At a gorgeous wedding this weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea, with a bagpiper piping and woolly sheep bahbahing, I saw a woman I hadn't seen in a while. I didn't do the mental math to quantify the time, but when she saw me she blurted, "I had a baby, and she's 14 months old!" And I was like, wait, what? When were you even pregnant? And you already had the baby, 14 months ago? What kind of rock have I been living under, and did I see any good movies while I was there?
Somehow, much to my surprise, time marches apace, and when I don't pay attention it speeds up double-time. And that's all well and good, because I love 2010, it's a great year and a fine vintage and all that, but the fact is, I used to have 16 months to write a cookbook and now I have 8. In other words, holy hell-almighty-expletive-unmentionable-unprintable-inappropriate exclamation.
So, by the calendar at least, I'm halfway there. And this very fact lights a fire under my arse and inspires me to eat a lot of bacon.
The reason is simple. As a meat-free cookbook, ours is baconless, and that means all of the recipes in the book will be noticeably devoid of pork, not to mention beef, chicken, and duck à l'orange. Not eating bacon is pretty much what I do all day. It's my job. I'm like a surgeon, but I don't save lives.
However, on days when I'm not book-working?
This green-beany, fried-sagey, bacony side dish is pretty wonderful, and when I made it, Alex, who's 9, and one of his little 9-year-old friends of the female persuasion were hanging out together in that innocent way 9-year-old boys and girls can sometimes do. And they kept popping into the kitchen to pilfer the green beans, giggling as they downed the crispy bacon slivers and bits of fried sage. Little thieves, those two.
Promise you won't let me fall asleep. I have a feeling if I do, when I wake up, they'll be married, and they'll be like, Hey Ma, can you watch our 14-month-old while we head to the movies?
Recipe for Bacon Green Beans with crispy sage
Green beans and bacon are a pretty classic pairing, but still -- there's something a little naughty about including a little bacon fat in the mix. Turns out it makes a lovely medium in which to fry sage.
Serves 4, as a side
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2" slivers
8 leaves fresh sage (6 left whole, 2 thinly sliced)
1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Fry until crisp, nudging it around a bit so it cooks evenly and doesn't burn, and lowering the heat as necessary to avoid sputtering. Use a slotted spoon to move the bacon to paper towels to drain.
Add the whole sage leaves to the hot bacon fat. Cook about 3 minutes or until crisp, using tongs to flip leaves gently two or three times. Remove to the paper towels.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet. Add the green beans and the thinly sliced sage, and saute for about 5 minutes, turning often with tongs, until beans are bright green, speckled brown in spots, and crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the bacon and fried sage, and serve immediately.