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. 

Pommes de Terre à la Lyonnaises (Potatoes Lyonnaise)

Pommes de Terre à la Lyonnaises or Potatoes Lyonnaise, hail from the city of Lyon, France in the Rhône-Alpes region. This provençal dish is made up of lightly browned potato slices that are pan-fried in butter until slightly crispy. They're very similar to a dish you'll find in America called home fries, but leave it to the French to take a simple potato dish and elevated it to a whole new level by adding lightly caramelized onions and finishing it off with a sprinkle of parsley. Because of its simplicity this dish pairs well with a wide variety of meats. It's particularly tasty with a nice juicy steak or hamburger, but don't be afraid to cook up a batch for breakfast. Who wouldn't enjoy carmamelized onions in the morning? Nobody, that's who!

PotatoesLyonnaise.jpg

Pommes de Terre à la Lyonnaises (Potatoes Lyonnaise)
makes 2-3 servings 

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, or other fat
1lb Yukon Gold potatoes
1 medium-sized yellow onion
sea salt
black pepper
parsley 

Directions

  • Trim the tops and bottoms off the onions, then slice into uniform pieces and set aside. 
  • In a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Once butter has melted add onions and stir to coat, then leave the onions alone. 

The key to this recipe is patience, over stirring the onions will cause them to take longer to caramelize.

  • Check onions every 10 minutes, giving them a good stir to keep them from sticking to the pan. If any of the onions look like they are getting really dark, move them to the outer edge of the pan away from the burner, this will slow down the cooking process since the pan isn't as hot along the outer edge. You can also lower the heat as necessary to keep the onions from burning.
  • While your onions are caramelizing wash and slice potatoes into ¼ inch thick rounds, add to water with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are just tender, drain water, and add potatoes to the skillet with the caramelized onions.
  • Cook potatoes over medium-low heat for 6 minutes, until they are evenly browned and slightly crispy. Flip and cook for an additional 6 minutes before removing from heat. You may want to work in batches if your skillet is not large enough. If you decide to work in batches remove the onions after the first batch and set them aside so they do not over cook.
  • Before serving finish the potatoes off with a pinch of salt, black pepper, and parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

I've seen Potatoes Lyonnaise made with a variety of fats. I've chosen to use butter for this recipe because it is an ingredient everyone has access to, but if you'd like to lighten up this dish a little more you can use olive oil as a substitution. If you want something truly decadent, try a bit of duck fat, they give the potatoes a wonderful flavor.

Cooking time for the potatoes will vary widely depending on how large your potatoes are. I've used Size B Yukon Gold potatoes because they are small and will cook faster.

French Four Spice (Quatre Épices)

As you all know by now I'm off enjoying a two week vacation to Paris with my husband. We're staying in the arrondissement des Gobelins, or 13th arrondissement. This out of the way section of the city isn't as popular with tourists, but the quiet residential area appeals to me and our hotel is located within meters of a metro stop giving us easy access to the rest of the city. It's also within walking distance of the largest Chinatown in Europe, which I can't wait to explore. This trip is sure to be an amazing adventure full of new people, new tastes, beautiful architecture, and museums I never dreamed of seeing. I'll make sure to give you all an update once I return.

Since discovering that I was going to be taking a trip to France I've done all I can to read up on their cuisine. Much like the different regions of the U.S. each region of France has it's own distinct style of cooking. Île-de-France the district where Paris is located is somewhat of a melting pot when it comes to food. You can expect to find the latest in haute cuisine as well as more traditional dishes from other regions. During my reading I was surprised to discover how simple, yet flavorful many of the regional dishes were. I think due to the reputation the French have with elevating food to a whole new level many people wrongfully assume that it is difficult to prepare. As I've discovered that isn't the case with many regional dishes, which are very unlike the haute cuisine of Paris that typically comes to mind when many people think of French cooking. While I'm off on my trip I'll be sharing several recipes with you that even the most inexperienced cook will be able to prepare at home with little difficulty.

I'll be starting off with a blend of spices called French Four Spice, or quatre épices. Even if you don't commonly cook French cuisine it's a great spice blend to have on hand. In traditional French cooking it is commonly used to add depth to charcuterie (prepared meats such as sausage or ham) as well as soups, stews, and desserts. When I first discovered it I was surprised by how much it resembled the combination of spices I use to make gingerbread; all the blend lacked was all-spice, which I later found is sometimes added to the blend in place of ginger. At first it seemed like an odd combination to use with savory dishes, but when combined with a little kosher salt it quickly became one of my favorite spice rubs to use with pork roast. I hope you enjoy experimenting with it as much as I have.

French Four Spice
makes 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons white pepper, ground
2 Tablespoons nutmeg, ground
2 Tablespoons ginger, ground
1 Tablespoon cloves, ground

Directions

  • Combine white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Mix well and store in an airtight container.