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7 recipes, 2 friends, 1 meal

February 27, 2011

In 2005  my friend Krista and I started getting together every 4 or 5 weeks for dinner.  Back then the dinners had more of a structure to them with the standard format being salad or appetizer, main dish, side and dessert.  Over time we’ve put structure aside and have moved into making recipes that strike us as interesting, never making an attempt to put things together that necessarily go together in typical meal fashion.  That leads us to dinners like the one we shared last week that included seven different recipes, for just the two of us.   

  • Spinach and Radicchio Salad with Fennel and Red Onion Dressing
  • Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds
  • Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette
  • Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
  • Linguine with Orange Sauce and Cilantro
  • Broiled Pineapple with Rum Caramel Sauce

A couple of the recipes didn’t match the expectations we had for them, like the Blood Orange Vinaigrette.  I think the recipe has a lot of potential but the orange citrus flavor needs to be punched up.  There were several of the seven that were terrific and I know I’ll be making them over and over again.  At the end of the evening though, for me it isn’t the number of recipes that are hits, it’s about the evening I’ve spent with my friend, sharing stories, catching up and laughing.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share my favorites of the seven and I’m starting with Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds.  This was just as good the next day as leftovers as it was when we had dinner.  The fried almonds are terrific and really could be eaten by themselves.

Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds
Minimally adapted from the original post on Smitten Kitchen

1 pound green beans or hericot vert (thawed if using frozen)
1/2 fennel bulb (about 1/2 pound)
1 stalk celery
1/2 medium red onion
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp kosher salt (less if you’re using table salt)
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup whole almonds
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil

Very thinly slice the fennel and toss with lemon juice to keep from browning.  Then very thinly slice the celery and onion.

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar.  Add the onions and set them aside for about an hour. 

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until crisp tender, about 3-5 minutes depending on which bean   you’re using.  Plunge the beans into an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Drain and pat dry. 

Heat a small heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add one tsp. olive oil.  Add the almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.  Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.   Transfer almonds to a plate and let cool.  Give cooled almonds a rough chop.

To assemble the salad, toss the green beans with most of the fennel, all of the celery and half of the pickled red onions.  Sprinkle two tbsp of the red onion pickling liquid and two tbsp of the olive oil over the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with the toasted almonds.  Serve the remaining fennel and pickled red onion on the table  to be added individually if desired.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Joanne permalink
    March 14, 2011 10:21 pm

    Could you possibly add calorie counts to the recipes for those of us who are always trying not to get any fatter?

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