A favourite side dish that has come to me from my mother-in-law is this classic Middle Eastern dish that translates as Green Beans with Oil. These were simmering on the stove while I made the cookies, and I just had a bowl for lunch. The kitchen smells wonderful!
1 lb. fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 8 oz can of whole tomatoes, undrained, crushed or 2 large tomatoes, diced (I use fresh tomatoes)
Salt, freshly ground pepper, and allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Cut the large green beans in half. Mix beans, onion, tomato, salt, pepper, and allspice in a large saucepan. Pour oil over the vegetables and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40-50 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
This would often be eaten on Fridays when Zs Catholic family followed the fast from meat. Many of the family recipes have both meat and oil versions, the latter being suitable for fast days (or just-before-the-pay days.)
My mother-in-law cooks without any written recipes, as do most middle-eastern women of her generation. She has taught me to make many of the traditional dishes, but I tend to rely on (now out-of-print) Rose Dosti’s Middle Eastern Cooking as my back-up. Z claims that the recipes in this book are fairly close to his family’s traditional food tastes, at least the Lebanese ones. The book also has foods from other countries that then to have different spice (e.g., Iraq, Morocco, etc.)
For this recipe, the only thing that I added to the written version was the allspice. Also, I tend to use extra-virgin olive oil in place of vegetable oil.