In the opening scenes of the 1981 film Mommie Dearest, Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford goes through her morning routine. You see her plunging her face into a bowl of ice water and steaming herself in a hot shower. I thought of this scene yesterday as I was preparing green beans to freeze. With the blanching and the ice bath it felt like I was Joan Crawfording the beans!
1. Clean your beans. Wash the beans thoroughly to remove dirt and creepy crawlies. If you’re working with beans that vary in size, break the larger beans into smaller pieces. Beans that are in uniform in size will cook more evenly.
2. Blanch your beans. While you’re cleaning your beans, get a big pot of water boiling on the stove top. Drop a batch of clean green beans into the boiling water and let them cook for one to two minutes.
3. Ice your beans. Fill a sink with cold water and ice cubes. Transfer the blanched green beans to the ice bath for a couple of minutes. This will stop the cooking process and allow the beans to cool.
4. Dry your beans. Transfer the beans from the ice bath to a towel. Dry the beans as much as you possibly can. You can also use a lettuce spinner to dry the beans.
5. Stow your beans. Place the green beans into freezer bags.
6. Suck your beans. Or, rather, suck the air out of the freezer bags. You can do this with a straw or, as I’m doing in the photo above, by simply placing your lips on the bag and sucking out the air.
Now, place your bags of fresh green beans in the freezer and wait until that blustery winter day when you need a little taste of summer. Enjoy!
Images: This American House
We’ve just returned from a two-day, seven state road trip in a rented U-Haul box truck. While not as torturous as I was anticipating, the drive was certainly no easy feat. There was road construction, bad food and dirty rest stops – not to mention the mind numbing hours watching the white lines zipping down the middle of the highway. I picked up some lessons along our cross country road trip and, since I’m not ready to write about anything else right now, I’m going to share them with you.
After a week of travel, things are about to finally get back to normal at This American House. Over the past week we’ve flown to New York, seen a musical production of Heathers, researched our house at the Avery Library at Columbia University, attended a gallery show and then a memorial for an artist friend who passed away late last year, and, finally, packed up a U-haul truck with art and other precious cargo. We’re now making the long drive from Connecticut back to Iowa. Once we’re safely ensconced back in our usual surroundings, I’ll put together a more detailed post about our adventures. Until then, enjoy this clip from one of the best musicals I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Image: This American House
“I don’t know,” I said to my friend Joan. “If you ask me, I think hostas are just weeds that we tolerate.”
I uttered those words earlier this spring. I had just dug up and moved what seemed like the one hundredth hosta that’s planted around the house. At that time, the hostas were these small, uninteresting plants that felt more like a burden than a joy.
“Oh, just you wait,” Joan replied. “You’re going to love them.”
In some ways, the flooding basement was a blessing in disguise. Not only did it force us to clean up what was quickly becoming a cluttered mess, we were also inspired to buy a dehumidifier to help dry out the basement. I had no idea our basement was so damp until I found myself emptying the water bucket multiple times per day. Hooray for a dry basement! But boo for schlepping a sloshing water bucket to the basement bathroom multiple times per day. Schlepping is for chumps!