Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Snap Beans and Potatoes

My grandmother's southern flair snuck out in her accent, adding syllables to seemingly short words. (can=cay-yun, Laurel=La-uh-rel), you get the gist. She always wore her pink lipstick and always combed her hair into a perfectly blond coif...well, she had a little help from the neighborhood beauty shop. And she cooked with heart, love, and butter. But she was pretty health-conscious, so she made lots of vegetables and low-fat dishes, unlike her seven sisters-in-law, who I swear are somehow related to Paul "Queen of Butter" Dean.

One of my grandmother's standard sides for a big dinner was "Snap beans and potatoes." Now, I don't think "snap beans" are technically a vegetable, but they're green beans with big chunks of red potatoes mixed in. You can add bacon fat, but why mess with nature? It's easy simple, and really filling. I've changed her recipe a little, using a wok instead of a soup pot, so the beans don't overcook (which is easy to do).

Mama's Snap Beans & Potatoes
Serves 4; 20 minutes to make

2 cups water
3 red/new potatoes, cut into slices or chunks (peels on)
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound of "snap beans," ends popped/cut off
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of smoked paprika or Italian seasoning (optional)

In a large wok or large saucepan with a lid, preheat at medium high heat. Add a dash of salt, the water and the potatoes. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. 

Uncover and add the green beans, using a spoon or spatula to make sure they are halfway submerged in water. Cook for 6 more minutes, or until beans are bright green and cooked (but not soft and mushy). Drain and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste. Serve hot. Top with smoked paprika or Italian seasoning for color and extra flavor, if you like.

This side works with most every meat or main dish, and it even works as a room temperature side at a picnic. Hope you enjoy this southern side from my grandmother's kitchen to yours.

Happy eating!

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