Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alone With My Beans

I open my refrigerator door and stare blankly at my bag of beautiful purple string beans. I bought them the other day at the Blooming Grove Farm Market on my excursion with Deborah. I am so enamoured by produce, I buy on impulse. I don't wait to get to know the vegetable better, I react first on physical attraction. So it was with my purple string beans. And now,they sit, awaiting my decision. I first spotted them across the market.
They were beautiful, long and slender. I've seen them cooked before, and know they lose their beautiful shade of deep purple, turning to the familiar green of common cooked string beans. But I love them nonetheless. I now have gotten to know them and appreciate them for what they are, how they taste. Once again, Deborah, I will turn to you for suggestions.

The other night, I made a great recipe from the Deborah Madison cookbook "Vegetarian Suppers". It was an omelet with fresh corn and smoked mozzarella. I was so happy with how "light" it actually was. So, now I am on an egg kick. Any thoughts on an egg/string bean recipe? Incidentally, I also have a bottle of Riesling I am anxious to open. Rieslings tend to make great omelet/frittata partners. Many Americans are "afraid" of Rieslings, assuming they are all sweet. This is absolutely not the case. The labeling on German wines can be extremely daunting. Don't be shy - ask your local wine shop for help. And yes, Rieslings can be sweet. Their system in Germany is too complicated for a single lesson. I am looking for something to pair with a "Kabinett" Riesling - the lowest grade of sweetness for this varietal in Germany, or the most dry. It's minerality stands out. Hints of slate are prominent too as a result of the soil on which the grapes are grown. So - Deb - can you suggest a recipe to include string beans, and will pair well with a very dry Riesling?

My first experience with vegetarian cooking was from a book called
"Greene on Greens" by Bert Greene. Amanda's challenge got me thinking about that cookbook which has one of my favorite green bean recipes called Norman Beans with Eggs. It is a rustic green bean frittata, the poor cousin of my fancy Julia Child timbale. I have made this dish for years and went back to my book to see how it all started.

As an intro to vegetarian cooking "Greene on Greens" is perfect. It is not strictly vegetarian. The Chapters are divided up into different vegetables and Greene gives a dozen or so recipes for each one, including chatty introductions loaded with general cooking and produce selection tips. He mixes personal anecdotes with vegetable lore, history and nutritional information making the book great bedside reading. In his intro to string beans Greene remembers the bean harvest of his youth being anxiously anticipated by depression era kitchen gardeners like his grandmother and that children were instructed to "...make a wish before sampling the first slender pod (of the season.)" I loved, as a novice cook, his comfortable, friendly advise and the recipes have never failed to please.

Purple beans before being blanched and after.

Amanda, I think you will particularly like this recipe. It is easy to prepare, family friendly and I think it works well with your Riesling.

Green Bean Frittata
Based on Bert Greene's recipe for Norman Beans with Eggs

1 lb. Green Beans, cut into 1.5 inch lengths
butter for inside of baking dish
½ teas. lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs. chopped chives
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
s & p
4 eggs lightly beaten
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Blanch beans in salted boiling water for 1-2 min until they turn
bright green and soften a little. Drain and rinse in cold water to
slow the cooking. Arrange the beans evenly in a buttered baking dish.
Add the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix. Pour egg
mixture over the beans and sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Bake
in oven for about 10 minutes till set.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really simple and good! I, too, am enamoured with beautiful produce and often buy it without a plan. Last summer, I came home with 5 different colored carrot bundles. We lived on crudites for days. . . I have seen Greene on Greens and need to check it out.


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