Green and Loving It

I’ll tell you a secret.  I love a green vegetable.  My two favorite green vegetables are probably broccoli and green beans.  The topic at hand today is the green bean.  The key with the green bean in my mind is that they are cooked but still crunchy.  I’m not a fan of the mushy green beans that are either cooked to death or canned.  A couple years ago I took inspiration from a few different recipes that I saw from various sources and started making a fabulous green bean dish.  This dish has since become a staple at important eating occasions in my family, including a spot at the most important eating occasion: Thanksgiving.

If I were you, I would give this recipe a test run in the next couple of months and you might be convinced to replace a side dish at your own Thanksgiving feast.

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Almonds

Serves 4, scale up as needed

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs butter (or I used bacon fat this past time)
  • 1 medium onion sliced in half or quarter moons (white or yellow)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb of raw green beans
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • seasoning to taste

Method

  1. Heat a medium sized frying pan on low heat.  Melt butter in pan.  Add sliced onion, then minced garlic.  Allow to cook on low heat until the onion caramelizes and turns a nice brown color.  About 30-45 minutes.
  2. When the onions are close to done, blanch the green beans.  This is done by adding them to boiling water, allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, then transfer beans to an ice bath (bowl with ice water and room for the beans).  The transfer to the ice water will stop the cooking process and leave the beans crunchy.
  3. Meanwhile, give your sliced almonds a quick toast over low heat in a pan on the stove.  This should only take a few minutes, don’t let them get too brown!
  4. When you feel you have reached a good level of caramelization with the onions, add the green beens and almonds to the onions and mix them up.  Give it a sample and season to taste.  Then enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup

One of my favorite soups to make during the fall season is butternut squash soup.  It is very healthful as Rachel Ray would say.  It is simple and to make and easy on the waistline.  In fact, I usually use this as my afternoon snack instead of reaching for a carb.

Ingredients

Two butternut squash (peeled and cut into cubes), one diced onion, two quarts of chicken stock, olive oil, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt

Directions

1. Coat the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil.  Sauté onion with a touch of salt until tender.

2. Add the butternut squash to the pot.  Add chicken stock to cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the squash is tender.

3.  Once the squash is tender, use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the pot.  If you do not have an immersion blender, you can place small batches of the soup in a regular blender.  Be careful not to fill it too full because you don’t want a squash explosion.

4.  Once the soup is pureed, add fresh ground nutmeg and black pepper to your liking.

Five Things

I’m watching on the tube this fall.

1. Heart of Dixie.  I love it.  It’s my inner 16 year old I think because it’s basically on par with the WB dramas I grew up with: Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s, Felicity.  I can’t say that every episode is a home run, but I’m emotionally invested in the characters at this point so I have to watch it.  Catch on Tuesday’s on the CW.

the good life: feet up, watching my Hart of Dixie

2. Flipping Out.  Bravo gets me every time.  I’ve been following this show since the beginning and I love the mix of the design work and workplace drama.  I can’t wait for Jennie to get married in this week’s episode.  It’s on Tuesdays on Bravo.

3. Modern Family.  I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m starting to appreciate it.  It’s funny!  It’s on ABC, but I always forget which day!

4. The Mindy Project.  I wasn’t sure about this one at first and I don’t think I find all of the characters very plausible, but it’s slowly growing on me.  I like some of the leads and I see some interesting love interests developing.  It’s on Fox on Tuesdays after New Girl.

5. The New Girl.  We’ve had this conversation already, it’s hilarious.  It’s on Fox on Tuesdays.

Now I would appreciate if the playoff baseball and presidential debates would stop interrupting my prime time programming!

What shows do you love this fall?