On the way home from the store today (where I bought all of the things I could find that didn’t require cooking),
I saw a stealth bomber overhead and a big old mangy coyote in front of the car right at the same time. I couldn’t decide which to look at, but the coyote won as he was on the move across pavement so hot my dogs won’t walk on it. (Yes, you could probably fry the proverbial egg.) After parking in the dark, cool garage, I got my hat and ran back to watch the plane. It was my lucky day — as well as that of a neighbor and her grandson — because the pilot came around again a time or two, dipping and gliding, flying sideways, and doing all the stunning things a stealth does– right before our eyes. Sometimes life is wondrous, even when we tire of the heat, politics, news, our church, housework, and laundry!
Oh, what does the grocery have that needn’t be cooked? Watermelon. Strawberries. Tomatoes. Fresh mozzarella. Basil. Rotisserie chicken. No-nitrate salami. Baguette. Canned salmon. Rye Triscuits. Ice cream bars. Ice cold beer. Sushi. Lemon yogurt. You get the drift. I don’t want the stove on any more than necessary, though a big mess of green beans was calling yesterday, when it was just as hot and I felt exactly the same…
but since I had the really skinny sort during peak-tender season (haricots verts–which keeps autocorrecting to haricots vests!!!), I knew they wouldn’t take long to cook. I went for it. Thank goodness.
Wait—backtrack. On Wednesday, I had met my friend and neighbor Mary Pat for lunch at a fairly new tasty place downtown, Streetcar 520. Settling on vegetarian fare to leave room for a more caloric meal at dinner, I tucked into a black bean and beet burger (yes and yes again) that came with a house green salad dressed with a ginger vinaigrette. I came home determined to work out my own version of ginger vinaigrette and before I’d done it, I knew my dressing would grace green beans because–well, it just would. On top would go a sweet little load of green onions sliced thinly on the bias– the way they look the most gorgeous and delectable. After making this, I couldn’t wait to take the pictures to eat some of this goodness and I had it for dinner, too, by golly. Just something about vegetables in the summer. Later, I wished I’d also toasted some thinly sliced almonds and mixed them with the onion garnish for crunch and protein. Next time!
If you’re wondering what to fix to go with your grilled juicy chops, spicy shrimp, crispy salmon, sticky rice, or loving roasted chicken this weekend or for the rest of summer, you’re now in a happy place, my friend. Do take the time to taste and re-season this dish to suit yourself; you might want your vinaigrette hotter, sweeter, saltier, or with lots more ginger. If you’re unsure about that, just try this and figure it all out later:
green beans with ginger vinaigrette and green onions
- 1 pound haricots verts (skinny French green beans) or trimmed regular green beans cut into 2-inch pieces-cooked tender crisp and drained, but still hot
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Ginger vinaigrette–recipe below
- ¼ cup very thinly sliced green onions, garnish
- Place hot green beans in a large bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and soy sauce. Sprinkle with a generous pinch each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss until well combined. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over all and toss well once more. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour out the beans onto a rectangular platter and sprinkle the sliced green onions down the center of the beans. Grind a little more black pepper over all. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cool, passing the remaining vinaigrette at the table in a tiny pitcher or ramekin.
Don’t know how to cook green beans? A lot depends on how old and how big the beans are.
Bring 3-4 quarts water to boil in a covered 6-quart pot with two teaspoons salt and a teaspoon pepper. If you have some fresh herbs, toss them in. Half an onion, the end of an onion, or the washed peels of an onion will add a lot of long-term food real estate value here. Add a pound of haricots verts or trimmed regular green beans, and cook just a few minutes until nearly tender (if beans are young) or longer if beans are old. Begin tasting after 3 or 4 minutes. Occasionally old beans will take a very long time and still may not be really tender. They’ll still eat. Carefully drain in a colander in the sink. Season while hot as indicated in the recipe.
a little FOODIE READING
Paper Towel Waste: How to Reduce it in Your Kitchen/Epicurious
The Low Waste Kitchen: Environmentally Friendly Kitchen Tips and Tricks/Epicurious
California Sets Guidelines for Diners to Bring Their Own Tupperware/FOOD & WINE
Tiny Wine Glasses Have Won Us Over/SAVEUR
It’s worth it to get up early to see the sun rise come summer,