By Steph Farrar
I recently befriended a lady who apparently performs a front flip out of bed every morning, to get her day started in a positive way. I know. I just barfed too.
This lady, this modern, authentic and charismatic character, is the real deal. She's not the paleo, gluten-free version of an interesting person. She is the most genuinely motivated and curious person I have ever met. She is also an insanely talented singer, especially in that joyful underwater, frozen in a castle, stuck in a tower kind of way.
She's like magic.
Magic like these beans.
Food can be magic.
I thought I did something wrong after steaming these beans before sautéing. I was super obsessed with the color, aubergine purple without the dreadful taste of eggplant (like the ONLY food I don't enjoy).
And then they turned green. Boring green bean green. I would have been bummed if they didn't somehow taste purple (not true). No, they tasted like perfection. Didn't even need sautéing, but I did it anyway, cause I had nectarines that needed a warm friend.
Now back to the front-flip girl. I'm going to attempt to not complain about being a parent of two. While difficult, it's certainly the most rewarding thing I've done in my life. When we wake up in the morning, after what has generally been a mediocre night's sleep, woken up by at least one of the two kids (lately both), it's kinda tough to greet the day with bright eyes when all I wanna do is roll over and snuggle with my handsome husband.
The front-flip girl wants kids. I can only imagine she'll be the most excellent mother... but I'm curious if she'll still practice said-flip once she's popped one out? I wonder. I don't doubt she will.
I say this often, but when you have kids, you need things to be easy. I'm a big fan of easy. This crisp, grilled salad is easy. Front flips are not. Getting out of bed and putting on a happy face isn't always easy, but damn it feels good to greet the day with a good mood.
I'm taking life lessons from this lady, reminding myself no matter how hard the middle of the night is, no matter how many time-outs we have to deal with, no matter how often spit-up soaks my left shoulder, those smiles I wake up to are worth it.
I know, barf.
Grilled Nectarines with Purple Beans
1/2 to 1 lb. purple beans, ends snipped off
3-4 nectarines, cut from the pit into half-moon pieces
juice of half a lemon
Nice goat cheese like my new fave, Bucheron Montchevre
2-3 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and either boil purple beans until tender, 4-5 minutes, or steam in steamer basket until tender, 7 minutes. Watch your purple beans turn green. Plunge beans in an ice bath to stop cooking. Remove from water and let dry. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces once cool enough to handle.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Gently sauté the beans until slightly browed. Add a pinch of salt, the juice of half a lemon and put aside.
Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. Combine nectarines with a nice glug of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until browned, 5-6 minutes. Alternately, heat 2 tbsp of butter in pan and cook nectarines until browned, 5-6 minutes. Remove and let cool. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Combine the beans and nectarines in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and another squeeze of lemon, top with crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts.