Green Beans with Shallots

I’m always looking for ways to sneak more vegetables into my diet and this green bean dish is my stand by, especially in the summer months when the grocery store is almost giving away seasonal produce and the weekend farmer’s markets are brimming with beans of many colors (have you seen the purple variety?).  

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These beans are a tasty treat – let’s talk about the straightforward prep – these bad boys are cooked for a few minutes in the microwave and then sautéed in butter and oil with shallots, that little purple cousin of the white onion.  Shallots are light in flavor and when sautéed become nearly translucent and impart a delicious but not overpowering onion flavor to the dish.  

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And that’s it!  You’ll have this dish on the table in less than 10 minutes.  This side dish is perfect to serve in the summer alongside grilled meats or corn on the cob, and if you’re serving a baguette with the meal you’ll want to be sure to clean your plate with a slice of bread to get the drippings from this dish.  

 

Green Beans with Shallots
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
12 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound green beans
  2. 2 shallots, finely minced
  3. 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 2 Tbsp butter
  5. Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Wash green beans, and trim the ends. Place beans in a microwave-safe bowl, add 2 Tbsp water, and cover. Place in the microwave and cook on high for 2 minutes.
  2. While the green beans are cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil and butter, and once the butter has melted, add the shallots.
  3. Remove the beans from the microwave, drain the water, and place in the pan with the shallots. Toss the beans to coat and cook for 5 minutes, periodically stirring to ensure even cooking.
  4. After 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

 

Mother’s Day Brunch

As Mother’s Day came ’round this year I was excited to host my sister and her family as well as my parents at our place.  Last year we went out to brunch at my parents’ golf course and while it’s a nice spot, it can be less-than-relaxing to dine out at a nice restaurant with two 2 year olds and all their stuff in tow, so I was more than willing to have everyone at my place for a more low-key morning meal.  In my mind, the key to any good party is to make most of the food in advance so you can be a part of the fun and not stuck in the kitchen.  Here’s what we served up this Sunday morning to honor the three mommas – photos and recipes below!

Scrambled Eggs with Green Onions 

  • The key is to cook these “low and slow” and you’ll get incredibly soft and moist scrambled eggs!
  • This is your item to make at the last minute – they will dry out if you hold them in a warm oven

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Green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Candied Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Mandarin oranges

  • Make the candied almonds in advance and toss this together just before serving

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Triple Berry Salad with Vanilla Bean-Infused Syrup

  • The simple syrup can be infused with other flavors than vanilla – think mint, orange or basil!

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Lemon Lime Bundt Cake

  • Use any blend of citrus you have on hand – this cake is delicious and easy to make with any combination of orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit

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Scrambled Eggs with Green Onions
Serves 8
These scrambled eggs are incredibly tender and moist - ensure you cook them low and slow and you'll wonder how eggs could taste this good!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 16 extra large eggs
  2. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  5. 6 Tbsp butter, divided in half
  6. 2 Tbsp green onions, minced, green and white parts
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick sauté pan.
  3. Add the eggs and cook them over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the desired doneness. Eggs should still appear wet and not stick to the pan.
  4. Off the heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and the green onions.
  5. Stir until the butter is melted.
  6. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Candied Almonds
Keep your eye on these almonds while cooking them - once cooked and cooled they can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the almonds and sugar and stir nearly constantly until the sugar has caramelized and coated the almonds, about 3 minutes, being careful to not let the almonds burn.
  3. Pour the almonds onto a piece of parchment paper in a single layer to cool.
  4. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Candied Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Mandarin oranges
Serves 8
This green salad is coated in a light, refreshing champagne vinaigrette and topped with a trio of toppings - almonds, cranberries and oranges.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups organic mixed greens
  2. 2 Tbsp Girard's Champagne Dressing
  3. 1 small can of mandarin oranges
  4. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  5. 1/2 cup candied almonds
Instructions
  1. In a large salad bowl pour the salad dressing and "dress the bowl" coating it with the dressing.
  2. Quickly add the greens to the bowl and toss to cover with the dressing.
  3. Top the center of the salad with the mandarin oranges, cranberries and almonds.
  4. Serve immediately.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Triple Berry Salad with Vanilla Bean-Infused Syrup
This simple syrup can be infused with many different flavors other than vanilla - try orange zest, mint or basil!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean
  4. 4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  5. 2 cups raspberries
  6. 2 cups blueberries
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine the water and sugar, whisking to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Heat the sugar-water mixture until simmering, then remove from the heat.
  3. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, scraping the beans from the pod, and place them in the syrup. Place the vanilla bean in the syrup as well.
  4. Let the syrup infuse with the vanilla bean for 2-4 hours off the heat.
  5. Once infused, remove the vanilla bean from the syrup and discard.
  6. Store the syrup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the berries and drizzle with 2-4 Tbsp of the syrup.
  8. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Simple syrup is a great ingredient to have on hand for many purposes! It's great to top fruit or ice cream or to flavor your beverages!
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Lemon-Lime "7-Up" Bundt Cake
Serves 16
This cake is perfect to make a day in advance and store in a covered container. I don't use 7-Up as this recipe traditionally calls for and substitute a mix of orange juice and carbonated water to add some more flavor to the cake batter.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. CAKE
  2. 3 sticks Butter
  3. 3 cups Sugar
  4. 5 whole Eggs
  5. 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  7. 3/4 cup carbonated water
  8. 1/4 cup orange juice
  9. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  10. 1 Tablespoon Lime Zest
  11. GLAZE
  12. 2 cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  13. 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  14. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  15. 1 Tablespoon Lime Zest
  16. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  17. 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  18. 1 Tablespoon Water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  4. Carefully add the salt, then the flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the carbonated water and orange juice until just combined.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of both lemon and lime zest and fold into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  7. Scrape the bowl ensuring the batter is thoroughly combined.
  8. Spray a bundt pan very liberally with nonstick baking spray.
  9. Evenly pour the batter into the pan, evening out the surface.
  10. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes until lightly browned and risen.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 15 minutes.
  12. Using a knife, carefully lift the cake away from the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  13. Place the cake onto a serving platter.
  14. Combine all the glaze ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined and drizzles off the whisk. Slowly drizzle the glaze over the cake.
  15. Let the glaze set for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.
Notes
  1. Try any combination of citrus - orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit!
  2. I don't use 7-Up as this recipe traditionally calls for and substitute a mix of orange juice and carbonated water to add some more flavor to the cake batter.
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Tomato Bruschetta

Have you ever tried an item of food and once you do, wonder how you made it this long without it in your culinary life?  That’s how I feel about tomato bruschetta, oddly enough.  That’s not to say I had never tasted bruschetta but it had always been in a restaurant or not up to par with this recipe, so in my mind, it’s like I had never tasted it until this version waltzed into my life.

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A year or two ago my little family headed to my parents’ house for a day of sun, food and relaxation and my mom made this as an appetizer for us, served with crackers and slices of bread.  We were hooked (not just me – the Mr. too!).  It’s incredibly simple to make – just a bit of chopping required – and soon you’ll have tomatoes, parmesan, basil, garlic marinating in olive oil and waiting to be served on just about anything.  Anything can involve toasted bread, a baguette slice, grilled chicken breasts or a beef loin.

This dish is perfect to make ahead as it keeps in the refrigerator for at least a few days.  Feel free to experiment with the amount of oil and garlic, as well as with using grated or shredded parmesan.  

 

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Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 4
This tomato bruschetta is delicious as an appetizer dip served on crackers or slices of bread or served on top of grilled chicken or steak.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tomatoes, finely diced
  2. 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  3. 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  4. 10-15 basil leaves, rolled into a chiffonade and sliced thinly
  5. 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  6. 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  7. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop tomatoes, dice garlic and mix in a medium sized bowl with the parmesan, basil and olive oil. Add the salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry.
Notes
  1. This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days if kept in a sealed container.
Adapted from Pat Remes
Adapted from Pat Remes
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Aioli

The Mr. and I like to take a week day off of work every few months to spend the day at the movies and going out to lunch.  While the Twin Cities has some great restaurants and a teeming list of new places worth trying, we tend to get pulled back to our favorite spot, McCormick & Schmick’s at the Westin in Edina, nearly every single time.  It’s pretty quiet during the lunch hour when we saddle up to the bar, order a custom house creation off the drink list and start our meal with a side of sweet potato fries with garlic aioli.  This is the perfect little snack of warm, salty potato with a cool, tart aioli to tide you over while you peruse the menu and enjoy the day.  This recipe is my ode to these fries – the major difference is that these are baked and not fried… still delicious, but don’t pack the same tasty just-fried punch.  (If you head to M&S and don’t find these on the menu just ask – it’s not always listed but is always available).

What in heaven’s name is aioli?  Years ago when I was bartending at the California Cafe I asked the head chef that question and he laughed in response “That’s a chef’s way of saying mayonnaise”.  Of course, the man made his mayo from scratch, but that admission helped me be less intimidated by the name.  My aioli is a crack to make, made with store-bought mayo (Hellman’s or Kraft brand) spiked with fresh lemon juice, crushed garlic cloves and a lot of cracked black pepper.  Not difficult or intimidating at all.  This is best made at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

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The most difficult part of making this treat is to slice up the potatoes (and difficult is all relative, this isn’t actually that hard) – grab your sharpest chef’s knife and you’ll be in good shape.  The trick is to trim off the top and bottom of the potato where it becomes thinner, then set the potato on its tall end, and cut once length-wise.  Lay the potato down on the edge where you just removed the rounded side then cut the potato into long slices.  Once complete, stack the potato slices together and cut match-sticks of the potato.  Depending on your personal preference for fries, now’s the time to cut really thick or thin, depending on the outcome you want.  I find that about 1/4″ squares cook nice and even.  You’re not seeking perfection in your fry size, just consistency so that things cook evenly.

Cover a large sheet pan with tin foil, spray lightly with PAM cooking spray, then spread the potatoes out into a single layer.  Without the cooking spray these puppies have a tendency to stick to the pan due to all the natural sugar in the potato. Drizzle vegetable oil over the fries and season with salt and pepper to your liking.  My liking means a lot of salt but feel free to go easy on it and be kind to your heart. 

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Toss these in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, carefully flipping them after 20 minutes.  You’re looking for the potato to soften and begin to brown, but not to darken too much. 

Once out of the oven, cool for five minutes then serve with the chilled aioli.  This is a great side dish to serve with burgers, grilled chicken breasts or meatloaf – and is versatile enough to eat year-round.  Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Fries and Garlic Aioli
Serves 4
Baked sweet potato fries are crispy yet soft and warm on the inside, and the garlic aioli provides the perfect bite and chilled flavor.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 large sweet potatoes
  2. Vegetable Oil
  3. Salt & Cracked black pepper
  4. 1 cup mayo
  5. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  6. 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced
  7. 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  8. 1 pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine the mayo, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and salt. Stir thoroughly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cover a large pan with tin foil, spraying with cooking spray.
  3. Cut sweet potatoes into fries, and place on the covered pan.
  4. Drizzle with oil, and spindle with salt and pepper.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, removing to flip the fries, then returning to the oven for another 10 minutes until softened and beginning to brown.
  6. Remove the fries from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving with the chilled garlic aioli.
Notes
  1. The garlic aioli is best at least one hour ahead of serving to allow the flavors to marry.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/