Category: green beans


Throughout the year I create variations on tonight’s menu, something I call a “tuna noodle toss.” It always includes tuna and pasta but those are the only “rules.” Sometimes I use fresh grilled tuna, sometimes good-quality canned; often the pasta is dried, and on other occasions (such as tonight), it’s freshly-made. This is another one of those meals where I simply pull out the ingredients I have on hand and start to think about combinations of flavors that might work well together: tiny French green beans…tomatoes…peppers. After the pasta is made, which can be done in advance, this is easy and quick to pull together. It’s almost like a warm or room temperature pasta salad and to my mind is a one-dish meal.

Yesterday I made a blueberry-lemon pound cake which turned out quite well, so that will be dessert.

Grilled onions and peppers, tossed with tuna, blanched haricots verts, chopped fresh tomatoes, housemade dill tagliatelle, and lemon vinaigrette
Yeast roll

Blueberry-lemon pound cake with vanilla ice cream

In those menus where “vegetable plate” is included in the title, it’s pretty much just that–a plate of vegetables. But it is anything but haphazard in design. I strive to achieve an interesting balance of tastes and textures on the plate that appeals from a gustatory as well as visual perspective. And I like to try new and interesting combinations.

The highlight of tonight’s menu is a bean and tomato dish that I created simply because I thought the flavors would be nice together. And they were! A few thin slices of onion and a peeled and chopped yellow tomato went into a skillet with a bit of olive oil and stewed together over low heat until the tomatoes were saucy but still chunky. Meanwhile, sliced Romano beans were blanched briefly in boiling water until just crisp tender. At that point the beans are drained and added to the skillet with the tomato mixture and everything is heated together for just a minute or two before serving. A bit of sea salt and a grinding of fresh pepper was all that was needed to finish the dish. Superb if I do say so myself!

July 24th Vegetable Plate

Oven-roasted new potatoes split and topped with a dollop of sour cream
Romano beans and tomatoes Chez Edouard
Fried okra breaded with Southwestern-spiced cornmeal
Yeast rolls

Peach and blueberry cobbler with whipped cream

Bread and Butter Pickles Chez Edouard

Bread and Butter Pickles Chez Edouard

So what does this photo have to do with tonight’s menu? Nothing really. But yesterday I made these jars of bread and butter pickles and this morning I felt inclined to take a photo. Next fall and winter, I’ll be enjoying these as well as the dill pickles that I have been preserving along the course of the summer thus far. I’m anxious to make relish next weekend.

But on to tonight’s menu. On a hot summer day, a soup is probably the last thing most folks would think of cooking for dinner, but the abundance of fresh produce makes this a particularly wonderful time to combine the vegetables on hand with some fresh water, simmer until the flavors marry, and serve with a cornmeal muffin and a side salad. Simple, direct, and of the moment.

Summer vegetable soup of tomatoes, squash, onions, garlic, corn, new potatoes, and green beans garnished with finely diced banana peppers
Cornbread muffins
Garden salad with creamy dill dressing

A perfect peach

IMGP0293

The highlight of tonight’s menu is a recipe I devised based on a couple of others. Beautiful corn, green beans, and cherry tomatoes were available at the farmers’ market, and I was inspired to create a chilled salad as an accompaniment to the grilled fish. It’s simple and relatively quick, and must be made in advance. The dressing for the salad has no oil–it’s simply rice vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt with some minced red onion. A chiffonade of basil is tossed in just before serving. Light, refreshing, delicious, attractive. The vegetarians among us may be tempted to feast on the salad alone!

Pan-grilled Atlantic cod basted with barbeque sauce
Chilled corn-green bean-cherry tomato salad
Boiled new potatoes
Yeast roll Chez Edouard

Sugar cookies

The menu for this evening includes a fairly standard beef brochette with some unusual accompaniments. And it’s simple as well. Grilling cubes of steak on a skewer with onions and peppers simply seasoned with salt and pepper is straightforward enough. Steaming couscous with some herbs and garlic is fast and easy because it cooks so quickly (in fact it’s the last thing you should do before being ready to eat). And roasting green beans and mushrooms in a hot oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper brings new life to both vegetables.

Grilled brochette of New York strip cubes with onions and red peppers served over herbed couscous
Oven-roasted green beans and mushrooms

Chocolate-peanut butter-oatmeal cookies

Yesterday, the local farmers’ market was brimming with the first harvest of early summer vegetables. Among them: cucumbers, summer squash, tender green beans, new potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and sugar snap peas. Tonight I used several of those offerings for this week’s vegetable plate.

The green bean and potato dish is quite different from that of my southern upbringing (in which the beans were cooked until mushy and the potatoes were added during the last 20 minutes of cooking). Instead, I reverse the order by cooking the tiny new potatoes first until almost fork tender and then the tender young green beans are added for the last few minutes of cooking with a knob of butter to season the dish. The beans retain their crisp, succulent nature and provide a wonderful, crunchy foil to the soft texture of the potatoes.

Roly-Poly summer squash benefit from a quick dunk in buttermilk before being breaded in seasoned cornmeal and oven-fried while the bread bakes. The cucumbers were transformed into bread-and-butter pickles yesterday and although they will improve with more aging, they were more than acceptable tonight. The addition of freshly-made coleslaw completed the main course.

A deviled egg
Green beans and new potatoes with a butter glaze
Oven-fried Roly-Poly squash
Coleslaw and bread-and-butter pickles
Spoonbread

Baked peach crisp with a drizzle of heavy cream

%d bloggers like this: