When cleaning out a very messy, overstuffed coat closet this weekend, I came across a mystery bankers box of old cookbooks. I don’t know where they came from or who they’re from. I’m sure I had a conversation about them with whoever gave them to me at some point, but my scattered brain leaves me at a dead end. To my book-gifter, thank you! Both for the books and this week’s inspiration.
I opened one of the books and a pile of snipped recipes and ads from the 50s fell out. I learned why gelatin was used so frequently in recipes in the 40s and into the 50s. It was because of rationing during WWII. Since the amount of meat someone could get was regulated, gelatin was readily available and claimed to have alternative sources of protein. It was a dietary supplement if you will. And that, friends, is how meat and tuna molds were born…out of necessity. Did necessity make it more palatable, I wonder?
Speaking of wasting circa 2016, I flipped through my ‘new’ old cookbooks to find some inspiration for green beans, which were just on the edge of too-far-gone in the bottom drawer of my fridge, and I found a recipe for Green Beans and Rosemary.
I was intrigued. I wanted to jazz them up just a bit, so I opened my pantry and grabbed one of my Trader Joe’s favorites: Rosemary Marcona Almonds. Beside them was a gigantic Costco-sized bag of dried dates that haven’t been opened in about 6 months, so I figured it was as good a time as any to use them.
Something I didn’t know, and I’m sure some of you-especially my veggie friends-do: dates (when diced and cooked in oil) take on a cooked bacon/pancetta like texture. They are outrageously flavorful. Initially, I sautéed the diced dates and minced garlic in some olive oil. I added the green beans, a healthy pinch of salt and stirred them to coat with oil. I left them alone for about 5 minutes, gave the beans another stir, added the rosemary almonds, and threw them in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. They’re as easy as that!
- 1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped off
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 dates, pitted and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup Trader Joe's Rosemary Marcona almonds
- or ½ cup Marcona almonds+ 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped or 1 tsp. dried rosemary, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic, stirring to coat in oil and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add dates and green beans to the garlic-oil, stir to coat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, or until the beans start to sweat just a bit.
- Add salt and almonds, give one final stir to coat everything in the skillet, and pop in the oven.
- Cook for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the beans are slightly blistered and browned but still have their form.
And more happies:
Day 30:Happiness is women’s healthcare. And all women, young and old, with plenty or of limited means, having access to specialized services. And sanitary health facilities and appreciating the people who work there. And women lifting each other up and supporting each other instead of tearing each other down, regardless of personal choice.
Day31: Happiness is this goat cheese, maple sausage, kalamata, and roasted red pepper flatbread. And pint of Allagash white.
Day 32: Happiness is snow on the ocean./Addendum: I take it back! Unhappiness is snow on the ocean!! And being at a dead standstill for the better part of an hour now. And only being able to drive 20 mph when moving. Boo./Revision: Happiness is being home after a four hour trip in an unexpected nor’easter. And wine.
Day 33: Happiness is a furry, floppy, wet-nosed, nuzzling, tail-wagging alarm clock…even on a Saturday. It sure beats any automated sound.
Day 34: Happiness is taking a family selfie at the end of a winter hike. And being outside breathing fresh, cold air. And the fierce, blue winter sky. And running off-leash (says Izzy).
Day 35:Happiness is a collage of thank-you notes, family pics, and quotes on your cubical wall to remind you why you do what you do.
Day 36:Happiness is love. And wall art. And Wednesday night pub trivia. And midweek beers.