Rob and I headed to the mountains this past week. Not too far away. We’d been anticipating this for some time simply because it was needed, and after all, we were celebrating our anniversary.
How does 25 years go by so fast? I try to remind myself time is relative, yet at the same time, 25 years makes me feel, um, dare I say, old? I mean, I blinked and next thing I know, it’s been two and a half decades.
And because we were high school sweethearts, we’ve been together even longer. I feel like I’ve known Rob all my life. We’ve much to celebrate and reflect on.
Life is like that, isn’t it? Full of moments, events, and the day-to-day grind. But it’s all about how we spend our time, how we fill those moments, our contributions that bring joy or spending time being…
Listening to the wind blowing through the trees, a rushing creek, bird songs, a heart beat.
Reflecting on life, where we’ve been, memories made and shared and what we’ve learned along the way.
The highlight of our trip was spending time, immersed in nature. Stopping to gaze, breathe, listen, feel gratitude and admire old growth fir trees and swift moving creeks making their way through granite gorges. Embraced by the beauty and solitude of the forest.
I wish y’all could have seen it… my words fail.
Reflecting on our years of marriage, it’s been an interesting and exciting journey with twists and turns I would have never imagined. I’ve learned much about our relationship, myself, the opposite sex (which I still haven’t figured out), what it means to be in a relationship and know for sure that men are from Mars and women, Venus.
My patience has been stretched and strengthened and the power of love revealed. I laugh more now than ever when we just can’t seem to communicate clearly or agree.
Inspired by the colors of the forest, this Green Bean Salad with Peas, Chard and Dijon Tarragon Vinaigrette is a salad Rob and I agree on. It just feels good to eat a bowlfull of green stuff. Hearty as a main, or paired with a sandwich, this salad holds well and travels with ease. It’s an ideal salad for picnics, lunch, or dinner.
It comes together quick with just enough time on the stove to blanch, rendering the beans tender-crisp and peas smooth as silk. Have you tried chard? It’s is a mellow green that ads texture and bulk to this salad while the tangy vinaigrette brightens and ties all the ingredients together.
This is a farm-to-table salad, packed with vibrance, fiber and greens to nourish mind, body and soul. Find the ingredients at your local farmers market and make this. You’re going to love it!
…like the forest and celebrating life’s moments.
Green Bean Salad with Peas, Chard and Dijon Tarragon Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 1 C Peas fresh or frozen (shelled if fresh), 172g
- 1 lb Green Beans trimmed, 438g
- 3 C Rainbow or Swiss Chard stems trimmed, leaves rolled up and cut into long ribbons (about 4 large leaves)* See note, 86g
- 1/4 C Purple Onion finely diced, 45g
For the Dressing:
- 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Lemon zested
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 1/2 tsp Fresh Tarragon finely chopped
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- Black Pepper to Taste
- 1 Clove of Garlic grated on a microplane, about 1 tsp
For the Salad:
- Place a large pot on the stove and fill it 2/3 full of water. Bring the water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil prepare an ice bath with a strainer that fits inside the bath. When the water is boiling, add the peas. Blanch for 45 seconds. Using a large slotted spoon or strainer, scoop out the peas and place them in the ice bath strainer. Strain the peas and place them in a large mixing bowl.
- Use the same water to blanch the green beans, making sure the water is boiling. Blanch the green beans for 4 minutes. If needed, add more ice to the ice bath. Drain the green beans and place them in the strainer in the ice bath. Allow the beans to rest in the ice bath until cool. At this point, you can cut the green beans into smaller, bite size pieces. I cut mine on the bias. Place the green beans in the same large mixing bowl with the peas.
- Add the chard and purple onion to the large mixing bowl.
For the Dressing:
- To a small mixing bowl add the oil, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, tarragon, red pepper, salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the garlic. Use a whisk to whisk all the ingredients together. I cannot get this dressing to form an emulsion.. if you can, I want to know your secret! There is too little dressing to put in a food processor - I tried. So just whisk until it all comes somewhat together.
- Dress the salad with all the dressing and toss with hands. Finish it with fresh ground pepper to taste. This salad holds well overnight in the fridge already dressed. iIf packing it for a picnic, lunch or dinner party, go ahead and dress it in advance.
Recipe Notes*Save the chard stems to toss in a smoothie or a stir fry.
Recipe inspired by Ottolenghi's Plenty.
Thank you for reading! If you make this recipe, be sure to post it to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter notify me @vanillaandbean and tag #vanillaandbean! I’d love to see what you’ve made! Follow me on Pinterest, too, for even more deliciousness!