I had fun on the Fourth. I cooked for six hours. This is the result (not pictured, my beautiful deviled eggs, which I forgot to set out). Clockwise from top left: Mint limeade, green beans, ribs, fried corn (a.k.a. creamed corn), Aunt Weise’s squash casserole, mashed potatoes (made from actual potatoes, of course), and blackberries from my parents’ field.
All the recipes will be coming up, but I wanted to start with the green bean recipe that Nanny gave me when I called to find out the best way to fix the home-grown green beans that Moomer brought. Moomer and Daddy like cooking them with just a little water in the microwave, so they’re still a wee bit crunchy [Charity’s little Southern soul shudders in horror — no offense, Moomer].
I like the Southern style of green beans — cooked until they’re squishy, with an [un]healthy amount of bacon and a lot of onion. Sure, it’s not the most nutritious way to cook them, but I figure that eating them this way is better than not eating them at all. Don’t you love my logic?
So I called Nanny. And here’s what she does.
After you snap and wash your green beans, put them in a Corning Ware on the stove (if you’re not fortunate enough to own one, go buy one — as soon as possible — at your local flea market. For now, you can use a little pan). Put some water in there — don’t cover them, but put enough to keep them happy, and check them periodically to make sure they’re not out of water. Salt and pepper them to tastes, add a nice handful of (frozen) chopped onions, and a couple spoonfuls of bacon grease (you must keep a small amount of bacon grease in your fridge. If you don’t, I can’t be friends with you). If you have it, add some cooked bacon or some leftover ham. Bring to a boil, and then turn to low and simmer for about two hours. Nanny recommended that I start them early (I started them at about 1:00), and let them cook for two hours, then turn off the heat and let them sit there covered until it was close to suppertime. (“They’re always best leftover anyway — it lets the flavors blend,” she said.) About thirty minutes before supper, I turned the stove back on and heated them. Then I tasted, added a little more salt and a little more grease, and all was blissful in green-bean-land.
This, of course, would be a very nice thing to cook the night before if you’re going to be pressed for time.