Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6th - Green Beans with Walnuts and Walnut Oil

Today, I have come to the realization that I have officially become an old fogie.

Brian always jokes around that I'm like an old man because I'm always peering out of the front-room window wondering what is going on outside.  (And I do that.  Yes, I admit it.)  But the kids in the neighborhood are always up to no good!  No good, I say!  They are the reason why I had to put our lawn jockey in the witness protection program.  (He is safely living at a friend's house now, after several attempts of jockey-napping.)

Yes, I'm way out of touch with the music of today.  Apparently Dee-Lite hasn't been popular since the early 1990's.   And I can remember a time when The Real World was real.   But, I didn't realize how out of touch I am until my conversation with a few young whipper-snappers this afternoon.

So, I had to go into school to get a few things done.  I decided to stop and talk to some students about this cooking contest I'm organizing at school (which I'm really excited about) in order to get the word out.

They (seriously) asked me if the were able to get extra credit for doing it!!!  Amazed, first off because you shouldn't need extra credit in culinary school (??), I told them no, but said there would be prizes.

Upon hearing this they asked, "What kind of prizes?".

I responded, "What does it matter?".

Their response, "That's the motivation for doing it".

And then, as naturally as a breath, I muttered "Well back in my day we didn't care what kind of prizes there were.  We were lucky to have a cooking contest at all."  I stopped.  Horrified, as if I told them to all go *bleep* off, I couldn't believe what I had just said.  God, did I sound like an old person.

Driving home (quite slow and with my left blinker on the whole time), I contemplated what had happened.

At first I struggled with the generational issue:  Yes, this current generation is really about instant gratification.  Yes, there has to be some sort of monetary or material motivation for them to do things (it can't just be about self-improvement).  When did it become uncool to do things just for the sake of experience?  Does everything have to have a price?

But then I began to grapple with the real issue:  When did I become the uncool adult preaching about what is really important in life?  Sigh.  Growing up sucks.

The Recipe

Okay.  There really is nothing to this recipe.  As far as ingredients:

Green Beans : $2.08
Butter: (Had in the house)
Walnuts: (Had in the house)
Walnut Oil:  (Give me a second, I'll rant about that after this)
Parsley:  (Had in the freezer)

Total = $2.08

The Walnut Oil
Honestly, you don't need it in the recipe.  It does nothing.  I, knowing from experience how useless walnut oil is, borrowed some from a chef friend (Thanks, Tommy).  It's nice to have chef friends.  Walnut oil is expensive and, because it comes from a nut, goes rancid a lot quicker than olive or vegetable oil.

Basically you take the green beans and blanch them (cook in boiling water for 5 minutes) and then shock them (put them in ice water to stop the cooking process).   Then you combine the butter and walnut oil in a pan, saute the (dried off) green beans, and then toss with toasted walnuts and parsley.  That's it!

The Results

Fast: The recipe took me about 10 minutes (including blanching and shocking time).  While the beans were getting the hot-tub treatment, I toasted the walnuts in a fry pan.

Easy:  Probably the easiest recipe so far.

Fresh:  Yeah, I'd say so.  As long as the green beans are fresh.

Overall:  I'd rather have made the green beans with pecans instead of walnuts.  The recipe is pretty ho-hum with walnuts.   Now back in my day we'd have to go out to the fields and pick the green beans fresh.  We didn't have "grocery" stores.  Why, I had to walk 20 miles just to take a stagecoach to the fields and....


joybjoyful said...

I LOVE that you're an old fogie! Wish I could have been there when you had that conversation with those students. I probably would have reacted the same way! But then again, I really AM an old fogie!

Nikki said...

All this and you don't even mention that you are only 31! Boy, I laughed my hardest at this one. Maybe b/c I've seen this side of you. Oh, my guts still hurt.

BTW- if one doesn't have a chef friend with walnut oil, and one chooses not to buy it, what is the substitue?

SuperStar Chef Mark said...

Substitute olive oil instead. The majority of the walnut flavor will come from the toasted walnuts. I don't think the walnut oil really did much to improve the flavor.

Or, you could ask this chef friend if you could borrow the remaining three tablespoons he has!

ஜCupcakeWhimsyஜ said...

"When did I become the uncool adult preaching about what is really important in life."
When? The day at the lunch table when your friend at the raisin after it came out of his nose. Life in the big city (Milwaukee) makes you grow up fast.
Now get off my lawn!

Peace said...

Okay, we are both officially fogie-fied because I was waiting for the chance to comment with a 'walked through the snow uphill both ways ten miles to cook breakfast" type comment, but you'd beaten me to it.

I am so going to enjoy following your blog. Pathos, recipes and a hatred for green peppers? can't go wrong.

Peacewytch from Swapbot