Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Simple Garlic Almond Green Beans

It’s green bean season.  Green beans are a summer staple in our diet.  My favorite way to eat them is to steam them for 3 minutes and then toss them into a pan with garlic and almonds for another minute.  They still have a nice crunch and a wonderful garlicky flavor.  This dish take all of five minutes to make and makes ordinary green beans into something wonderful.
We grow green beans every year and rarely have a crop failure.  They’re very easy to grow and grow quicly once the weather warms up.  Just put the seeds in the ground after your last frost. 
You also don’t need a lot of space to beans, I’ve been planting them in planters for the last few years and they do just fine.  Here’s a view of my green beans from my office window, right next to the cherry tomatoes and my Dahlia’s.  I started a second box (you can see them at the right side of the picture) a few weeks after the first planting so we’d have an extended season.

You want to pick green beans when they’re still thin and tender.  The green bean at the bottom of the next picture is perfect, the one above it should have been picked a few days earlier.  You can see that the beans inside are more developed and I find that they get tough and stringing when you leave them on the plant to long.  Now, you might say that this information is not relevant to you because you buy your green beans at a grocery store or farmer’s market, but the rule still applies.  Don’t just grab a bunch, pick through them and choose the skinny ones.  It might make the difference between your kids eating them or not.

Wash and trim the very end of both sides of the beans.  I think steaming is the best way to cook them.  It only takes about 3 minutes.  The secret is to run them under cold water as soon as they’re done.  This stops the cooking process and keeps them bright green.
This recipe is not exact because everyone has a different garlic tolerance as well as a different idea of how much is a single serving.  Feel free to double the garlic if you like or use pecans instead of almonds. I like a big pile of veggies but you might not.  I can usually eat two servings with some chopped baked tofu and call it dinner.  (Note: I didn’t add any salt.  Earth Balance butter substitute has a lot of salt, so I don’t add extra.)
Simple Garlic Almond Green Beans
Makes 2 servings - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
2 large handfuls of fresh green beans
1 teaspoon Earth Balance butter substitute
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
Wash and trim the ends off the beans.
Put the beans in a vegetable steamer and steam for 3 minutes.
Immediately rinse the beans under cold running water and set aside to drain.
Melt the butter substitute in a pan over a low heat.
Add the minced garlic to the melted butter and cook for one minute.
Add the almonds to the garlic and butter and cook for another minute.
Add the green beans and toss to coat with butter and garlic.
Let the beans warm for another minute or two and serve immediately.

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