Green Beans Gremolata

June 10th, 2014

Green Beans Gremolata 1


While shopping at one of my favorite Supermarkets, I found a package of Haricot Vert, the lovely French thin green beans.  By the way, that store is a mega Harris Teeter store that we have dubbed the Taj maTeeter.  Although I usually like to shop at small stores with quality ingredients, Farmer’s markets and butcher shops, sometimes a trip to a mega store yields interesting ingredients.  Haricot Vert are hard to find.  Translated haricot means beans, vert means green.  French green beans are thinner and longer than the beans that we grow here in the United States.

Green Beans Gremolata 2V


The beans are cooked quickly and then put in an ice and water bath to stop the cooking and set the color.  This can be done way ahead of time.  What makes the beans taste so special is the gremolata garnish that is added during the final cooking.  Gremolata is a mixture of garlic, parsley, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.  It is usually associated with Osso Bucco, the popular Milanese veal shank dish.  The slow cooked veal shanks are garnished with the gremolata mixture.  But used on the green beans, the mixture sings with flavor.

Green Beans Gremolata 3


This is a wonderful side dish for a company meal.  Eat your heart out Dave S..  This was supposed to be for you.  We had a wonderful time at the blogger get together at Almost Heaven South.  There will be more about our gathering in future posts.  But in the meantime, enjoy this lovely and delicious side dish.


1 pound French green beans, trimmed
2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 cloves )
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest ( 2 lemons )
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tasted pine nuts
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still crisp.  Drain the beans in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.

For the gremolata, toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pine nuts in a small bowl and set aside.

When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Drain the beans and pat them dry.  Add the beans to the pan and saute, turning frequently, for 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through.  Off the heat, add the gremolata and toss well.  Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve hot.

Printable Recipe


Tomato, Sweet Corn and Basil Risotto Cakes

February 22nd, 2014


Risotto Cake 3


What a lovely little risotto cake.  I love food that can be stuffed in a ramekin, baked, and then un-molded.  I was perusing Nourish Magazine, a quarterly magazine from New Zealand, on-line recently and found this recipe for a vegetable filled risotto cake.  Nourish promotes local, seasonal and vegetarian fare, although the vegetarianism is not total.  There are recipes using meat products as well.  It is always fun to get a fresh prospective on eating.

Risotto Cake New 1


The recipe makes six to eight risotto cakes.  I think this would make a lovely luncheon dish topped with a small dressed salad.  For dinner, it makes a pretty side to fish or chicken.  The risotto can be made ahead of time, placed in the ramekins and baked right before you are ready to serve the risotto cakes.  The flavor of the tomato, corn and basil adds lots of interest to the dish.

Risotto Cake New 2


So simple, but yet so lovely and delicious.


On a change of subject, the above picture was taken at last year’s Bloggers’ get together at Larry, of Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings, and his wife  Bev’s Almost Heaven South lakeside pavillion in Tennessee.  We had the most wonderful luau with authentic delicious food, great company and a chance for all of us bloggers to connect with each other.  The event for 2014 is scheduled for either June 7th or 8th.  The official date will be announced in March.  We would like to invite any of our fellow bloggers to attend.  I can guarantee that you will have a good time.  You can contact Larry or Chris, at Nibble Me This, if you are interested in attending.

Blogger Party Grill line up

We had some of the best barbecue gurus in blogland manning the grills.  This grill line-up still brings a smile to my face.  Come and join us.


2 onions, diced
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced (I used canned)
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp basil pesto
⅔ cup sweetcorn (I used frozen)
⅔ cup grated cheese (I used Parmesan)
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, soften the onions in the oil.

Add Arborio rice and cook for a couple of minutes being careful not to let the rice catch on the pan.

Then add the tomatoes, mix well and let the Arborio rice absorb some of the moisture from the tomatoes before adding the stock.

When the Arborio rice is nearly cooked through take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Spoon into greased ramekins and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden.  Un-mold by running a knife around the sides and inverting onto plates.

Serve with salad.

Printable recipe

Chicken Over Warm Kale and Asparagus Salad

January 8th, 2014

Chicken over warm kale 1


To continue the Greens of Winter theme, I made this flavorful and simple chicken dish that utilizes convenient store-bought products.  It was a featured recipe in Publix’s Aprons Simple Meal Program.  Every week they feature recipes from products on their aisles.  All of the ingredients are gathered at the cooking station so that, if, after sampling the dish and it is to your liking, you can gather all of the ingredients to make it; all in one place.  Genius!

Chicken over Warm Kale ingredients


Here are the major players in the dish.  I forgot to include the red wine vinegar and the sugar, but you get the general idea.  The Aprons Program is a wonderful idea for harried cooks and working families who have very little time to shop, but still want to serve their families home-cooked meals.  This was almost just as simple as ordering a pizza or stopping for take-out chinese food.  Nutritionally there is no contest. It is low in fat and full of healthy ingredients.

Chicken over warm kale V2

The only addition I made to this meal was a pot of mashed potatoes.  A brown and wild rice mix would also be good.  I think we are off to a great start in the New Year.


1 ( 3 oz ) package shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb fresh asparagus spears
1 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/4 teaspoon garlic/herb seasoning, divided
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 pint grape tomatoes
3 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 ( 5 oz ) container kale salad blend
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

PREP: Chop shallots and basil.  Cut asparagus into 1-inch long pieces, removing tough root end.

1. Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes.  Season chicken with 1 teaspoon garlic/herb seasoning (wash hands).  Place oil in pan, then add chicken; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.

2. Reduce heat to low.  Stir in tomatoes and shallots; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are softened.

3. Combine vinegar and sugar, then stir into tomato mixture; cook 8-10 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, or until liquid has reduced by about one-half and chicken is 165 degrees F.  Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes to rest.

4. Stir kale, basil, asparagus, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon seasoning into tomato mixture; cook 1 minute or until salad is wilted.  Transfer salad to serving plates; slice chicken and arrange on top of salad.  Sprinkle with cheese; serve.  Serves 4.

Printable recipe

Fusilli with Collards, Bacon, and Garlic

January 5th, 2014

Fusilli with collards S!

The greens of winter reach their peak during the frigid months of the year.  Collard greens, kale and cabbage are all in season right now.  We drove to the panhandle of Florida for our New Year’s celebration with friends and the backroads were lined with fields of greens.  Workers were bent to the task of picking the leafy foliage. These inexpensive, calcium and vitamin A rich vegetables add a vitality to our winter fare.  I plan to make full use of them in my meal planning this month.

Destin Condo ViewEvery year, we get together with our friends of many years for a New Year’s celebration.  We have met at each others’ homes, but have also rented houses or condos in interesting places.  Last year we rented a house on Tybee Island.  This year we rented a condo in Destin, Florida.  The above picture is the view of the Gulf of Mexico from our balcony.  The locations may change, but the food is always the same for New Year’s Day.

New Years Dinner 2014We roast a pork butt long and slow until it falls apart.  We have garlic mashed potatoes, collard greens, black-eyed peas, pea salad and Rosa’s cornbread.  This year we made corn muffins because Jackie forgot her iron skillet and the condo kitchen had only a muffin tin.  It was a fine meal.  The best ever.  You can find some of the recipes in one of my previous posts here.  David has taken over the making of the collard greens.  He loads them up with two ham hocks and cooks them for hours.  The recipe came from his secretary Rosa, who also gave us the cornbread recipe.  I wrote about her in this post.

Fusilli with Collards Vertical

David made such a big pot of collard greens that we came home with leftovers.  Not one to waste a good thing, I made a pasta dish incorporating the greens.  The original recipe came from Gourmet Magazine.  Since my greens were already cooked, it was easy to throw together.  We loved it.  I will give you the recipe as written in Gourmet and Rosa’s recipe for collard greens.  The Gourmet recipe did not call for a long cooking of the greens.  Either way, I think you would enjoy this.  Happy New Year everyone.

FUSILLI WITH COLLARDS, BACON, AND GARLIC ( Adapted from Gourmet Magazine )

1 pound collards, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and chopped coarse
1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 large onion, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 pound fusilli (spiral-shaped pasta)
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
freshly grated Parmesan as an accompaniment

In a kettle of boiling water boil the collards for 10 minutes, drain them in a colander set over a large bowl, and return the cooking liquid to the kettle.  In a large skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until it is just browned and transfer it with a slotted spoon to a small bowl.  Pour off the fat from the skillet and in the skillet cook the garlic, the onion, and the red pepper flakes in half the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened and the garlic is golden brown.  Bring the cooking liquid to a boil, in it boil the fusilli until it is al dente, and drain the fusilli well.  To the skillet add the collards, the bacon, the fusilli, the remaining oil, and the vinegar and toss the mixture well.  Season the fusilli with salt and pepper, divide it among 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with some of the Parmesan.  Serves 4.

ROSA’S COLLARD GREENS (This is a very loose recipe)

Put your ham hocks in water and cook on top of the stove.
Then cut the greens up, cut bottom stems off.  Do not cook stems, then wash greens 4 times in the sink.
Then put more water in the pot with the meat, add the greens.
Add hot peppers, salt, pinch of sugar.
Let cook about 1 hour and 1/2.

Printable recipe:  Fusilli with Collards, Bacon, and Garlic

Printable recipe:  Rosa’s Collard Greens


Cauliflower Gratin

December 16th, 2013

Cauliflower Gratin 1


You can never have too many make-ahead casseroles in your arsenal during the holiday season.  Cauliflower recipes seem to be everywhere on the internet and on the cooking shows.  I made a cauliflower, kale and sausage soup recently and it was a real hit.  The thing about cauliflower is that it is such a mild vegetable that it picks up the flavors of anything that you add to it.

Cauliflower Gratin V


In this case, the additions were a bechamel sauce, Gruyere and Parmesan cheese and a crisp sourdough bread crumb topping.  It doesn’t hurt that the recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa.  We were having steaks for dinner the other night and I felt like making something other than potatoes to go with them.  This cauliflower gratin was the perfect choice.  I actually assembled it ahead of time and popped it into the oven when David lit the grill.

Cauliflower Gratin 2


It was creamy, crunchy and delicious.  I am keeping this recipe to share with company.


1 ( 3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh sourdough bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm.  Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil.  Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.  Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch dish.  Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoon of the butter.  Drizzle over the bread crumb mixture.  Stir to combine and then sprinkle the mixture over the gratin.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.

Printable recipe

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