Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

November 18th, 2011

We will be having a small Thanksgiving this year.  We plan to spend two weeks with the family over Christmas, so a trip north for a quick Thanksgiving dinner is not in the picture.  But a small Thanksgiving dinner for two doesn’t have to be boring.  There was the year that hubby and I were by ourselves.  I bought a small turkey.  He wanted to do it on the grill.  I wanted it in the oven so I could make gravy.  So with Solomon like judgement we decided to split it in half; half on the grill and half in the oven.  Mine was best.  He disagrees.

I am not sure yet what we will do with our turkey this year, but I know that this is the way I will be preparing the green beans.  I ran across this recipe while on Pinterest.  It has lots of pins and repins.  The recipe came originally from Aubrey of Just Cook Already,  a blog that I had not visited before.  You might want to go on over and check out her original recipe.  I did make a few changes.

This recipe is great on several levels.  The flavor is wonderful.  Anything wrapped in bacon is good.  The sauce with butter, garlic, brown sugar and (my addition) O OLIVE OIL blood orange oil and port vinegar is scrumptious.  The dish can be prepared ahead of time up to the 15 to 20 minutes needed in the oven to crisp the bacon.  You can have it assembled and in the fridge the day before Thanksgiving.  I also loved that it is already portioned out.  If you are having twelve for Thanksgiving you can assemble twelve bundles.  If you are only two . . . well, you get the picture.

BACON WRAPPED GREEN BEANS

1 lb. green beans, tips removed
5 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon O OLIVE OIL blood orange oil (or zest of 1 orange and 1 tablespoon orange juice)
1 tablepoon O OLIVE OIL porto vinegar (or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook green beans until tender.  Remove beans to an ice water filled bowl.  Place beans on paper towels to absorb excess water.

Heat butter in a small saucepan.  Add garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Add brown sugar and oil and vinegar.  Stir together and cook for a few minutes.  Remove from heat.

In a large saute pan, cook bacon partially to remove some of the grease.  Do not brown.  Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate.  It should be limp.

Assemble dish.  Cut bacon slices in half.  Line up approximately 8 to 10 green beans and wrap them with the half piece of bacon.  Secure with a toothpick.  Continue with rest of bundles and place in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Drizzle sauce over beans.  (Can be assembled ahead of time to this point).

Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bacon is cooked through and beans are warmed through.

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Pumpkin Chutney Bread

October 12th, 2011

I have tried a lot of quick breads, but I have to say that this Pumpkin Chutney Bread is one of the moistest, flavorful breads I have ever had.  It is a recipe that I adapted from Gourmet Magazine.  The addition of chutney may be the reason why it is so good. 

The recipe also calls for buttermilk.  I don’t know about you but I am always buying buttermilk for a recipe and then the carton languishes in the refrigerator until it passes it’s expiration date.  Last month I was shopping at The Fresh Market and found this product.

It is a powdered mix that is added to the dry ingredients in a recipe.  Then water is added in the amount specified for the buttermilk.  It is so convenient having this in my pantry.

I am working very hard on my photography skills.  I recently had two recipes published in Foodgawker.  But I have had six rejections.  Foodgawker is great about telling you the reason that a photograph is rejected.  It is a learning tool and they are very selective in what is included on their site.

I am hoping that the above picture of my Pumpkin Chutney Bread will be added to their queue, but if not, we can just keep it amongst ourselves.  Enjoy.

PUMPKIN CHUTNEY BREAD

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ( I used dry )
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup butter softened
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used 1 Tbls mix and 1/4 cup water)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup bottled mango chutney or Majoy Grey’s chutney
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a bowl combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and the ginger.   In a large bowl stir together the butter and the brown sugar, add the eggs, and combine the mixture well.  Stir in the buttermilk,  the pumpkin puree, and 2/3 cup of the chutney, combining the mixture well, add the flour mixture and the walnuts and stir the batter until it is just combined.  Spoon the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake it in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour.  Let the loaf cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen the edge with a knife, turn the loaf right side up onto the rack, and let it cool for 2 hours.  The bread keeps wrapped tightly in foil and chilled, for up to 1 week or it may be frozen.

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Wild Rice Salad and a Pilgrimage

November 20th, 2010

Salads at Thanksgiving are sometimes overlooked.  A tossed green salad seems like an afterthought when you are serving such hearty dishes as mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole, and turkey and gravy.  But this salad is a little different.  It is substantial with ebony colored wild rice and  is full of fruit like bright navel oranges,  pale green grapes and dried red cranberries.  The light dressing of olive oil, raspberry vinegar and orange juice adds just the right refreshing tang.  But the main reason to love this salad is that it goes so well with the other components of the Thanksgiving table.  Wild rice has always been associated with game, game hens and turkey.  It is an earthy and usexpected addition to the usual line-up of dishes.

The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s new cookbook, How Easy Is That?  It is similar to one that I have been making for years.  The main difference is the use of raspberry vinegar.  It is worth using in this salad and you will have it to dress any salad in which you incorporate fruit.

WILD RICE SALAD

1 box of long-grain wild rice (6 ounces)
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 naval oranges, peeled and sliced into segments
1/2 cup seedless green grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

Bring the 3 cups of water, the salt, and the butter to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the wild rice and stir to combine.  Reduce the head to medium-low and simmer covered until the rice is tender (about 50 to 60 minutes).  Drain off the excess water.  Return the rice to the saucepan and cover.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.  Transfer the rice to a mixing bowl.  Combine the dressing ingredients and pour over the rice.  Mix well.  Add the remainder of the ingredients and toss to combine.  Transfer mixture to a serving dish and serve at room temperature.

I have been enjoying cooking up all of these Thanksgiving dishes because we will not be home for Thanksgiving this year and I will not be cooking.  We are going to the Washington DC area to spend time with family.  I will be going on a pilgrimage while there.  Since the last time I was in DC the Smithsonian has added a new exhibit that I want to see.

I am going to see Julia Child’s kitchen.  I am so excited.  I promise not to sneak in a stick of butter, but I will report back with pictures of my own.

Speaking of kitchens, I would still like more of you to participate in my Kitchen Reveal on December 1st.  Just leave a comment on my previous post and let me know that you are interested in posting pictures of your kitchen on that date.

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Mashed Squash and Potatoes with Amaretti

November 15th, 2010
These potatoes have the most beautiful butter yellow color from the addition of squash to the mash.  There are so many variations on mashed potatoes that when I ran across this one, I knew it was worth trying.  Besides that, it was a Martha Stewart recipe and I usually can rely on her recipes to be good.  The squash that is used in the recipe is a buttercup squash.
It is very similar to an acorn squash but it’s flesh is a darker orange, which gives it a boost in Vitamin A and also colors the mashed potatoes with a golden hue.  If you cannot find buttercup squash in your Supermarket, you could substitute butternut or acorn squash.  The skin on the squash is very tough and peeling it was a time consuming process.  Alternately you could split the squash lenthwise, remove the seeds and stringy pulp, place it cut side down in a casserole with a little water in it and bake it until the flesh is soft.
The amaretti part of the recipe is the topping.  Amaretti are Italian almond cookies.  Any crispy almond cookie will do.  These are the cookies that were at my Publix Supermarket.
They make a very crispy topping for the casserole and do not taste too sweet.  They would also be a great addition to a sweet potato casserole.
The verdict on this casserole is that it is a definite keeper and would make a great addition to the Thanksgiving table.  It is also a good way to add to the nutritional value of mashed potatoes and it is visually appealing.  It can also be assembled ahead of time which is a bonus for a harried cook.
 
MASHED SQUASH AND POTATOES WITH AMARETTI
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
3 pounds buttercup squash (about 1 squash) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 8 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
10 amaretti cookies, crushed into fine crumbs (about 3/4 cup)
1. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil; add salt.  Reduce heat to medium-high; cook the potatoes until soft, about 25 minutes.  In another medium saucepan, cover the squash with cold water.  Bring to a boil; add salt.  Reduce heat to medium-high; cook until soft, 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and squash separately.
2. Force the potatoes through a ricer into a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mash the squash with a potato masher; stir in the potatoes.
3. Bring 4 tablespoons butter and the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the nutmeg.  Season with pepper.  Stir the cream mixture and 1/3 cup cheese into the potato mixture.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Spoon into a buttered 10 inch round baking dish.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the crushed cookies and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the cookies over the casserole and add the remaining cheese.  Bake until the topping is just browned, 20 to 30 minutes. 
We are enjoying the mild weather in Florida.  The view from our house is nothing like what we have in the mountains, but I have to admit, we have the best of both worlds.


Cornbread-Sausage Dressing with Apples

November 12th, 2010
One of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal is the stuffing or dressing.  My Mother made a very traditional bread stuffing which I wrote about here.  She never stuffed the bird, preferring the crispy edges that develop when the dressing is cooked in a casserole.  I am of the same opinion.
Back in the 1980’s Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins ran a very successful gourmet food shop in Manhattan called The Silver Palate.  Their cookbook, The Silver Palate Cookbook was published in the early 80’s and I loved everything about it.  I especially loved their version of Thanksgiving stuffing.  Over the years I have changed it to suit our tastes but it has become the “other favorite dressing” after my Mom’s version.
You can’t help but love a dressing with cornbread, whole wheat bread, sourdough bread, apples, pecans and sausage.  The apples and sausage keep it moist and the three kinds of bread keep it interesting.   The original recipe was either cooked in the bird or baked in the oven in a water bath.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t got room in my oven at Thanksgiving for an extra large pan of water, so I changed the recipe.  I added chicken broth and an egg to it in order to add that extra moistness.  Most dressing recipes include eggs and broth anyway, so they made the dish even better.
We had this last night with a roast chicken and I have to say that I think I like it even better than my Mom’s famous Thanksgiving dressing.  But please don’t tell the relatives.
CORNBREAD-SAUSAGE DRESSING WITH APPLES (adpated from The Silver Palate )
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tart apples peeled, cored and chunked up
1/2 pound bulk sausage ( Sage flavored is good.  I used hot sausage)
1 1/2 cups crumbled cornbread (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled whole wheat bread
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped sourdough bread from a baguette
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage or poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 egg beaten
Melt half of the butter in a skillet.  Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat until softened.  Transfer onion and butter to a large mixing bowl.
Melt remaining butter in the same skillet.  Add the apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy.  Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl.
Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned.  With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat.
Add remaining ingredients to the the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently.  Butter a casserole dish.  Spoon dressing into dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting occasionally with the turkey drippings or the reserved sausage fat.
Note:  Double the recipe if you are stuffing a large turkey or need to serve 12 to 14 people.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.