Sweet Mustard Green Beans

31 Jan

green beans sweet mustard.JPG

I had some green beans to cook for dinner but I didn’t want to make plain old boiled or steamed beans, or even plain old roasted green beans, so I pulled out this recipe, which really adds some pizzazz to a fairly boring vegetable. And it’s easy enough to make!

Ingredients:

1½  lb. fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
dash dried tarragon
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all ingredients except pepper in a large bowl (add the green beans last) and toss well – the beans will be sugar-coated, but the sugar will melt during cooking.

Transfer the beans to a large baking dish and roast for 10-15 minutes, until beans start to brown.

Toss the beans with the sauce that accumulates at the bottom of the pan and adjust the salt if necessary. Season to taste with black pepper.

Serves 6

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Banana Flaxseed Muffins

10 Jan

banana flaxseed muffins

I got the recipe for these easy and delicious muffins from my friend Jan Wanetick. The notable thing about the recipe — besides the ease of making it and the great taste of the muffins — is that it’s vegan! The flaxseed takes the place of egg in binding the other ingredients and adds a little extra nuttiness. If you don’t care about being vegan, you can use dairy butter and milk, as I did. White flour works fine too, if you don’t have whole wheat. And I bet you can sub pumpkin or sunflower seeds for the nuts, if you need to take them into a “nut-free” environment.

You can buy flaxseed meal in many supermarkets. I got mine at Trader Joe.

By the way, I discovered a great new trick for chopping nuts! I had always used a nut chopper. In fact I have two, one with a rotary blade that you operate with a crank handle, and another with a blade on a plunger that you pump up and down. They’re both a pain to clean up. At Chautauqua over the summer, we didn’t have a nut chopper, so I put the measured amount of nuts in a sandwich bag and rolled over them with a glass jar; doesn’t matter if the jar is empty or full. After just a few passes, the nuts were nicely chopped and there was nothing to clean up!

Ingredients:

1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup flaxseed meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup soy butter
1 cup sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup soy or almond milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Grease muffin tins or use cupcake papers. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full.

Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 1 dozen muffins

Browned butter and honey salmon

15 Dec

Salmon browned butter

This dish popped up on my Facebook feed earlier in the week, but it was just a video showing how to make it, not an actual recipe. Thanks to Google, I found a recipe on a site called Cafedelites, where it was attributed to “Karina.” It’s very tasty and easy to make. (Since there are only two of us at home most nights, I halved all the ingredients.)

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon (1-2 Tbs.)
4 salmon fillets, about  6-8 oz. each
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges (to serve)

Directions:

Arrange an oven shelf about 8 inches from the heating element and preheat the broiler.

Place butter in a cast-iron frying pan or other oven-proof skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring and swirling the pan occasionally, for about 3 minutes until the foam settles; the butter will change in color to golden brown and have a nutty fragrance. (Be careful not to turn the butter!)

Add the honey and stir to dissolve it in the butter. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the lemon juice and stir well.

Add the salmon fillets to the pan, skin-side down if they have skin. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, basting frequently with the pan juices, until golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the lemon wedges around the salmon. Transfer the pan to the oven and broil for 5 to 6 minutes until the top is nicely browned.

Serve drizzled with the sauce.

Serves 4

 

Incredibly Delicious Bread Pudding

29 Nov

bread pudding with croissants

If you’re looking for a good dessert recipe for a holiday potluck, you’ve hit the jackpot.

This is an incredibly delicious bread pudding. I don’t make it often because it’s so rich; it’s in my recipe book as “Incredibly Rich Bread Pudding.” In fact, I think Thanksgiving weekend was the first time I made it because there would be a big crowd at the table and there wouldn’t be any leftovers.

I first experienced this dish at a potluck, where I ate much more of it than I should have. The recipe was originally from the a Barefoot Contessa cookbook by Ina Garten, where it is called Croissant Bread Pudding; I got the recipe from the guest who brought it, but every time I considered making it for a home meal, even with company, I’d look at the ingredients and say, “Nah, I just can’t do it!” because it’s that rich and fattening.

I tried making it with less calorific ingredients, like 2% milk instead of half & half, and regular bread instead of croissants, but it just wasn’t the same.

I’m giving you the recipe as I received it. I did make a couple of minor adjustments when I made it. I had large, not extra-large, eggs, so I used nine yolks instead of eight (but kept the original three whole eggs). I bought a quart of half & half, something I rarely use, so for the fifth cup I used lowfat milk.

I used an electric mixer to whiz the eggs, sugar, vanilla and half & half.

When you put the croissants in the pan (I used minis), you will probably have a few that don’t fit as halves. This is fine; break them up and stuff the pieces into bare spaces between the halves.

The recipe calls for a 10 x 15-inch pan. Mine was 9 x 13 and it worked fine. (I needed my larger baking pan for the water bath!)

It took closer to an hour to bake, possibly because I used a slightly smaller pan than the recipe called for.

This was a big hit at the Saturday-after-Thanksgiving dinner — and there wasn’t a crumb left over!

Ingredients:

3 extra large whole eggs
8 extra large egg yolks
5 cups half & half (you can use some milk if you don’t have that much cream)
1½  cups sugar
1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 large croissants or 12 minis (preferrably day old)
1 cup dark raisins or dried cherries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the eggs and yolks, sugar, half and half, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Set this custard mixture aside.

Slice croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 x 15-inch baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the croissants, then add the raisins, then the tops of the croissants.  Be sure the raisins are down inside, as they will burn if they surface while baking. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow it to soak in. Press the croissants many times to insure that they soak up the mixture. Do this for 10 minutes.

Place the casserole into an even larger dish (or a disposable aluminum pan) that you will fill with a few inches of hot water to create a bath.

Place an aluminum foil sheet in a tent-like shape over the entire top of both pans; this allows the pudding to steam. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow some steam to escape.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set, not jiggly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Serves 8-10 

 

Maple-Sumac Roasted Walnuts

22 Oct

maple-sumac-walnuts.jpgHere’s a nice, easy recipe that is in the latest issue of Cooking Light, where it was a staff favorite. It would be great as a snack at holiday parties or as a hostess gift. It’s also good as a salad topping if you break the walnuts up a bit. You can get sumac in a Middle Eastern grocery or online. If you can’t find it or don’t like it, you can substitute lemon rind.

Ingredients:

4 cups raw walnuts (about 12 oz.)
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup raw white sesame seeds
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (optional)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 Tbs. ground sumac

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet or in a large ovenproof skillet. Add maple syrup, sesame seeds, olive oil and red pepper (if desired). Sprinkle with black pepper and 1 tsp. salt and toss until evenly combined.

Roast, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are golden brown and maple syrup is caramelized, 15 or 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle with sumac and remaining ½ tsp. salt, tossing to coat.

Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 18

Tuscan Bean Salad

18 Oct

bean salad Tuscan

My daughter made a salad similar to this this for Sukkot, when we were visiting with her family in New Jersey. I didn’t have a chance to get her recipe when I needed to make it for a potluck, so I went online and found this recipe from Wegman’s, the wonderful grocery store we got to know so well last summer when we were at Chautauqua.

Miriam’s recipe and the Wegman’s recipe call for prepared pesto that you can buy in the grocery. But I had some homemade pesto from last year’s basil harvest in my freezer, and this was a perfect way to use it.

The Wegman’s recipe also called for Wegman’s basting oil, which is a terrific product we tried over the summer. It’s olive oil infused with a variety of herbs and is very tasty. But I didn’t have any, and there’s no Wegman’s in Michigan. If you happen to have this  product on hand, use it instead of the olive oil, garlic and oregano in the recipe.

The recipe also calls for green and red pepper. I don’t like green pepper so I used a mixture of orange, red and yellow peppers. Feel free to use any kind of pepper.

You can also play around with the ingredients, adding black or kalamata olives or sliced artichokes if you like.

You can cook the barley ahead of time since it needs to cool before you mix it up with everything else.

The salad is good after a few hours but it’s even better a day or two later, when the beans have had a chance to soak up all the herb flavors.

(Note: after making this and letting it sit for a few days, I felt it was a little dry, so I added more of the dressing ingredients. Twice as much was too much; just a little more would probably be just right. And the full recipe made a LOT. In future I will use about three-quarters the amount of dressing but only half of everything else, unless I’m making it for a big crowd, in which case I will add about 25 percent more dressing. If you like a rather dry salad, stick to the original amounts; it’s still very flavorful!)

Ingredients:

1 cup pearled barley
2 cans (15½ oz. each) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15½ oz. each) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red, orange or yellow pepper (or use two different colored half-peppers), cut in ¼ -inch dice
3 or 4 green onions, sliced thin (or use half a medium red onion, cut in ¼ -inch dice)
7 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about ½ cup)
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbs. dried parsley)
⅓ cup prepared pesto
⅓ cup white or red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. Wegman’s basting oil (or use 3 Tbs. olive oil and ¼ tsp. garlic powder and ¼ tsp. oregano)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring barley and 2½ cups water to boil on high heat in large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes until barley is tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine barley, beans, pepper, onions, dried tomatoes and parsley in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, combine the pesto, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper and mix well. Pour the dressing over the barley and bean mixture and mix well.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Serves 12

 

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

26 Sep

IMG_3143

Here’s another breakfast recipe that was a big hit during our summer as hosts at the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua Institution. It would be a great break-the-fast dish after Yom Kippur!

You can mix it up the night before and leave it covered in the fridge. Take it out at least 20 minutes before you want to bake it.

I made it several times. Once I used a package of Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles instead of the veggie sausage, and that was also good.  It was even easier because I didn’t have to thaw and crumble the sausage, just dump in the contents of the package.

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded sweet potatoes
4 oz. butter, melted
8 eggs
8 oz. vegetarian sausages (links or patties), thawed and crumbled
12 oz. shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mexican blend, Italian blend are all good)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely sliced fresh spinach (or 1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)
2 cups small curd cottage cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Mix the sweet potatoes and butter together and press into the pan, covering the bottom.

In a large bowl, blend the eggs well and mix in the sausage crumbles, cheese, onion, spinach and cottage cheese. Spoon over the sweet potato layer.

Bake about an hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 12