How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lively Green Beans

Image from The Captain's Vintage, via eBay.
See note below.
This recipe is hardly new to us, but it has been new to every person with whom we have shared it -- as we often do at potlucks. In fact, we have finally posted it here for the benefit of old and new friends who enjoyed it at the Colchester Neighborhood Farm annual potluck.

Not Your Mother's Green Beans is one of our standards from the "Mini Moosewood" which is the second-most important item on our cookbook shelf. (See our Moosewood explanatiblon or a complete list of Moosewood mentions on this blog.)

The title of the recipe refers, of course, to green-bean comfort food with which many people -- especially Southern people -- are familiar. If any vitamins, crispness, or vegetable flavor remains in traditional green beans, it is because there were not enough hours to finish cooking them -- preferably in salt and fatty bacon. The result was often welcome in a guilty-pleasure sense, but it is just not right to have green vegetables more fattening than burgers, which is where Mollie Katzen's crew comes in.

On page 82 of the Mini Moosewood is the following simple recipe.

  1. Toast 1/2 cup pine nuts (we usually use chopped walnuts) and steam 1 pound of green beans.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1 large shallot or 1/4 cup chopped scallions (Pam used a leek yesterday) with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix in 2 tablespoons parsley or basil.
  3. Drain the beans, toss with dressing and nuts, and top with salt (minimal) and pepper.

This can either be served warm or chilled for at least 20 minutes. We look forward to sharing this with our friends at Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium, to see if they can recommend special suggestions for the dressing. We will post ideas here.

Now for that image: when I was about 10 or 12, my grandmother bought me (and I think my brother) a t-shirt with this design. For some reason, I loved it and wore it as often as I could for far more years than I should have. The best part: it was scratch-and-sniff. That's right; years before being a genuine foodie, I willingly walked around smelling like green beans.


Just in time for Thanksgiving 2015, NPR reported on the origins of the more traditional, gloppy version that originated 60 years ago in a lab in New Jersey, and on the academic scholarship that explore its cultural geography.

1 comment:

  1. It's true, he wore that shirt longer than he should have. I remember him still owning it when we were dating, which was when we were in our 20s!