Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Green Beans with Pine Nuts

Sorry about the brief hiatus last week- I had big plans for cooking and then a cold knocked me flat on my butt for the early part of the week and an overnight shift on Wednesday and my sister's graduation over the weekend pretty well took out the rest of my week. So, in an effort to keep up with my 1-post-per-week resolution, you'll be getting two posts this week!

I'm starting with these green beans because it's 90ยบ in Iowa City right now (aaa-mazing!) and fresh green beans are one of the foods that always taste like summer to me. Bright color, crisp snap and with farmer's markets across the country starting this last week, they're now easy and economical to find.

This is a fairly quick and easy recipe, washing and trimming the beans takes about as long as cooking them does! Obviously fresh beans are delicious enough that you can eat them plain (which I quite often do, sometimes not really bothering with the fork) but the pine nuts and blood orange olive oil-balsamic vinegar reduction gives them a little more depth and fancies them up with very little extra work or time. The credit for the pine nuts actually goes to my boyfriend, who added them when he made dinner for me a few months back.

And yes, you did see that correctly -- I use a blood orange olive oil on these, which gives them a little kick of citrus to balance out the nuts and sweetness of the balsamic vinegar. I love stumbling across small, locally-owned businesses that absolutely rock, and allspice in downtown Des Moines, IA is definitely one of those places. I wandered in on St. Patrick's Day this year, after enjoying the parade and a few beverages, and almost never came out because I couldn't make up my mind between their incredible array of spices and gourmet olive oils and vinegars. In the end, I put my money down on a bottle of blood orange olive oil and 18-year aged balsamic vinegar, which I've been using as often as possible since obtaining them! If you're in the area, definitely check them out or visit their site online!!

Green Beans with Pine Nuts

Fresh green beans, rinsed and ends snapped off
Pine nuts
Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO and a little fresh-squeezed orange juice will taste similar)
18-Year Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (you can substitute any balsamic vinegar, but the nice the quality, the better the taste!)
3 cloves of garlic, minced

1. Bring water to a boil with a steamer-colander in the pan. Add the bean and boil for 3-5 minutes, or until they're bright green but still have a crispy snap to them.

2. Remove and drain. Rinse or soak in cold water to stop the bean from continuing to cook.
3. In a pan, combine the olive oil, vinegar, pine nuts and garlic on medium heat until garlic just starts to cook.
4. Add beans and reduce heat to low-medium. Coat the beans with the reduction and continue to stir occasionally until everything is well heated and the olive-oil/vinegar mix sticks to the beans rather than being a sauce, ~5 minutes.
5. Serve and enjoy!

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