The simplest sides are often the most complicated to most.
Thanksgiving is an American holiday that celebrates (and I use celebrate loosely, due to the different approaches folks have towards the holiday) abundance. And for many families- and in my experience, families of native Hawaiian, Filipino and Italian heritage, often cook large amounts of food because families like these don’t know how to cook small.
I have little experience with family dinners where there isn’t lots of food, lots of noise, children running around and someone either yelling or crying towards the end. It all makes for colorful memories, and it gets twenty times more colorful once you get married and have the added anxiety of someone in your family of origin saying something absolutely absurd that will definitely upset both you and your spouse. (Long story, don’t ask.)
Speaking of colorful, one of the best things about vegetables aside from their nutritional value is their vibrant colors. One problem that exists is that many folks often cook vegetables to the point where the nutritional value is diminished and the colors are left dull and boring. The trick often is to knowing the best time to stop the cooking process. And by stopping the cooking process, I don’t mean taking it off or out of the heat.
I mean stopping the cooking process entirely. Take these delicious looking green beans for example:
They’re pretty robust in their color, and they have a crisp, al dente bite to them.
The trick was blanching the beans in boiling water for about 3 minutes and then dropping them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
Then, to give it a flavor boost, I sautéed them in about a tablespoon of olive oil, and seasoned them with salt, pepper and this organic non-salt seasoning. Sauté the beans for about two minutes. It’s pretty easy to get them to turn out this way without compromising the appearance, taste or nutritional value.
Believe me, side dishes such as green beans, mashed potatoes, and stuffing are really easy to make. It’s also helpful to share how easy it is to prepare such dishes the minute the relative with complete opposite politics and perspectives says something to make you uncomfortable, offended or downright pissed off.
Simple Green Beans
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Water, for boiling
Ice water, for shocking
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 lb Green beans.
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water to a boil. In a large bowl, set cold water with about 9 large ice cubes (if your ice cubes are small, use a few more).
Blanche beans by dropping them into boiling water for about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to ice bath to stop cooking process. Do this for all the beans. Drain in a colander and gently pat them dry with a paper towel.
In a medium sized frying pan, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Add green beans in batches, so pan is not crowded. Sauté beans for about three minutes, tossing in pan or with tongs. Transfer to serving bowl (paper towel lining is optional) and season with salt and pepper to taste.