Easter green beans

Many of you are not fans of green beans, but I found a recipe that even a green bean hater enjoyed.  I was inspired by the blog Once Upon a Chef and adapted her recipe a bit for my own family this past week. Of course this technique could be tried any time of year, but it is certainly one to remember for those holiday meals.

What I like about the technique is that it starts with French green beans.  That is a special type of very thin green bean, which I am able to find at only some markets. Packaging may say Haricots Verts or Petit green beans.  If you try this recipe with frozen green beans or thick green beans, don’t expect the same result or even worse, your green bean haters will emerge again at the table.

To make the recipe, gather olive oil, red onion, 1-1 1/2 cups water, about 8 ounces of thin green beans, salt and pepper to taste.

Using a saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the thinly sliced red onions until soft and lightly browned. While they are cooking, clean the ends of the beans and place into the pan when the onions are ready.  Salt and pepper to taste, and continue to stir them until they begin to slightly cook as well.  I probably sautéed them for 3-4 minutes.

Next, add 1/2 cup of the water and continue to cook on medium heat, never leaving the green beans.  This is a dish that needs constant attention.  The object is to continue to cook until the water is gone. Then add more water and continue until all of the water has been cooked through the green beans with no water left when the beans are done.

This technique will take about 8-10 minutes total time.  Test the beans to make sure they are done cooking.  Check to see if they are easily pierced with a fork, and look cooked through, hot, but not limp and watery at all.

Transfer to a serving dish and be amazed at the flavor and seasoning.

shrimp thermidor

Here is one of those all-time best recipes to save when you plan to entertain and want something very different to serve to guests.  This is one of my favorite recipes, which I happened to see again in the August issue of Southern Living magazine. They suggested using for a hot appetizer, but I have served my version of the recipe for a main dish. It pairs nicely with noodles, pasta or mashed potatoes.  It could also be served with puff pastry shells if desired. If used as an appetizer, it would be important to purchase smaller shrimp or cut large shrimp into smaller sections for use on baguette slices.

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Making the shrimp thermidor:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Melt  1/4 cup margarine in a skillet on the stove top.  Slice one large box or two smaller boxes of cleaned fresh mushrooms and add to pan.  Saute to brown.  Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt , 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, and ground black pepper to taste.  Add 2 cups of fat-free half and half, and cook the mixture while stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.  This may take more than five minutes.

Next, add the cleaned shrimp in the preferred size for your meal, along with 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese.  Cook until the shrimp turn pink, and then transfer to a ceramic baking dish. Continue to season the shrimp with any desired herbs, such as thyme, basil or dill.

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Bake for 15 minutes allowing for the mixture to boil.  I served this shrimp thermidor with a small amount of mashed potatoes, and sautéed green beans and onions. If serving for an appetizer, add to a chafing dish to keep warm, making certain that the shrimp are bite-sized.

 

 

cherry street market –a wonderful fall experience

Last Friday, we took a relaxing Fall drive Up North to Traverse City Michigan.  I certainly do love Northern Michigan and will never give up an opportunity to experience wonderful food, shopping, and of course the Lake.  The weather was lovely and the air was filled with the crisp cooler weather that has rolled into our state.  I enjoyed every minute of the day, especially my stop at the Cherry Street Market in Kalkaska. ( http://www.cherrystreetmarket.com/)

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The vegetables and fruits were overflowing the shelves into bushels and pecks for sale.  The apples, squash, concord grapes and pie pumpkins were beautiful.  I love everything about a farm market.  I love that it is outdoors. I also love that the produce looks and tastes better than anything available at any local grocery store.  The romaine lettuce is deep green.  The corn is super sweet.  The apples are crisp and perfect without any blemishes. I love that I don’t have to “pick through” the pile, because every specimen of fruit or vegetable is picture perfect.  The freshness factor is overflowing.

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I purchased two large bags brimming with fruits and vegetables for $17.  This amazes me, as produce is so expensive at the grocery store. The abundance is breathtaking and the atmosphere is charming.  I love the harvest season and everything about farm produce.  I encourage everyone to have a small garden.  For those items that cannot be grown at your home due to hours of sun available in your yard, or even just space, I encourage supporting local growers in your area.  I have never been disappointed with the quality or the selection at the end of a growing season.

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grilled green beans with walnut oil

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green beans on the grill made a wonderful side dish for our dinner on the deck last night.  the grilled flavor of the beans gave them a nice taste with a great texture.  before placing on the grill, i simply tossed them in a bowl with some olive oil and kosher salt.  they quickly browned, with gentle turns in the pan.

for this recipe, i had the opportunity to taste and sample one of the Emile Noel USA artisan oils to review for the blog. Emile Noel makes over 20 organic virgin vegetable oils. they offer olive, seed and nut oils which can be used in making soups, salads, vegetables and even with meats and fish.

i sampled the walnut oil by just finishing my grilled green beans with a small taste of the oil.  walnut oil is high in antioxidants and a very good source of cardio protective benefits. the very small amount of the walnut was a nice finish to the beans. the green beans were delicious.

it is not recommended to cook with walnut oil , however; it is perfect to brush on meat or fish or to use with pasta, vegetables or salad dressings.

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any of the speciality oils will become a highlight to your meal.  the flavor profile will add to your dish in a subtle but noticeable manner.  grilling the green beans this summer will be a delicious way to enjoy the fresh vegetables of the season.  for more information on Emile Noel USA oils, please follow this link:

http://usa.emilenoel.com/

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

oven roasted green beans

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green beans never tasted so delicious.  the flavor of fresh green beans is enhanced by roasting for a short time in the oven.  this side dish comes together very quickly.  i served this dish on game night and it was well received.

preheat the oven to 375 degrees.   place a sheet pan in the oven for 10 minutes to preheat the pan.  trim and clean green beans for four people.  place the beans in a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and ground black pepper.  i added one sliced white onion and mixed well.

remove the pan from the oven and arrange the beans on the hot pan.  bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp and tender.

i found this recipe in Sandra lee’s semi homemade magazine in the January 2011 issue.  she also added 2 sliced lemons.  instead of sliced onions, she used chopped shallots.

these green beans are a wonderful side dish for fish, chicken or even steak.

green bean bundles with bacon and brown sugar

this year, williams sonoma featured this recipe in their thanksgiving brochure. i served the green beans alongside of Ina’s sweet potato puree, which was also delicious as a thanksgiving vegetable.  i would recommend these green beans to those members of your family who don’t like green beans.  they are sweet and delicious.

to make the bundles:  preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook the bacon half way for about 7 minutes. drain and blot on paper towels, chill in the refrigerator until ready to prepare the green beans for the meal.  next, clean and trim the green beans.  mix about 3-4 tablespoons of margarine with salt and pepper to taste.

about 30 minutes before mealtime, arrange about 5 to 6 beans in equal portions on a parchment lined baking sheet.  wrap each bundle with the bacon sliced to fit the bundle as needed.  drizzle the butter and using about 1/4 cup of brown sugar, sprinkle the sugar on top of each bundle.

roast the bundles until the bacon is cooked through and brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.  serve as a side vegetable with beef, poultry or pork.  these green beans were excellent and looked very attractive on the plate.  this recipe was easy, delicious and very attractive on the plate.

easy dinner

one of my goals is to eat fish twice every week.  not only is fish a healthy protein, but it is very low in fat and very speedy to prepare.

for this dinner, i chose to bake the fish in a ceramic dish, topped with a bit of ground black pepper, dried parsley flakes, and an herbal seasoning in a jar.  with a few tablespoons of water from the tap around the fish, i simply place the dish into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

during this time period, i boiled several small red potatoes for brian on the stovetop.  when their time was completed, i covered the fish in the oven with tin foil and lowered the temperature, until i could complete the vegetables.  i drained the water from the potatoes, and mashed them with their red skins intact, adding a couple tablespoons of margarine, and a 1/4 cup of skim milk.  at the same time, i lightly boiled the green beans and within five minutes the dinner was completed.

preparing cod in this manner, creates a flaky and delicious fish entree, low in calories and fat grams.  over the years, i have tried a variety of seasonings, including lemon, fresh thyme, chives, a selection of peppers, and i have even baked the fish with grape tomatoes.  any of these choices are tasty and quick.