I’m a little more scatterbrained than usual today. So before I give you a recipe, first I will tell you that when you make brownies, even though the recipe says you have to use cold eggs, and there are none in the fridge and you are halfway through making the brownies and it is too late to go to the store, I can report that if you have to dash out to the chicken coop to see if there are any eggs out there (please oh please, let there be four), figuring it is a cold, snowy day so any eggs you find will be nicely chilled, and you do in fact find exactly four eggs, but they are under a chicken and they are at about the temperature you would expect them to be at given that location, you can use them anyway.
Seeing the wild orange of the yolks against the deep brown of the chocolate may even calm you down a bit, if you are not calm already.
I wasn’t, particularly. But opening my eyes for such pleasures caused me to pause a moment to admire the teeny tiny scoop that lives in my cayenne pepper.
Suddenly I felt much better.
Not so much better that I can in any way connect the brownies to the post I was planning today, which is about green beans, nor so calm that I can find the picture I was sure I had taken of the beans when we had them for dinner. But the trend is positive.
As for the beans, like most things involving vegetables, this is way better with summer beans. But the beans have been passable in the store lately, and so I’ve been buying them. There is a gap between “passable” and “tasty enough to eat plain,” so I was reminded of this preparation. It is hard to think of it as a recipe. It’s more of an idea. But some of the tastiest things are like that–you eat something someone else has made and clamor for the recipe, and they look confused and say, “oh, that–that’s not a recipe. It’s just the regular normal thing I do without thinking,” or words to that effect, but even though their family may yawn when they see it coming, it rocks your world because it has not been in your toolbox until then.
I hope this principle applies here. This idea was born in a glut bean year in the garden, when new ways to eat beans needed to be invented. Like the rutabaga, this one has good sounds on its side, and another plus is that it feeds the part of the mouth that responds well to pickles.
The basics are below. The basics are tasty: tangy, salty, creamy. But you can riff in any direction you like from there. Add orange zest, or the copious amounts of minced raw garlic that my one sister favors, or some finely grated fresh ginger, or a lot of chopped parsley, or a pinch of cayenne, or all of these.
About a pound of green beans, trimmed to your liking
2T EV olive oil
1-2T lemon juice, to your taste
½ t kosher or other coarse salt, or to your taste
In a medium bowl, mix the dressing ingredients: first the oil and the tahini until smooth, then the lemon juice, then the salt. It should be just a little bit more lemony and salty than you like, and then the beans will handle mellowing it out a bit.
Bring a pot of water to boil and salt it well. Drop in the beans and cook until the green brightens and they are just tender, a few minutes max. Drain and (if you are lazy like me) rinse with cold water to arrest the cooking; if you are not lazy, plop them into a bowl of cold water. Drain again, and drop into the dressing and toss. Warmish, wettish beans, tossed quickly in the dressing, should render things all creamy and clingy. If the dressing clumps a little, they will be less photogenic but otherwise unharmed.