My sister writes a food, diet, and exercise blog focused on weight loss and using the Zone diet. Inspired by a recent comment thread regarding my sister’s new diet in which she plans to eat only whole foods (e.g., no skim milk, no egg whites), I remarked that indeed I would be eating this way as well (since I pretty much always have – every meal I make is vegan until some heathen grates cheese on it) and that I’d be having green beans for dinner. It dawned on me that perhaps my sister and her friends/readers might want my recipe.
Here goes: Green Beans Almondine
Rinse and stem your green beans. This takes forever. Go put music on.
Select the nice heavy cast iron #10 chicken fryer you liberated when you moved out of your boyfriend’s apartment in 1986. Appreciate it as you place it on the stove. Notice the weird schmutz on the inside of it… someone didn’t wash it very well. Wipe the stuff off with your finger and wipe your finger on your pants. Immediately regret doing that.
Get about 4 cloves of garlic from where you threw the huge garlic plants you got from your CSA. Hang the huge plants up on a nail by the pantry cupboard. Appreciate the country chic look you achieved. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Wonder if “whole” could possibly preclude slicing. Don’t be ridiculous.
Get a big spoon and the coconut oil. Slop about a tablespoon of solid coconut oil into your cast iron pan. Don’t even worry about the wholeness of coconut oil. What the hell – you can’t sauté in a whole coconut, can you? Besides, the coconut oil label is filled with scientific reasons why this stuff is manna from heaven. Melt it and be happy.
Place the garlic in the oil. Use the spoon to move the garlic around so that it is in a single layer. It will start to sizzle and fry. If you, like me, forget to turn the heat down, this will happen very fast. You will notice the smoke. Turn on the exhaust fan. Curse at how, as fast as you fish out blackened and inedible garlic slices, more appear. Turn the heat down. Increase your fishing speed. Notice that the fan is drowning out the music and that you are just missing your absolute favorite song: the very best song on your entire iPod (I don’t have an iPod, but you know what I mean). Shut your eyes and revel in those last few luscious tones. Wonder if you could ever make anything so beautiful in your entire life as that woman’s voice singing that ancient Persian lullaby. Immediately think of your daughter (if you are childless, please substitute anything you have made and then hated but loved fiercely). Feel that warm blush of pride that she has made it to age 18 and she isn’t a stripper and you haven’t had to bail her out of jail or check her into detox.
Remove the rest of the garlic with a slotted spoon and take the oil off the heat. When it has cooled off to the point where you won’t be wearing most of the oil, toss the beans in. I suggest making way too many so that you have filled the skillet/chicken fryer. This way you can have a layer of beans that brown and over cook on the bottom and barely steamed beans on the top. Attempt to stir the overfilled skillet and watch a bean tumble to the floor. Break up the ensuing dog fight over the oily bean. Remind the pushy dog that she already had half a squirrel as a treat today and that she should let the other dogs have the bean. Add salt and pepper. Wonder if salt and pepper are “whole.” Wonder if grinding them over the pot is a bad idea. Wonder if the grinder is going to break again as you do this, dumping half the jar into your dinner. Praise Jah when it doesn’t happen.
An old Bruce Springsteen song comes on next. Get nostalgic about being a young girl, sitting on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer and soft summer rain. Remember that the only time you did anything remotely like that you puked in the bushes. Keep stirring those beans.
Decide to write this blog post and go get the camera for illustrations. Shoot a few photos of the beans on the stove and let the pan dry out. Add the rest of your wine to the pan and cover it to steam those top beans the rest of the way. Wine isn’t “whole”?
Get the enormous container of quinoa you overcooked yesterday and place a few spoonfuls on each plate. Microwave (yes, microwave) each plate. Yell for your dinnermates. Place the beans artfully on the quinoa, toss the least blackened garlic on top, and then — la piece de resistance — add a few toasted slivered almonds you did not burn (yesterday’s meal involved only burning the quinoa, not the nuts). When your spouse/child/cellmate arrives say “green beans almondine.” (well, I said almond-fucking-dine, but you don’t have to.) Enjoy.