Saturday, February 18, 2012

Green Beans with Bacon, Red Peppers and Pecans

    Circa 1999, when the Waterfront in Homestead first opened, a stellar upscale diner graced a busy corner directly across the way from Loew's Theater.  It stood head and shoulders above the crowd of chain bars and restaurants lining the brand-spanking new streets of the newly-minted shopping/dining area.  The food at this establishment so good, so tantalizing, it drew us in all the way from the north as hungry moths to a flame of fine dining.  In a diner.  A shiny metal-ed, glass blocked beacon of gustatory promise in the sea of chain mediocrity along the Mon.  And we reveled in the delights to be found within those gleaming walls.  

    It's name?  Cap City Diner.  And it hailed from Ohio.  It wasn't part of a chain, mind you, it stood as an ambassador from the state to the west...a Ghost of Future Dining sent from Columbus to give us hope for Pittsburgh dining to come.  Cap City Diner ran the first of the races in what has become a marathon of closed restaurants in that location.  I'm not sure exactly why they closed those shiny was probably too hip for the crowds thronging from the movie looking for McFries or a grey, greasy burger....regardless, there are those of us who still remember and still look longingly at the spot that held such glory...and such glorious food....and remember.  So why am I even bringing it up?  You can't go back again, right? 

    Well, maybe.  There was one dish that I craved every single time. No matter what else I ordered - mile high meatloaf, Maytag bleu cheese crispy potato chips - the green beans with bacon, pecans and red peppers were the undisputed star of the show.  A pile of those bright green, smoky, sweet, crisp and crunchy beans were what I was there for!  So, of course, I recreated them at home.  And thank the good Lord I did.  The only other way to enjoy them again would be to drive to Columbus.  Hmmm...that just might work, too!  Here's the recipe if you don't feel like driving a couple of hours.  

    And that Ghost of Future Dining in Pittsburgh?  It got here in SPADES!  Pittsburgh dining rocks!

    Green Beans with Bacon, Red Peppers and Pecans

    • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped off
    • 4 slices bacon, chopped
    • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, sliced
    • 1/4 small red onion, slivered
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

    Fry bacon in a large skillet until it is about halfway done; add pecans and saute them together until the bacon is crisp and the pecans toasted.  

    Add the beans, red pepper, onion and brown sugar and toss together well.  Add a tablespoon or two of water, cover the pan and let the beans cook until slightly beyond tender crisp.  Toss well again and serve.

    NOTE:  A little drizzle of balsamic vinegar - not too much - is nice at the end, too.

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