Ladylike would not be the best way to describe me.
My mother “glistens” when she works out. Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to inherit this trait. Instead, I sweat like a plow horse on a sunny July afternoon. Thanks Dad.
My dancing could only be described as this. My moves are as smooth as the big guy in the back with the striped tee. That’s me, inebriated at weddings. God help me if I’m sober, as what results is an awkward half-Asian hiding in a corner, clapping along to keep up appearances. Because you know, it’s not like everyone’s paying attention to the bride or anything.
And then there’s the way I eat. Granted, I do eat with my mouth closed but I do it at such speed that you’d think I was trying to finish my meal under threat of gunfire.
For this, I blame growing up with a brother who seemed to never escape puberty. There would be times when I’d turn my back away from my plate and a chicken breast would be missing. Now I understand that growing boys need food, but really? That much? And mine?
Thankfully(?) Roo eats the same way I do. Growing up with three other siblings (two of them being boys) he learned to be protective at an early age. That, and if you didn’t eat quick enough, you weren’t able to have seconds as there wouldn’t be anything left.
And when I shovel green beans into my mouth, not taking the time to cut their long stalks in half, instead using the inside of my cheek to bend them in half, Roo doesn’t say a thing. In fact, he keeps an eye on my pace so that he can stay a few mouthfuls ahead of me.
So he can get seconds of course.
This is probably one of my favorite (and easiest) recipes from my mother. The green beans are crisp, with a bit of heat from the the red pepper flake and just a hint of sweetness from the garlic. I love that this side dish cooks up in a few minutes, which is great for when the weather starts to warm and the last thing we want to do is spend it in a hot kitchen.
Recipe from Mom
Serves Two as a Side
A large saute pan
A medium sized microwave safe bowl (optional) with saran wrap or a lid, if you’d like your beans a little less al dente
A sharp knife
Tongs, Spatula or even Chopsticks (to flip around the green beans)
Half pound of green beans, washed and ends trimmed with a knife
Half to one tablespoon of mild tasting olive oil (enough to coat the pan)
Half to one teaspoon of red pepper flake (if you’re heat sensitive, start with a quarter teaspoon)
2 to 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly (if you don’t like very garlicky things, start with one to two cloves)
Salt to taste
*I personally love my green beans a bit crisp. If you don’t, my mom suggests microwaving the green beans right after you rinse them, for about a minute or two on high (covered, with saran wrap/cover) so that they get a head start in cooking. It’s best to do this in batches so that the beans in the center of your dish get cooked just as well as those on the outside.
Pour the olive oil into your large saute pan. Place the pan onto a burner over medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the red pepper flake and slice garlic. Swirl the ingredients around in the pan, cooking till fragrant (about a minute).
Add the beans. Toss them in the olive oil mixture so that they’re well coated with the ingredients. Let sit for about a minute (so some of the lucky beans touching the pan get a little browned), then continue to cook, stirring the beans around occasionally. When the garlic becomes browned, the beans are done! They should be permeated with the garlicky, spicy oil, al dente and delicious. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.