They make me feel the way I imagine when I was a teenager, my parents sometimes did. When the plants were small, last July, I could dream of only good things from them. I yearned for white flowers and hardy stems, sturdy little beans growing robust in the heat and the wind. But when the time came—when they finally passed the wavering point and became strong, determined little things—they weren't quite how I'd imagined they'd be at that stage. With brawn came rebellion; they grew a mind of their own, took over a row of wilting lettuce, then a patch of sugar-snap peas. They pushed and muscled until they got their way. So There ! their leaves seemed to scream. They filled up the garden and then the kitchen and then the freezer, finally.
I thought of my parents—of the missed curfews and tight jeans and Backstreet Boys CDs—and muttered a silent apology.
ON GREEN BEANS
We have, still, a lot of frozen green beans. Following are my three favorite ways to them—number three, in case you're wondering, is my favorite, but they're all good. And while it is nice to thaw the beans before cooking them in any of the following ways, it is not necessary.
1. Boil them (always a little bit aldente), drizzle them with truffle oil, and sprinkle them with salt.
2. Fire up your grill, get out a cast-iron skillet and some blackening spice, rub down the beans, and char away.
3. Caramelize a red onion, boil the green beans, drain them, and toss the hot beans and onion with slices of brie or goat cheese, salt and pepper, and Kalamata olives so that the cheese melts and gets everything all gooey and warm.