A rich and satisying warm salad with crisp green beans, sweet tomatoes, and a smoky bacon vinaigrette.
I was feeling very rushed yesterday. I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning, and by the time I returned home I felt like I was racing against time trying to finish my to-do list before going to work. I am hosting my monthly book club tonight, so the passion fruit cheesecake(!!) had to be made yesterday. Even though I love entertaining and hosting, it can easily turn into a nerve-racking situation if I allow it. It must stem from the part of my ego that needs other people’s approval. What starts off as excitement about choosing recipes, selecting a playlist, and fantasizing about drinking good wine over stimulating conversation can quickly turn to panic.
The day before hosting, I turn into my own worst enemy creating endless to-do lists and noticing everything that is wrong with our apartment. We still haven’t hung up that shelf! Why doesn’t our living room get more light? I wish we could hire a decorator so I could truly enjoy our home. However, I caught myself in the midst of these thoughts yesterday. I allowed myself to sit still (my acupuncturist finds it curious that I usually frame it as, “I forced myself to sit still.”) for a few minutes, took some deep breaths, and tried to quiet the loud voice that was trying to put a negative spin on an experience that brings me a lot of joy. When I woke up this morning, I told myself I was going to approach the remainder of my to-do list with gratitude:
How fortunate am I that I get to have friends over to discuss a novel that I really enjoyed (we read The Orphan Master’s Son for anyone who is curious)?
I get to cook and bake delicious food for my friends.
I am able to drink wine and connect with other women who I respect and appreciate.
I can buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers to celebrate the arrival of spring.
And I’ll be doing all of the above tonight. Speaking of spring, I made this salad from Food and Wine last week because I needed an easy yet healthy lunch to take to work. It’s a warm salad, so it’s perfect for this time of year when the days can fluctuate between a balmy 50 degrees during the day and a much chillier evening. It reminded me of a tangy, rustic French salad with the green beans, tomatoes, and shallots. I just realized that I’ve been to France twice and both visits were in the spring. They do seem to compliment each other well. Isn’t there a classic song called “April in Paris”? [End of tangent.] This salad is light yet filling, and very satisfying with the bacon and olive oil so you don’t feel deprived whatsoever.
Warm Green Snap Beans in Bacon Vinaigrette
- 2 lbs. green snap beans trimmed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces thickly sliced bacon cut into lardons (1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped basil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cook the beans in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the beans and cool them under cold running water. Drain well and pat dry; transfer the beans to a large bowl.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, shallot, garlic and basil. Scrape the bacon vinaigrette over the beans, season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Serve warm.