Browsing Tag

green beans

Green Bean Summer Salad

May 16, 2010

Being at home in the kitchen is always so inspiring, opening up my mind to simple dishes I might not have thought of putting together myself. Until just a couple hours ago, I had fully planned on posting an entirely different recipe, but while I was sitting at the kitchen table, putting together a post, my mom was in the kitchen, chopping and drizzling, and tossing. And I, as usual, got my fingers into what she was making for the neighborhood potluck. Lucky for me, my mom was willing to share both the recipe and an extra helping of this Green Bean Summer Salad.  

Preparing the green beans properly is the most important element of a successful green bean salad. Say it with me, “I promise not to overcook my green beans.” Overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes made when preparing vegetables. Just a short bath in boiling water is enough for most vegetables to achieve a crisp-tender quality, meaning they are cooked to a point where they still retain some of the crunchiness of raw vegetables; think of it as a middle ground between fully cooked and raw.

I’m pretty positive I would have eaten the entire bowl of this salad had my mom let me instead of whisking it away to the neighborhood potluck. Crunchy, sweet roasted pecans and savory bits of onion tossed in a light lemon-dill dressing makes for one heck of a summer salad. I often neglect lemon when cooking. Big mistake, since adding lemon to this salad is like a little burst of sunshine making every other flavor better, brighter, more prominent. Now that I have this salad all I need is a potluck!

Green Bean Summer Salad
(Printable Recipe)
*1/2 cup chopped pecans 
*1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
*1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
*1/4 cup olive oil
*Juice from 1/2 a lemon
*1/2 tsp. dried dill
*1 to 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
*1/2 tsp. black pepper

*Preheat oven to 350*F.
*Place pecans on a baking pan or oven-going baking dish and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Set aside.
*Place green beans in a large saucepan and add enough water to come about halfway up the green beans. Bring to boiling and cook 5 minutes, or until green beans are crisp-tender, meaning they still have some crunch to them, but are pleasantly tender. Drain beans and place in a large bowl.
*Add the toasted pecans and chopped onions to the bowl.
*In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper.
*Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the green beans and toss to coat. Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate up to a day and serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!


Dijon Beans and Greens

January 31, 2010

There are some scary vegetables out there. You know, the ones you pass by every time you’re at the grocery store because you’re just not sure what to do with them, or if you’re like me, you’ve been told they just don’t taste very good. Case in point? Brussels Sprouts. If we played a little game of word-association when I said “Brussels sprouts,” you would probably think, “stinky, green, something mom made me eat before I could have dessert.” Am I right?

I, too, was in the stinky-gross-no-thank-you camp until last week. After having passed by the sprouts for a couple weeks now, I caved and bought a bag. They were cheap, neatly packaged, and an unbelievably beautiful shade of green. If they were really as disgusting as I remembered, then it was a $2 mistake I was willing to take. Crazy, I know. Now that I’ve given Brussels sprouts a second chance, I think it’s fair to say that this is a $2 risk worth making again and again.

After cooking the beans, slice them into bit-sized pieces

Speed cooking time and vary texture by halving and slicing the sprouts

Heat the oil and add the sprouts

Cook the sprouts 5-7 minutes, until they are softened and slightly brown

Add the green beans to the skillet after cooking the sprouts

*1/2 – 3/4 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
*6 Brussels Sprouts
*2 cloves garlic, sliced (optional)
*1 Tbsp. olive oil
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. black pepper
*1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
*2 Tbsp. Whole-milk Ricotta Cheese (may substitute grated Parmesan cheese)

*Place green beans and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan. Bring water to boiling over high heat, and cook for 5 minutes, or until green beans are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and transfer beans to cutting board. Slice beans into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
*Halve each Brussels sprout, then slice halves into thin strips.
*In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sprouts and garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sprouts are softened but still slightly crisp, stirring frequently. Add in the beans, Dijon mustard, and ricotta or Parmesan cheese. Cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and transfer to bowls. Garnish with additional salt and pepper, as needed.

Happy Cooking!


Fresh Pickings

August 31, 2009

I think everyone can agree, there is something about coming home. No matter the age, coming home is so beautifully comforting. The smells, sights, and voices of the familiar put me at ease the moment I step foot inside my house. 

What brought me home this weekend was my cousin, Curtis. Born only two months apart and raised in the same town, we have a relationship that is both cousin and close friend. He spent the summer in Quito, Ecuador, and was only going to be home for a few days before heading off to school in Chicago for the semester. Needless to say, I was dying to see him! 

Perhaps another reason I love to come home has nothing to do with people, but more to do with cooking. Throwing my bags on my bed and heading straight to the kitchen is not unusual behavior for me. This weekend was no different. It wasn’t more than 30 minutes before I had a knife in my hand and a pot of water on the stove. 

My mom is a notoriously honest critic about my food! Others may appease me with kind words; my mom, on the other hand, holds nothing back. I know I’ve gotten something right when she raves about it in the days following. This weekend that magical dish was a bowl of simplicity…. “me” cooking at it’s most basic. 

Trying to use the fresh veggies given to us by our garden-inclined friends, I steamed green beans and lightly seasoned them with salt and pepper. While the beans were cooking, I browned some lean ground beef in a skillet with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, imparting a tangy sweetness to the meat. When it was browned, I added in a cup of cherry tomatoes and cooked them until the skins just began to pop. The final touch was a cup of sweet basil marinara sauce and a sprinkling of salt and parmesan cheese. Delish! The only thing that would have made it better would have been a chunk of crusty whole wheat bread to soak up the extra juice. 

I wish I could elaborate a bit more, but right now I’m just trying to make it though Monday. Off to class once again.

Happy Monday!
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