Category Archives: APPETIZERS

Simple Parmesan Green Beans

i have struggled to find a delicious way to cook green beans.  for some reason, when i sauté them, they’re under-done.  when i roast them, they’re over-done.  and when i steam them, they’re bland.

well finally, i have the answer to quick & flavorsome green beans.

matt & i will be making this recipe for Thanksgiving in place of the usual household “green bean casserole.”

i have never, ever been a fan of green bean casserole . .  who can guess why?

answer: the cream of  m u s h r o o m  soup!  my parents always thought they could sneak it in, but nope, there is no getting those minuscule mushroom pieces by me.  i swear, it’s like i gain eagle-eye power when confronted with green bean casserole.

but these parmesan crusted green beans will be the perfect Thanksgiving vegetable. they’re only in the oven for 7ish minutes, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about timing just right! – my Thanksgiving plan:  i’ll let the green beans roast while i’m carving the turkey.

Simple Parmesan Green Beans

an original recipe from: Matt & Rachel’s Kitchen

ingredients

  • .5 lb green beans, washed
  • .5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese {no green cylinders of powdered parm, please}
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of garlic salt

directions

Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prepare your green beans: Snap off the stem ends.

Blanch them.

 

To Blanch:  Boil a few inches of water in a saucepan.  Add green beans to boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.  While green beans are boiling, prepare an ice bath {bowl of ice cubes and cold water}.  After 5 minutes of boiling, remove saucepan and drain, then plunge the green beans into the ice water to stop the cooking.  Stir them around until they are cool {a minute or two}, then drain again.  Pat dry with a paper towel and place in a medium bowl.

Drizzle olive oil over green beans and stir.  Add parmesan cheese and a dash of sea salt and garlic salt {no more than a dash or 2 needed!} and toss to coat.

Place green beans in a single layer onto your prepared baking sheet.  Bake at 400° for 5 minutes, then turn the broiler on high and broil for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve alongside the main dish… enjoy!!

Special Shout-Out: Happy 95th Birthday to one of the world’s best grandmas, hope you had a wonderful day, love you Oma!!

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Gazpacho !

why the exclamation mark after gazpacho? because it sounds better when you exclaim it, gazpacho!!   and, there is some exciting news to be shared: we have a food processor now… ! ! ! !

yes folks, my dearest brother, sister-in-law and nephew purchased me {& matt} a food processor for my birthday… best gift  e v e r.  i have been using it non-stop since the day i got it, all those recipes that required one, and we had to use a potato masher, or our hands instead…and now we can use the real thing!

so with our new machine, matt got the great idea to try some gazpacho! {there’s that exclamation mark again…}

i can’t say that i made it, because really matt was the one that slaved away while i was busy working at home–i just occasionally popped over to the kitchen to snap a few photos of his gorgeous {& delicious} work.  and now i’m the one writing about it : )

it’s such a fresh treat, great for a warm day/evening and would make for an awesome appetizer.  we ate it for lunch served with a piece of whole wheat toast…delicious. never made it before? us either, but sure glad we did…give ‘er a try & let us know how it goes!

Gazpacho !

adapted from: palete/palette/plate

ingredients

  • 3-4 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped {we used an orange one, yum!}
  • 1 large english cucumber, peeled & diced {we used a regular cucumber and it worked fine!}
  • 1 clove garlic {2 if small}
  • .5 medium onion, peeled & diced
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, crust removed and cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt, + more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, for topping

directions

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, bell pepper and cucumber.  Use a measuring cup to scoop out 1 cup of the mix and set in the refrigerator to chill {will be used later}.  Next, add garlic, onion, cubed bread, olive oil, vinegar and sea salt to the large bowl.  Use your hands  {please wash them well first!} to mix the ingredients together, crushing & mushing.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least an hour.

Once chilled, remove gazpacho in the large bowl from refrigerator and transfer to a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Season with salt and ground black pepper.  Chill in refrigerator again until ready for serving, at least 30 minutes.

Before serving, scoop ~1 tbsp of the chilled tomato/bell pepper/cucumber mix into each serving bowl of gazpacho for garnish and an added crunch.  Slice avocado into small bite size pieces and divvy it up into your bowls…enjoy!

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m & r’s famous guacamole

we went to the boulder farmer’s market today, for the first time {cannot believe it has taken us 3 years}.  it did not disappoint!  our intention was to just get a few peaches, but of course we came home with some other wonderful produce as well… check out our loot!

peaches, pears, garlic and of course a few ingredients for our guacamole: purple onion, heirloom tomatoes and hot peppers. {the darker green peppers are serrano chiles {the best for guac!} and the market-guy told us that the lighter green one is called a “lipstick” pepper, but according to our Google search, that doesn’t seem quite right…}

after strolling the market we had a nice lunch in boulder and then headed home;  we needed to make sure we had enough time to whip-up some of our famous guacamole to snack on while matt is busy nerding out on his fantasy football draft…

so here it is, long long awaited by my parents; our recipe for delicious homemade guacamole. we would like to dedicate it to my mom and dad {Hi Mom, Hi Dad!!} especially since that without their gift of the “slap-chop” it would take us almost double the time to create our favorite chip dip.

m & r’s  Famous Guacamole

an original recipe from: Matt & Rachel’s Kitchen, dedicated to Bob & Melanie

serves 4-6 people {matt & i can devour almost all of it ourselves, but we’re crazy like that}

ingredients

  • 3 avocados, ripe {check this site out to see how to pick yours}
  • half of a small purple onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 large serrano chiles or 3 small {serrano chiles are hotter than jalapeños, so adjust amount to suit your heat tolerance. scoville scale}
  • 1 medium-large heirloom tomato {we used half of a large yellow heirloom and half of a small red heirloom}
  • half a lime
  • .25 tsp salt
  • .25 tsp cumin
  • .25 tsp garlic salt

directions

Halve the avocados, use a spoon to remove the pit and then scoop out the avocado into a large mixing bowl.  If your avocados are at the perfect ripeness, they should mash easily – use a potato masher to work them into the perfect texture, a little lumpy.  Halve your lime-half and juice one of the wedges into the bowl, add chopped onion, mix well.

Next, prepare your cilantro.  Pick the leaves off their stalks and place on a cutting board.  {Don’t be shy here, I think cilantro is what makes guacamole so good, so I don’t believe it is possible to use too much; we use almost the entire bunch.}  Once you have your pile of leaves, chop with a sharp knife, or use a slap-chop! Add to avocado bowl.

Slice chiles in half {careful! these puppies are hot, touching your eyeball after handling will not make for a fun day}.  Use a spoon {we use a grapefruit spoon} to scrape out the seeds into the trash / sink / compost.  Chop well and dump into avocado bowl.

Cut your heirloom tomato into smaller-than-bite-size pieces.  You don’t want them too big, but not too small either as they might get lost in the mix.  Add tomato to avocado mix, carefully folding them in.

Add salt, cumin, and garlic-salt to avocado bowl.  Juice the other half of your lime in and mix well.

Give it a taste and add salt as desired {we don’t think any extra is needed!}.  Our favorite chips to dip are Garden of Eatin’® Red Hot Blues {try these for a spicier experience} and Garden of Eatin’® Blue Chips.  …Enjoy!! 

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Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

fritter (noun): a small mass of fried or sautéed batter often containing fruit or meat — from merriam-webster.com

let’s hone in on, “small mass of fried or sautéed batter” – so how can it not be good?!  add a little broccoli and you can feel a little less bad about the “fried” part…

matt and i eat these by themselves and call it lunch, but you can pair them with some grilled chicken or steak to call it a meal.

if you haven’t made a savory fritter before, you should try making these!  Be sure to let me know how yours turn out in the comments section.

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

hardly adapted from: smittenkitchen.com

Yield: 9 – 2 to 2.5 in. fritters {we find that it makes 5-7 fritters}

ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh broccoli, chopped {include some stems}
  • 1 large egg
  • .5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed**
  • .5 tsp kosher salt
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

directions

Prepare the broccoli – all chopped pieces should be about a .5-inch in length, be sure to add a few stems as well.  Steam your  broccoli until tender, but not mushy: you can use a steamer, or however you’d like – but the quick/easy way that we use {from smittenkitchen} is to bring a .5-inch or so of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the broccoli, place a lid on it and simmer it for 5-6 minutes.  Drain the broccoli, then set it aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Add the flour, cheese, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Then, add the cooked broccoli and, using a potato masher, mash the broccoli just a bit.  Make sure to keep the bits recognizable, but small enough that you can press a mound of the batter into a fritter in the pan.  Once mashed a bit, stir the ingredients together the rest of the way with a spoon.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat.  Once hot, add both oils. When the oil is hot {flick a droplet of water into it and it should hiss and sputter}, scoop up a serving-size mound of the batter and drop it into the pan, then flatten it slightly with your spatula.  Repeat with additional batter, leaving an inch or two between each.  We were able to get all 7 into the pan.  Once brown underneath, flip each fritter and cook on the other side until equally golden, approximately 2 minutes on each side.

Transfer to paper towels to absorb some of the oil, then serve them up! …enjoy!!

**Best garlic press: Rösle Garlic Press – sure it’s super expensive, but one press and you’ll know it’s worth it! i was lucky enough to have one gifted to me… thanks Mom!!!

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