Cooking with my sister and a fresh bean salad

By Sarah Levannier - August 22, 2014

During my summer in Southern France, I was able to spend a lot of time with my sister. Since I began working on a video project, I had the idea to work on one with her. That’s how I had the idea of beginning a “cooking with kids” project. The French Chef Anne-Sophie Pic thinks that cooking should be part of a kid’s education. How true she is.

I am lucky that my sister loves cooking as much as I do. When we found these pink and white fresh beans at our local market, she fell in love with them. She is a pink-lover girl. And this just happened naturally. My parents never bought her some special pink stuff, never painted her room walls pink until she begged them to do so and never dressed her in some Barbie-pink clothes. They were more the kind to buy her some red, green, purple or yellow stuff. Any color, but pink. Elsa loves pink and it was no surprise that she loved these beans. Their French name, if you are wondering which one it is, is the haricots blancs flamboyants. They can be founded in Southern France very easily in late August.

Cooking with kids is something I have often been reluctant to do. First of all, I have no patience so waiting for a kid to be finished with something I would have needed 30 seconds to do, is clearly bothering me. Then, I am always scared that the kid is going to hurt himself or herself with a knife or whichever dangerous thing we use to cook. Finally, I always have to think for long minutes before finding what recipe is going to be easy enough, creative enough and funny enough to cook.

However, I remember enjoying cooking with my brother Nicolas, be it, Christmas cookies or chocolate éclairs. I have also cooked a bit with my sister but nothing transcendent. Finally, making this video came out of the blue. It was spontaneous and not prepared but we definitely had a lot of fun. Elsa was laughing anytime she messed something. I was getting mad at her in the beginning and finally laughing as much as I could as well.

So what did I learn from this experience? Cooking with the children around you is definitely something one has to do. It is totally worth it and you can learn a lot from it. I would definitely encourage anyone, be it a parent or a young adult like me, to cook with kids. I made a video for you to see how it was. Elsa made the whole recipe. I just helped her chopping the garlic and made sure she wasn’t hurting herself when chopping the walnuts. I realized that I could trust my sister and that she wouldn’t hurt herself at all. And the salad was delicious, perfect to fit the weather and the temperatures of the day.

You can use any fresh bean to realize this salad. We just particularly loved the taste and the color of the ones we used but we are willing to try this recipe with any other variety.

Serves 2-3

  •        1 pound fresh beans (or ½ pound shelled)
  •        1 TbS salt
  •     ½ cup walnut
  •         ¼  roasted almond flakes
  •         ¼ cup bacon strips
  •         4 TbS olive oil
  •         2 TbS lemon juice
  •         2 garlic cloves
  •         salt and pepper to taste

1.     Shell the beans and wash them under clear water.
2.     Boil some water and throw in the beans.
3.     Cook for 20 minutes and add the salt. Cook for 20 more minutes or until soft and tender. If you add the salt before cooking the beans, their skin is going to remain a bit hard and you don’t want that.
4.     Roast the bacon strips and reserve.
5.     Chop the walnuts and the garlic.

6.     Mix all the ingredients in a presentation bowl and serve when the beans are at room temperature. You can prepare this salad in advance. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container.

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