Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Food From My Childhood: Fresh Green Beans and Lemon Lush

Both of the recipes I have selected for my post today were frequent summer fare in the kitchen of my childhood. Our garden yielded enough green beans for 4 families. I know, because my sisters and I were assigned to help my mom weed them, pick them by the grocery sack and bucketful, snap em', wash em', and cook and preserve them. To the "little kid" version of me it seemed like a never-ending job on those humid summer afternoons as we climbed up the grassy hill to the house dragging the beans behind us, our bare feet black from the rich soil of our garden, to sit on the front porch all together. We'd spread newspaper across our laps and then pile the beans on top. With big stainless steel bowls at our feet we'd begin. Snap, snap, snap! As fast as our little fingers could move. Then the ping, ping, ping as the beans hit the bottom of the empty, metal bowls turned to more muffled sounds as the bowls filled. Until finally, ahh finally, those bowls were heaping with beans and we were finished! We turned our bowls over to my mom and tore down the lane, out of our yard, and across the neighbor's hay field like we were on fire. Straight to the pond, into the water, and swimming to be first on the raft in the middle. Our neighbors, Jeremiah and Jessica would meet us there most evenings after all of our chores were finished. We would swim and splash and laugh and play until one of the moms called for dinner. We'd part ways with a "See you tomorrow" and then head home as dusk fell and frogs sang and the mosquitoes really started biting. Still damp from the pond and kicking off our shoes, we'd swing open the door to the kitchen, and the smell of these green beans bubbling on the stove would make us realize just how hungry we were. Cooked in broth with bacon, onion, and potatoes, they're hearty enough to eat as the main course. We usually had them with just bread and butter.

And dessert, of course. Lemon Lush was a common dessert in our house. Fluffy, refreshing, and delicious, I don't think that I've made it before now. Last time I was home visiting, my mom handed me the recipe and asked if I'd make it for dinner while she ran to an appointment. After making it, I'm not sure why I haven't before. It's super easy to throw together and everyone likes it.

You're considering the Lemon Lush, aren't you? But just like my mom says, dinner first! So let's begin making the green beans.

I start with a chopped onion and bacon. The amount of bacon used depends on how many green beans you're cooking. I used a little over 1-1/2 lbs. of green beans, so I cut up 4 slices of bacon. Cook until the onion is tender and the bacon gets a little crispy.

Now peel and cube 2-3 large potatoes and add them to the pot.

Add enough broth to cover the potatoes.

Then add your cleaned and snapped green beans. Salt and pepper liberally. Cover and cook over medium heat until the green beans and potatoes are done. Maybe an hour? I went outside and played with the kiddos, returning to the stove a couple of times to give these a stir.

And that's dinner!

Green Beans with Potatoes and Bacon

1 onion, diced
4 slices of bacon, chopped

In a large pot, cook the onion and bacon together until onion is tender and bacon is crispy.


2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups of beef broth (give or take)
1 1/2- 2 lbs. fresh green beans, cleaned and snapped
Salt and pepper

Add the potatoes to the onion and bacon. Add enough broth to cover, maybe a little more. Add the green beans to the pot and bring it all to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 45-60 minutes until the potatoes and green beans are tender.

Now for dessert...

Cut a stick of softened butter into a cup of flour. You could use 1/2 cup of ground pecans here too.

Press the crust into a 9 X 13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Beat together a package of cream cheese, a cup of powdered sugar, and a cup of non-dairy whipped topping (Cool Whip).

Spread over the cooled crust.

Combine two packages of lemon pudding with 2 3/4 cups of cold milk and beat for 2 minutes. Spread over the cream cheese mixture.

Top with the remaining whipped topping and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans. Refrigerate until serving to allow it to set.

There you have it, Lemon Lush. This could totally be the nickname for a character on the cartoon series Strawberry Shortcake and Friends: The College Years. Okay, mom. Sorry. I know, I know. Binge drinking is NOT a joke. Hope you all enjoy the dessert.

Lemon Lush

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. ground pecans
1 c. flour
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, soft
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. Cool Whip plus 1/2 c.
2 (3 3/4 oz.) pkgs. lemon instant pudding
2 3/4 c. cold milk

In a small bowl blend butter, 1/2 cup ground pecans, and flour with a pastry cutter until well mixed. Press well a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In small bowl, blend the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy. With wire whip fold 1 cup of the Cool Whip, spread this mixture over the cooled crust.

Pour 2- 3/4 cold milk into a bowl. Add both packages of lemon instant pudding. Beat slowly with rotary beater or low speed of electric mixer until well blended, about 2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes or until set, then spread this mixture over the cream cheese layer.

Spread remaining Cool Whip over Lemon Lush and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans.

Refrigerate before serving.


Mary | Deep South Dish said...

Now THAT is some good eatin' there!!! I really loved your story about snapping beans - made me feel like I was right there.

Coleens Recipes said...

Green beans and lemon lush...man oh man, that would be MY kind of dinner. When you were telling the story, I could SMELL the beans cooking. Delicious!!

Donna-FFW said...

WOW!! 2 items that make my heart beat faster. They both sound absolutely wonderful!!

Rachel said...

How can you possibly go wrong adding bacon to green beans?!? I can only imagine how wonderful they smell while cooking!!!

My husband would go crazy for your lemon dessert...he's a huge fan of lemon!

Katy ~ said...

Krista, you have just won a permanent place in my butter shaped heart. Oh my goodness do these ever look terrific. And you were right LOL I was looking for dessert first!!!

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