Saturday, July 04, 2009

Addictive Green Beans

Last year, I came to love recipes that call for few ingredients. I have started to appreciate flavors more as I use fewer ingredients for each dish, but better quality ones, and ones chosen with care. What follows is another one of the "less is more" type recipes that has us consuming vast quantities of green beans these days.

Again, two ingredients used here were unfamiliar to me just a few years ago but have come to be indispensable in my day to day cooking. Dijon mustard, a paste of mustard seeds, is one of them. There is always a bottle of the supermarket variety dijon mustard in my fridge door, mostly for use in salad dressings and sandwiches.

The other is balsamic vinegar. We were on vacation visiting relatives and stumbled upon a specialty store selling nothing but extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, dozens of them all set out in casks with taps so that we could pour some into little cups and taste the different kinds. V's extremely adorable 8-year old niece was with us, and to my surprise and delight, she gamely tasted the oils and vinegars (I would have expected a prompt "eww" from an 8 yr old) and gave us her solemn opinions on which ones were too tangy or too fruity or just right. With her help, we chose a fig balsamic vinegar.

At 15$ for the bottle, I dare say this is one of the most expensive ingredients in my normally basic and frugal pantry but it is very versatile; I'm getting my money's worth. It turns out that this is a very reasonable price for balsamic vinegar; the aged ones can cost hundreds of dollars.

Roasted Green Beans


1. Wash and dry the green beans. Snap the ends off.
2. Pre-heat oven to 425 F.
3. On a baking sheet, toss green beans with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the beans start getting dark spots.
5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the dressing: 2-3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon honey. Taste the dressing and adjust the balance of flavors to your own taste. Set aside.
6. Once the beans are roasted, pull them out of the oven. Let them rest for 3-5 minutes, then pour on the dressing and mix well. When the dressing hits the hot green beans, it forms a thick glaze. Eat right away.

*** *** *** Puppy Love Ahead*** *** ***

This holiday weekend, we have a little guest staying with us. This is Carter, he is an 8 month old Beagle mix who was adopted by our friends when he was very very little from a local shelter. We are baby-sitting him for 3-4 days while they are out of town.

Carter is just the most affectionate and active little thing. We are accustomed to Dale (80 lbs, sedate, aloof, strictly rations his licks and wags, does not like to cuddle, wants his space, will not come when he is called) and Carter is everything Dale is not (20 lbs when wet, hyper-excitable, cuddles 24/7, a little too liberal with licks and wags, does not want even an inch of space between him and you, and whooshes to your side when he is called). Carter worships Dale and wants to play with him and reach up and give him little kisses; Dale wears a long-suffering expression and stalks off to another room. Carter is missing his parents very much, so I let the poor pup sleep in my arms at night. I'm not getting much sleep, because I wake up a dozen times to check on him.

For a long time, I felt guilty that Dale is an "only dog" and has no company at home, but I've come to realize that Dale is a lone ranger and is happier this way. He barely tolerates sharing the home with us :D But we love and respect his eccentric ways so it's all good!

To all my friends who are celebrating the holiday, Happy Fourth of July! We'll make some veggie burgers and potato salad tonight, with chocolate ice cream for dessert. I'll see you tomorrow, with the winners of the Kolhapuri masala giveaway.


  1. Carter is really cute! You are a great friend.. to babysit pets,that would be something people do not want to take up.

    I don't like green beans much and this seems something to make to get over my bias against these vegetables.

  2. I love the recipe for the green beans....Balsamic Vinegar has a wonderful flavor....have you ever drizzled it on Vanilla icecream?


  3. Hi Nupur, this is my first time writing something here:-).. love the recipe.. everyone loves beans in our family & this is a kind i never thought of!

    sweet sweet carter:-)

  4. Is Dale really 80 pounds? oww...g8 green bean recipe..can't eait to try it!

  5. those beans look delicious - I am in love with a bean dish at a local restaurant where they are served with pine nuts and feta - would go well with the roasted beans!

    and carter looks like such a cutie!

  6. this will sincerely be made tomorrow :) Carter looks adorable and lol at Dale stalking off :)) Happy weekend :)

  7. Hi Nupur, I must be ages behind in welcoming you back to the blogging world. So good to have you back, I am yet to see all the other posts. This type of green beans is new to me.

  8. awwwwww! look at him! Just look at him! He makes me think, nth time, to get a dog.

    good recipe by the way!

  9. Mika- There's a special place in my heart for pets adopted from shelters (and the people who adopt them) so I'm very happy to babysit this cute little thing.
    You *must* try this recipe...might change your mind about green beans :) I gobble half of this straight from the baking sheet.

    Cardamom- No, I have not tried balsamic vinegar with sweet things like ice cream and strawberries...would love to do that soon :)

    Soma- Welcome! Yes, Carter is the sweetest, most innocent fellow.

    Dhana- Yes, Dale is really 80 lbs AND is gaining weight so we are worried...if it goes up any more, our man is going on a diet!

    Johanna- The beans really are delicious roasted this way, and pine nuts would be a great addition.

    Priya- Let me know if you try it and like it :) Carter is adorable and I wish Dale was nicer to him...sigh :)

    Red Chillies- Thank you, it is good to be back and nice to see you here!

    Mints!- Just think, there is a cute dog sitting in a shelter near you just waiting for you to come and take it home...go for it :D

  10. Awwwww.....what a beautiful dog! And I'm glad you learned that Dale is just fine, all by his lonesome. So funny what we imagine might make our pets/loved ones feel better, lol.

  11. Must try this- I don't end up eating green beans at all , so this is a great way of making sure I do..:)
    Asparagus and sweet potato taste wonderful just coated with olive oil and herbs/salt and pepper (and maybe lemon juice)and baked..This dish reminded me of them.

    And Carter is adorable!

  12. I think maybe Dale has the soul of a cat :) and you know, cat-lover that I am, I say that as a supreme complement! Carter is adorable and I'm sure he's having the best time with Dale, you and V!

    The beans sound great - I've roasted vegetables many time, but never beans. Just bought a bunch at the market yesterday, so I'll be trying this out soon!

  13. this is something I must try :-) yet again :)

  14. Mrs. Frugal Folkes- LOL yes, I wish I could just talk to the dog and ask him what he wants, what makes him happy instead of trying to guess!

    Lavanya- I agree, asparagus and sweet potato are wonderful when they are roasted/baked and green beans are too...give it a try :)

    Cathy- You nailed it, Dale does have the soul of a cat! Carter tried in vain to get Dale to play with him. He went home last night so now we are back to the routine.
    You have to try roasted green beans, Cathy, they work even when the beans are a little old and limp, it is a very forgiving recipe.

    Raaga- If you try it, let me know if you like it!

  15. Did just that Nupur, ate it right away :D I made a mistake by roasting just a handful of beans, they are all gone now, delicious! The rest of the beans are now roasting in the oven along with some red peppers I bought at the market. thank you for the recipe :)

  16. Balsamic vinegar is the BEST. I spent $35 on a bottle for hubby for father's day--I thought it was silly extravagant until we tasted it . . . Wow

  17. Priya- YAY Glad you tried it and liked it. They are so tasty, right?

    Annie- Yes, from now on, I'm quite willing to splurge on good quality vinegar, it is so worth it.

  18. Such a sweet puppy! Haven't tried honey with balsamic vinegar -- the beans look yummy :)


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