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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

haricots verts - be still, my heart

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I nearly fainted when I saw a large package of haricots verts at the store
- French green beans, thinner than our green bean varieties here.
I get more delirious over haricots verts
than I do over clothes, shoes or jewelry.
Their consistency and flavor are more delicate
in a firm, fresh way, than larger, meatier beans,
their stature like the thinnest, highest stiletto heel to a shoe lover.

When I'm in Paris, at the end of a long day out walking
and a big meal at noon,
I cook them up for supper,
with just cheese, baguette and red wine.
It's comforting to know haricots verts, like all green beans,
are a great source of Vitamins A, C,
potassium, magnesium, folate and riboflavin,
because those nutrients are so good for the heart,
which is important when it's beating hard with excitement
from food. It balances itself out.

This time I blanched them two minutes
with some equally swoon-worthy young asparagus
- asperges in French, doesn't that sound beautiful -
makes me want to sing, or better, listen to "Je t'aime".
Then I rinsed them in cold water and dried them,
stir-fried them in olive oil in the wok until just tender,
in the last half minute adding
a couple tablespoons of fresh minced garlic,
a tiny amount of minced ginger, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce,
and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar.
They're topped with broken walnuts.

When you can't get to Paris in the spring,
you can taste Paris in the spring, right on the farm.
Everything is starting to vibrate.
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72 comments:

C.M. Jackson said...

Ruth

oh how yummy!!! spring is coming and thanks to bring Paris to my home--I feel the vibration too--look at the trees--the buds are starting open and the my crocuses are reaching for the sky--one day soon they will be in bloom--oh happy day!

Kamana said...

green beans - of any variety really - are definitely my favourite veg. and nothing better than to cook them simply as you have done, so that they delicous flavour is remains unmasked.

João said...

Springtime.
Paris.
Gorgeous food, who can ask for anything more ?

Deborah said...

Mmmm....I'm with you all the way. Thanks for the recipe, Ruth. Yesterday for lunch we had a salade liègoise which is haricots verts with fried bacon bits and boiled, cut-into-bites new potatoes, all tossed with red wine vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and served warm. Comfort food, Belgian style!

maggie said...

These green beans bring back fond memories of being a kid and mom telling me to go and fill big bag full to cook up for supper. Of course I ate many raw during the process. It also fills my mind with the oh so many times I'd go and sit amongst the raspberries and eat my fill. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Or how about fresh young carrots. Thanks for the memories. Your pics are beautiful.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Sounds yummy. I usually add some toasted sesame seeds and a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, but I am going to try this!! Love garlic and ginger combo.

VioletSky said...

there has to be one person...
that would be me.
sorry.
green beans, english or french,
non merci.

BUT, I love how you can wax so lyrical about them!
and your photos make me wish...

Susan said...

I knew I liked you. Yesterday we ventured forth for a soup and baguette dinner, blinking in the sunlight like moles. And there, luring me toward them like a siren, was a platter of haricots vert. (Do I need to put an 's' after the 'vert', too? It's been a long time since French 101.)
They were incredible. Spring arrived on my tongue.

Vagabonde said...

I do like haricots verts very much – my mom cooked them all the time. I used to cook them often too until my husband had a strange encounter in a country restaurant in Middle Georgia last year. I don’t know if I should tell it here (don’t want to hurt appetites) but amongst his nice “fried” haricots verts was the fried leg of a tiny mouse…. It will take him a while to wanting to eat them again. But I’ll work on him with different recipes – yours sounds good.

Jeanie said...

Simply salivating! This easy way to prep them sounds fabulous. (And glad you mentioned asparagus season! I have some lovely stalks in the fridge, just waiting for tonight!)

Marilyn said...

I love haricut verts when in Paris. Finally I am also finding them in the store occasionally. How exciting and I love your idea for preparing them.

PurestGreen said...

When asparagus season comes to Scotland, I will fall in love again. When strawberry season is at its full, short height, I will love even harder. Oh good, good life. Full-on colour.

♥ Kathy said...

I JUST got a recipe using haricots verts! Now I'm dying to have it!

caroldiane said...

oh my - I don't know which got my mouth watering more - your delightful words or the amazing photograph... must find green things to eat!!

Babs-beetle said...

Oh I love French beans! Even when you buy them frozen they taste better than most green beans. You've made my mouth water now :)

margie said...

i love that supper. cheese, haricots vert, wine, bread.

Arti said...

They do look delicious and your description too. Just a thought, maybe you'd like to try cutting them up into smaller chunks and stir fry them with soya sauce and yes, the essential minced garlic first. A dash of sesame seed oil can add in more flavour at the end. Love the variety of contents in your blog.

On another note, you mentioned about the significance of Kathryn Bigelow's win as Best Director at the Oscars and the next day being International Women's Day. I've just written a new post on women in the film industry and Bigelow's own very insightful view. Again, your opinion is highly valued at Ripple Effects. Thanks Ruth for all your contribution!

Terresa said...

One word: Yum.

Ginnie said...

I knew there was a reason why we had just invited you to Holland, Ruth! :D I buy these every week and stir-fry them in olive oil with a whole head of minced garlic (HA!) and often with carrots already softened first from stir-frying. Just recently I've been adding the spitskool cabbage (http://www.reijnoudtagf.nl/images/Spitskool.jpg) that adds just an extra bit of flavor. Well, your version is much more Parisian and delectable, of course, so maybe you SHOULD come and get your fill, your way!

Ginnie said...

Oh heavens, Ruth. I was wrong! The beans I get are the "normal" beans, not the haricots verts. I just came back from the gorcery store and saw the difference. So, you WILL have to come and give me a bit of YOUR heaven!

CottageGirl said...

MMMM-MMMM!
Those look so tasty! Makes me yearn for the fresh local veggies of the summer!
I don't think I've ever seen haricots verts at our stores, but now I'll definitely be looking for them!

Snappy Di said...

*squeals with delight@* These look divine!

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Loring Wirbel said...

Stopped in at a Szechuan all-you-can-eat buffet in Huntsville, AL around 2000 or so, and they made the most perfect Szechuan green beans you could imagine. I decided to dispense with the 90-odd additional items at the steam tables and go for three plate-sized helpings of green beans. YUMMMM!!!

Sandy said...

Even though I have never heard of them, they look delicious and a recognizable vegetable to me, ha. I may have to try these.

ds said...

*swoon* Now adding both preparations to the cooking notebook.

And because I am so late to the Bill Withers party, I will make that comment here: love it, love it, love it. "Ain't No Sunshine" is one of my favorite songs ever; really liked the rendition of "Grandma's Hands," which I did not know, but which is so evocative...Thank you for once again expanding horizons & forcing us(me) to pay attention.

Susan said...

Don't you just love saying haricot verts? That's just the stage that I love to pick them from my garden. That recipe sounds like the way they do them at Chinese restaurants (minus the nuts), which is one of the reasons I like going to Chinese restaurants. I could eat a whole pound myself. Yum.

gemma said...

That is it exactly! If you can't be in Paris, at least you can have a taste of it. Nothing better than simple and very fresh.

Nancy said...

I loved this post - "everything is starting to vibrate..."

I will try this recipe just as soon as I spy a bag of the beans!

Oliag said...

Your photos are as yummy as your recipe sounds!...love the green in the pink and white cups...would be tempted to sit and look instead of eating:)...

Haricot verts are rarely seen here...in fact fresh green beans have been difficult to find this winter...I understand it is due to cold FL weather...I am so looking foward to the fresh local vegetables which will be available soon...I love haricot verts...but the asperges are my true favorite...

Ruth said...

C.M., just the warmer temps have me feeling new. Green food really gets me going too - eating spring!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Kamana, for some reason, a few years ago when I found out how nutritious green beans are, I was surprised. They are so good fresh from the garden. I just cooked another batch of these tonight, and they're not as fresh - not quite as yummy.

Ruth said...

João, when you enjoy food, I kind of think anywhere can be a pleasure. Add Paris and spring, and it's a perch above.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Deborah, new potatoes are a great addition. Tonight I added sliced small tomatoes and red pepper.

Ruth said...

Maggie, we didn't have a garden growing up, so I envy you that memory. We have one summers now though, thanks to Don. Also, there are black raspberries and blackberries, gold raspberries, all around the edges of the farm here. But red raspberries are my absolute favorite. Man.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Bonnie, I added sesame oil and seeds tonight, and it was just right. I hadn't thought of them.

Ruth said...

It's ok, Violetski, we can't all love 'em. And you are so clever to say wax about beans, my dear.

Fragrant Liar said...

I'm kind of stuck on the similarity of the word haricots to haircuts, so I'm trying not to go there . . . But your photo and the description of the asparagus has me salivating for a plate. You sharing?

Leena said...

Greetings from the middle of snow, where asparagus is under it still over a month, snow will melt slowly in April and in the end of May we can see asparagus growing in our garden.
Yes, buying them is more quicker to get enjoy it :)

I have been with children`s families now three weeks and feel a little tired. The light will make good now, when the sun is shining over glimmering snow, everything is fine.

I wish a best spring ever to you,Ruth!

Ruth said...

Hi there, Susan, you are a good describer. I imagine you inside in the dark, writing maybe? Stepping out for food. How good that something green found you - or maybe the wind carried it your way.

Ruth said...

Vagabonde, oh dear! Hahaha. I can't think of a way to disguise haricots verts. Sometimes I really do wonder why we ever eat out, food prepared by someone we've never met or seen, in a kitchen we have not inspected. It's disturbing if I think about it too long.

Here's to our own gardens and kitchens!

Ruth said...

Jeanie, asperges when it's young and thin is irresistible in the produce section. We haven't ever tried to grow it.

(Teehee, you mention what's in the fridge. I know what's under the fridge.)

Ruth said...

Hi, Marilyn, when they're fresh and tender they are just marvelous. After they've been in the fridge a few days (like now) they have lost their appeal. I should have just eaten the whole big package the first day!

Ruth said...

PurestGreen, I think I'm already in love. I just read your current post Pulse and shudder (Music therapy: Rodrigo y Gabriela - Ixtapa). Your writing is just beautiful, I feel so full now. (And I'm listening to Ixtapa too. Mmm.)

Ruth said...

♥ Kathy, I love synchronicity. Bon appetit!

Ruth said...

Hi, and thank you, Caroldiane. Sometimes it's like a whole body-mind-heart thing, to eat something green. Spring.

Ruth said...

Babs, yes, it's true, even the frozen ones are delicious. I remember as a kid my mom bought "French green beans" in the can. They were just regular big fat beans sliced thin! Yikes.

Ruth said...

Margie, I should have mentioned: the cheese must be bleu.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Arti, at your and Bonnie's suggestion, I added sesame oil and sesame seeds to last night's batch. I loved it. Unfortunately the beans were not as fresh as they should have been. I will try it on them fresh next time.

Love where you went with your Bigelow post - rising above gender - and where it led me and that article I found about the Vienna philharmonic's blind and not so blind stages of audition.

Ruth said...

Terresa, Yep.

Bob Johnson said...

Hai Ruth, I love all green beans topped with anything but ketchup,lol

Ruth said...

Boots, that cabbage is CRAZY! It does look like a spool (well spitskool isn't spool . . . ). Garlic makes everything better, I say. The more the merrier. Yes, one whole clove, or two or three!

Wouldn't it be fun to dance around in your kitchen and cook together? Like at Hukilau.

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, I haven't seen them except at the Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. But maybe I missed them too. That's why I was so excited. Hope you can find them. Be sure to cook them up fresh, all of them, don't leave them in the fridge like I did and they just start to taste like cardboard (like anything, really).

Ruth said...

Di, all I can think about is your mouse. There is a theme today, you and Jeanie.

Don said...

what a great deal I have; a live-in food fiend!

I wonder if those beans would go well with maple syrup?

Ruth said...

Loring, I knew you must be a mnemonist. Geez! That reminds me of Peter's story at the all-you-can-eat seafood bar. But he was not eating green beans.

I think you and Don should go to his old haunt in Pasadena that basically sold Szechuan noodles, and that's it. They cooked beef in broth with red peppers for a couple days, then added noodles. Don and his friend would go eat, their ears would turn beat red, and they'd be cleaned out for a couple days.

Ruth said...

Sandy, "try it, you'll like it."

Ruth said...

DS, no one needs to help you pay attention, but thank you for your generosity. I guess we do share a love of deep observation, of different things - and that is what we offer each other.

Ruth said...

DS, no one needs to help you pay attention, but thank you for your generosity. I guess we do share a love of deep observation, of different things - and that is what we offer each other.

Ruth said...

Susie, you and I are two beans in a pod, wait. I load half my plate at Chinese buffets with those green beans. Ohhhh.

I sort of like saying haricot verts, but I sort feel like I'm probably saying it terribly wrong.

Ruth said...

Yep, Gemma, when you have the right ingredients, simple is just wonderful.

Ruth said...

Nancy, you should see the sap running from the maples that Don is tapping.

Ruth said...

Oliag, thank you. I had heard about the Florida tomato shortage, something I remember from a few years ago. Remember that? No one had them in restaurants.

I wonder if you have wild asperges out there by the side of the road as we do here? But it is oh-so-delectable when it is thin, as this was that I cooked.

Ruth said...

Fragrant Liar, pull up a chair and a plate and a fork.

And then I'll give you a haircut.

Ruth said...

Leena dear, three weeks is a long time. When I am a grandma I know I will get tired too. I get tired now and I'm not even a grandma. Give a big squeeze to Melli and Mikhail. And yourself.

Ruth said...

Ohhh, Bob, terrible!

:)

Ruth said...

Don, I think the great deal is all mine.

If I were one of those chefs on TV, no doubt I could come up with something good combining beans and maple syrup. But your pancakes with it are the best.

Susan said...

Ruthie, the only thing I eat from the regular side of the buffet are the beans! I only go for them and the sushi and steamed mussels and shrimp! Oh and the wonton soup w/o the dumpling.

dutchbaby said...

I figured out a way to justify coming to Michigan so that I can taste your haricots verts...with cheese, baguette and red wine. It's cheaper than airfare to Paris! I'll tell my husband that I'm saving lots of money!

Haricots verts are also great in Salade Niçoise; it would be such a sneaky way to also taste some of your chickens' freshly-laid eggs:)

David Hart said...

They're my favorite vegetable preparation, too!

Ruth said...

Susie, good for you! The other day Don and I went, and we didn't neglect a single dish, I think. And the worst thing was, they didn't have the beans!!! :|

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, it's a deal, and you just tell me the day and the hour!

Ruth said...

Dave, yay!