Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Green Beans Almondine for Holly

During the holidays, I make a green bean dish for the family potluck. I've been making this dish for five or six years, I figure, and for the past.. 2.. years? my sister-in-law, Holly, has been asking me for the recipe. I've never written down a recipe for these green beans, so here's my best attempt (finally) - I haven't made these since Thanksgiving, but as best I can remember, it goes like this:

Green Beans Almondine for Holly

4 bags frozen green beans (cut not french cut)
2 cups chopped ham
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
2 pkgs. slivered almonds
zest of two lemons
juice of 1 lemon
4 TB. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a small skillet over medium low heat and add the slivered almonds. Toss in the dry pan until the almonds become fragrant and turn slightly golden, set aside.

In a large skillet, brown ham over medium heat until slightly dry, remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat oil and add onions and about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Saute until translucent, then add lemon zest and garlic; continue to saute for another 2 minutes.

In the meantime, fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil. Add about 1/8 c. salt and all 4 bags green beans. Boil for about 4 minutes, then drain well and combine with the ham, onions and lemon juice. Let cook together in pan over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes. Taste to test for salt and pepper - add more as needed.

I like to sprinkle over a little extra lemon zest and garnish with lemon wedges.
I'll update with photos in the next holiday season.

Lemon Saffron Risotto with String Beans

My absolute favorite meal at any restaurant is the Seafood Risotto at Corbin's (more for the risotto than for the seafood). This has prompted me to attempt to make a similar tasting risotto at home. Today is my 8th wedding anniversary (yay!) so I took a day off work and finally had the time to attempt my favorite dish. I looked up a few risotto recipes and couldn't decide on one - what I came up with is a hybrid of the recipes I read, along with some of my own ideas (lemon instead of wine, extra lemon).

Lemon Saffron Risotto

2 TB. olive oil
2 TB. butter
1 med. onion, chopped
1 sm. garlic clove, grated
1 c. arborio rice
3-4 c. Chicken Stock (low sodium)
1/4 tsp. saffron
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1/4 tsp. salt

Add the chicken stock, salt and saffron to a sauce pan and bring up to a slight simmer. In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter into the olive oil and add the onion and garlic; lightly saute until the onion is translucent and tender. Stir in the arborio rice and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, making sure not to brown the onions or rice. Add juice from 1 lemon and stir until absorbed. Pour in 2/3 cup chicken stock and stir constantly until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 2/3 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each batch of broth is absorbed. When the rice is tender (20-30 minutes), add the juice of 1/2 lemon and the Parmigiano - stir until melted. I also added another 1/2 cup of stock to add to the creamy texture.

String Beans (Hericot Vert)

1 lb. string beans
2 tsp. olive oil
zest of one lemon
1/4 tsp. salt

Steam green beans for 2-3 minutes. Add oil, salt and lemon zest to a frying pan and heat so the oil from the zest leeches into the oil. Toss the green beans in the lemon oil and let sit over medium heat for about 3 minutes, tossing occasionally.
This did come really close to the recipe I was shooting for, minus the excess of lemon juice (I even squirted a little lemon over the beans when it was all said and done), but it was perfect for my palate. This is going to be my new go-to carb when I'm having a hankering for starch!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reintroduction to Food Blogging

After a year and a half of being entirely focused on work (new job, and all), I've realized just how much I miss food blogging. It really hit me when I was on a work conference trip to Montreal; the food was incredible and all I could think was how nice it would be to post some pictures to share.

And so it begins.... (again).