• Where do green beans come from anyway?

    by Ellen on March 8, 2007 · 8 comments

    You know that infamous green bean casserole, the one with the crunchy onion topping? The one that graces (pardon the pun) every Thanksgiving table in the US? Where do the green beans come from? Why, of course, they grow in a can. Green Giant makes them. Isn’t that what you believe?!?!?!

    And salad dressing. First of all, did any of us even eat salad as a child growing up during the 60′s and maybe the 70′s? And if we did, didn’t it consist of iceberg lettuce, that plebian of lettuces, the one that I choose today only if there are no other options at the grocery store? And if we ate salad, it was doused with salad dressing, either Kraft Catalina or Wishbone Italian, right?

    The culinary experiences of a child growing up in the 60’s. I have come a long way since those days. We all have. I don’t blame my mother, the queen of my childhood kitchen, may her memory be a blessing – she was a product of the times. But I’m grateful to have moved on from those early life experiences with food and discovered that in fact salad dressing can be made from scratch and green beans grow in a garden.

    Personally, I don’t think I’ve eaten that green bean casserole since flared bell bottom jeans first made their debut! Whether made with canned or fresh green beans, it isn’t on my list of must-have foods, Thanksgiving or not. I don’t mean to insult those of you who still crave that mushy sea of cream of mushroom soupy concoction of withered green beans and sort of recognizable onion crunchy thingies – there I go again, dissing the casserole. Sorry, I just can’t help it. No really, if you still want to eat it, because you love it or even for old time sake, I give you my blessing.

    For those of you who don’t make your own salad dressing but would like to, fear not. It is easily done with a few ingredients and once you begin making your own, you will never return to those bottled dressings, I promise. And for those who are already making dressing but are looking for something a little different, I offer you today’s recipe for Green Goddess Avocado Creamy Dressing.

    I don’t mean to tease you – forgive me if it seems so. It’s just that I make my standard every night simple balsamic dressing without even thinking about measurements. Shitarei – that’s transliterated Yiddish for a little bit of this and a little bit of that. At some point, I plan on measuring when I make it and then I will include the recipe. But for now, I’m skipping right to the next level. It’s a wee bit, only a wee bit more involved. But oh so worth it when the taste explodes in your mouth and you want to smear it on anything that is edible.

    Green Goddess Avocado Creamy Dressing

    1 ripe avocado
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    ½ cup plain yogurt
    ½ cup sour cream
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/8 teaspoon sugar
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon grated onion
    Pinch of cayenne pepper

    Mash the avocado. Add all the other ingredients. Blend well.

    I threw everything in a small food processor and that took very good care of blending the ingredients. It was meant for our salad, but ended up being used as a topping for our baked potatoes as well. The next time I make it I will add cilantro, as I think it would be a great addition to the basic dressing recipe.

    { 8 comments… read them below or add one }

    amelia March 8, 2007 at 10:10 am

    I was a lucky little kid — my Boppy grew green beans in our back yard, and I ate them all the time, fresh off the vine. Little did I realize I was eating ORGANIC PRODUCE — ha! Fresh-grown, home-grown, warm-from-the-sun — man, I miss those days.

    I’ve started making my own balsamic vinaigrette here in Prov — and everyone loves it, thank goodness! I think of you every time I pour it together (and measuring? Ha! Not me!)

    Love you.

    Amelia

    PS: Did you know that Green Bean Casserole was my Gram’s signature dish for, like, ever? Mama still asks about it after every family function. Watch your Ps & Qs, lady — don’t go dissin’ your Mother-in-Law! x.

    Reply

    Sea March 8, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Oh no! I used up my last avocado yesterday, grumble grumble. Now I have to wait until Sunday for the farmer’s market to buy me some avocados to make this! grumble grumble. (looks very tasty! so as not to end on a grumpy note!)

    -Sea

    Reply

    Faye March 8, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Ellen,
    As always, I try your famous recipes, except for the Indian cuisine…not my favorite. However, last year, at a home visit for one of my preschoolers, I tasted the real thing. Of Indian heritage and custom, the mom feeds dinner at 4 pm. She insisted on my tasting her chicken dish. Delicious, but oh so spicy hot! Mom would’ve had such heartburn! Anyway, off track again…I will make the dressing just as soon as I can find a ripe avocado. The other incredients are a staple in my kitchen. Much love from your kid sister….

    Reply

    Lynn Barry March 8, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    I hear ya with the green bean thingie…but the can of mushroom soup and the onions all have gluten, I think, so it is a good thing you don’t miss it…you’re so FUNNY…thanks for the laugh.
    As for the dressing I am thinking of trying it but substituting 1/2 cup of rice milk for the sour cream and yogurt. Not sure if that will be ok but I will let you know when I go try it. THANKS My friend~

    Reply

    Ellen March 8, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Amelia,

    Ah yes, Gram’s green bean casserole. No disrespect intended. I didn’t like my own mother’s green bean casserole either. I don’t like anyone’s green bean casserole. Sorry, the stuff makes me want to hurl. But I love her dearly and always loved the sweet sentiment behind the green bean casserole:).

    Sea & Faye, find yourself a local Hispanic Market. They have ripe avocados all the time! Then you won’t have to wait for it to ripen. Instead you can have instant pleasure!

    Lynn, I’m not experienced at subbing for sour cream – I usually use yogurt instead, but that won’t help you. Try the rice milk – let me know how it plays out. I hope you find a suitable substitution.

    Reply

    Dianne March 9, 2007 at 5:32 am

    That dressing seams too good to be true! I’ve been looking for a thick salad dressing for a while … and I am addicted to avocado’s! Yeahhhhhh!

    :)

    Reply

    Ellen March 9, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Glad you stopped by and found this dressing – I bet it does the trick for you! I bet some of the ingredients can be changed too, though I’d keep the avocado especially since you’re addicted! But I think you could do more yogurt, less sour cream, or all yogurt, or add some tahini for a little different taste. Maybe tofutti sour cream instead of regular dairy sour cream. Last night I poured it over my leftover baked potatoes and it was heavenly!

    Reply

    Nupur March 21, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    That does look divine! I confess that I don’t eat enough salads (though I eat plenty of cooked veggies), so I’m going to bookmark this dressing and try it very soon!

    Reply

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