My Favorite French Recipes

A great window in some little village in Provence

I continue to find that most French people don’t consider Americans to be good cooks. I recently had some French people at my house for the week-end and asked them why this was. While they were scarfing down my bar-b-que and mashed potatoes, they told me that they thought this was because so many Americans ate out at restaurants, and especially fast food places, rather than cook at home. Of course, most Americans that I know, myself included, cook and eat 95% of their meals at home. Eating out is a treat for me, not a daily occurrence. Even when I worked in the States, I took my own food or a frozen meal for lunch. Anyway, I was thinking about what they said and got to thinking that the person who said Americans eat out too much has never once, in the 4 years that I’ve known her, ever cooked a meal for me. Any time we have eaten at her house, it has been take-out food, always good, but all she did was reheat it. I think it is the way of the civilized world now. When there is good food you can buy, when you work full time and you are hungry or having guests, sometimes the easiest way is the best.
A really good way to cook green beans is the recipe below. The fresh basil makes them taste fabulous to me. Before, I had always cooked canned green beans with some bacon and onions and garlic salt. In fact, to this day, my children don’t like fresh green beans, but prefer the soggier canned kind.

Green Beans With Tomatoes (Haricots Verts a la Provencale)

1 pound ripe tomatoes
1 Tb olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

Peel and seed tomatoes and chop coarsely.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add shallot
and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until just softened.
Add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until
the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are soft, stirring often. Season
with salt and pepper.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the beans and cook until
desired tenderness. Drain, stir into tomatoe mixture, then add basil. The basil makes
this especially good.

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