Green is my favorite color. I am pretty sure it always has been. And even though I had the perfunctory “I hate cooked spinach” phase as a young one, I usually like most green foods, as well. As I have previously discussed on this blog, Brussels sprouts and asparagus are staples on my weekly rotation of vegetables. I also love fresh spinach salads. Spinach is quite the versatile green, meaning I can have salad multiple times throughout the week, but it’s never the same so I never get bored. This might sound a bit trite, but I think there is even a discernible difference between a chopped spinach salad and an unchopped one. (But enough about spinach, lest you think I’m being paid by Popeye).
I spent several years of my youth in Amarillo, Texas, and there was a house across the street from ours that had enough land to have a large garden. My mom and I would often pick our vegetables for the week in their garden, affording me the opportunity to taste the superiority of fresh produce. As I’m now an adult on my own, doing the shopping and cooking myself, I’m always pleased to see how affordable produce is when bought in-season and local. There can be a stigma around the expense of eating healthy and in too many cases this is the truth; however, I’ve found that produce is often a welcome exception.
But back to the garden. One of my favorite take-aways was green beans. I spoke ad nauseum earlier about the versatility of spinach, and I could certainly do the same for green beans. Just about every food culture I can think of has a dish I love that incorporates green beans. My current favorite is Japanese green bean tempura. I’ve not gotten quite adventurous enough to try that at home, though; I usually stick to a more simple preparation in my kitchen. This week, I tweaked Elizabeth’s Thanksgiving green bean recipe, posted on the blog last November.
In keeping with spring weather, I opted to forego the cheese this recipe calls for and lighten things up a little with a lemon and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. (I start with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and then add lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper to my preferred taste.) Otherwise, I followed the recipe as-is and came away with a delicious, slightly crispy, mildly tangy, very green side dish.