Mary Beth Johnson is a wife and mum to four schooners, as she’s dubbed her children. On a normal afternoon, you would find her in moccasins, skinny jeans and a comfortable tee, camera in hand. Recently moving to the suburbs of Atlanta, Mary Beth spends her days homeschooling, sneaking away to the book store, trying to act the part of a southerner, and sifting through recipes in The Vegetarian Times. Food is her love language.

I know there are all sorts of ways to prepare green beans for Thanksgiving. When my husband and I were dating and celebrating our first big holiday together, he introduced me to green bean casserole – the canned version with cream of mushroom soup and crunchy onions sprinkled on top.

I’m from the north. My mom used to make her green beans steamed with a bit of water and a dash of salt. On very special occasions she would add almonds toasted in butter.

Half the fun of marriage and children (I think) is creating your own traditions, discovering what you want to pass on and what you want to do differently. And then sometimes, the two blend and cross paths in a church service, a bedtime lullaby, or a holiday dish.

When searching for a side dish to bring to my parent’s house this year, I came across this one from The New York Times. It’s a little bit northern and a little bit southern, all blended into one. The perfect marriage of softly minced shallots and coarsely chopped almonds, charred with a smokey flavoring.

May you enjoy! 

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces green and/or wax beans, trimmed
  • ¼ cup blanched whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add salt (a teaspoon or so, or to taste). Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until bright green but still firm, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water. When cool, drain again. Pat dry with paper towels until completely dry.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the almonds and the oil, adding more oil if needed to just cover the almonds. Cook over medium heat until the almonds are golden, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shallot. It will cook in the residual heat.
  3. Coat a large skillet with oil. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the beans and season with salt. Cook, tossing frequently, until charred dark brown in spots and tender-crisp, about 7 minutes.
  4. Top with the almond mixture, then the parsley. Grate the zest from a quarter of the lemon directly over the beans, then cut the lemon into wedges for serving. Season with pepper and serve.
Source: The New York Times

All photography is my own.


November 19, 2014


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