Cooking Light (July 2013)
It dawned on us last week that we've now known each other for more than 10 years.
TEN years. A decade.
Can that possibly be true? The gray hairs on our heads would indicate it is.
To mark 10 years of Zach and Clay, we're celebrating with green beans. More on those in a minute.
Ten years ago, things were a bit different. We each had about a year of DC living under our belts. We were both working all-consuming jobs. In a transient city, we were trying to make friends who weren't about to move away.
But the biggest difference between 10 years ago and today? Food. Back then, we both rarely cooked. We lived in teensy apartments with doll-house-sized kitchens, so cooking was hard. When we did make food at home, it was more of the George-Foreman-chicken-breast-with-a-side-of-ramen variety.
As we got to know each other, we wanted to cook more. Eating at restaurants all the time wasn't doing any favors for our bodies, or our wallets. So we turned to cookbooks and food magazines to start learning some new dishes.
Ten years ago, eating green beans meant buying a bag in the freezer section and then heating them up in the microwave. These days, we're fortunate enough to be able to buy fresh beans. And we adore fresh green beans. We dream of growing our own, but after three years of failed beans in the backyard, we've finally given up on being bean farmers. Instead, most weeks around this time of year, we buy several pounds of green beans from the farmers market. A vendor there sells these Jade bush beans that are wonderful. We buy a few pounds and then eat them throughout the week. They show up in salads, stir-frys and simple sautees. Over the last decade, we've learned a lot of things to do with green beans, but we think simple is best when you're dealing with fresh beans.
This recipe is simple and delicious. There's nothing exotic (unless you consider shallots exotic). It has a nice, balanced mix of olive oil, mint and lemon. We often eat beans "plain" -- just steamed and served as a side dish. But for a notch above that, toss your beans with this simple vinaigrette.
Even 10 years ago, we believed that good food doesn't have to be complex food. We knew that in order to be better cooks, we just had to cook, picking up some basic techniques to build our confidence in the kitchen.
When we met in that bar 10 years ago, who would have ever guessed that a decade later, we'd be rhapsodizing about vegetables?
Life is funny -- and delicious.
Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup)
1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Steam green beans 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.
2. Combine mint and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add green beans to bowl, and toss to coat.
Get more variations on steamed green beans -- including Red Pepper Pesto, Ginger Sesame, and Stewed Tomato and Spices -- at CookingLight.com.