Sunday, March 2, 2014

green beans and shiitake mushrooms with warm vinaigrette

Your green beans are boring. 

I hate to be the one to tell you.  There is, after all, a perfectly appropriate time (BBQ potluck) for overcooked green beans cooked in pork fat or beef stock.  

But a better option with your seared salmon, turkey burger, or grilled pork chop is quicker, brighter, and fresher.  Stop what you are doing, and try this instead. 

It starts with sauteed shiitake mushrooms, a little garlic, and some lemon zest.  Thin, snappy french green beans (also called haricots verts) do most of the work.  Adding sherry vinegar and olive oil creates a warm dressing while the beans are cooking.  And it's done. 

Maybe I should admit that I'm having to cook a little quicker and eat a little lighter these days.  February swelled up with (over)commitments and we struggled to keep pace.  In a short 28 days, we were reminded of some important lessons:  a healthy life requires that you sleep, move, and eat healthfully.  Sunshine is a remedy.  And, without going too far, I'll say that letting go up is possibly the most important thing you can do when life gets crunched.  (The lesson is actually to hold on loosely.  I can't tell you how many times Kevin and I sang the 38 Special ballad to each other to survive the month.  If you cling too tightly, you're gonna lose control.)  Probably singing to your loved ones is a good lesson, too.  It usually lightens the mood.  Let up, sing it out, and move.

In the spirit of letting up and holding on loosely, I've written this recipe in approximations.  It really won't matter how many green beans and mushrooms you throw in.   But each component is important.  The green beans are cooked in a warm vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic.  If you don't have sherry vinegar, you can substitute red wine vinegar instead.  

A new and quick recipe is just what we need for the new month.  In like a lion after the jump.