Green Beans, Drama Queens
I enjoyed hearing a pre-Thanksgiving NPR interview with Mollie Katzen about green beans. Katzen, whose first cookbooks brightened up many meals at our house, threw some green beans into hot oil for a good radio sizzle. She suggested Dramatically Seared Green Beans could earn their way into a Big Meal because they are cooked on the stovetop and taste good at room temperature, two qualities that help reduce the anxieties of the final few minutes just before the meal begins. I liked the way Katzen handled Melissa Block's question about whether to insist on a new green bean preparation, no matter how delicious and nutritious, if a family could not enjoy the holiday meal without the infamous Green Bean Casserole. (Answer: Even with its canned mushroom soup and canned "French fried" onion rings, if the Casserole is THE secret to maintaining tradition -- then let tradition flourish.)
With recipes like Crispy Edged Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Vanilla Maple Sweet Potatoes, Mollie Katzen's latest cookbook, The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without, sounds just as rich as the ones that kept me well entertained years ago.