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The Importance of Availability: Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

Recipe for Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

Matt and I were talking recently about who we call (besides each other) when we need someone to talk to about something important. I immediately said, “my parents” and he said “my parents” I said, “but who do you call after your parents?” And he said, “my brother.” “I know he’ll always pick up,” he added.

I don’t have any siblings, so after I call my parents, I usually call a friend. Lately, I have a lot of time to make phone calls. Armed with my bluetooth headset and a drive that takes anywhere from an hour to two each way, I have a lot of time to chat. Over the last 7 months, I’ve realized that there are some friends whose voicemails I’ve heard more often than their live voices. I certainly understand that schedules conflict, and we’re not always around to chat at the same time, but I’ve started to recognize this absence as a sign of something bigger. A sign of the importance of availability.

I used to think that the people who’ll be there for you are the people you have the most in common with. Or the people you’ve known the longest, or shared the most experiences with. Maybe these are people you grew up with, or people you went to college with. Turns out, these people aren’t always available. They’re busy. Or they have different priorities. And the longer you go hitting their voicemail (and not getting a call back) the more you realize that availability is actually kind of important when it comes to friendship. The more I started thinking about availability, the more I realized that I’ve probably been neglecting certain friendships recently myself. Was I that unavailable friend for any of my friends? The one who never answers her phone, and doesn’t ever call back?

Being a good friend isn’t always about knowing the right thing to say, or being the most fun. As it happens (and as we grow older), it can be just about being there. I’m not saying that that this normal will always be the norm (I’ve had many instances of drifting from friends and then coming back to the same place, together), but I am starting to understand that we’re all moving forward — sometimes together, and sometimes apart.

Recipe for Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika
*serves four

Romano Beans, close, flat-bodied relatives of green beans, are typically in season in the summer, but I’ve been seeing them at farmer’s markets around the Bay Area. Roasting them reminds me of roasting whole, Spring favas. The combination of smoked paprika, fresh lemon zest, and toasted hazelnuts, falls somewhere between Californian, Italian, and Spanish cuisine. If you can still find these beans in your area, you absolutely must give this fast and simple side dish a try.

1 pound of Romano beans
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 cup of hazelnuts

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Trim the ends of the beans and toss them in a medium bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.
2. Line a baking dish with a piece of foil and evenly spread the beans on the foil. Roast the beans for about 20-25 minutes (until they’re tender and begin to wrinkle. A little char is ok).
3. While the beans are roasting, toast the hazelnuts. Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hazelnuts and toss them until they begin to release their aroma (be careful not to burn them). Remove the hazelnuts from the pan and dump them into a clean kitchen towel. Once the nuts have cooled, gently rub them between the towel to remove most of their skins (don’t worry if you miss spots). Then, roughly chop them and set them aside.
4. To serve the beans, place them on a large serving platter. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and lemon zest. Season with more sea salt and pepper, if desired.

Musical Pairings: Beck – Orphans + Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • DessertForTwo

    Such a lovely post.
    I have a friend who owns her own business and has all the time in the world to hang out. My other best friend works in the medical field and is always busy. I can safely say that our friendship has suffered. It’s sad, but true.

  • Thank you! It’s hard to speak honestly about something that – as you say is sad, but true. But, it’s true that we all have to choose our priorities in life (and sometimes they choose us). I believe these things really do ebb and flow, so I hope that your busy friend finds a little bit more time for your friendship! xo

  • This is all too familiar. And, I’m not proud to admit that I’m that unavailable friend from time-to-time. Sometimes, it’s definitely because I’m busy. But, maybe unconsciously, it also has to do with the fact that certain friends have been unavailable to me (especially when I needed them most). I don’t want to be a person who “keeps track” but there are times when it’s healthy to assess who is really there when it counts. I’m definitely working on this, and hope that those friendships that may have waned will come back around when the time is right.

  • I know EXACTLY what you mean. I hate keeping track, too, but sometimes, you just can’t help yourself….it’s just human nature. I agree, that it’s best to let these sorts of things slide (for your own personality sanity’s sake!) Holding each other accountable helps…perhaps it’s one of the reasons I published this post? I’d like to hold myself accountable for being that unavailable friend, too.

  • Pingback: Rekindling Friendships :: Thyme-Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup » Saffron Lane :: Seasonal Food, Celebration + Life()

  • Ruth

    Saw this entry and wanted to make sure no names were mentioned. 😉
    And to let you know that with real friendships (like ours) time and distance makes no difference. Love you!

  • I love you, Ruth, and I completely agree with the sentiment. It’s not about keeping track or having a numbers game. I do miss my Ruth time, but I’m so excited for this new time in your life. I actually think that with us, the great thing is we know we will always be there (the important stuff!) I love you lots…and owe you a phone call 🙂

  • I love the sound of all of these earthy flavors together! Friendships can be so tricky. Most of them change and sadly not always for the better. We just have to hang onto the hope that the ones that count will always be there if we do our best.

  • That’s a really good way to look at it! The ones that count will always come around 🙂

  • Hannah Simon

    Wow, this is totally true. Kasey, you always manage to voice things that I’ve been thinking about in an eloquent way! Coming from someone who totally knows what it feels like to be greeted with voicemail recordings instead of a live voice, I always try to make the effort to call back (or text!) if I’m not available and set up phone dates in advance.

  • Thanks, lovely! I, too, try to set up phone dates in advance. And, I do understand hitting the voicemail (I do it to my friends, too!) I think it’s the consistency of it with some people that sparked this post…xo

  • I call my mom. She and I can talk for way, way too long about anything. I think that’s a pretty important role for a mom.
    I’ve never heard of romano beans but I’ll look for them in our farmers markets!

  • I talk to my mom almost every day! It’s funny how many new things we find to talk about. One minute, it’s super serious stuff, and the next…totally mundane. That’s what makes moms great! Romano beans are new to me, but a very awesome discovery, indeed. If you’re able to find them, I think you’d really enjoy them!

  • Achowlife

    I don’t think I’m the best friend all the time, but it’s good to consider. That’s for certain. Availability becomes even more important when you have a little one. Not only do you need to decompress, but you need mama friends for play dates. Such lifesavers!
    And, the beans? They look amazing! xo

  • Emi

    Kasey, I just love your exploration of ideas, from the simple to the more profound, with such eloquence. Your tid-bits are such fun to read and to consider. Along with the show-stopping photography and delicious recipes, of course. Love it!

  • Thank you, Emi! It’s always nice to hear when a subject matter resonates with readers, or when I’m going through something thinking I’m alone in my thinking and it turns out LOTS of other people feel the same way. And thank you so much for your compliment on my photos and recipes..I’m always working on trying to make them better and better. Your comment totally made my day 🙂

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