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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Green Beans

Mediterranean cuisine is my favorite!  I guess it's my Greek heritage and growing up eating Greek food.  I didn't know it was Greek.... It was just what we ate!  Being a southerner, I never had green beans cooked with fatback or bacon.  We always had it with tomato sauce and onions.  I guess I was about 10 or so before I had true green beans cooked by a southerner.  It was different and I liked them.  I still prefer thick cut bacon to fatback.  I can honestly say that I can't stand the smell of fatback cooking  (burn it ONE time and you will know why), but the end results are fine.  If I make them southern style, I fry several pieces of thick cut bacon, saute  onions, and add about a pound of fresh green beans.  I also add several red potatoes to cook with the beans.  TASTY!!  My favorite are the thin haricots verts (that's the french name, I just call them "extra thin green beans" ;)  ) 

So many variations with green beans:
 roasted with butter and lemon juice

roasted with butter and toasted almonds  (see above photo)  Drizzle a table spoon of olive oil over the green beans, roast at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.  Toss with butter, and toasted, slivered almonds.   

three bean salad

southern style

stir fried

battered and deep fried (a local restaurant appetizer.  Dip in ranch dressing)

steamed with a little olive oil, lemon pepper, and lemon juice

Salade Nicoise: green beans served with red potatoes, tuna, nicoise olives, boiled eggs, tomato quarters, topped with a French vinaigrette (delicious summer dinner as it doesn't heat the kitchen)

and of course, the way I ate them as a child: Greek Style with tomato sauce

Since the Greek style beans are my favorite, I'm including the recipe for them!

Greek Green Beans

1 pound of fresh green beans....the thinner, the better
1 medium vidalia onion (or other sweet onion)
2 small cans (8 oz) tomato sauce  
2 medium size tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
pinch oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Very simple really.....
Dice the onions into fine dice.  Saute in olive oil over low heat until the onions are tender. I don't like to let them get past a light brown.  Salt and pepper to taste as you brown them.  Add 2 small can tomato sauce and enough water to cover the beans.  Dice the tomatoes and add to the beans along with fresh chopped parsley and a pinch of oregano. Cook until the beans are tender.  

During the summer time, I will puree a few fresh tomatoes and add them to the mixture. Such a wonderful fresh taste.

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar