The girls are working at camp for ten weeks this summer, and we’ll see them only on their handful of days off. Yesterday was one of those days, and they came home eager to catch up on their sleep and wash their clothes – and also, one hopes, to see their parents.
When I was a teenager I worked at camp for four summers, so I have a good idea how hard they’ve been working. Being a camp counsellor was one of the most challenging and most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. This year my 19 year old is a counsellor and my 16 year old works in the camp kitchen. When I was preparing dinner last night, I deliberately didn’t ask for help, since I wanted to give them a complete break. My oldest daughter offered to help – she always does – and then my youngest surprised me by coming in the kitchen and asking, “Can I make the salad?” She proceeded to prepare the lettuce so efficiently and so attractively (and so helpfully) that I was tempted to take photos for the blog.
(She’d be mortified to know I was praising her publicly, and I can only do it because she doesn’t usually read my blog. If you see her, don’t mention this post, okay?)
As I write this, they’re on their way back to camp for Session Two. Today’s recipe is one I served for our family dinner last night, and one that I’ve been making for twenty-two years.
After I was married, and cooking for two on a regular basis, I wanted to expand my repertoire beyond the recipes I’d grown up making. And so I started to buy cooking magazines. This one came from the first issue of Bon Appetit I ever bought, in July 1992, long before those daughters were born. Now that I’m cooking for four – or for two, when they’re up at camp – we still love it.
Green Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
(from the July 1992 issue of Bon Appetit)
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
3 shallots, minced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Romano or Manchego cheese (first amount)
1/3 cup grated Romano or Manchego cheese (second amount)
Cook beans in large pot of rapidly boiling salted water until just crisp-tender. Rinse with cold water. Drain. Transfer to bowl.
Combine shallots and vinegar. Gradually mix in oil. Add basil. Add enough dressing to beans to coat. Gently mix in 1/3 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead; cover and chill.) Place bean salad on platter and top with remaining cheese.