Beans and greens deluxe

I thought I had the beans and greens dish down: Sauté lots of minced garlic and some red pepper flakes in oil, add greens, some water & salt, cook gently covered, then add beans from a can, warm up and douse with parmesan. Pretty Good.

THEN . . . . I finally dragged my Instant Pot out of its box on the floor of the dining room where it had been neglected for months. And I got Melissa Clark’s Instant Pot book out of the library, again. She has a recipe for Garlicky Beans with Broccoli Rabe. With book by a NY Times recipe provider and dispenser of kitchen advice, and with a bunch of farmers market broccoli rabe in my fridge, I set about it. Okay a preview: FABULOUS in all ways.

The traditional Italian way I believe is to sauté a mess o’ minced garlic in oil. That’s what I have long done. Melissa takes it to another dimension combining garlic-infused beans with garlic-infused oil that hasn’t had the chance to get at all bitter, solely deeply flavored. Brilliant!

Ingredients:

Cooked beans — gigante or cannelini, with their cooking liquid (1 # beans to 7 c water)
Garlic cloves — 4 smashed, and 3 sliced thin
Red or sweet onion, 1/2 large
Broccoli rabe, 1 bunch, large ends cut off, and washed
Olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, good pinch

Directions:

Cook beans in pressure cooker. Either keep warm, or make ahead and refrigerate. (Good idea to pop some in freezer too. Mixed in with their liquid for soups later, and some dry in a bag.)
Prepare broccoli rabe, onion and garlic.
Put a sauté pan on medium-low heat, add 4 T olive oil, sliced garlic and pinch of salt. Sauté about 3-4 minutes, stirring, until garlic is just golden. Transfer contents to a small bowl and set aside.
Put pan back on the stove (you may have to wipe the bottom so you don’t ignite any dribbled oil) over medium-high heat, and add 2 T oil. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes and then red pepper flakes. Turn heat up to high (!), add broccoli rabe and cook, tossing in oil, and add good pinch salt. Add good ladle-full of bean liquid and cook until liquid is absorbed/evaporates, about 8 minutes.
Serve: Beans in shallow bowl, drizzle with oil (and garlic!), dump broccoli rabe mixture on top.
You won’t miss the parmesan. So very deeply satisfying and delicious with good beans and heavily garlic-infused oil.

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20-minute Instant Pot soup in the fall

My first attempt at using the Instant Pot. Is it a great soup? No, not really, but it’s nutritious and fairly delicious and satisfying. And it’s a one-pot endeavor, even using frozen stock! Has extra step of briefly sauteing onion, and then a quick toss of garlic and carrots, and then everything goes into the pot. Pressure setting of soup with steam vent locked closed and 20 minutes later: Voila! Soup in pot.

Ingredients:

Onion, small, diced
Carrot, large, cut into half moons
garlic, minced
Kale, rinsed and torn from stems, perhaps into smaller pieces
Mushrooms, sliced. Nice selection of mitake, shiitake and oyster perhaps
Potato, scrubbed and cut into medium chunks, not large.

Directions:

Turn on sauté function and heat up. Add 1 T olive oil, and sauté one small diced onion for 4 minutes. Add minced garlic, carrot, and sauté briefly. Add one potato, cubed, sliced mushrooms and kale leaves, rinsed. Add in 1 pint frozen vegetable stock and equal part water and perhaps some dried thyme or even better, fresh stems.
Cook on high pressure on soup setting. Release steam vent manually.

Add to bowls: leftover chicken and/or rice.

Roasted squash, onions, escarole with farro

A perfect fall dinner recipe when delicata squash abounds and I can’t get my fill of fall’s beautiful escarole!

Ingredients:
Delicata squash, 1 reg or 2 small
Sweet onion, 1, sliced
Escarole, 1/2 head or more
Pecorino romano cheese, grated
Pepita seeds, or toasted walnuts
Farro

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and cook farro with salt. 1 c farro to 2 c water. Can make in rice cooker under quick setting (20 mins?) or on stovetop.

Delicata squash, rinsed, cut lengthwise and semi-peeled, remove seeds and fibrous insides with spoon.  Slice into <1/2” rounds. Roast on oiled pan for 20+ minutes, turning near end to roast on both sides. Take out and let sit.

Caramelize one sweet onion: Cut into thin slices, and cook in sauté pan with 1 T olive oil and salt, reducing heat and cooking until light golden, at least 20 mins.

Rinse escarole torn into half leaves. Cook with olive oil and red pepper flakes and splash of water and salt about 5 minutes until well wilted.

Combine squash and onions.

Plate:
Mound farro. Then add squash and onions, topped with pepitas (or roasted walnuts) and grated Romano pecorino cheese.
Escarole to the side.

Feel virtuous and happy with a delicious and healthy fall meal.

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Inspiration: The Kitchn
and Six Seasons — Delicata Squash “donuts” with Pumpkin seeds and honey

Roasted vegetables for summer meal

This is super-delicious, freshly vibrant, and low-stress because cooked vegetables sit on the counter until you’re ready to eat.

Here’s how to do it:
Game plan:

Put up some black forbidden rice or perhaps brown rice.

Grill vegetables in a grill pan over hot fire, basting with flavored olive oil (with pastry brush) before placing oil-side down on grill, and baste top. Cover grill to stop flares. Watch carefully and move around to prevent burning. Takes just a couple minutes if fire is hot.
Remove and serve warm or room temperature with perhaps some black forbidden rice and Asian vinaigrette.
Or take in Italian route with oregano in the oil, and fresh basil in some brown rice(?) with fresh tomato slices.

Specific directions:
Light a charcoal fire.

Chop garlic and add to olive oil with S&P. Optional: tarragon or rosemary.

Prepare Vegetables:

Sweet peppers, cut in half and remove seeds and ribs
Eggplant — Love Thai. Cut in half lengthwise and then into 4” pieces. If using large eggplant, cut off outside lengthwise and then into 1/2” or wider slices.
Onions, especially summer onions — peeled and cut in half if not too large. Otherwise cut into segments. I think it would be a good idea to stick a toothpick or soaked skewer through ‘em so they don’t fall apart and burn.
Zucchini, cut like eggplant — trim outside, then cut into 4” lengths and thick-ish slices.
Mushrooms — wash and de-stem, leaving whole. I like cremini. Portobello of course if you have ‘em.
Shishito peppers

 

Cooking black rice: Wash rice 4-5 times. Put in rice cooker and add 1 c rice to 1-3/4 c water. Cook like brown rice.

Alternately, put into small saucepan and cook for 30 minutes.

Greens and beans

This is a classic Italian dish, and I believe is “classic” because it is so very delicious. The ingredients are interchangeable as long as there is plenty o’ garlic, greens and those thar beans!

Here is a pleasant summer variation, close to standard:

Broccolini

new or older onion, sliced in half-moons or quarters

garlic cloves, rough minced

chicken or vegetable stock

parmesan cheese

cannelini beans

Directions:

Cut up onion and garlic. Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Rinse broccolini and add to sauté pan with S&P. Turn up heat and add stock. IMG_6042

Turn in stock, cover and cook on medium for about 5 minutes until just under crisp tender. Add beans to warm through about 3 minutes. IMG_6043

Serve with drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil, and grated parmesan.

Green beans, farro & shrimp summer dinner

In July when green beans are at their peak harvest, quick sauté/braise stovetop with garlic scapes, new onions and almonds. Serve with farro and some easy oven roasted shrimp. Healthy, balanced meal that is also delicious!

Lay of the land:

You’re going to sauté green beans in olive oil after first sautéing garlic scapes and onions. Add beans, toss to cook quickly and then add water, cover and cook for 5+ minutes to crisp-tender. Remove cover and increase heat to boil away liquid. If you have pre-cooked farro (rinsed and cooked in 2-3x boiling salted water 20-25 minutes), you can heat it on one side of the pan while you finish cooking the beans. IMG_6035

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with pan in the oven to heat up. You will defrost and marinate some shrimp perhaps in an Asian-style marinade.

When you add green beans to sauté pan, remove shrimp from marinade with tongs and toss into oven for 8 minutes, turning with tongs halfway through.

My favorite potato salad

I had a college roommate Elizabeth who taught me a high-fat way of eating toasted bagels: spread the hot bagel with butter and *then* smear with cream cheese. That way the bagel part is not dry, since it has the melted butter in it. That’s the idea behind my potato salad method. I combine the German potato salad method of dousing the just-boiled, hot potatoes with white wine vinegar and olive oil. The hot taters soak up the vinegar/oil. THEN I add a mayo mixture to the taters once they are cooled in refrigerator, which coats and gloms onto the outside. A winner!

Ingredients:

3 # potatoes — new, Yukon Gold, or other delicious, preferably organic potatoes, scrubbed, cut into large pieces and boiled with onion if you like until just tender when pierced with knife, usually under 20 minutes cooking time. Drain in colander. While sitting in sink in colander, drizzle over potatoes white wine vinegar and then olive oil. Let sit, and then later put on plate and put into refrigerator to chill.

3 T mayo (I like Hellman’s regular, not healthy, but I’m used to the taste)

2 T sour cream

1 t mustard — Dijon only

shallot, 1 T, chopped, perhaps macerated for up to 15 minutes in white wine vinegar

S&P

Herbs:    garlic scapes, chives and/or tarragon — fresh from the garden, chopped.

Directions: Chop up shallot and herbs. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper and mustard. Whisk in herbs. Test by dipping piece of potato into dressing. Does it need more salt? A splash of vinegar to brighten? Let mayo mixture sit in refrigerator a bit to blend nicely ahead of time, such as while potatoes cool in refrigerator, or simply mix into cooled potatoes.