Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pass the Beans, Please



Do you eat enough vegetables? Do you really, honestly, get your "6 a day?" I think it is pretty safe to say that even though I have the best of intentions, I don't. For all the thinking, writing and enjoying food that I do, I'm actually a real slouch on an everyday basis.

This is an account of last Thursday, but you could tell the same story for many of the days during the looooong time off I've just had:

I wake up, a large glass of tea on the bedstand next to me, lovingly provided by Martin. I get up, lounge around the apartment for a couple of hours (internetting, checking the balcony, doing some scrap-booking (on a good day)), then suddenly realize I need to get to work. I shower and run out the door.

You did notice I forgot to eat breakfast, right? And even though I take my tea with both milk and sugar, please, and there is a lot of it, I'm pretty sure it doesn't fit neatly into the category of "stamina-inducing breakfasts".

So I jot to work, sit there for a couple of hours, willing the words and numbers on the computer screen to come together. And because I was hurrying out the door, it's not like I remembered to bring lunch. Fortunately, sometime around 2 or 3 o'clock, one of my co-workers feels sorry for me and offers me a couple Werther's Echte. Real nice - but again, food? It's not.

I finish up work, my stomach growling so loudly people passing by my desk must surely be able to hear it. Irma, the local, petite supermarket is my next stop. Because face it, the reason I didn't really eat that much and didn't bring lunch was because there was no food in the fridge/fruit bowl/on the counter.

And naturally, what happens next is I go into a frenzy, buying all the things that look even remotely good. A pound of fresh, organic green beans, yoghurt, carrots, a whole chicken, milk, cream, cheese, eggs - oh yes, and that ham overthere looks good too, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, I completely forget that I'm only cooking for myself that evening. And that we're not going to be home for the next couple of days.

So what does a very hungry preson then do?

She roasts her chicken, simply, the Nigella Lawson way, with just a couple lemon wedges and some rosemary stuffed inside it, butter, olive oil and salt and pepper slathered on top. She finds one of the most simple recipes for green beans she could lay her hands on (because hey, it's gotta be done in a snap) waits for the chicken to finish, quickly assembles her beans - and sits down to a well deserved meal, finally. She eats all of the crispy skin from the chicken, together with the entire pound of mustardy green beans.

And crosses of one of her vegetables -out of a should-be six- of her list. Then another three or four. Because afterall, she did eat a pound of beans.

Green Beans in Vinaigrette - adapted from Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Dinners (p. 137)

Simple, classic, and wonderful, if you ask me. But then, I love the nose-biting effects of mustard and the crisp of green beans, so it would most certainly be a winner in my book!

4 handfuls of French beans, stalk ends removed
2-3 heaped teaspoons good French mustard, to taste
2 tablespoons good-quality white wine vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 a clove of garlic, finely chopped
optional: 1 tablespoon capers

Roast the beans in a little butter in a big pan. (You may want to blanch the beans first, but I usually get by with adding a splash of water during the first couple minutes of sauteeing, then letting that boil away. I do like my beans just this side of al dente, though, so you work out what you want.) Roast them until blistered in spots, then add half the chopped shallot and
the garlic. When you start smelling the garlic, turn of the heat, having let the garlic and shallots just started to go translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble your vinaigrette: into the mustard, stir vinegar and olive oil, like when making mayo. Add the rest of the shallot and salt and pepper to taste. Add the still warm beans to the vinaigrette. Mix in the capers, if using. Serve immediately.

And, um - if you plan on eating the entire portion... How do I put this? Account on a certain amount of gassy build-up (this may have to do with me liking the beans only slightly cooked, though). The dish is definitely worth it, but I just thought I'd warn you!;)

8 comments:

Jennie said...

Ha ha!
Beans, beans, they're good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you...
Hey, good timing! I've got some beans that need eating soon!

And forresten, have you seen fresh figs anywhere around town? I've been anxious to make that fig and goat cheese clafoutis for a loooong time.

Kevin Kossowan said...

Ah, green beans. So underrated and misused in the north-american household. For example...canned green beans. Ew. Would you have eaten a pound of canned green beans? EWWWW.

Cathy said...

Six? When did they make it six? I thought it was five! The green beans sound very yummy - with that dressing probably best to eat them that first night anyway!

Virtual Chef said...

you have many fantastic recipes!
If you like bread visit my blog in:
http://areceitaestanomeublog.blogspot.com/

Tea said...

I'm making these today!

I've been falling behind on my vege consumption the past week as well (too busy, too stressed). Thanks for a great way to catch up:-)

Zarah Maria said...

Jennie - LOL! Haven't heard that one before, but true, so true! (and re: the figs, I told you on your blog - yes, saw some on Nørrebrogade the other day)

Kevin - No. I wouldn't have. In fact, I'll join the chorus: EEEEEWWWWWWWW!;)

Cathy - around here it's six. Maybe they just want to make REALLY sure we get our green?

Virtual Chef - thank you! I'll pop by!

Tea - you're welcome! Did you try them?

Cate said...

They look delicious, and a great way to celebrate the end of summer.

SteamyKitchen said...

Hey, those beans look great! Love the recipe.