Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haricot Vert Hodgepodge

I was never a big fan of green beans, until I started buying them at the farmer's markets. Green beans in the grocery store are too waxy and tough but fresh beans from the farmer's market are delightful. Well it's January and I've discovered a year round option that's also quite tasty - Haricot Vert or French Green Beans. Granted, they aren't fresh from the market but I like these smaller, more tender beans.

I recently concocted this dish, Haricot Vert Hodgepodge. I call it that because it was created with a hodgepodge of items in the fridge and pantry: haricot vert, shallots, water-packed artichoke hearts, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and sea salt. Amounts? Ratios? I don't know. You can wing it, just like I did.

Saute some shallots in oil until they just start to turn golden. By the way, I typically use grape seed oil when sauteing, rather than olive oil. It has a higher "flash-point," which means that it can be heated longer and at a higher temperature than olive oil before it breaks down and starts to smoke. I also like it because it has a lighter, more neutral flavor than olive oil.

Once the shallots are golden, add the haricot vert and chopped artichoke hearts and cook until the beans are tender. Add in some finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes and finally some pine nuts. Sprinkle with sea salt once plated and dig in.

After thoughts: I think I like this dish even better on the second day, reheated in the oven. By then the flavors have married and I like the crispiness that comes from reheating the dish in the oven.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Riches

Rumor has it that you should eat blacked-eyed peas on New Years Day to insure good luck in the new year and greens to insure riches. Hmmm, I don't have any recipes for black-eyed peas and I promise I will get around to posting something green and healthy on this blog...eventually. In the meantime, how about super rich risotto which was the star of this new year's feast? Hey, at least I put it in a green bowl...that should count for something!

Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto
5 cups of mushroom broth
14 ounce can of water-packed artichoke hearts, well-drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (Either oil packed or reconstituted dried ones.)
1/3 cup chopped shallots
2 cups Aborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for plating
About 2 ounces of goat cheese
About 1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm the broth and set aside on a burner set on low. Saute the shallots in butter until the edges just start to turn golden. Add salt and pepper to taste and add rice. Stir constantly and cook until rice is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed. Start adding the broth, about a cup and a half at a time and cook, while stirring constantly, until each addition is absorbed. Add the artichokes after about the third addition of broth and the sun-dried tomatoes with the last addition of broth. Once all the broth has been absorbed, remove from the heat and stir in the two cheeses. Stir until melted and well incorporated. Once plated, add a little bit of finely grated Parmesan and dig in!