In an attempt to not lose my mind during Bar Prep, I’m going to start posting some “Study break posts.” Just studying for the bar all the time is miserable and I think I’m making it worse by making a bunch of things and saving the recipes for later use. They are just piling up in my GoogleDocs and I’m getting sad by not sharing them with the rest of you. I mean, heck, I get comments on blog posts that don’t even involve any recipes… I owe it to you guys to give you something more entertaining to read than “yay I graduated!” So here we go…a post written on a nice little study break, from a conference room at the law school. Gosh, now which recipe do I pick? I’ve got a bunch in my GoogleDocs and a couple that I’d really like to share. I think I’ll start by sharing one with a personal meaning and then go on from there! As many of you may know, either from knowing me personally, or through my twitter, I went to Virginia on Sunday to visit my grandmother in the hospital. My grandmother, Mimi, is very dear to my heart for many reasons. She moved in with our family when my sister was born (when I was 8) and lived with us for 10 years. My mother is a working mother and my father worked a lot too (Mimi is his mother). So, since both of my parents were working pretty much all the time, Mimi was a big part of our lives, whether it was taking us shopping for school clothes/supplies or cooking us dinner every night. She is a great cook. Her fried chicken is one of a kind, and I refuse to order lasagna in restaurants because I know it won’t measure up to Mimi’s. My Aunt Beth is an excellent cook as well, hence her recipe “Beth’s Baked Brie” was featured as my first post! I hope to one day at least be able to cook half as well as them, and have mykids, grandkids, and nieces and nephews think fondly of me as a “great cook.” Dare to dream right?Well about two Thanksgivings ago, Mimi was diagnosed with cancer. It seems to get everyone these days. She had just had her 80th birthday, but she decided to undergo chemotherapy in an attempt to fight the fight. She’s been a tough lady for the past year and a half but, unfortunately, chemo is no longer working and now we kind of just have to wait and see. I had, I suppose somewhat selfishly, hoped that in visiting her I would be able to get those recipes from her: the fried chicken, the lasagna, the meatloaf etc. but unfortunately realized upon my arrival that it would not be possible. Instead, I spent the day just sitting with her, talking a little…but mostly just being there, keeping her company, and holding her hand. I had hoped to be able to share these things with you in an attempt to honor hercooking and continue her legacy.I have been struggling a lot with her illness and I think this was maybe my desperate attempt to hang on to anything that reminds me of her. Fortunately, my Aunt Beth is a much better protege than myself and she has probably had these recipes for years. If I ever get ahold of them, I will make them and share them with you, so that you can be a part of her legacy too. If I don’t, that’s okay too; I have many other memories with her.
For now, I will leave you with a slight spin on Mimi’s Green Beans. Although relatively simple, this recipe is pretty special to me because I used to sit on the couch with Mimi, watching Golden Girls, and snapping the ends off of the green beans to get them ready to cook. It’s a nice little memory that I can always hold on to, like how she always made me eat Saltines and drink Sprite when I was home sick from school. So here you go, my version of Mimi’s Green Beans!
Approx. 1 lb. of green beans, trimmed and washed
1 slice of pancetta bacon cooked and then cut into small pieces (depends on how much of that bacon flavor you like)(Mimi uses actual bacon, not pancetta)
1 green onion (white part sliced thinly and I used part of the green part and shredded it into thin strips)
3/4-1 cup water
1 tbs. sugar
Drizzle olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and saute the pancetta. Once it starts to get a little bit brown, add in the onion.
Once the onions begin to brown, add in the green beans and the water.
Cover on medium-high heat for 30-40 minutes until they brown a bit and are tender (obviously the best way to know this is to just taste one).
Towards the end, follow Mimi’s “southern trick” and add in a tablespoon of sugar at the end to caramelize the bacon flavor.
Serve warm. They go with pretty much anything!
The Verdict: Delicious! Nice savory flavor with a slight sweetness from the sugar. I served with lentil encrusted chicken and a variation of a potato gratin (both of which I will share at a later date!). These will definitely become a staple in the regular dinner rotation.
Update: Mimi passed away on June 9, 2011. She was survived by her two children, two children-in-laws, four grandchildren and her two kitties who she loved very much. I will miss her dearly and hope to share more of her legacy with you all here, as she was an amazing cook. You can visit my Facebook page to see photographs of her; I created an album with about 70 pictures of her and our family. Thank you all for your support through this trying time. Love, Lynn