GREEN BEANS…YUM!

I love green beans fresh from the garden..steamed with a little cracked pepper or even raw. I planted pole beans this year in my community garden plot with the beans saved and given to me from a friend. What a surprise to find purple beans! They are delicious and when steamed, they turn GREEN. I also planted Pak choy from seed. It was so easy once I covered the seeds with netting to keep the quail away! I found a recipe a few years ago for Szechuan Green Beans which I changed from the usual “fried” methods and  added more green goodness-  Pak Choy.  Enjoy, but beware, this is a spicy meal!

SZECHUAN GREEN BEANS AND PAK CHOY

1 ½ lbs green beans or purple beans, ends trimmed

1 head of pak choy or 3-4 baby bok choy, washed and cut into thin strips

3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp mirin (optional)

1 tsp natural sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

3 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp peeled and minced/grated  fresh ginger root

2 tbsp chives, minced

½  tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

 

Lightly steam green beans until just tender, about 5 min. Drain and rinse under cold water then set aside.

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin and sugar and set aside.

Heat olive oil on med heat and add the shallots, garlic, ginger, scallions , chives, and red pepper flakes. Stir fry for about 30 sec. then add the pak choy and cook for about 2 minutes stirring often before adding the green beans.  Add the soy sauce mixture and saute for a few minutes.  Reduce  the heat to low and let simmer with a lid until bok choy is tender. Serve over steamed brown rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

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I’m seeing RED and loving it…tomatoes, peppers

This past weekend was full of wonderful flavors and new recipes. We hosted a dinner for 6 on Friday and then had friends stay with us for the rest of the weekend. I always love trying out new recipes on these occasions, though our guests are never told before they come that they are my guinea pigs:)

Remember the Romanesco sauce I wanted to try, well it was delicious.  I found a great recipe and served it with lentil and rice stuffed patty pan squash. It would be good served with just about anything!  I didn’t use the bread or the red wine or the ancho chili (couldn’t find one) I also made a simple pasta dish that Violet (one of our weekend guests) shared. See both recipes below and enjoy.

ROMANESCO SAUCE

This garlicky sauce, which originated in the city of Tarragona, has tons of variations and many uses—it’s served with salads, grilled vegetables, meat, chicken, or fish, or stirred into fish stews. Try it tossed with pasta or as a sandwich spread. It keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.Yields 2-1/2 cups.

4 medium-size ripe tomatoes (1-3/4 lb. total), cored
1 head garlic, sliced in half crosswise
2 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 oz. (1/4 cup) blanched almonds
1-1/4 oz. (1/4 cup) peeled hazelnuts
1 dried ancho chile, cored, seeded, slit, and opened so it lies fairly flat (OPTIONAL)
1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt; more to taste
2 to 3 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
2 Tbs. red wine (dry or fruity, but not oaky), if needed
1 slice stale white bread, torn, if needed

Heat the oven to 375°F. Put the tomatoes and one half of the garlic head in a baking pan. Drizzle about 1 Tbs. of the olive oil into the cored tomato wells and on top of the garlic half. Roast until the tomatoes and garlic are well caramelized but not burnt, about 90 minutes. From the remaining half head of garlic, coarsely chop 1 Tbs. garlic and put it in a food processor.

Slow oven roasting brings out the sugars in tomatoes and garlic. Get them caramelized but not burnt.

While the tomatoes roast, heat about 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toast the almonds and hazelnuts in the pan, shaking the pan or stirring so they don’t burn, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Cool the nuts on a paper towel and then put them in the food processor.

If using a dried chile, sear it in the same small pan over medium-high heat (keep it flat with a spatula or a fork) until a smoke wisp appears, about 10 seconds per side. Soak it in 1 cup hot tap water until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and put the chile in the food processor.

Start with the toasted nuts, chile, and tomatoes to get the purée underway.

When the tomatoes and garlic are caramelized, let them cool. Pinch off the tomato skins (discard them) and squeeze out the garlic pulp. Put the tomatoes and garlic pulp in the processor. Add the salt and start the processor, pouring in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream, as if making mayonnaise. Add the vinegar, pulse to incorporate, and taste; the sauce should have some zing, so add more if needed. Add salt to taste. Process the romesco until it comes together as a sauce but not so much as to lose its coarse, nutty texture. The sauce should be thick and creamy. If it seems too thick, add 1 or 2 Tbs. red wine. If it’s too thin, add bread, pulsing a few more times.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1/4 cup; Calories (kcal): 170; Fat (g): 15; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 220; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 2;

From Fine Cooking 46 , pp. 34-39 Bill Devin

FRESH TOMATO PASTA

500 gms whole wheat pasta

4 cups chopped fresh ripe tomatoes (I used a variety of types including some cherry tomatoes, heritage varieties, romas and others.

2 whole sweet red bell peppers, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves,chopped

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup fresh basil,chopped (reserve 2 tbsp for end)

1/4 cup fresh parsley,chopped (reserve 1 tbsp for end)

1/4-1/2 cup good quality cold-pressed olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Add prepared tomatoes and peppers,  herbs and salt to a large tin bowl.

Cook pasta a la dente.

Heat olive oil in on medium heat. Add minced garlic and toss for just a few seconds, until fragrant. Remove from heat and immediately pour over tomato mixture. Stir to combine and pour over pasta. Top with reserved herbs, fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.

This is surprisingly easy and so delicious. I love summer eating.

Zucchini…I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it

Zucchini, whether it is yellow or green,  is like tofu in that it takes on whatever flavor you want it too, even none at all. If you grate it you  can disguise it  in a loaf or in my recent attempt at zucchini fritters.

We spent a lovely long weekend plus a day doing a “Staycation” in the Okanagan. We went out for breakfast, lunches and several dinners.  This is always fun but a challenge to finding items on the menu  that are  healthy and delicious and something I can’t make myself or haven’t tried to make myself.

After looking at several different recipes for Summer Squash Fritters which I enjoyed at one meal  served with a Romesco sauce, Salmon and roasted vegetables, I decided to make up my own version. Another great way to serve zucchini…

 

SUMMER SQUASH (ZUCCHINI) FRITTERS

1 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

1 small potato, grated

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Fresh ground pepper

Pinch chili pepper flakes

1-2 eggs

4 tbsp whole wheat flour

 

½ cup cornmeal

1 tbsp finely grated romano cheese (optional)

Olive oil

 

1)     Squeeze out by handfuls excess liquid from the grated zucchini. Put into a colander and allow it to drain even more after each handful. Do the same with the potato. You could try and pat dry with a paper towel though I did not.

2)     Combine the grated zucchini, potatoe and onion into one bowl and add one egg, salt and pepper and chili flakes Mix with fork. Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir until combined. Try forming a small pattie using your hands to see if it will hold together. (we started with 2 eggs, but I would start next time with one egg first and see how well the patties stay formed). If the mixture is too dry and crumbly add the other egg and mix well. It should be moist but hold together enough to do the next step.

3)     Mix cornmeal and romano (if using) into a plate. Form each pattie and dredge it into the cornmeal.

4)     Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Fry each pattie until lightly browned on each side  flipping it once. Keep warm in oven until all patties are cooked.

5)      This recipe made 12 fritters.

 

I did not try making a Romesco sauce yet so we ate these without any sauce and they were delicious. Enjoy:)