To prepare fresh green beans, cook 2 pounds of washed green beans in 1 cup of water in a saucepan for 6 minutes, or until the green beans are cooked but crisp. Drain the water, add 4 tablespoons of melted butter and salt to taste, and toss to coat the green beans with the butter.
To make garlic green beans, toast 4 cloves of garlic in a skillet with butter and a pinch of cayenne pepper, and add 1 1/4 pounds of green beans to the garlic. Add a pinch of sugar, and continue cooking the green beans for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water to the green beans, place a lid on the pan, and cook for 6 additional minutes. Remove the lid, and cook until the water evaporates. Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with toasted pecans.
Alternately, cook 1 1/2 pounds of green beans in 1 inch of boiling water for 5 minutes, and drain the water. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the green beans, salt them to taste, and remove the pan from heat after the butter is melted. Toss the green beans to coat them with the butter mixture, transfer the green beans to a serving dish, and top with toasted almond slices.