Of only good things

The green beans in my freezer exasperate me. How can it be that we coaxed them, wanted them, nurtured them into being?

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.


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.


andrea said...

We're out already! It always looks like there are so blasted many of them, then comes Feb and we're rationing. I plan on doubling the amount we freeze this year.

At least the first little shoots of asparagus are poking out of the ground. Yea!

Elspeth said...

Andrea, if only I could share. But asparagus—yipee! I've put my hopes in the rhubarb, which started leafing out last week.

Laurie said...

Mmmm, think I'll have to try #3. So far, my favorite way is sauteeing lots of garlic in olive oil, then beans & salt. Your way sounds lots more interesting!

Anonymous said...

Having just had version #2 in vivo, I heartily recommend it...it's quite fiery, depending on the spices added, so perhaps with a very dry, chilled white wine for accompaniment. Thanks for a great Easter!

FOTB (father of the bride) and Backstreet Boys co-listener, at least at times!

Elspeth said...


No, thank you! Especially for all your help with dwindling down the supply of green beans. Miss you...


Elspeth said...


Garlic-y green beans sound delicious. We might just have to make that way #4, seeing as the only other thing we have as much of as green beans just so happens to be garlic!

Thank you, thank you,

christinaooi said...

mmm green beans with truffle oil are my favourite. if you can, try getting your hands on some "truffle salt", it works brilliantly on everything from use as a dry rub to simple seasoning.

i'm in love with your blog!


Elspeth said...

queen of mayhem:

oh, swoon, truffle salt. you just named another of my favorite things. we discovered it in italy, brought some home, and have been addicted ever since.

so glad you stopped by!



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