I was tired Saturday from a long day and evening with my students final showcase: a 5-course sit-down dinner for their family and friends. I had been to the Farm to gather some garnishes and a few flowers for the event the day before, just wandering and being filled with gratitude for this amazing land so revered by Tomas and all the family, and I started thinking about my Grandma's green beans - a super comfort food. My parents came from the San Juaquin Valley which was so rich in produce. I remember many evenings gathered around the large family dining table, eagerly awaiting the bounty from the harvest and the loving and caring cooking from Grandma and whoever else was there to help. I got specific jobs, like trimming the beans and shucking the corn. Perks were I got to hear the grown up talk and eat as much of the vegetables that I wanted. You could smell the amazing aromas floating from the kitchen, from a day's labor of love and big pots brimming and simmering our dinner! So I reminisce about my Grandma's green beans, which I made, minus the bacon. DELIGHTFUL, simple, and ever so satisfying. I hope you enjoy this recipe from my head! And soak in these beautiful days of the summer's passing. Blessings, Rebecca [email Rebecca]
[Rebecca Mastoris is a chef/teacher at Bauman College, and a partner in Vibrant Foods Catering along with Karen Haralson. Both Karen and Rebecca teach cooking classes at the farm and in town locally - see our 2012 Calendar, below.]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GRANDMA'S GREEN BEANS
2 large handfuls of green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 large onion, medium dice
1 clove garlic, minced
several tomatoes, stems removed and cut into chunks
sea salt (to your taste)
freshly ground black pepper
fresh grated nutmeg
1. Saute the onions in a large pot, the bottom covered in olive oil, about 2-3 tablespoons. Saute onions on medium-high heat, until almost caramelized, about 10 minutes. You will need to watch them while sauteeing, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute more until softened.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and and reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered for about 7 minutes. You want the tomatoes to break down and create juices. Stir a few times while they are cooking. If you like the flavor of bacon (and it is yummy) you can add a slice of chopped bacon now to cook with the tomatoes.
4. Cover tomatoes and reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes begin to come together in a chunky sauce. It takes about 5-10 minutes; you want to still have some liquid in the pot.
5. Remove the lid and add the green beans and sprinkle in sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a few gratings of nutmeg (fresh nutmeg!). Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until beans are just tender. You will want to test them after about 8 minutes for your desired doneness. I like them almost crunchy, but if you want them tender, continue to cook a little longer. My Grandma cooked them much longer, leaving them very soft.
6. Remove from heat and serve warm! Hope you enjoy a taste of the past...PADRON PEPPER-OLIVE DIP
Makes about 2 cups
Roasting peppers imparts earthy flavor. To roast, put them on a baking sheet and place under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat. Turn them until they are blistered and charred, about 10-12 minutes. Enclose peppers in a brown paper bag and let them steam until they are cool enough to handle. Starting a the blossom end, peel the peppers under cold water, discarding the stems, ribs and seeds (if you like the heat, leave the ribs and seeds). [Note from Debbie: I talked with Rebecca; these are her instructions for roasting typical peppers. Padrons are a little different, however, in that a) since they're so small and tender they really don't need to be peeled, and b) they are mostly not hot. And when you do get a hot one, the flesh itself will be hot, so you won't rescue yourself from the heat by simply removing the seeds and ribs like a typical chili. Since this recipe calls for 10-14 padrons, even if you have one or two hot ones in the mix, you shouldn't be overwhelmed by the heat in the overall recipe as it will be ameliorated by the non-hot ones. But do roast them though, as this really does bring out their flavor! Either roast as Rebecca describes above, or on a dry griddle or comal as I described in the last newsletter, or on a grill, as I describe above.]
2 cans sliced black olives
10-14 padrons, roasted (peeled and seeded if desired, but not necessary) de-stemmed and chopped
3 scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 small tomato, quartered and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until just barely blended. Serve as a dip with sliced jicama and/or tortilla chips. Good with chicken and fish, too.SUMMER SQUASH with WALNUTS
4 cups squash, thinly sliced
1/3 cup sliced scallion tops
3-4 tablespoons dry sherry
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add squash and scallions. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes
2. Stir in sherry and salt and cook over low heat 3-5 minutes more until squash is tender.
3. Stir in walnuts and serve.LAYERED GREEK SALAD
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, including tops
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2-3/4 cup pitted and quartered Greek olives, to taste
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
2 large cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1-2 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2 -inch dice
4 large or 8 small tomatoes, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch dice and well drained
chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare dressing by combining its ingredients and set aside.
2. Combine seasonings in a small bowl.
3. In a deep, large glass serving bowl, alternate a layer of chopped raw vegetables with the seasoning mixture, beginning with the cucumbers, then peppers, and finally tomatoes, so each vegetable has a layer of seasoning mixture between the next vegetable.
4. Whisk the dressing and pour it evenly over the salad.
5. Garnish with chopped basil and refrigerate salad for at least 1/2 hour to let the flavors blend.
You can prepare this salad up to 8 hours before serving.ISLAND SIN SALAD
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced
large pinch white pepper (black is fine)
1/ 2 cup olive oil
2 small heads lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cupo coarsely chopped cilantro
1 large orange, peeled and cut into segments
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1. Combine dressing ingredients, whisking oil in thoroughly.
2. Put lettuce in a bowl, add cilantro, and add orange slices over lettuce.
3. Sprinkle salad with sunflower seeds.
4. Whisk the dressing again to be sure it is well combined. Pour over salad, toss and serve.ISRAELI CUCUMBER SALAD
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1 large cucumber, or several small, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1. Put scallions in a large glass or wooden bowl, then using the edge and bottom of a heavy drinking glass, smash the scallions and salt thoroughly.
2. Add the lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
3. Add the cucumber and radishes; mix well.
4. Add sour cream or yogurt and mix well.
5. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.AUSTRIAN KALE
A traditional side dish for roast pork, beef, or chicken.
2 bunches washed kale, stemmed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or stock of choice
4 medium potatoes, quartered
1 stalk celery, chopped
Sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish (optional)
1. Blanch kale leaves in lightly salted water for 1 minute. Remove from water and set aside.
2. Saute the garlic and onions in a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat until lightly browned.
3. Add the stock, potatoes, celery, and blanched kale.
4. Simmer together until potatoes fall apart and lose their shape.
5. Stir; season with salt and pepper, garnish with sour cream or yogurt and serve.MIXED FRESH GREENS WITH CURRIED DRESSING
8 plus cups of fresh assorted greens (arugula, lettuce, kale, basil or cilantro, spinach, and cabbage), mixed together in any combination you desire
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vermouth
1 scant tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sweetener
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1. Wash, dry and tear greens into bite-sized pieces.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
3. Pour into salad bowl.
4. Place greens and radishes in bowl on top of dressing but do not toss.
5. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or so.
6. Just before serving, toss after adding one or all of the following:
1 apple, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
4 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds or sesame seeds, toastedSPANIKOPITA (SPINACH PIE)
Servings: 24 pieces
2 pounds fresh spinach
1 bunch curly endive, dandelion greens, or green of your choice
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch green onions
6 mint leaves
1 tablespoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
6 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3/4 pound feta, crumbled
1/2 pound ricotta
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
12 sheets filo dough
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Wash greens and pat dry thoroughly. Finely chop the spinach, chicory, parsley, onions, and mint, and pat dry again.
2. Place in a large bowl and mix in salt, pepper, olive oil, eggs, feta, ricotta, and nutmeg.
3. Lay out filo and cover with a slightly dampened floursack cloth to keep from drying out. Line a buttered 9-by-13 baking pan with one sheet filo dough, brush with melted butter and letting filo overlap sides of pan. Cover with 5 more sheets of filo, brushing each with melted butter, and letting filo overlap sides of pan.
4. Place greens mixture in filo-lined pan and smooth top. Fold any overhanging filo back over the greens.
5. Arrange 6 more buttered sheets of filo back over the greens. Cut or fold in to fit top of the pan, one at a time.
6. Using a razor or sharp knife, cut squares through the top layers of filo only, making 3 lengthwise and 5 crosswise cuts.
7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40, or until greens are tender. It will get brown and a bit bubbly. Remove to rack and let rest a few minutes then finish cutting into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.