We've been up in LaConner all weekend at Grammy and Poppy Dick's house , reading magazines on the terrace, walking on the beach, playing pickleball. Oh--and taking care of a sick Loretta. I really can't go into detail about what kind of sick she's been. This is a food blog, and I'd surely lose readership. She's on the mend now, poor little thing. We're home, I'm making cookies for the fire station (a marathon baking week for yours truly), and the kids are sun-kissed and sleeping.
Attentive to Loretta all weekend, I haven't focused much on food. Being a parent is what I call "the divided life." No matter where I am or what I'm doing, the other half of me is with my kids, even if I've been dying for a break from them. When I'm with them, I often wish I was doing whatever it was I was doing when I missed them so much. When my kids are sick, though, there's a break in this divided life and I become wholly theirs. I don't even care about cooking anymore, believe it or not.
Plus, on warm weekends like this one, I feel like eating as simply as possible. That's where these beans come in. We had them with barbecued chicken and some oven fries that I'll post about tomorrow. Emily was with us, and she was smitten with these beans. She made them (with instructions from me), so now she'll be able to eat them all summer.
There are so many foods best at room temperature--cheese, fruit, grilled vegetables, cake, pizza, salads. In our freakishness about food collecting bacteria by sitting out or in our haste to eat, things are often served too hot. Or worse--too cold. Like when you order a slice of coconut cake from a bakery case and it's served cold and hard. What a disappointment! When Yancey and I ate at Poppy recently, one of the things that made our meal so perfect was that much of our thali plate was served at room temperature. You can really taste everything that way.
So these beans are best at room temperature. If you make them ahead to bring to a BBQ or picnic, try to take them out of the fridge in time to warm up a little. They are so easy, but I've heard from many of you not to take anything for granted where recipes are concerned. And I really think these belong in your summer repertoire, especially if your kids get sick and you don't have much bandwidth to devote to cooking (God forbid).
P.S. The dressing for these was blessed by two things. The JUICIEST lemons in the world from my neighborhood Asian market (6 for $1) and some delicious unfiltered olive oil that was in Phyllis' cupboard. I usually just buy Costco extra virgin olive oil, which is fine, but more bitter. I was reminded of now nice it is to have a little bit of special olive oil around when it's the star ingredient. My birthday is next month.
P.S.S. For those of you experimenting with preserved lemons, this would be a perfect use for them. Just don't put any (or a very tiny bit) of salt in if you use them.
P.S.S.S. Sorry. One more thing. There's some new stories on the Your Stories page if you haven't checked it out recently. I love your stories and photos! Keep sending them.
Lemony Lickin' Green Beans
1.5 lbs. green beans, trimmed and washed
1 minced garlic clove
juice and zest of one very juicy lemon
1/4 c. best-you-can-afford olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and blanch for 3 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender. Run under cold water, drain, and set aside.
Make dressing--combine garlic, lemon zest and juice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify, tasting and adjusting as you go.
Toss green beans with dressing. I dare you not to lick your fingers.