Green Beans with Shallot Vinaigrette
From Cooking This and That
Honeymoon Kitchen’s first major holiday celebration was officially a success…until it turned into a complete disaster. Ok, complete disaster is probably an exaggeration, but let’s start from the beginning and you can be the judge.
Our final headcount was 14, which is pretty close to the most we can likely host for a sit-down dinner. We had to put one table in the family room and change the appetizer table into a dinner table at the last minute, but my family members are seasoned hosts and they all pitched in to keep things running smoothly. John came up with the brilliant-idea-of-the-day, suggesting we warm our 11 pound Honey Baked Ham over indirect heat on the grill to free up oven space for appetizers and side dishes. By all accounts, things were going swimmingly.
Enter HMK resident rascals: Ralph and Lucy. During dinner we decided to put up a gate limiting both dogs to the staircase and top two floors of the house. Now, you need to know that we’re very proud of the fact that we have raised virtually barking-free dogs. Their exile was clearly upsetting to them, but thanks to our Tiger Mom training methods they didn’t dare make a peep. Instead they expressed their dissatisfaction in the only silent way they know how: peeing and pooping EVERYWHERE.
First my little cousins discovered a few gifts on the third floor that appeared some time during the main course. Lucy was the prime suspect, knowing as we do her particular brand of revenge. We were upset, but clean up was quick and we moved past the incident. But then came the piece de resistance. Upon continued detainment through the dessert course Ralph took matters into his own hands by PEEING ON OUR BED. This is a food blog so I’ll try to keep the gory details to a minimum, but let’s just say he REALLY had to go. We did our best to mitigate the damage and get back to the party quickly, resigning ourselves to a night of laundry after the party was over.
Guests filtered out around 7:30pm and we ran the washer with a load of towels and table linens we had been accumulating all night. We started in on the dishes and general cleanup and it was around 8:30 before we realized something was amiss with the washing machine. It was frozen in the spin cycle and no amount of tinkering or Googling could get it to move on. 9:00pm crept up and reality (accompanied by extreme exhaustion) set in: we had a urine-soaked duvet, a washer full of sopping wet, soapy linens and a very broken washing machine on our hands. As we dragged the wet laundry out to the deck and hand washed the duvet in the bath tub I cursed our bad luck and our decision to buy a 10 year old house chock full of the original appliances. But in the light of day I have to admit that life would be pretty boring if everything went perfectly all the time. I mean, if that were the case all I’d have to write about today would be these green beans (which, incidentally, are guaranteed not to fail on you). Made in advance and served at room temperature, this side dish is a hostess’es dream. In fact, it might just be the perfect antidote to two dogs and a 10 year old washing machine.
- 1 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
- salt, divided, to taste
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Salt the water and add green beans.
- Cook 2-3 minutes, or until they are as tender as you like. We like them pretty crunchy.
- As soon as they are done cooking, drain the beans and then immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Set beans aside.
- Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Saute shallots until translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Add vinegar and cooking, stirring often, until mixture has thickened slightly and shallots have absorbed some of the vinegar, about 5 minutes.
- Add green beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Saute 2 minutes.
- Refrigerate until 2 hours before you need them. Allow to sit out at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.