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. 

Easter 2014 Menu and a Visit from the Easter Beagle

Easter is almost here, which means it's time for me to dust off my copy of It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown so I can watch it with my son. After that we pack our suitcases and get ready for the long road trip back home to visit with friends and family. Unfortunately this year we've had a last minute change of plans, we'll still curl up on the couch and watch our traditional holiday movie, but we won't be making the trip home. This is only the second time I've found myself in charge of Easter, so I don't have a pre-planned menu to fall back on. We'll be having ham garnished with pineapple and maraschino cherries as well as some lighter side dishes full of fresh veggies. If you're still looking for something light and simple to help round out your holiday meal, make sure you check out the side dishes below and don't forget about our fabulous Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert.

Easter Side Dishes

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

Honey Glazed Carrots

Classic Side Dishes 

Green Bean Casserole with Caramelized Onion, Bacon, and MushroomsSpicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Dessert
Lemon Meringue Pie

Something Fun for the Easter Basket

Baby Bunny Chocolate Pretzels

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who appreciates green beans. They're one of my favorite vegetables, so it always makes me sad when people turn their noses up at them. I know a surprising number of people who won't touch them with a ten foot pole, they automatically assume the only way to serve green beans is how we had them in grade school, mushy and tasteless. When I make these I like to leave them just a little bit crunchy, then add some olive oil, garlic, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese. When prepared this way you have a side dish worthy of a holiday meal, yet easy enough for a busy week night. With this recipe mushy and tasteless green beans are a thing of the past.

ParmesanGreenBeans.jpg

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans
serves 4 - 6

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove fresh garlic, minced
½ cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Rinse green beans thoroughly in cold water and snap off ends. Make sure the green beans are fairly uniform in size so they cook evenly. I like to leave mine whole, but you can also snap the bean into smaller pieces.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add green beans, and cook for 4-5 minutes. This will leave the green beans fairly crunchy. If you want softer green beans boil them slightly longer, just make sure they don't turn mushy.
  • Drain green beans and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
  • In a skillet over medium-low heat add olive oil, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic, cook for 2 - 3 minutes, but do not let garlic brown. 
  • Turn off heat, add green beans and sea salt, then stir well to coat beans. 
  • Top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese just before serving. 

Green Bean Casserole with Caramelized Onion, Bacon, and Mushrooms

One of my all time favorite holiday side dishes has always been French's green bean casserole. I'm a bit addicted to French's French fried onions, I like to put them on everything, although I'm perfectly happy to eat them straight out of the can. I know that I could make my own onion strings, but during the holidays I'll use whatever I can to save a little time here and there. Speaking of saving a little time, I still use canned soup and frozen green beans in my recipe and there is nothing wrong with that. This recipe is a classic for a reason and I just don't feel the need to mess with it (much) although I do like to make the recipe my own in some small way. This year I've classed things up a bit with some caramelized onions, apple wood smoked bacon, and an assortment of sliced mushrooms. I hope you enjoy my take on this holiday classic.
Caramelized Onions
Time: 30 minutes Makes: 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon salted butter
1 small yellow onion
1 skillet

Directions:

  • Cut onions to desired size, for this recipe they were diced so you'll want to watch them a little closer so they don't burn.
  • Over medium-low heat melt the butter in a medium sized skillet 
  • Add onions, stir to coat with butter, and let them cook. Make sure to check them every five minutes or so and give them a good stir to keep them from sticking to the bottom of your skillet.
  • When onions have reached the desired color, remove them from heat and allow them to cool. I stopped cooking mine after 25 minutes since I didn't want them very dark.

Notes

When choosing your skillet for making caramelized onions, stainless steel or cast iron is preferred, but non-stick works as well. In fact, I ran out of available cookware and ended up using a 10 inch non-stick skillet because it was the only thing clean.

These will store refrigerated for several days when kept in an air-tight container, so feel free to do this step in advance.

I forgot to take a photograph of the caramelized onions, but here are the mushrooms, bacon and onions all mixed together. Don't they look delicious? 
Green Bean Casserole
Time: 50 minutes Makes: 12 servings

Ingredients:

3 pieces of bacon 
4 oz package of assorted sliced mushrooms (I used baby bella, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms)
½ Cup caramelized onions
18 ounces Progresso Creamy Mushroom soup
½ Cup 2% milk
2 packages frozen green beans
2.8 ounce package French's french fried onions
fresh ground black pepper, to taste 

Directions:

  • In a large skillet cook three slices of bacon and set aside on a paper lined plate to cool.
  • Add sliced mushrooms to remaining bacon grease and cook until tender. Set aside to cool and allow bacon grease to drain.
  • Dispose of remaining bacon grease, but do not put it down the drain.
  • In a large bowl combine, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, caramelized onions, crumbled bacon, and mushrooms. Add black pepper to taste, then stir until everything is well coated with cream of mushroom soup.
  • Transfer to a baking dish, top with a liberal amount of French's onions and bake 350°F for 30 - 40 minutes.

Notes

This dish will store refrigerated for several days when kept in an air-tight container so it can be made in advance and baked the day of your gathering. If you do plan on making it in advance make sure you don't add the French's onions until you are ready to bake.

Inspiration for this recipe:
French's Green Bean Casserole