Green Bean Casserole

December 22, 2008

This is so yummy.  It was modified from an Alton Brown recipe.  I hope you try it and you will never make another green bean casserole that begins with canned soup.  It is a perfect holiday dish but would be great any time.

 

Green Bean Casserole 

 

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 


1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved 


1 medium sized onion chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 


12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 


1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 


2 cloves garlic, minced 


1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 



1/2 cup chicken broth 


1/2 cup heavy cream

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to become translucent.  Add the mushrooms, garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and reduce to ½ the liquid. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the cream. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the green beans. Put mixture in a casserole dish and place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

 

This is a yummy cold day meal.  We just had it for dinner today.  I hope you enjoy it.

Beef Stew With Butternut Squash

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp of dried thyme

2 pounds stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

½ cup red wine

2 cups of chopped carrots

1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of tomato sauce

3 to 4 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

Directions

In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the beef cubes and salt and pepper to brown.  Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and saute until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes.. Add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.. Add the carrots, tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Add the beef broth.  Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for  about 45 minutes.   Add the butternut squash.  Cook just until the beef is tender and the squash is fork tender but not mushy (about 30 minutes).  Season the stew with additional salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. 

Walnut-Date Clusters

December 12, 2008

OK.  You should be on sugar load by now.  I do have a few other recipes I could share but I need to actually do something besides this today so I will leave you with this quick easy 3 ingredient recipe.  

Walnut-Date Clusters

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pitted dates

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

12 oz. bitter sweet chocolate (the original recipe call for milk chocolate)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.

Place the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl.  Set over the hot water (not touching).  Heat stirring constantly until melted and smooth.

Pour the hot water out and replace it with lukewarm water.  Let the chocolate stand, stirring frequently, until it cools slightly and begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the dates and walnuts mixing thoroughly.  Using a small spoon, scoop out slightly rounded teasponfuls of the mixture and drop onto the prepared sheet, spacing evenly.  Refrigerate uncovered until set, about 2 hours.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Pecan-Molasses Toffee

December 12, 2008

Pecan-Molasses Toffee

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon dark molasses

1 cup very coarsely chopped pecans, plus 1/2 cup medium-fine chopped pecans

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Butter a small baking sheet.  In a heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Add both sugars, water and molasses and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Raise the heat to medium and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan.  Cook, stirring slowly until the thermometer registers 290 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat.  Stir in the 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans and the cinnamon.  Immediately pour the mixture all at once onto the prepared sheet; do not scrape the residue from the pan bottom.  Let stand for 1 minute. Sprinkle the chocolate over the toffee.  Let stand for 1 minute to soften.  Then, using the back of metal spatula, spread the chocolate over the toffee until melted.  Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of medium-fine chopped pecans.  Refrigerate uncovered until the candy is firm, about 2 hours.  

Break into pieces. and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Maple-Nut Pralines

December 12, 2008

Maple-Nit Pralines

2 cups pure maple syrup

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the maple syrup and the 1 cup cream.  Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan.  Boil until the thermometer registers 238 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool to 220 degrees F, about 5 minutes.

Add the butter and stir just until melted and the mixture is creamy, about 1 minute.  Stir in the walnuts, pecans and nutmeg.  Immediately, using a tablespoon, scoop up spoonfuls of the mixture and drop onto a oil baking sheets, spacing evenly.  (If it become too dry to scoop, add 2 tablespoons of cream and stir over low heat until melted.)

Let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

Macadamia and Coconut Clusters

13 oz. bitter sweet chocolate chopped (the original recipe called for 10 oz. milk chocolate and 3 oz. of bitter sweet or semisweet chocolate – you choose what you like best.  Dark chocolate is better for you.)

2 cups coarsely chopped light salted roasted macadamia nuts

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted.

Place chocolates in the top of a double boiler or heatproof bowl.  Set over not water (not touching).  heat, stirring constantly, until meted and smooth.

Pour out the hot water from teh bottom pan and replace it with lukewarm water.  Let the chocolate stand uncovered, stirring frequently, until it cools slightly and begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Stir the macadamia nuts and coconut into the chocolate, mixing thoroughly.  Using a small spoon, scoop out slightly rounded teaspoonfuls of the mixture and drop onto a parchment line baking sheet or into mini foil baking cups.  Refrigerate uncovered until set, about 2 hours.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Spiced Nuts

December 12, 2008

Remember that peanuts are very starchy.  Other nuts contain starch but tree nuts are much better than peanuts.  Eat these in moderation.

2 1/2 cups of tree nuts of your choice (pecans seem to hurt Chris more than walnuts)

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Pour the oil in a heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat until warm.  Add the cumin and cayenne and stir until the mixture is aromatic, about 15 seconds.  Add the nuts, sugar and salt and stir to coat evenly.  Transfer the nuts to a baking pan.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are toasted, about 20 minutes.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.