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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2022, I’m still doing 99% of the blogging and holding out hope that these two lovely and excellent cooks will participate. They both lead very busy lives, so we’ll see.

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BOOK READING (from Carolyn):

Have only begun Geraldine Brooks’ brand new book, Horse. Oh my, is it a page turner. Loving it so far. It’s a fictional creation but based on a real racehorse owned by a black man, back in the 1850s. Technically, the story is about a painting of the horse but there are many twists and turns. If you’ve ever enjoyed Brooks’ books in the past, this one won’t disappoint.

The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel (no, not Hannah). Certainly a little-known chunk of history about a woman who becomes a master forger during WWII to help get Jewish children out of France. Not easy to read, meaning the difficulty of anyone finding the means and place to DO the forgery and right under the noses of the Nazis. Really good read.

Liane Moriarty’s first novel, Three Wishes, follows the travails of adult triplets, so different, yet similar in many ways. Two are identical, the third is not. So alike, and so not. It takes you through a series of heart-wrenching events, seemingly unrelated, but ones that could bring a family to its breaking point and test the bonds of love and strength.

Recently I’ve read both of Erin French’s books, her cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, and since then her memoir, Finding Freedom. About her life growing up (difficult) about her coming of age mostly working in the family diner, flipper burgers and fries (and learning how much she liked to cook). Now she’s a very successful restaurant entrepreneur (The Lost Kitchen is also the name of her restaurant) in the miniscule town of Freedom, Maine. She’s not a classically trained chef, but she’s terrifically creative. See her TV series on Discover+ if you subscribe.

Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy. To say that this book stretched my comfort zone is the least of it . . .think about a time in the not very distant future, when global warming has done it’s worst and nearly all animals are extinct. No bird song in the air or fish in the sea. There’s this woman, Franny, who is on a quest to follow the very small, but last migration of arctic terns, who fly from pole to pole each year. She somehow sees this migration as a paean to her own life (of many travails). Is this book a foretelling of what our world will be like?  There’s a lot of angst going on here in this book, with her marriage, with her career, with her perpetual need for travel . . . always needing to go somewhere else other than staying at home and finding peace and happiness there. Then this final, gritty, illegal at-sea voyage trying to find the terns. Very much worth reading if you can stomach the sadness in it. Soul-searching is a common denominator here, but then aren’t a lot of books?

Jo Jo Moyes has a bunch of books to her credit. And she writes well, with riveting stories. Everything I’ve read of hers has been good. This book, The Girl You Left Behind, is so different, so intriguing, so controversial and a fascinating historical story. There are two timelines here, one during WWI, in France, when a relatively unknown painter (in the style of Matisse) paints a picture of his wife. The war intervenes for both the husband and the wife. A German Kommandant enters the picture in this tiny berg in France. Knowing her husband is in a camp, most likely a death camp, she compromises her morals to save the picture and possibly save her husband’s life. Jump to somewhat current day and the painting, which has survived all these years, and is in the hands of a young widow who has an extraordinary connection with the painting. A lawsuit ensues having to do with art stolen by the Nazis and a convoluted trail of how the painting traveled in the intervening years. Even though this was WWI, not WWII, but the law encompasses the past. It’s a heart-wrenching story. There’s a love interest too. Well worth reading. Would make a good book club read.

Memoirs are such fun, especially if you really enjoy/love the author. This was the case as I read Rachael Ray 50, an ode to  her age. So I read online, Rachael discloses more about her personal life in this book than she has done in her many other cookbooks. I really enjoyed reading the book, as she told stories about her growing up, including some of her mother’s recipes and from other family members. She and her family eat tons of pasta, so lots of the recipes I probably won’t prepare, but okay, I still enjoyed reading all the stories.

Eli Shafak’s Island of Missing Trees. This book was just a page turner. If you’ve never read anything about the conflict in Cyprus (the island) between the Turks and the Greeks, you’re in for a big history lesson here. But, the entire story centers around a fig tree. You get into the head/brain/feelings of this big fig tree which plays a very central part of the story. You’ll learn a lot about animals, insects (ants, mosquitos, butterflies) and other flora and fauna of Cyprus. I’m not a gardener at all, but I found the story just fascinating. It chronicles the love story between a young couple, human ones, not trees, one a Greek, one a Turk and their relationship (verboten back in the 70s). It goes back and forth between the 70s (when the real conflict was going on) and current day (2010ish). Loved this book from page one to the last.

If you’re a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro, you’ll find his newest book a league apart. Klara and the Sun. It takes place in the near future when we humans can go to a store and buy an AF (artificial friend). These robotic humanoid “things” have knowledge and personalities. The book follows along as a family buys Klara, an AF with perhaps a better personality than some. She has feelings, but not very many needs. The reader never really “sees” Klara except for a few descriptions of her human-type shape. You get into Klara’s brain (her PC chip) and know how she feels about her family. Her main job is to be a friend to the daughter, Josie, who has some kind of unnamed illness. The AF must spend a part of every day in the sunshine (some kind of hidden solar unit must be within Klara). There are any number of other characters in the story (mostly human, not AFs) which add dimension. I was quite mesmerized by the story and am in awe at the creativity of this author. Loved the book. May not be for everyone. I’m not a science fiction fan at all, but this was believable. And you’ll fall in love with Klara who wants so much to be wanted and loved.

Also read Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. Ohhh my, such a good book. I couldn’t put it down. Whatever you do, do not read the ending before you start the book. I’ve never understood people who do this. The book chronicles the day a mom just ups and disappears. The grown children come back home, in panic. The dad isn’t much help, and he becomes the prime suspect of foul play. There is no body, however. The husband and wife own a tennis school (this takes place in Australia) and the children grow up surrounded by tennis everything. The children don’t necessarily get along. The parents haven’t always gotten along, either, although through many years the parents were quite besotted with each other, to the detriment of the parenting. Much travail from all the family members. But oh what a story. It had me riveted and wondering, until the last 5 pages of so when the resolution occurs. Big surprise.

Amor Towles’ new book, The Lincoln Highway: A Novel. Literally it’s a page turner. I think it’s still on the best seller list. A young man, Emmett, is released from a youth work camp (back in the day) and is returned home (by the camp warden) following the death of his father, to find that the home they’d lived in was in foreclosure. His mother abandoned them years before. His intent is to pick up his 8-year old brother and they will head off for Texas, but then he discovers two of his work-camp-mates had hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Oh my goodness, such a tangled web. Fascinating, and Amor Towles has such a way with words. His sentences are like blooming flower vines, with metaphors in nearly every sentence. Such a gifted writer.

If you’d like a mystery read, try Dete Meserve’s The Space Between. It’s just the kind of page-turner I enjoy – a wife returns to her home after being away on business for a few days, to find her husband missing and what he’s left for her is an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean. Oh there are plenty of twists and turns. Couldn’t put it down.

Read Alyson Richman’s historical novel called The Velvet Hours. Most of the book takes place in Paris, with a young woman and her grandmother, a very wealthy (but aging) woman who led a life of a semi-courtesan. Or at least a kept woman. But this grandmother was very astute and found ways to invest her money, to grow her money, and to buy very expensive goods. Then WWII intervenes, and the granddaughter has to close up her grandmother’s apartment, leaving it much the way it had been throughout her grandmother’s life, to escape the Nazis. Years go by, and finally answers are sought and found. An intriguing book, based on the author’s experience with an apartment that had been locked up similarly for decades, also in Paris.

Susan Meissner is one of my favorite authors. This book, The Nature of Fragile Things tells a very unusual story. About a young Irish immigrant, desperate to find a way out of poverty, answers an ad for a mail order bride. She moves to San Francisco and becomes the bride, and mother to the man’s young child. But all is not right with the world. Sophie senses an undercurrent about her husband’s life. He’s elusive, leaves her alone for days on end, doesn’t share her bed, and she begins to feel the only reason he wanted a wife was to care for the child. Then the world turns upside down with the 1906 earthquake. And then there’s more. . . and more. . . very gripping read.

Also read Rachel Hauck’s The Writing Desk. You could call this a romance. A young professional, a writer of one successful book, has writer’s block. Then she’s asked to go to Florida to help her mother (from whom she’s mostly estranged) through chemo. She goes, hoping she can find new inspiration. Oh the various twists this book can give you. There’s a guy she meets, but she’s keeping her boyfriend at home on the string, sort of. Then there’s the desk itself, that has history. Oh my, does it have history. Really interesting story, light reading.

One of my book clubs has us reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library: A Novel. What a premise for a book. About a library you can whiz to in the middle of the night and discover other lives you could have lived. And experience them. To find out the answers to those questions we ask ourselves sometimes, “I wonder what would have happened if I’d . . . .” taken that other job, gone out with that guy, taken that trip. That kind of thing. You’ll find out what happened to one particular woman who thought she had nothing left to live for. Good read. Very different. A bit space-agey. Sort of time travel, but not really. But yes, maybe.

James Shipman has written an intriguing book, It Is Well: A Novel, about a man who has lost his wife. And about a woman who has lost her husband. But their relationship stalls, big time, because the guy made a promise to his wife, and he feels duty-bound to honor it. There is much angst about it all. Much wringing of hands, some tears on her part. Nice book; good read.

I wrote up a post about this book: Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York by Tom Roston. Go read the full write-up if you’re interested. The book is a complete history of the famous restaurant on the 107th floor of one of the Twin Towers.

Also recently finished The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. The book goes backwards and forwards in time, from the 1600s in London with the day-to-day lives of a group of Jews (who had to be very careful about how they worshiped) to current day as an old house is discovered to hold a treasure-trove of historical papers. The story is mostly about a young woman, educated, a Jew, who is the scribe (in secret) to an aging religious leader (in a time when women would have been verboten to hold such a position). And about her own curiosity about her religion and how she eventually begins writing letters (using a male pseudonym) to various Jewish leaders abroad, questioning their religious beliefs. The book is extraordinarily long – not that that kept me from turning a single page! – and complex with the cast of characters from the 1600s and the cast in today’s world of highly competitive experts analyzing the ancient papers. Altogether riveting book. Loved it from beginning to end.

I’m forever reading historical novels. The Lost Jewels: A Novel by Kirsty Manning is a mystery of sorts, going back in time in London in the time of aristocrats and their jewels (pearls, diamonds, gems of all kinds) sometimes made it into the hands of the digger or a maid. Then to current time as a young woman tries to ferret her family history and particularly about some old-old jewelry that they can’t quite figure out – how the grandmother came to have them. Fascinating tale.

Not for the faint of heart, Boat of Stone: A Novel by Maureen Earl tells the true tale of some misplaced Jews at the tale-end of WWII who ended up on Mauritius.

Colleen Hoover has written quite a book, It Ends with Us: A Novel, with a love story being the central theme, but again, this book is not for everyone – it can be an awakening for any reader not acquainted with domestic violence and how such injury can emerge as innocent (sort of) but then becomes something else. There is graphic detail here.

Erin Bartels wrote quite a complex story in The Words between Us: A Novel. We go alongside a young girl as she goes to high school, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to be anonymous (because her mother and father are both in prison), taking on a fake name. She meets a guy and they share a bond of reading and some romance. Years go by and she’s now owner of a failing independent bookstore (and married, or separated) and suddenly begins receiving a used book (that she recognizes) every day from a different place in the country. A message for sure, but where will it lead? Yes, it’s a romance. Lots of introspection going on. Enjoyed it.

Nicolas Barreau’s novel Love Letters from Montmartre: A Novel  is very poignant, very sweet book. Seems like I’ve read several books lately about grieving; this one has a charming ending, but as anyone who has gone through a grave loss of someone dear knows, you can’t predict day to day, week to week. “Snap out of it,” people say, thinking they’re helping.

Another very quirky book, that happens to contain a lot of historical truth is The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World: A Novel by Harry N. Abrams. Set in Japan just after the tsunami 10 years ago when 18,000 people died. At a private park miles away, some very special people installed a phone booth, with a phone (that didn’t work) at the edge of the park, and the survivors of the tsunami began wending their way there to “talk” to their deceased loved ones. Very poignant story.

No question, the most quirky book I’ve read of late, a recommendation from my friend Karen, West with Giraffes: A Novel by Lynda Rutledge. Back in the 1930s a small group of giraffes were brought across the Atlantic from Africa to New York, destined for the then-growing San Diego Zoo. The story is of their journey across the United States in the care of two oh-so-different people, both with a mission.

Riveting story of post-WWII- Japan in Ana Johns novel, The Woman in the White Kimono: A Novel. About a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American serviceman.

Also read Rishi Reddi’s novel, Passage West: A Novel with a very different take on the migration of Indians (East India) to the California agricultural lands east of San Diego during the 1920s and 30s.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Mary Morris book, A Very Private Diary: A Nurse in Wartime tells the true day to day life of a young Irish girl who becomes a nurse, in England, France and Belgium in the midst of WWII and immediately after the war.

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s. At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. They escape, and they are “on the run.”

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young black woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress.  Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, and the second in current day as a group of friends purchase a crumbling chateau. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. It’s about her journey and escape to America.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice joins the Horseback Librarians in the rural south.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, who becomes a shepherd. Not just any-old shepherd – actually a well educated one. He knows how to weave a story.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Vegetarian, Veggies/sides, on September 11th, 2022.

SO easy to make, and so delicious. 

A post from Carolyn. I made this for my lunch the other day. My usual go-to for lunch is soup, but gosh, it’s been SO darned hot here in SoCal, that eating hot soup did not appeal. But warming up my toaster oven was easy enough and this came together in minutes. This was so good. Maybe doesn’t reach the tip-top of any broccoli dish I’ve ever made, but it sure was tasty and easy to do.

I had broccoli heads in my refrigerator – being a single person/widow, buying an entire bunch of broccoli is usually too much for me, so the broccoli head, even though more expensive, is a wiser choice. If you want to buy the bunch and have a family, well then, just double this recipe. My notes say this is an Ina recipe, but I did alter it a little bit – really I just cut up the broccoli into florets (making sure I cut off any of the wider, thicker stalk parts, tossed it with EVOO, salt and pepper, some slices of fresh garlic, roasted it in a 425°F oven for about 15 minutes. Once out of the oven I sprinkled it with shreds of Parm and pine nuts and put it back in the toaster oven for about 3 minutes. Done. Then I added the lemon zest AND lemon curls and a squirt or two of lemon juice and it was ready to eat. I gobbled up that pan full, just about. The recipe called for julienned basil – and I had some – but forgot to put it on there. Do add it if you have it available.

I also had some leftover calabacitas (one of my favorite vegetables ever) and ate those along with the broccoli. A very filling lunch. Not much protein (cheese and pine nuts, only), but I had chicken for dinner, so I was fine with my allotment of daily protein.

What’s GOOD: so easy to prepare, and takes just minutes start to finish. Really good flavor from the cheese and pine nuts. Lots of texture too. Be sure to use finely grated Parm, not big shards or shreds so you have plenty of Parm to go around. You don’t use much.

What’s NOT: nothing that I can think of.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Easy Pan-Roasted Broccoli with Parm

Recipe: Adapted slightly from an Ina Garten recipe
Servings: 6

2 pounds broccoli heads
4 garlic cloves — peeled and thinly sliced
EVOO
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest — some grated, some in threads
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts — toasted
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — not shreds, but finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh basil — julienned

1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
2. Cut the broccoli into florets, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart.
3. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 2 tablespoons EVOO, then sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 18-20 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned. Remove the broccoli from the oven add lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, and Parmesan. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted. Sprinkle wop with basil. Serve hot.
Per Serving: 136 Calories; 7g Fat (40.9% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 783mg Sodium; 3g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 234mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 534mg Potassium; 219mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Chicken, Pork, Veggies/sides, on May 20th, 2022.

An easy, easy dinner for two. Sheetpan suppers are just the best!

A post from Carolyn.  I’d bought some fresh chicken sausages (with jalapeno in them) and was contemplating what I’d do with them, and since I also had asparagus, zucchini and sweet potatoes, a recipe was born. Many years ago I started buying a seasoning packet from Urban Accents. They had (and still do have) several varieties, but my favorite is the one for vegetables. You can buy their packets on amazon. See photo at right. The one I used was the middle one with Parmesan in it. Each bag or box of these has several smaller packets inside – I used one packet for the sheet pan’s worth of food. You could use pork sausages in this rendition too – Italian would be perfect. I was trying to go a more healthy route with the chicken.

I have a chart I downloaded from the ‘net about how long it takes to roast just about every kind of vegetable. The sweet potatoes would take the longest. And the sausages too. I tossed them with some EVOO and they went into a 425°F oven. After 20 minutes, I took out the pan and added the zucchini, also oiled with EVOO and sprinkled with seasoning. It went back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, then I added the oiled asparagus and the rest of the seasoning and baked again for another 10 minutes – I checked the veggies and they needed another 5 minutes and everything was done. It might depend on how thick the asparagus was, and how thickly you cut the zucchini.

If you wanted something to serve with the sausages – try a variety of mustards (hot, sweet, stone ground) or some salsa, or marinara sauce, or mix up a little bit of sour cream with a little speck of horseradish in it. What can I tell you? This was so easy to make and it was SO delicious.

What’s GOOD: how easy it was to put together on the sheetpan and it cooked in less than an hour. All the veggies were perfectly cooked – crisp tender veggies- and the sausage just right. Love the Urban Accents seasoning to put on it all. Do buy some if you don’t already have it in your pantry (amazon link above).

What’s NOT: only that you need to have some of that seasoning on hand. I always do have it.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Sheetpan Chicken Sausages with Veggies

Recipe By: My own recipe
Serving Size: 3

1 pound fresh chicken sausage — links, fresh, not pre-cooked type, or substitute pork sausages if desired
2 medium sweet potatoes
3 medium zucchini
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
3 tablespoons EVOO
1 packet Urban Accents Veggie Roaster seasonings

NOTE: many butchers now make various chicken sausages with flavors like jalapeno, Italian, Thai, spinach/feta, garlic, spicy Mexican, or with cheese and flavoring. You do not want pre-cooked sausage for this sheetpan dinner as they would be overcooked.
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with a baking mat or with foil.
2. Prepare the vegetables by peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes in chunky half rounds. Cut the ends off the zucchini and cut into chunky rounds or half rounds, depending on how big around they are. Cut off the tough ends of the asparagus.
3. Place the sausages and sweet potatoes on the sheet pan. Drizzle with EVOO and toss around to cover them in oil. Bake for about 20 minutes.
4. Remove pan, add the zucchini to the pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss lightly and sprinkle the entire sheet pan with most of the seasoning packet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Remove pan and add the asparagus, tossed lightly with EVOO and sprinkled with the last of the seasoning. Return to the oven and roast for another 10 minutes, making sure you don’t overcook the asparagus. Test the zucchini and asparagus – you want them to be just barely tender.
5. Remove veggies and sausages and serve on a big platter. Serve with hot or spicy mustard on the side (for the sausages) or marinara sauce, salsa, or a mixture of sour cream and horseradish.
QUICK ROASTING INSTRUCTIONS at 425°:
Sausages and sweet potatoes – 20 minutes
Add Zucchini – 12-15 minutes
Add Asparagus – 10 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus
Check for just barely tender zucchini and asparagus
Per Serving: 296 Calories; 17g Fat (50.4% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 25mg Cholesterol; 295mg Sodium; 10g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 76mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 957mg Potassium; 155mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on February 13th, 2022.

Such a delicious side, great for a family meal or guests. The goodies on top included dried apricots, golden raisins and toasted pine nuts.

A post from Carolyn. On Friday, my friend Dianne and I hosted a luncheon at my house. It was a fund-raising event for my P.E.O. chapter. Eight of our friends paid $15 or more (it was a bidding process) to come have lunch with us (and the money is used to fund philanthropies that help educate women). Dianne and I slaved for the better part of two days to put together the menu (3 courses) and figure out how to make it fun. We served a cold pea soup (it was about 90°F outside and my A/C was running at full speed), grilled chicken, this rice pilaf, and then we prepared three desserts (coconut cupcakes, lemon bars and Viennese chocolate walnut bars). As we ate, Dianne and I explained the stories behind the recipes we served. Then, after lunch was over, all of our guests brought out their favorite cookbook(s) and/or a few special recipes and told stories about them. It was so very fun.

There’s my dining room table, all set up with a red Valentine’s theme. Dianne has tons of red tableware and décor, which she shared with me. Between us we had enough for ten place settings. Neither of us had 10 of anything, so we did a lot of mixing and matching, but hey, it worked.

The pilaf was actually very easy to make. The recipe comes from Zov Karamardian, a local chef/restaurateur. And the recipe is in her cookbook, Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart. I see that you can buy used copies of her cookbook for $1.90 plus shipping. Anyway, the recipe is the usual combination of rice (this time jasmine was called for) and vermicelli, with more than the usual amount of butter added, then broth, and the garnishes on top. If you get out everything before you begin, it comes together in a flash. While Dianne grilled the chicken outside, the pilaf sat quietly steaming on the stove until tender.

The only extra step necessary in the preparation was toasting the pasta – and it took exactly 5 minutes in my toaster oven. Do watch it carefully as it could go from just right, to burned in a matter of seconds. And do that well ahead of when you need it. Have all the garnishes out and ready too, so all you have to do is sprinkle them on top.

What’s GOOD: how easy this is to make, and oh-so tasty. This recipe is a keeper.

What’s NOT: nothing really.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Classic Rice Pilaf

Recipe By: Zov Karamardian, restaurateur
Serving Size: 10

1 cup vermicelli — or fideo noodles (sometimes hard to find)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter — (3/4 stick)
2 cups jasmine rice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth — (I use chicken broth)
1/2 cup water
Garnishes:
1/3 cup pine nuts — toasted
1/3 cup dried apricots — minced
1/3 cup golden raisins — plumped in water if they’re too dry
1/3 cup slivered almonds — toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange vermicelli on heavy baking sheet. Bake until the vermicelli are golden brown, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning, about 5 min. These burn easily so watch them carefully. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in rice and toasted vermicelli. Add salt and pepper. Stir for about one minute to lightly toast the rice then add broth and water. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to boil.
3. Cover and simmer gently over low heat until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. (Do not stir rice as it cooks). Remove saucepan from the heat. Fluff the rice with a fork, then transfer to a bowl and serve with garnishes sprinkled on top.
Per Serving: 291 Calories; 19g Fat (56.3% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 36mg Cholesterol; 698mg Sodium; 6g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 33mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 190mg Potassium; 73mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on December 6th, 2021.

A veggie side dish fit for company, or any holiday.

This post from Carolyn. I’ve been making these green beans for decades. They were served to me in the 1960s, and I have no recollection of the heritage of this – other than it was at a gourmet dinner I’d attended and someone else brought them. I was instantly smitten. These may not be everyone’s cup of tea since there is sugar in the vinaigrette. Quite a lot, actually. But when it’s spread around with the fruit and beans, it doesn’t taste like it. It does require some last-minute preparation, so it’s best to have someone else be in charge of these, or else this be the only thing you’re doing before serving dinner.

The bacon can be made ahead and re-heated. My cousin Gary was visiting over Thanksgiving, and he and I made these for the dinner (at my daughter-in-law Karen’s sister Janice and Julian’s home). We’ve had many Thanksgivings or Christmas dinners there. With so many carbs surrounding the big turkey dinner, I wanted something green. We pre-cooked the beans at home, cooled them in cold water, drained them and let them dry some before packaging them  up to take with us. The bacon was cooked ahead, then I made the bacon vinaigrette (sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and the bacon drippings). I stored that in a glass jar to take along. The pears were cooked at the very end – and depending on the ripeness of the pears, they don’t require much cooking – the water had lemon peel added, and I probably poached them for about 4 minutes.

Then when ready to serve, into a large frying pan I poured the bacon vinaigrette, then all the green beans and let them cook for 1-2 minutes just until heated through, then the hot, cooked pears were added. The bacon reheated in the oven (residual heat from the turkey roasted in there). Onto a big platter they went with the hot crispy bacon added on top. And a few little tendrils of lemon zest too. It’s an impressive vegetable dish, especially for a holiday.

What’s GOOD: it’s certainly pretty – and the pears are unexpected. Altogether lovely side dish for any dinner, but since it’s more work than a standard side, I’d save it for company or a holiday meal. Love the vinaigrette on it. Love the combination of beans and pears too.

What’s NOT: only that it has a bit of prep and last-minute work. If you are making all kinds of other dishes to serve, either assign this to someone else to make or do all you can to have it prepped ahead so all you have to do is combine everything in the frying pan to reheat.

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Pears, Beans and Bacon

Recipe By: From a gourmet group from the early 1970’s
Serving Size: 6

3 whole pears — ripe
1/2 cup water
1 piece lemon peel — thin slivers
1 pound green beans — Blue Lake, if poss., stem ends trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
6 slices bacon — cut into 1/2″ squares
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon peel — for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Add salt, dissolve, then add beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until beans are crisp-tender. Drain beans and plunge into iced or cold water to stop the cooking.
2. In large frying pan, render the bacon until crisp and dry on paper towel. To the bacon drippings, add the sugar, vinegar and lemon juice and cook for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
3. Peel and slice the pears into a saucepan, add the water, lemon peel and simmer for 5 minutes or until just barely tender. Do not overcook them or they will fall apart in the finished dish. Drain and set aside.
4. To the frying pan, add green beans and toss mixture over medium heat until beans are hot, then gently stir in the pears. Pour out onto a platter and add crumbled bacon on top when served. Garnish with more lemon peel shreds if desired.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on April 17th, 2021.

colcannon_bowl

You know Colcannon, right? An Irish dish, mashed potatoes with cabbage. This one also has green onions in it.

This recipe should have been posted BEFORE St. Patrick’s Day. Sorry about that . . . Maybe you can print it out and make it next year. Or anytime, really. I’d intended to add some cauliflower to it (to make it less carb-centric) but I forgot to take the cauliflower along with me to my son’s house the day we had this dinner.

I made enough to serve 6, so we’d have some leftovers, as I wanted to make a few potato patties that they could have with the remaining corned beef, and I could have with something. So easy to make big patties of mashed potatoes once you have them done.

I started out with about 4 pounds of potatoes, and the recipe called for 9T of butter. Yum. Plus a bit more to melt on the top when serving (sorry, forgot to take a picture of that). I had Savoy cabbage, and used 5 green onions. Plus a mixture of heavy cream and milk. I was surprised at the quantity of milk/cream (1 1/2 cups), and as I was adding it to the potatoes, I was thinking, really? This seems like too much. But it wasn’t. What it makes is really smooth, silky potatoes. I’ve made Colcannon before, many times, but I do believe this is the best I’ve ever tried. And I’ve never posted a recipe for it, as I kind of “winged it” whenever I’ve made it, and it wasn’t memorably. This one was.

Here’s a picture of the Colcannon on the plate:

colcannon_plated

You can’t really see much of the cabbage or green onions in this photo – that’s why I used the one I took when I was mixing it up – it’s more colorful. No question, this will be my go-to recipe for future iterations of Colcannon. If you make potato patties as leftovers, sprinkle a bit of flour on each flat side (to help them brown). The Colcannon is very “wet” so they didn’t brown very well, and it’s hard turning them over without messing up the golden crust. Flour would help with that.

potato_pattie_from_colcannonWhat’s GOOD: how rich and creamy it is – good flavor from the cabbage and green onions, but likely it’s the butter and milk/cream that enhances it the most. Don’t even think about not adding all of it. Make potato patties with the leftovers – flour them and sauté them in some butter.

What’s NOT: nothing, whatsoever. Perfectly wonderful comfort food, and ideal with corned beef.

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Colcannon

Recipe By: Simply Recipes
Serving Size: 6

3 & 3/4 pounds russet potatoes — peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter — (with more butter for serving)
4 1/2 cups cabbage — lightly packed, chopped kale, chard, or other leafy green
4 1/2 green onions — (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups milk — or cream or use half and half

1. Boil the potatoes: Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a colander.
2. Cook the greens and the green onions with butter: Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it’s hot, add the greens. Cook the greens for 3-4 minutes, or until they are wilted and have given off some of their water.
3. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.
4. Mash the potatoes with milk or cream and greens: Pour in the milk or cream, mix well, and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium.
5. Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens. Add salt to taste and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center.
NOTE: If you have leftovers, form the potatoes into patties, dust with a bit of flour and fry them in butter.
Per Serving: 432 Calories; 20g Fat (39.3% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 59g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 52mg Cholesterol; 56mg Sodium; 7g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 142mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 1397mg Potassium; 232mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on April 5th, 2021.

caesar_style_brussels

Think everything Caesar (garlic, garlic, anchovies, bread crumbs, cheese) and instead of salad, add them to Brussels sprouts.

I don’t remember whether I watched Cook’s Country on TV, or whether this recipe was in one of the magazines – either way, it’s a winner. But then, I love Brussels sprouts just about any way except straight boiled (which is the only way my mother ever made them).

First, make the Caesar-style dressing – lemon juice, mayo, Worcestershire, Dijon, ample garlic, anchovy (I used the tube), S&P and EVOO. I made that up a little ahead of time – actually, my friend Linda made the dressing as she was helping me in the kitchen the night I made this when we were out in Palm Desert. The Brussels were cleaned, trimmed and quartered, then were pan-seared. The panko bread crumbs were toasted in the same pan and then it was all tossed together with the dressing and the Parm on top. SO good.

If you make up the dressing ahead of time, this is an easy dish and quick as well. They also taste wonderful leftover, just so you know . . .

What’s GOOD: with loving Brussels sprouts like I do, everything was “right” about this dish. Easy, and over the top on taste. A keeper.

What’s NOT: not a thing. Great recipe.

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Caesar Brussels Sprouts

Recipe By: Cooks Country Dec/Jan 2019
Serving Size: 5

DRESSING:
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard — Dijon
3 whole garlic cloves — minced
3 whole anchovy fillets — rinsed, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons EVOO
BRUSSELS SPROUTS:
2 pounds Brussels sprouts — trimmed, quartered
5 tablespoons EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — grated

1. DRESSING: Whisk juice, mayo, Worcestershire, mustard, garlic, anchovies, pepper and salt in large bowl until combined. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified; set aside.
2. SPROUTS: Combine Brussels sprouts, 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 tsp salt in 12″ nonstick skillet. Cover skillet, place over med heat; cook, stirring occasionally until Brussels sprouts are bright green and have started to brown, about 10 min.
3. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re deeply and evenly browned and paring knife slides in with little to no resistance, about 5 min. longer. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 15 min. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
4. Combine panko, 1/4 tsp salt and remaining 1 T oil in now empty skillet and cook over med heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 2-4 min. Transfer to small bowl and stir in Parm.
5. Add Brussels sprouts to dressing and gently toss to combine. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle with panko/cheese mixture and serve.
Per Serving: 312 Calories; 23g Fat (63.5% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 387mg Sodium; 5g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 103mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 778mg Potassium; 149mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Salads, Veggies/sides, on March 12th, 2021.

jamie_deens_green_bean_salad

Just lovely. So tasty.

Make this. It’s not that hard – although you do have to cut up tomatoes, toast the almonds, and shake together a very simple vinegar/oil combo, mince some fresh basil, red onion, and mince a clove of garlic. But that’s all. Get everything ready ahead of time – then cook the green beans in salted water. Drain them, dry them a bit, then toss them with the dressing.

The recipe comes from Jamie Deen, Paula’s son. Since I had green beans in my frig, and I had red onion – well, I had all the ingredients. The almonds toasted in my toaster oven for about 5 minutes. I went out into my garden and grabbed a nice little sprig of basil, I shook up the red wine vinegar, EVOO and garlic in a jar and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The beans were drained, I rinsed them well under cold water, then to cool to room temp (within about 10 minutes). I put the green beans in the little dish (pictured above) and added the vinaigrette and used my hands to mix it well. A little salt and pepper were added, then I piled on the tomatoes, goat cheese (his recipe called for feta, but I’m in a rut with crumbled goat cheese). Nuts sprinkled on top, the basil and it was ready to eat.

green_bean_salad_jamie_deenTruly, I could have eaten that whole dish full of them, they were that good. But I didn’t. I started with about 1/2 pound of beans, so I have enough for another day. If you’re not going to eat them all in one sitting, don’t put the dressing on the beans as the acid in the vinegar turns the beans kind of gray-ish. Not very pleasing to look at, although the taste isn’t impaired at all. This would make a lovely company side dish – it could easily go on a picnic, and can be assembled at the last minute at someone else’s home. Versatile. Just package everything separately.

What’s GOOD: everything about these were so tasty. Loved the vinaigrette. None of the flavors overwhelmed – just enough of everything. And did I mention how pretty the finished dish is? Gorgeous. Make more than you need so you can have leftovers  – although as I mentioned above, keep everything separate until ready to toss and serve.

What’s NOT: nothing, other than needing to do some prep work.

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Green Bean Salad – Jamie Deen

Recipe By: Food Network – Jamie Deen
Serving Size: 5

salt to season the water
1 pound green beans — use slender ones, if available, ends trimmed
1 cup goat cheese — crumbled, or feta
1 cup cherry tomatoes — sliced in half
2 tablespoons red onion — minced
1/2 cup slivered almonds — toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large clove garlic — minced
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Boil a large pot of water with a generous amount of salt added. Add the green beans and cook until tender crisp, 1 to 4 minutes. Drain and remove to a bowl of ice water. Or rinse well under cold tap water.
2. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes, pat dry and place the beans in a large bowl.
3. In small jar combine red wine vinegar and oil, then add garlic. Shake. Set aside.
3. Pour the dressing over the green beans and toss well. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Add the goat or feta cheese, tomatoes and red onions. Garnish with slivered fresh basil.
Per Serving: 344 Calories; 28g Fat (71.4% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 37mg Cholesterol; 205mg Sodium; 5g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 211mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 431mg Potassium; 275mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on February 26th, 2021.

AF_green_beans_failure

Withered, stringy. Hardly edible . . .

As I looked at these green beans that I’d gone to so much work to prepare, I knew I couldn’t post them here, as they were awful. Barely edible. Then I got a chuckle – – perhaps you, my readers, think that everything I make is a stunning feast, wonderful, marvelous. Uh, nope.

I followed the recipe to a T. You weren’t supposed to put more than 25 green beans (I used about 12 for each batch) in the air fryer at a time, so they’d have enough air around them, giving them a chance to cook and get crisp. The beans were dunked in an egg wash, then into a cheesy breading, then loosely put into the air fryer. Four minutes at 400°, toss them, then back in for 2 more minutes.

I removed the cooked ones onto the extra breading pan while I made a second batch. Once they were barely cool enough I picked one up to taste. Ooooh. Tough. Stringy. And withered, as you can see in the photo. Oh dear. So that second batch I air fried for 6 minutes, tossed, then 3 minutes. Those weren’t quite so tough, but they were even more withered. I turned down the temp of the air fryer and went back to 4 minutes and 2 minutes. Nope. Still withered and stringy. After that batch I gave up, tossed most of them in the trash can and cooked the remaining half pound of green beans on the stove with shallot, garlic and orange zest.

I’m not posting the recipe. I’m thinking maybe green beans aren’t a vegetable you should do in the air fryer. The egg dunk didn’t seem to stick – well, it did because all of the green beans had the breading attached when I put them in the air fryer basket, but by the time they’d cooked, most of the breading had fallen off and was down in the bottom of the pot. And the poor withered beans? Oh gosh. Not very pleasant to eat. The breading, what little there was of it, was nice and crunchy, but little of it stuck.

Thought you’d all enjoy a laugh. . . if any of you have had success with green beans in an air fryer, let me know.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on January 8th, 2021.

bahari_green_bean_masala

New and different way to make green beans.

Do you love green beans? I sure do. I think I could have them at least once a week. But I don’t want frozen ones – only fresh. I’ve been buying groceries online, then having the grocery store deliver the filled grocery bags to the trunk of my car. My last visit I ordered a pound of green beans.

Preparing a nice dinner for myself the other night, I wanted to do something interesting and different with these green beans. The recipe I’ve had in my to-try file for awhile seemed to fit the bill. The recipe came into my recipe file in 2010 from The Wednesday Chef. Luisa is no longer updating her blog (looks like she stopped in 2018, about the time she began writing a novel). She’s written a couple of cookbooks too. And she credits Julie Sahni for the recipe.

Julie Sahni is a Brooklyn chef and writer and runs an Indian cooking school there, and she’s of Indian descent. And I learned something – the word masala means “spiced.” And Bihar is a state in India. So, this is green beans with Bihar mixed spices, or in the style of Bihar, I suppose. It’s a winner.

First you make the topping (toasting the almonds), then you make the sauce which includes coconut milk. Onions are sweated first, then you add garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, red pepper flakes and then the coconut milk. Once that is done, you add the green beans and steam them in the spicy coconut liquid until they’re just crisp-tender. Lastly, some lime juice is added in. The green beans are served with the toasted almonds sprinkled on top. When I pulled the beans out, I merely put them on the serving platter and didn’t include the lovely lightly orange colored coconut sauce. In Bihar this is an entrée, served with rice and you’d want all that lovely liquid drizzled over the rice. A vegetarian entrée, if you will.

What’s GOOD: loved the flavors from the cumin, coriander, garlic and onion, and the hint of lime juice at the end. Altogether lovely dish – whether you serve it as a side dish, as I did, or as an entrée with rice. A keeper. Easy to make, and quick, too.

What’s NOT: nothing at all.

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Bihari Green Beans Masala

Recipe By: Julie Sahni, via The Wednesday Chef blog, 2010
Serving Size: 4

4 tablespoons vegetable oil — or light olive oil
4 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 large cloves garlic — finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds green beans — trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons lime juice
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart sauté pan over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring, until light golden. Remove from heat and transfer almonds to a plate or bowl; set aside for garnish.
2. Add onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, chili pepper flakes and salt to the unwashed sauté pan, and return to medium heat. Sauté until the onion is tender and begins to fry, about 4 minutes.
3. Add coconut milk and green beans. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the beans are tender, about 6 minutes.
4. Sprinkle beans with lime juice, and toss lightly. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and garnish with almonds and cilantro. Serve with plain cooked rice or roti flatbread.
Per Serving: 446 Calories; 39g Fat (72.6% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 897mg Sodium; 11g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 131mg Calcium; 5mg Iron; 783mg Potassium; 215mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on November 29th, 2020.

pan_roasted_brussels_apples_almonds

A quick and easy side dish; great for fall.

Normally I wouldn’t have thought to combine apples and Brussels sprouts; yet it works really nicely here. I found the recipe in a supplemental magazine from Cook’s Illustrated, and I followed it except I used a bit less apple, only because I had but one, not two. Next time I’d leave the apples just a tad bit bigger. I chopped them fairly small (recipe said diced) and I think I’d more “cube” them. The Brussels I had were quite large, so definitely they needed to be cut in half. I was lazy and didn’t toast the almonds. Other than salt and pepper, the only other ingredients were garlic and butter. Altogether nice ingredients!

First the apple is cooked in a little bit of the butter until the chunks are barely cooked through. That’s removed, then you add the Brussels, water, garlic, butter, salt and pepper. You cook that down until the water has evaporated. The intent is that the Brussels are cooked through. I was using a fairly hot burner, so the water evaporated before the Brussels were done, so I merely added a tad more water then covered the pan for a short time. At the end, the apples are added back in, then you add the almonds. Done.

I made these when I went to my friends, Bud & Cherrie’s home – what a treat to go to friends and share a meal. We were planning to eat outside (it’s still nice and warm here) but the no-see-ums were in proud form that evening, so we didn’t go outside. Anyway, I made meatloaf and these Brussels sprouts. Cherrie offered two appetizers and smashed roasted potatoes and a peach coffeecake for dessert. My grandson Vaughan was visiting during this time (this was back a couple of weeks) and he and Bud played rummy tiles and Cherrie, Bud and I shared a delicious gin and tonic. Vaughan enjoyed a new brand of ginger ale.

This dish does want to be fixed just before serving – it would not be good to over-cook them, but preparing them and reheating unless you’re really careful about the exact done-ness of the Brussels. I like them barely chewy.

What’s GOOD: easy, if you have all the ingredients ready to go (wait to chop up the apple until the last minute, however). This was good. Not exactly a personal fav, but it was good. I’ve run out of ways to cook Brussels, so anything to make them differently is good for me.

What’s NOT: nothing really, except they should be fixed just before serving.

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Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Almonds

Recipe By: Cook’s Illustrated special supplement for fall recipes
Serving Size: 5

5 tablespoons butter — divided use
2 medium apples — cored and diced, Gala or other sweet apple
1 cup water
2 pounds brussels sprouts — hard side removed and cut in half
2 cloves garlic — minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme — or half as much if dried
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds — toasted

1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add Brussels sprouts, 1 cup water, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and remaining butter to empty skillet and bring to boil over med-high heat. Reduce to med-low; simmer until water has evaporated and Brussels sprouts are not quite tender, about 15 minutes (depending on the size of the Brussels sprouts). Test for tenderness. If the Brussels sprouts are really large, you may wish to cover the pan for about 5 minutes during this time for thorough cooking.
3. Increase heat to medium, continue cooking, stirring frequently until they are light golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Stir in toasted almonds and apples and cook until heated through, about one minute. Serve.
Per Serving: 295 Calories; 18g Fat (48.9% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 30mg Cholesterol; 602mg Sodium; 15g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 120mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 900mg Potassium; 194mg Phosphorus.

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