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Old 05-09-2008, 08:11 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Yeah..... just call me an adventurer

The thing about fresh herbs though, and this kind of relates to this thread, is that sometimes I like to add a little Italian seasoning to my sauteing green beans. How do you do that with fresh? Grab some oregano, parsley, thyme, whatever else they put in those plastic shakers, chop it up super-fine and toss it in? That's a lot of work for just adding a little seasoning and still wanting the beans to stand out and not a bunch of leafy/chunky looking fresh spices. I can see the benefit of fresh in some dishes, but dry is so much handier and lasts forever. You don't need as much either.

errr, ummm, I use a LOT of dried herbs, buy them by the pound from Penzey's and store them in the freezer
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Old 05-09-2008, 11:54 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Yeah..... just call me an adventurer

The thing about fresh herbs though, and this kind of relates to this thread, is that sometimes I like to add a little Italian seasoning to my sauteing green beans. How do you do that with fresh? Grab some oregano, parsley, thyme, whatever else they put in those plastic shakers, chop it up super-fine and toss it in? That's a lot of work for just adding a little seasoning and still wanting the beans to stand out and not a bunch of leafy/chunky looking fresh spices. I can see the benefit of fresh in some dishes, but dry is so much handier and lasts forever. You don't need as much either.

I'm a fan of both fresh and dry. But dry herbs do not last forever. They lose their taste over time. 6 months is a guideline. Plus if you buy them from the supermarket you have no idea how long they have been sitting on the shelf. That's why so many people buy their dry herbs and spices from Penzey's and other reputable spice purveyors. There is a HUGE difference in quality for not much more, if any, in price.

Regarding fresh herbs, have you ever considered growing them? Basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary etc. can be grown is pots or in a small garden and it's easy as can be. Then you just snip off what you need when you need it.

Regarding green beans, many (maybe most) people prefer their beans to have a bright green color, not an olive drab color. That's why they blanch and shock them.

To get them to turn olive drab color, cook them with an acidic ingredient. Add some lemon juice or vinegar to the cooking water.

To get them to soften, cook them for a long time, using whatever method you choose. Salt also helps.

Here are the 2 ways I usually cook beans:

1. Blanch and shock them and set aside. Fry up some bacon, which bacon is cooking, slice a medium onion up thinly. Remove bacon from pan and set aside, dump most of the bacon fat but not all. Cook onion in bacon fat till soft. Crumble up the cooked bacon and add to pan. Add beans and 1/4 cup water. Stir. Cover and cook until beans are done to your taste.

2. Mix together 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup of black soy sauce (or 1T brown sugar), 2 very finely minced garlic cloves, a thumbnail sized knob of ginger, finely minced, a bunch of scallions, chopped and 1T sesame oil. Get out your wok and get it screaming hot. Add some peanut oil and stir fry your beans in small batches. Cook them until they sear and wrinkle up, but not all the way. Drain them on paper towels as you go. When they are all seared, dump the sauce into the wok and bring it to a boil, then add back all the beans, stir, and cook until done to your taste. These beans can be served hot, room temp or cold.

I am growing green beans in my garden this year for the first time. Cross your fingers.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:03 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Yeah..... just call me an adventurer

The thing about fresh herbs though, and this kind of relates to this thread, is that sometimes I like to add a little Italian seasoning to my sauteing green beans. How do you do that with fresh? Grab some oregano, parsley, thyme, whatever else they put in those plastic shakers, chop it up super-fine and toss it in? That's a lot of work for just adding a little seasoning and still wanting the beans to stand out and not a bunch of leafy/chunky looking fresh spices. I can see the benefit of fresh in some dishes, but dry is so much handier and lasts forever. You don't need as much either.
Pardon the hijack.

Pacanis, fresh herbs do not replace dried herbs and spices. I have fresh rosemary and dried rosemary and I use the both in different dishes. That flavor of the dried Italian seasoning really only comes from the dried variety. You could try to make it with fresh herbs, but it will not taste the same.

Fresh herbs add a natural, bright note to most dishes. Just because you use fresh herbs, doesn't mean you throw out your spice rack.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:06 PM   #44
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I am growing green beans in my garden this year for the first time. Cross your fingers.
They are so much better right off the vine. I grew two types last year and would snack on them while I did my yard work. I ran out of room for them this year.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:17 PM   #45
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Interesting discussion about green beans. I seldom buy fresh green beans because DH, like Pacanis, also likes them tender. So I buy canned (I think I have mentioned on another thread that he is not an adventurous eater). But hey, I never thought of parboiling them before sauteeing. I'm definitely gonna do that!

A couple of historical notes from one of your senior members: my mother always boiled the heck out of canned green beans because of the fear of botulism; this was especially an issue with home-canned green beans. She could never let me snatch one out of the pot before it had cooked for half an hour or so. And my West Virginia grandma used to cook green beans for hours, with bacon ends. Sometimes added a few new potatoes. Don't knock it until you've tried it - it's very very good. I think I'll also try the Italian recipe....
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:53 PM   #46
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Geez, I turn my back for three seconds and everybody is ganging up on me....

I can't do multiple quotes, so I'm just going to do a lot of copy and pasting. I think something is being lost in translation.

From bethzaring:
"errr, ummm, I use a LOT of dried herbs, buy them by the pound from Penzey's and store them in the freezer"

Why the him-hawing? I didn't mean to imply that using a lot of spice is a bad thing. I love the taste of most veggies "natural". Make that most foods..... I love the taste of most foods with very little seasoning. I use a little, you use a lot. No biggie.


From Jennyema:
"I'm a fan of both fresh and dry. But dry herbs do not last forever. They lose their taste over time. 6 months is a guideline."

I didn't know that. One of those cooking shoes, AB I think, said dry herbs get stronger over time. That has always stuck in my mind and I use dried herbs that are MUCH older than 6 months, that's for sure. A small bottle of Italian seasoning can last me years I use so little at a time.

"Regarding green beans, many (maybe most) people prefer their beans to have a bright green color, not an olive drab color."

That's fine by me. I prefer them like in that pic I referred back to. Or like in this pic: http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...oaf-45905.html Scroll down to the finished dish. That isn't bright green in my book. So I guess we will have different preferences in our color of green beans. I love them that olive drab color.

From Jeekinz:
"Pacanis, fresh herbs do not replace dried herbs and spices"

Thanks for the info. I guess I figured that once you started using fresh herbs you became a "purist" . It's good to see that gourmet chefs still keep some dry on hand like us common folk (me)
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:00 PM   #47
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Boiling any canned vegetables seems very strange to me.

Anyway, dry herbs are stronger than the same volume of fresh but they do not get stronger over time. Just the opposite. They lose flavor.

If you want to be adventurous, go to Penzey's website and order a few things and see the difference for yourself. Their italian blend "Tuscan" something-or-other is pretty good.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:07 PM   #48
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I've been meaning to get an order from them, but wasn't sure which "package" to get.
Thanks for the suggestion, but I still don't think I will use them up in 6 months
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:13 PM   #49
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Don't worry about the 6 month thing pacanis. Like jenny said, it is just a guideline. The real test is to smell and taste them. If they still smell and taste good to you then there is no reason to toss them.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:48 PM   #50
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I've been meaning to get an order from them, but wasn't sure which "package" to get.
Thanks for the suggestion, but I still don't think I will use them up in 6 months
They sell things in very small quantities. I usually buy a couple of different things in the extra small size to see if I like them.

And GB is right -- 6 mos is a guideline. A couple of years is too long for anything, IMO, though.
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