intake and flavor cravings
Eat hot or cold and lukewarm
Drink your beer of choice. Green beans and beer go really well together. This dish also tastes good with grated or crumbled cheese (of choice -cheddar, feta, whateva). Or with other nuts -keep your options open.
That’s something I’ve learned in my time at the store, with my funny and thoughtful co-workers -my priorities have changed a lot in the 6 years I’ve worked there -from learning to cook, to refusing to cook, to learning to love to cook (to name only a few). But some things remain fun, delicious, staple parts of diet and life -green beans and beer, a good sense of humor, and the willingness to adapt to your own set of shifting interests, talents, and pursuits.