Saturday, August 14, 2010

Notes from Nikki--three great recipes

Below are three recipes, all super well-recieved in this house. :-)


Haricot Verts, Chinese Style

French beans meet asian flavor in this lively dish. Incredibly simple to make, my family devoured it, literally licking the sauce off their plates. I served this dish aside grilled pork chops. It would work nicely alongside grilled tofu or tempeh as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


2 quarts haricot verts, stems snipped off
Glug extra virgin olive oil
Glug toasted sesame oil
Generous splash mirin (Sweet, Japanese cooking wine... optional, although the flavor is spectacular. Mirin is sold at Giant in the ethnic food aisle.)
1-2 Tbsp honey or agave (I was generous here, although I know not everyone shares my love of sweetness.)
Pinch crushed red pepper (more if you want more heat)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2-3 Tbsp tamari or shoyu
8 oz. oyster and/or shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (any mix of exotic mushrooms will work here, heck, even crimini mushrooms will work)


Using a large skillet or wok, saute the garlic and ginger in the oils over medium heat until fragrant.
Add in the crushed red pepper, sauteing briefly.
Add the mirin, reducing ever so slightly, followed immediately by the honey and tamari or shoyu.
Swirl until well combined.
Add in the mushrooms, sauteing briefly until they just start to release their juices.
Toss in the beans, cover, and steam until the beans are crisp tender.
Give the pan a shake periodically and remove the lid once in a while to give everything a good tossing.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

Zucchini, Corn, and Tomato Gratin

A bright, summery dish. Perfect fare for an outdoor, picnic dinner.


4-6 medium tomatoes, chopped and drained slightly (just enough to avoid the gratin becoming more like a soup. ;-) I used a medley of orange and red tomato varieties... gorgeous!)
2-3 medium zucchini, sliced
Fresh corn kernels cut from 6-8 ears very lightly roasted corn (thawed, frozen corn would work too, about 3 C or so)
Glug extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Large handful fresh basil leaves
1/2-3/4 C shredded parmesan (or more if you like it on the cheesier side)
1/2-3/4 C fresh bread crumbs (1-2 slices of dry, toasted bread run through the food processor, along with the parmesan, will do the trick)


Preheat the oven to 400.
Combine the corn, zucchini, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
Spread the mixture into a large, deep baking dish.
Lay the basil leaves in a single layer over top of the corn and zucchini mixture.
Spread the tomatoes over top of the basil.
Combine the parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over the tomatoes.
Bake in the oven until just heated through and you see the first signs of bubbling. The cheese on top should be melted and browned a bit.
Allow to cool a bit and serve.
This dish is also delicious served at room temperature.

Serves 6-8 generously as a side dish

Kale Chips

The ever popular kale chip... we make these almost every week. My kids love these! Really and truly LOVE them! We have even experimented using perpetual spinach and chard in lieu of kale, with decent results. The perpetual spinach and chard don't crisp up quite as nicely, but still work well enough. We have also experimented with a medley of spices (curry powder, cumin/paprika/chili powder/garlic powder, etc.), but like the simple salt/pepper/garlic powder described below the most. Whatever you decide to use, use very little of it. Go easy. I have ruined more than my fair share of these chips using too much salt and spice.
We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt to taste (again, go easy here... it's amazing how little salt is really needed, and too much is NOT a good thing ;-})
Dash garlic powder
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, leaves torn into chip-sized pieces, and spun dry (it is of utmost importance that the leaves be pretty dry, otherwise they won't crisp up well in the oven)
Sesame seeds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350.
Toss the kale in the oil, sea salt, and garlic powder.
Spread the kale in a single layer (no leaves should be on top of other leaves) on a baking sheet (you may need two, depending on the size of your bunch of kale and your baking sheet).
Bake until toasted (the edges of the chips will be darker and crisper). There is a fine line between perfectly toasted, crispy chips, and burnt, terrible tasting chips. I have burnt these one too many times, which is why I suggest checking them every 2-3 minutes. They usually take a good 10-15 minutes to crisp up nicely. Taste one to be sure, before you pull them out.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


1 comment:

Amanda Borenstadt said...

No way, they eat kale chips? I want my kids to eat kale chips. I can hide kale in soup sometimes, but if they find it they don't eat it. I'm going to try this.