I don’t want to see green beans for a long time. And now asparagus joins the list of vegetables I’ve eaten way too much of.
See, back in January I had a special meal planned for a crowd to celebrate husband Eric’s birthday.
I had a huge rib roast, for at least eight people, and bought a bag of mashed potatoes and green beans.
Only I had bought Haricot Vert, the thin, elegant cousin of our regular green beans. Bon Appétit magazine says they’re “chic, classy, French” and reminds us that haricot vert is the literal translation of green beans.
Nobody on the internet seems to agree on the plural form of the term. I kind of remember from French class, which I often skipped, that you make the first word of the term plural, not the second like we do in English in cases of “attorneys general” and the like. I may have missed one class too many because the online English-French dictionary says the plural haricotS is vertS. Bon appetit disagrees; You just add an S to the second word.
The regular green beans you buy loose in the produce department or in bags, maybe ready-to-steam, Bon Appétit calls a little “shorter, thicker, sturdier,” which doesn’t sound like a compliment.
I digress. The point is that just before the big to-do, the number of positive COVID cases in the capital region reached a staggering number. I got sick and got tested (negative) by a nice overworked doctor who advised me to stay home “for the next six to eight weeks” if possible.
That was a few days before the party. I had already made a purchase but I canceled.
The roast took up an enormous amount of space in my freezer until we could all get together again to celebrate. The potatoes could stay in the basement and we eat salad every day so we would use up most of the salad but I had bought a lot of fancy green beans.
I guess I could have frozen them. I’ve tried dumping something on the neighbors by sending artistic photos of them, nicely arranged, but no cubes. We didn’t go anywhere or meet anyone, so I stayed with them.
We ate a lot of green beans.
On the downside, they sure last a long time in the fridge—weeks. I could maybe serve her twice a week on the side. I also sneaked them into pot pie and soups. It ended up being way too many green beans, even the fancy ones. I haven’t bought any since then.
We finally had the food. I think I made glazed carrots for the veggies. Eric was happy to stretch out his birthday for months.
Jump to last weekend. I had assembled a group of like-minded friends to meet at my dinner table and was really looking forward to it. I planned bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts, a crowd-pleaser; Asparagus; green salad; and a load of fresh rolls. Snacks before and two types of biscuits for dessert.
I bought special chicken breasts and Nueske’s bacon at Edelmarkt, along with two bundles of lean asparagus, which are ubiquitous this time of year. And I made fresh rolls on the morning of the event.
Before I had a chance to start the roles that day, I got a text message from Patrice. She was sick: chills, fever, stuffy nose, it works. Her whole family was exposed to COVID at a birthday party a few days earlier. So she and her husband couldn’t come.
I threw the chicken and bacon in the freezer and the rest of us had lovely steaks that Eric bought at the fancy market and expertly cooked on the grill. With roasted, quartered and seasoned baby Yukon Gold potatoes and asparagus, it was still a nice meal but less fuss.
You can see where I’m going with this. The bunches of asparagus seem to be bigger this year. i had two I pushed as much asparagus as I could into my little dinner party, but there was plenty left.
Eric suggested cream of asparagus soup in “On One Of Those Chilly Nights,” but I’ve already looked online for ways to freeze it.
My niece came to the rescue. She took a bunch from my hands and cooked them for Easter dinner. Furious. I finished the leftovers here, which were kind of a bit too many spears.
There are worse things. I’m sure I’ll be craving asparagus again in a few weeks, but these green beans? It will still take a while.
Caroline Lee is a freelance writer based in Troy. Reach them below [email protected]
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Categories: food, life and art