Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Garlic Green Beans

Week 14's take included zucchini, cucumber, basil, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, a melon and two watermelons. I also got to pick some blackberries, hot peppers and some snap beans.

Snap beans--or, green beans as I know them--are a staple of school lunches and seem the quintessential American vegetable of the 1950's. You know: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans. At least that is how I picture a typical American dinner from the 1950's. And whenever I've come across them in school or at a salad bar, they've always been clipped at the ends and have had that greenish gray color. Needless to say, nothing about this image endeared me to green beans and they've essentially been invisible to me in the supermarket.

But after going through the effort of picking a quart or two of these beans in the heat, it was mandatory that I make something with them. When cooked properly, what an unexpected delight they are. The recipe I found seemed easy and contained ingredients that I liked so I gave it a try. All I can say is, wow. I really couldn't stop eating these. This simple dish added so much flavor to a recent dinner of sticky ribs. This vegetable will be added to my repertoire.

Garlic Green Beans
(Adapted from a New York Times recipe)
(Print this recipe)

1 1/4 pound green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. lemon zest, grated
3 Tbsp. chopped or slivered almonds
Additional chopped almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and when boiling, drop beans into the water. Boil for 3-5 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to be. Drain and drop the beans into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry off as best you can.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat and sauté the garlic until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the beans and sauté for another minute. Then add the parsley, lemon zest and almonds. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the additional almonds.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Zucchini Fries

So it's Week 13, which is the halfway mark. I can't believe how quickly time is going but I'm also pleased with how many things I've managed to accomplish in this time. This week brought me lots and lots of tomatoes (which is how I like it), zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, chard, watermelon, dill, cilantro, blackberries, and snap beans.

It was a little quiet on this blog in the last two weeks. It wasn't because I wasn't cooking; I had created a number of dishes that didn't quite make the cut for the blog. Since one of my goals is to make my daughter eat vegetables, I tried out some vegetable recipes that I thought she might actually eat. Since fried foods are toddler favorites (no surprise there), I experimented with some zucchini pancakes. The recipe I got was simple enough: julienned zucchini, flour, water, salt. Mix it all together and fry as little zucchini pancakes (sort of like latkes). Well, my husband and I enjoyed them enough but they could have been a little tastier (and thus, I didn't post the recipe or results). They didn't quite crisp up on the outside like you would expect and the interior was too soft. My daughter, fooled by the sight of a crispy pancake, did give one a try but it didn't work for her. After some more experimentation with zucchini pancakes using different proportions and such, I've given up on that recipe for the time being. It has potential but it needs more work. Instead, I tried making zucchini fries. This recipe was a success for at least the three of us. We ate it up, dipping it in some ranch dressing.

Zucchini Fries
(Adapted from Neely's Fried Zucchini)
(Print this recipe)

2 zucchini, cut into French fry sticks
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten with a few Tbsp. of water
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

1. On one plate, spread out the flour. In a wide bowl or pie plate, mix together the panko, Parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper. In a second wide bowl or pie plate, put the egg mixture.

2. Heat a heavy, deep pan on medium-high heat.  Add about 1/2 inch of oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

3. Dredge the zucchini fries in flour, then in egg, then in the panko mixture.

4. Carefully add a few at a time to the hot oil. Be sure not crowd them. When they are brown on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes, flip them over and cook the other side for another minute. Pull out and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle more salt on them while they are still hot, if necessary.

5. Serve with some ranch dressing.