Keeping The Planet Green One Bean At A Time

Green is the color of the day. Green planet, green energy and most of all green vegetables. We all know you gotta have green vegetables in your diet every day, it’s the law (mom’s law). Most green vegetables are great as stand alone side dishes. The green bean, however, seems to stand head and shoulders (as if they had them) above the rest. In fact, with green beans you can add just one or two ingredients and have a fantastic side or main dish.

Commonly referred to as the string beans, these bright green and crunchy veggies are available at your local market throughout the year; they are in season from late summer through fall when they are at their best and the least expensive. Green beans vary in size they average about four inches in length. Green beans are low in calories (just 43 calories in a whole cup) and green beans are also a great source of vitamin C, A and K, foliate, iron and manganese. (Yum, just can’t get enough of that magnesium)

Look for beans that have smooth feel and have a vibrant emerald green color, and that are free from brown spots or bruises. They should have a firm texture and ‘snap’ when broken. You should store your unwashed fresh beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Stored this way they should keep for about a week.

Lots of recipes call for blanching beans before using them. Easy to do. Heat a pot of water to a boil, adding a teaspoon of salt per quart of water (salt will help preserve the green color of the beans in addition to seasoning them). For a crisper texture, figure a cooking time of about 2 minutes from the time the boil resumes after you add the green beans. Drain them immediately and then submerge them in cold water to stop the cooking.

Fresh green beans are always best but frozen green beans will work just fine for the following recipes if you can’t get the fresh. In my opinion, however, you should never, ever use canned green beans except as a last resort, unless the world is coming to an end and there is no other alternative, but, even then, I’d think about it.

GRILLED GREEN BEAN AND EGGPLANT SALAD
2 to 3 Japanese eggplants
1 1/2 lb fresh green beans, blanched
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large red bell peppers, julienned
2 to 3 cups mixed salad greens
3 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Slice eggplants into rounds 1/4″ thick. In a large bowl toss with green beans with the 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. Grill the eggplant slices (on a grill or grill pan) 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently. In a large salad bowl, toss together bell peppers, greens, onions, olive oil, lemon juice 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the green beans and then arrange grilled eggplant and green beans on top of the salad. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8
SHANGHAI STIR FRY GREEN BEANS
 
1 lb fresh green beans, blanched
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over moderate heat. Remove when seeds begin to pop. In a bowl combine the sugar, rice wine vinegar, white pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and whisk to combine.

Put a wok on very high heat. When very hot, add oil, salt and then the beans and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the oil mixture and stir-fry for another minute. Add sesame seeds and blend well. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

 DILLED GREEN BEAN AND PASTA SALAD

dressing:
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper

salad:

5 oz (2 cups) rotini or bow tie pasta
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup cut 1″ fresh green beans
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
4 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
4 to 6 oz cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese (1/2 to 2/3 cup)

In a jar, combine the vinegar, olive oil, dill, salt mustard and pepper and shake well. Cook pasta in 3 quarts boiling water to desired doneness, adding carrots and green beans during the last 2 to 4 minutes or pasta cooking time. Drain. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to cool rapidly. In a large serving bowl, combine cooled pasta mixture and the peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and mozzarella. Mix to combine. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently, cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour for the flavors to combine. Serves 4 to 6.

GARLIC GREEN BEAN AND RICE PILAF
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups brown rice
8 large garlic cloves, pressed
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup yellow crookneck squash, cubed
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoon soy sauce

Heat oil heavy large skillet over low heat. Add onion; saute until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add rice and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add 3 cups water and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook until rice is tender and almost all liquid is absorbed, about 35 minutes; do not stir. Uncover skillet and place green beans, squash, broccoli, corn and carrot evenly over surface of rice. Cover and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in red bell pepper and sesame seeds. Mix in soy sauce. Toss to coat. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

TROPICAL GREEN BEANS
 
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned, cut and dried
1 small onion, cut into rings
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 to 5 stalks hearts of palm, cut into 1/2″ rings
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Brush a large baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Put green beans, onion, and garlic in dish, drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring beans at least 3 times. When tender, remove beans from oven and transfer to bowl. Immediately drizzle with vinegar. Add the hearts of palm, tomatoes, pine nits and pepper to taste and toss. Serves 4.

DILLED GREEN BEANS AND NEW POTATOES
 
1 lb small new potatoes, quartered
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed, broken into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic

In medium saucepan, bring about 2 cups water to a boil. Add potatoes and green beans; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 9-11 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, dill, salt, pepper olive oil and garlic and blend well. Drain vegetables; rinse with cold water to cool slightly. Place the veggiesf in serving bowl. Add sour cream mixture, toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings.

GREEN BEANS AND PEPPERS

1 lb green beans, cooked
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

zest of 1 orange
salt and pepper

Melt butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add cooked green beans, peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring, until peppers are crisp tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add orange rind, salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

GREEK GREEN BEANS AND TOMATOES

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths, blanched
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped or thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomato
1 tablespoon tomato puree (optional)
salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Bring the veggie stock to a boil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and simmer, covered, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and optional tomato puree and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add the green beans and simmer until tender and some of the sauce is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 6 to 8

BALSAMIC PEPPERS AND GREEN BEANS

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed, blanched
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
grated Parmesan cheese
In a small frying pan over medium heat, saute red bell pepper in olive oil until tender. Add garlic, partially cooked green beans, white wine, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Heat until beans are warmed. Transfer to a serving platter, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8

BARBEQUE GREEN BEANS

2 to 4 slices bacon

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 to 5 cups fresh green beans

1 to 2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 cup prepared hickory barbeque sauce
Preheat oven to 325. Cook bacon until crisp in a heavy skillet. Remove the bacon but don’t drain the pan. Cool the bacon on paper towels then crumble and set aside. Sauté onion and garlic in the bacon drippings for about 3 minutes (they still should be crispy but starting to wilt). Lightly grease a 3 quart casserole dish. In the dish combine the green beans, bacon, onions, garlic, season salt and barbeque sauce. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anita Weinfield
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 22:48:48

    I like this site

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Good Morning, Casserole! | Forked!

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