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. 

Black Bean and Corn Chili

I didn't have the chance to see whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year or not, but based off the recent warm weather I was positive winter was over. I should have known that having our temperatures reach almost 60°F was too good to be true. Only a few days later Mother Nature decided to drop a few extra inches of snow on us, just to keep us on our toes. 

Since I'm one of those people who likes to see things on the sunny side, I prefer to think she did it so we had a few more weeks to gorge ourselves on comfort food. I've spent most of the winter chowing down on never ending pots of soup, with a few batches of black bean and corn chili chili thrown in for good measure. While I'm looking forward to having fresh vegetables again, I will certainly use any excuse possible to make another batch of something warm and comforting.

Chili is one of those meals I rely on when I know I'll be rushing around all day long because it's an easy meal to toss in the crock-pot before I leave in the morning. Added bonus: It freezes well so I always keep some on hand for those nights I don't feel like cooking. I may write about food for a living, but even I have nights when I'd rather spend the night on the couch with a good book, a warm blanket, and a meal I didn't have to stand in the kitchen cooking.

If that sounds like you, then make up a batch ASAP, but don't forget to pair it with some delicious Buttermilk Corn Bread. You really can't have chili without it, can you?

Black Bean and Corn Chili | Not Starving Yet

Black Bean and Corn Chili


makes 6 - 8 servings

 

Ingredients

 


1lb ground beef
½ yellow onion, diced
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
3 (15oz) cans black beans
1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 (12oz) package frozen black bean and corn blend (see notes)
1 Tablespoon chili powder

Directions

 

  • In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add ground beef and yellow onion. Cook until the meat is browned and the onions are slightly translucent. Turn the heat off and drain the excess grease from the pan. Season beef with taco seasoning, then transfer to a crock-pot.
  • Add black beans, diced tomatoes with green chilis, frozen black bean and corn blend, and chili powder. Stir well to combine, then cook for 6 - 8 hours on low heat.

Notes


The frozen black bean and corn blend that I use for this recipe goes by many names. The brand I buy calls it Santa Fe Blend, although I've seen it called Baja Blend as well. What you're looking for, regardless of the name, is a bag of frozen corn, black beans, onions, red and green peppers, with no additional seasonings added.

If you have leftovers you can let  the chili cool completely, portion it out into small microwave safe containers, then freeze it for up to 4 months. I like to keep a few servings on hand for nights I don't feel like cooking, but still want a home cooked meal.

 

Simple Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters with Caramelized Fennel and Onions Served Over Sourdough Dressing - A Sheet Pan with a Plan #Sponsored by @OXO

In the midst of holiday over indulgence, sometimes it's nice to sit down to a simple meal that won't leave you feeling guilty. Today we're partnering with OXO to bring you one of our favorites: roasted chicken leg quarters, served over sourdough dressing. We've paired it with some of our favorite fresh, seasonal vegetables—fennel and yellow onions, which have been lightly careamelized to perfection. It's the type of meal that will be on the table in under an hour, making it perfect for a busy week night or last minute guests. Added bonus: the dressing is a great way to use up that loaf of bread you bought, but forgot about (or the heels that no one ever eats.)

  DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Sheet Pan with a Plan Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a set of tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Sheet Pan with a Plan Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a set of tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Chicken Leg Quarters
 

with Fennel and Onions


makes approximately 2 - 3 servings



 

Ingredients


1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 - 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
sea salt and pepper, to taste

2 - 3 chicken leg quarters
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
garlic sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

4 cups stale sourdough bread, torn into chunks
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced  
3 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3/4 cup chicken stock
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
 

Directions
 

 

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice the fennel and yellow onion into uniform pieces, brush with melted butter, then add sea salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables so the butter and seasonings are evenly distributed, then transfer the vegetables to one half of the baking sheet. You'll reserve the other half for the dressing and chicken.
  • In a large skillet add onion, celery, and butter. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the celery is slightly tender. Add poultry seasoning, bread, and chicken stock, then mix until all of the liquid is incorporated. Do not add additional stock if you still have dry bread, the juices from the chicken will moisten the stuffing as it cooks.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, then mix everything together. Transfer the finished stuffing to the second half of the sheet pan.
  • Place the chicken leg quarters on top of the dressing, brush with melted butter, then season generously with smoked paprika, garlic sea salt, and black pepper.
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, making sure to stir the onions and fennel several times through the cooking process to keep them from burning along the edges. Once the stuffing is slightly brown on the edges and the onions have caramelized, remove from the oven and check that the chicken has cooked throughly. You can use a quick-read thermometer to ensure that it has cooked to 165ºF, or poke with a fork and make sure that the juices run clear. If they're still pink, just pop the chicken back in the oven for a few more minutes.
     

Notes

 

If you have time you'll want to lay your bread out the night before making this recipe so it will have time to dry out. I'm lazy about planning, so I put mine on a baking sheet, then let it sit on the counter until I'm ready to use it. If you decide to make this recipe at the last minute you can always bake your bread for 10 - 20 minutes at 200ºF to help dry it out a little faster.

The amount of chicken stock you'll need can vary, so make sure to have extra on hand. If your stuffing comes out of the oven on the dry side you can always add a little bit of extra stock to moisten it up. 
 

  DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Sheet Pan with a Plan Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a set of tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Sheet Pan with a Plan Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a set of tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Tools


To facilitate today's recipe OXO sent along a handful nifty kitchen items. Keep reading for more information on the tools featured in our post today and where you can purchase them.

Chef's Precision Digital Instant Read Thermometer: The Instant Read Thermometer provides quick, accurate measurements for cooked meat. The pivoting head allows reading temperature from any angle.  Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Silicone Roasting Rack - Elevates food above fat and liquid for healthier cooking and allows air to circulate around food for faster, more even roasting. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Non-Stick Pro Half Sheet Jelly Roll Pan - Square-rolled edges add reinforcement for structure, strength and durability. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Flavor Injector Inject marinades and other flavorings into meat for delicious flavor and juiciness. Two needles for thick and thin marinades store inside injector tube when not in use. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Good Gravy Fat Separator (not pictured) - Easily separates the fat for healthier gravies, soups and sauces. Purchase from Amazon or OXO
 

Disclosure


Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Sheet Pan with a Plan Campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

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.

Autumn Harvest Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette #Sponsored by @BrightFarms + GIVEAWAY

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign. I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

 DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I'm not quite sure how, or even when it happened, but somewhere along the way food became confusing. What was originally meant to be simple and nourishing has become a complicated mess of buzz words and fads that frequently leaves me scratching my head, wondering what ridiculous suggestion will come next.

In a world that constantly bombards us with "facts" about our health, it can be tough to weed through the information and figure out what is real. Yesterday eggs were bad, now they're good. We need to go gluten-free, dairy-free, or meat-free to be healthy. Eating more vegetables is never a bad idea, but what about the toxic pesticides? Organic is the only way to go, but with the rising cost of food who can afford it? Oh, don't forget, french fries will give you cancer. 

As if that wasn’t enough to make choosing a health lifestyle difficult, there are actually thousands of companies out there selling miracle "cures" to everything that ails you. There is even a vape pen that's meant to be used as an anti-snacking aide.  

Let's take a moment to chew on that one...

Feeding your family healthy meals shouldn't be so confusing. That is why you'll find the vast majority of our posts are dedicated to simple recipes using the best, often local, ingredients that you can afford. The recipes and posts on our site are styled in a way that encourages people of all skill levels to cook healthy meals.

Rather than get caught up in all of the marketing hype, our stance has always been to eat simple, seasonal foods as often as we can because food that hasn't travelled thousands of miles to reach your door always tastes better. The most important thing is to use the freshest ingredients possible, whether you shop at the local grocery store, grow your own food, or purchase it from a local farm or farmers' market.

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms, a local producer of salad greens, to shine a light on some of our favorite local products. Keep reading for a simple salad recipe made from fresh, local ingredients and while you're at it make sure to enter our giveaway for a $25 grocery gift card so you can purchase everything you need to make your own Autumn Harvest Salad.

 DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Autumn Harvest Salad
 

with Apple Cider Vinaigrette



 

Ingredients


for the salad

BrightFarms Local Baby Greens Blend
SweeTango apple, thinly sliced
Shallot, thinly sliced
Pecan halves (see notes)
Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled (see notes)

for the vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons light flavored oil (see notes)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon apple cider
½ teaspoon whole grain mustard with honey (see notes)
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions
 

 

  • Prepare the vinaigrette: in a small glass bottle or mason jar combine oil, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, pumpkin pie spice, whole grain mustard with honey, sea salt, and pepper. Shake until well combined. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  • In a skillet cook bacon until crispy, remove from pan, then set aside to cool.
  • Combine local baby greens, apple, shallot, pecan halves, and crumbled bacon then toss with vinaigrette. Serve immediately, preferably with a huge hunk of crusty baguette slathered with salted butter.

 

Notes


The type of oil you choose for this recipe is very important. A more-strongly flavored oil will drowned out the flavors, which is why I recommend skipping the extra virgin olive oil. Instead try using a light-flavored olive oil, canola oil, or another neutral-flavored oil of your choice.

One important thing to note is that honey mustard and whole grain mustard with honey are not the same things. My preferred mustard comes Doux South, but feel free to substitute with one of your choosing. And, if you happen to be near Madison, WI come visit the only museum in the world dedicated to mustard: The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI.

Schermer pecans can be purchased directly from their website, but you'll often seen them offered as part of a fundraiser. Mine came from the Missouri chapter of the Children of the American Revolution (thanks mom!)

I spend a lot of time traveling, so it shouldn't surprise you when I say that my go-to bacon changes depending on where I'm at. While in Wisconsin it's a delicious applewood smoked variety from Patrick Cudahy, located in Cudahy, WI. When I'm down South with my family my allegiance switches to Burger's Smokehouse from California, MO. I've been in love with their old-fashioned Applewood smoked bacon for years, but it isn't always easy to find where I live. They're both solid choices that originate in the mid-west, so if you see them in your local supermarket make sure to give them a try.
 

Giveaway

 

TERMS: This giveaway is sponsored by BrightFarms and will run through October 31st 2017 at 12PM EST. It is open to US readers only, void where prohibited by law. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, no purchase necessary. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. Retail value of prize: $25.  Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. If no response is received within 72 hours the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. Winners: your contact information will be given to Abel Communications PR Firm so they can ship the prize to you, you can expect delivery in 4 - 6 weeks.

Disclosure


Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.