Green Beans 4 Ways, 3 Ways & a Lot of Other Stuff for Rest

July 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Rob Gardner

Deep into our Friday night dinner, with the introductory courses of soft cheeses two ways, goat and sheep; Key West shrimps put on the barbie; smoked rainbow trout, some dried sausages; past, the many salads: eggplants, peppers and a half an onion grilled and then chopped; summer squash also grilled, a heavy dose of chopped mint spewed all over; my famous lemony cabbage salad, which on this night was made only with shredded vegetables needed to weaken a version I made earlier in the week with too much salt, and the yogurt-garlic-cucumber mix that might also be a salad but was more there as a sauce for the other items off the grilled, when I asked, “was green beans three ways” (down from green beans four ways) “a specific recipe?”

The Local Family Matriarch, the woman also known as a Cookbook Addict, has, let’s be frank, a unique approach to the kitchen.  If we were all racing around doing too many dishes and trying to clean up a bit, and shhh don’t tell anyone, but one of the Local Family decided to throw a hissy fit, green beans four ways could only be something she read.  It was really A dish; four ways on one plate, right.  Barbara Kaftka or Deborah Madison or one of her other heros must have written it up with a touching story of how they served it to an 89 year old founding mother of some original farmer’s market. Or one of them created it to deal with an overabundant garden.  Yes, green beans four ways had a have had a good story to it.  Well, it does.  The mania of throwing together three seperate green bean dishes to complement all the other foods for our regularl;y scheduled Friday night dinner.  That’s the story, right, haha. Let’s look back and laugh.  Awestruck.

“I came up with it.”  As she is wont, the also Cookbook Addict, does not mince words when questioned of her cooking choices.  Granted, she had faced down a bushel of green beans picked up from a farmer friend for the entire week.  For days, she topped and tailed the beans, and now, with a big dinner looming she finally decided to make them all down.  She raced through the library for ideas.  Until, of course, she found herself stymied by the roadblock of Local Familyhood.  Remember that hissy I mentioned.  Well, that hissy fit locked off a needed Tyler Florence book.  See, he had one of the recipes, for a sour cream based salad inside.  She would need to improvise.  Bookless.  She would also improvise, a Greek style tomato sauce-y dish because that Molly O’Neil book was also not available.  Luckily, the last book being unfairly guarded contained a recipe not hard to manage.  Elizabeth Schneider’s Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini inspired her with simple advice of, boil and then use your best butter possible, and in our case we happened to have some very best butter, Joe Burn’s hand rolled butter from Brunkow Cheese’s supply of Jersey cows.  She completed, delayed from the drama over locked away recipes, only three of her original plan.  I’m not sure what the fourth way was, but I know that Green Beans Three Ways seemed good enough, a good enough story for now.

And we only ate two ways, the sour cream salad and the best butter.  She put aside the tomato sauce version for winter eating.  We passed around platters of ground grass-fed beef mixed with spices and called kefta (or as one Local Kid calls it, “kifka:) and sockeye salad on sale at Whole Foods and marveled that on top of everything we also had the green beans.  Dinner took a lot out of us.   We waited a bit before digging into the flourless chocolate cakes nicely accomplished by Ms. Kifka.  After all of that, who would not want to rest the rest of the week.