Green Beans Amandine + a Sneak Peek at The Lost Family by Jenna Blum #TheLostFamilySupperClub #Sponsored

This week a handful of bloggers are gathering together to give their thoughts on Jenna Blum's latest novel The Lost Family and to share recipes inspired by the book. I've had the pleasure of spending the past few weeks immersed in the fictional life of Peter Rashkin, owner and head chef of Masha's, a restaurant that caters to New York's elite.  

The book starts off with a bit of dark humor as Peter meets the second love of his life, where else, but at his Manhattan restaurant. The restaurant is named after his late wife, whose life was lost in a concentration camp during the Nazi regime. By the time 1965 rolls around Peter is considered one of the most eligible bachelors in Manhattan, but despite his notoriety, we soon find out that all that glitters in his life is not gold.

This novel takes the reader on a winding journey that covers the death of Peter's first wife and twin daughters during World War II, his harrowing journey to America to start his life over, and his struggles not only with figuring out what comes next after the loss of his family, but with how to make peace with the mistakes that have haunted him over his lifetime. Over 40 years pass in the span of roughly 400 pages and the story within those pages held me captivated right up to the very end.
 

Where to Purchase


Amazon - The Lost Family by Jenna Blum

 Don't Forget: Jenna's book will be released on June 5th 2018. Click on the banner above to see what tasty dishes the other members of The Lost Family Virtual Supper Club have dished up for you this week! 

Don't Forget: Jenna's book will be released on June 5th 2018. Click on the banner above to see what tasty dishes the other members of The Lost Family Virtual Supper Club have dished up for you this week! 

As part of The Lost Family Virtual Supper Club I was tasked with developing a recipe based on the novel. For my inspiration I had to look no further than Masha's Fall Menu from 1965, which is printed at the beginning of the book. The dishes listed are mouthwatering! Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese, Lardons & Black Truffle Mustard Vinaigrette and Breast of Duck with Kirsch-Flambéed Cherries and Oranges top my list of favorites. There is even something for the vegetable haters out there—Hamburger Walter: Ground Chuck au Poivre & Flambéed in Brandy, Accompanied by Pommes Frites & No Vegetables of All.

Since I am incapable of eating a meal without vegetables I decided to settle on recreating one of the tasty side dishes from the menu—Green Beans Amandine. My version comes from a little passage in the first chapter where the prep chef sets out Peter's mise en place with bowls of shallots, parsley, garlic confit, lemon zest, and kosher salt. I used those ingredients as a jumping off point for the development of the recipe you see below. Enjoy!

 DISCLOSURE: This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income.   This book was sent to me for review purposes by HarperCollins, as part of the The Lost Family Virtual Supper Club hosted by The Book Club Cookbook. As always, all opinions are my own. 

DISCLOSURE: This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income. 

This book was sent to me for review purposes by HarperCollins, as part of the The Lost Family Virtual Supper Club hosted by The Book Club Cookbook. As always, all opinions are my own. 

 

Green Beans Amandine

makes 4 - 6 servings

 

Ingredients


1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
⅓ cup almond slices, unsalted
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 small garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
lemon zest


 

Directions

 

  • Blanch the green beans in a pot of salted, boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes. When finished transfer the cooked green beans to a mixing bowl full of ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the brilliant green color. 
  • In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add unsalted butter and almond slices. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the almonds are dark brown, taking care to stir frequently so the mixture doesn't burn.
  • Add the shallot and garlic, then continue to cook for another minute or two, until the shallot is slightly transparent. Turn off the heat, then season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
  • Remove the cooked green beans from the bowl of ice water and transfer to the skillet. Do not dry them off, you want a little bit of water to help form the sauce. Heat over medium and continue to cook until the green beans are warm. Stir well while they are cooking to help incorporate the almond butter sauce.
  • Once the green beans have throughly heated sprinkle with lemon zest and serve immediately. 

 

Notes


The key to this recipe is making sure that you don't over cook the butter. You want it brown and speckled looking, but not smoking or burnt. If you're unsure, it's better to under cook the butter rather than over cook it.

While the book mentions garlic confit, I decided to take the much quicker approach and add my garlic to the butter along with the shallots. It saves about 2 hours of prep time to make garlic confit! If you happen to keep some on hand it does make a tasty addition.
 

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

This book was sent to me for review purposes by HarperCollins, as part of the The Lost Family Virtual Supper Club hosted by The Book Club Cookbook. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Traditional Irish Champ (Mashed Potatoes with Scallions and Cheese)

I've had a bit of trouble getting motivated the past few months, so I decided it was time to take a brief break from writing and spend more time in the kitchen. That's always been my solution when words don't come to me easily. I spent the summer testing out new canning recipes, then took a brief vacation to Ireland where I was able to travel the country by train and try some new-to-me dishes.

There is nothing like a vacation to provide a bit of inspiration, but two days in to our trip I realized something: Despite the fact that I live in what I refer to as the frozen North, the temperature difference between Ireland and Southern Wisconsin is pretty substantial, even in the summertime. The days were cold and rainy, much like our typical fall weather back home, so I spent my vacation gorging myself on soup, fresh baked bread, and other dishes that are wonderful at warming you from the inside out.

Once I returned home the temperatures had gone through the roof, so I tucked all of my ideas away, thinking to pull them out once our weather back home cooled off. The trouble with that is our weather has been incredibly mild this year, it was 60°F only a week ago. This hasn't really put me in the mood for comfort food yet, but things are slowly changing. We finally had our first substantial snow of the year, so I knew the time had finally arrived to dust off the new recipes I'd been working on, starting with this delicious Irish Champ. 

Traditional Irish Champ | Not Starving Yet

Traditional Irish Champ

makes 6 - 8 servings


Ingredients

3lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup whole milk
6 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup Kerrygold Irish butter, salted
1 - 2 ounces sweet cheddar cheese, shredded (see notes)
white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Place cubed potatoes in a saucepan, add sea salt, and cover with 1 - 2 inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Allow the potatoes to simmer in an uncovered pan for 20 - 30 minutes or until they are fork tender. Larger potatoes will need to be boiled longer, so I prefer to check mine around the 20 minute mark and continue cooking as necessary.
  • In a small saucepan add whole milk and sliced scallions, then cook until the milk is warm. Do not boil.
  • Combine cooked potatoes, butter, warmed milk, and scallions in a large bowl, then mash until they've reached your desired consistency (I prefer to leave mine a little chunky.) Add the shredded cheddar and white pepper. Mix well, then serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until later. Enjoy!

Notes

You can use any type of cheddar you'd like in this recipe, although I'm partial to Kerrygold's Skellig. It adds just a hint of sweetness and gives the potatoes a rich, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. 

If you need to feed a large group of people this is a great dish add to your menu. It can be made a day or two in advance and reheated in the oven when you're ready to serve it. After you've made the potatoes place them in an oven safe baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. To reheat: Remove the plastic wrap, place the dish in a cold oven, turn the heat up to 350°F, and bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until the potatoes are no longer cold in the center.

 

Classic Deviled Eggs

I've seen quite a few variations on deviled eggs, but I don't think I've enjoyed the modern versions nearly as much as the classic style that I grew up with. They're the perfect combination of sweet, creamy, and tangy—and if I'm honest, eating just one makes me wish I could sit there and devour an entire tray without feeling like a glutton. 

What is it about the combination of mayonnaise, sweet relish, and yellow mustard that makes these so good? I have no idea, but there is a good reason why these classic eggs have been turning up at our family events for longer than I've been alive.

So, if you're looking for something that is sure to be a hit at your next BBQ, potluck, or family gathering consider making up a double batch of these eggs. They're only five ingredients, many of which you likely already have on hand, and they barely take any time to toss together—leaving you with more time to concentrate on the important things in life that happen outside of the kitchen.

Classic Deviled Eggs | Not Starving Yet

Classic Deviled Eggs


makes 1 dozen


Ingredients

6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish, drained
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
sweet paprika, to taste

Directions

  • Cut each egg in half using a non-serrated knife, then use a spoon to carefully scoop out the hardened yolk into your food processor. Add mayonnaise, sweet relish, and yellow mustard, then pulse until smooth. 
  • Transfer the egg mixture to a disposable pastry bag, then slowly fill the eggs. Finish each egg off with a pinch of paprika, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

For a more polished looking presentation I prefer to use a pastry bag and metal icing tip when filling the eggs, but in a pinch you can use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. If you don't happen to have either on hand you can fill the eggs the old fashioned way—with a spoon.

Transporting deviled eggs can be a bit of a challenge, so I typically store mine in an egg container from Snapware. I love the two-tier design because I can set half the eggs out on the table while refrigerating the other half until they're needed (or in the rare instance that someone doesn't devour all the eggs I know that the remaining half can safely be taken home so I can eat them.)

Not sure how to hard boil an egg? Don't worry, it's a simple, mostly hands-off process. Place your eggs in a saucepan and fill it with cold water. You want the eggs to be covered by an inch or two, so don't fill the pan to the top. Turn the heat on high and bring the water to a rolling boil. Once the water has reached a rolling boil shut the heat off, cover the saucepan, and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them sit in the ice water until they're cool to the touch (usually 2 - 3 minutes is enough), dry them off throughly, and allow them to finish cooling in the refrigerator. If your eggs aren't completely cooled you'll have a lot of trouble peeling them, which is why I prefer to boil the eggs ahead of time. Last minute egg boiling always leads to deviled eggs that are missing huge chunks of the white, so learn from my impatience: Boil your eggs the night before!

Disclosure
 


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Because it's summer I've decided to step out of the kitchen for long periods of time and enjoy the warm weather. You've probably noticed my posting has become a little sporadic because of it, but I do have a new recipe for you today. It's quickly become my favorite way to serve asparagus since it produces perfectly cooked spears with the minimal amount of effort. That means I can kick back with my feet up, soak up some summer sun, and read a salacious romance novel without feeling the slightest tinge of guilt about my lackadaisical lifestyle.

If you're not an asparagus fan, but still want something green and tasty in your life you'll want to try our recipe for Parmesan Garlic Green Beans. Your mouth will thank you, trust me!

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Oven Roasted Asparagus
makes 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, fresh
1 Tablespoon lemon infused olive oil (see notes)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons parmesan, freshly grated
sea salt, to taste 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Rinse spears under cool water before removing the tough portion of the stalks. If you aren't sure how much to trim your asparagus, take the stalk, hold it towards the end and bend. It should easily snap off the dry, woody end.
  • Place on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add minced garlic, then toss the spears until they're well coated.
  • Sprinkle with fresh parmesan, add salt to taste, and bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or longer for thicker stalks.

Notes

Thick or thin, which asparagus should you use? For this recipe I prefer thicker stalks. The thin, early spring varieties tend to over cook quickly in the oven. You can still use think stalks, but you'll want to reduce the baking time and watch the oven carefully. Nobody likes mushy, overcooked asparagus!

  • If you can't find lemon infused olive oil you can purchase it online (we love the Lucero Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil our friends gave us a few weeks ago.) Otherwise, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over your stalks and once the asparagus is done baking squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top.

 

Disclosure

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.