A day off

Sunday, July 13, 2014

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.



25 comments:

Angie Schneider said...

Your gals are very beautiful, Beth.
I like to prepare the green beans this way too..blanched and served simply with a herb vinaigrette..yours looks very delicious!

Julie said...

What a nice salad and beautiful post!! Have a great week!!!

Valerie Gamine said...

Beth, your daughters are gorgeous! Just like my older sister and I, it looks as though they're as different as night and day...a fact that my mom has always enjoyed (and sometimes found unbearably frustrating!). :D

Lovely salad too! Recipes that stand the test of time are rare.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome your daughters are following your camp counselor tradition. And thanks fo the great recipe.

Bonnie said...

Beth, Some of my fondest memories are from the summers I worked as a camp counselor. How fortunate your daughter's camp is close that they may return home for R&R between sessions. I hope you are all having a relaxing summer. Bonnie

Jemi Fraser said...

Yum! We're big green bean fans here so this will be a hit!
Gorgeous girls! :)

Barbara said...

The older our kids get, the less we see them and the more independent they become! And that's the way it should be if we were good parents. Mine are scattered all over and it doesn't matter that they are now in their mid 50's...I still think of them as children and love it when I'm able to be with them.
You have lovely girls, Beth. So glad I had a girl first...they will always be your best friends.
And that green bean salad is a gem!

Gloria Baker said...

Yours girls are amazing and beautiful Beth! And love this salad!

Katerina said...

You have two beautiful girls Beth and the salad is perfect in its simplicity!

Joanne said...

Aww love that the girls want to help even though they've been cooking all day! Such sweethearts. And this salad sounds fabulous! So perfect for summer.

Guru Uru said...

Your girls are super awesome, I get lazy so much easily!
Lovely looking salad, wish it was summer!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Love this recipe, I have green beans coming out the ears here, so will be trying this next. Your daughters sounds like very responsible, thoughtful young women.

vanillasugarblog said...

you know there are times I miss camp; the camp I had as a kid.
the non stop playing, the swimming, the arts & crafts....
I swear I wish there was an adult version--that would be one as all the same things as a kid but with A/C. LOL

Monet said...

What beautiful and thoughtful and strong girls! You must be so proud. And this salad sounds like it could become a summer classic in my house. Thank you for sharing!

I Wilkerson said...

Congrats on your daughters' work ethic and thoughtfulness. My middle daughter is working as a prep cook (line cook promotion if she comes back next year) as one of her two jobs. I only see her for brief visits "up north" (when she is still working), but perhaps I can hope for a lovely salad in my future too! Your green beans look great--I just got a giant bag, so will have to try them! We've been in a green bean almondine rut.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I remember this salad! I never made it as-is, but it inspired one I created for a dinner party, and still make sometimes. I really should make this original version, though, it's terrific. Thanks for this.

Daniela Grimburg said...

It's impressive how life changes when our teenagers grow up.
Your daughters are lovely Beth and it's so nice how you indulge them when they are home.
The green bean salad sounds lovely and is a perfect summer treat.

kirstenlopresti said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'm always looking for fun new things to do with vegetables.

Julia said...

Beans and cheese - what a yummy combination! Your daughters are so beautiful!

Juliana Levine said...

I love the picture of your daughters, they are so cute...
This bean and cheese dish looks delicious and simple...thanks for the recipe Beth.
Hope you are having a colorful week :D

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Very pretty and wonderful daughters, dear Beth and what a lovely recipe indeed! And you always write so beautifully...
Have a great Sunday!

Beth said...

Thanks, Andrea! I'm always inspired by the beautiful photography on your blog! Hope you have a great Sunday too.

bakewithjill.com said...

This sounds like the perfect summer salad. Maybe your girls will make this for their families one day.

veggieats.com said...

Very pretty daughters Beth! Great recipe for summer...

nancy at good food matters said...

wonderful that your girls love to eat good healthy food---and can help prepare it with confidence and ease.

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