Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Wedding Shower

I would like to say a gigantic THANK YOU to Angela & Cortney for throwing me such a wonderful wedding shower brunch yesterday morning. A lot of people couldn't make it, (which is a bummer since I will only have one wedding shower), but even with a small crowd it was still a great party. Here are the highlights!

Tomato, basil, & goat cheese quiche
Ham, green pepper, & onion mini quiche
Blueberry & Maple muffins
Fruit salad
Green Walnut salad
Blackberry & Mango Bellinis

Angela made me a blackberry Bellini as soon as I arrived and consequently many of the photos I took were blurry. Mix one part fresh fruit with one part simple syrup - add champagne and enjoy!

Ang & Cort took a brunch cooking class from Generous Servings the weekend before and I think it paid off.

Than enjoying wedding shower games. He ended up winning, which I suppose is fair compensation for being the only guy at a wedding shower. (My dad was also there, but he had no interest in games.)

Cortney, Angela, me, my mom, Rachel (Than's niece), & Clara (Than's sister). Thanks for coming everyone!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Red Potatoes & Green Beans

I made one of my favorite dishes last night - Red Potatoes & Green Beans. My mom taught me to make this when we lived in Idaho. It is a farm dish (meaning you make it up to use what you have) and I'm not sure it's going to be that easy to put down in words, but I will try.

Red Potatoes (or Gold, or new or Spring) - as many as you would like
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 to 4 slices of thick bacon
Fresh green beans, trimmed- approximately the same amount as the potatoes
Chicken stock
Garlic powder
Salt & Pepper

1 heavy dutch oven or similar pot. My mom prefers to use a pressure-cooker, but I am somewhat opposed to using cookware that could potentially explode in your face. It's your call.

Step 1 - Brown bacon on the stove-top until crispy. Remove & drain on paper towel. Reserve bacon fat for later.

Step 2 - While bacon is cooking, rough chop your potatoes and onions. Trim the beans.

Step 3 - Once bacon is out of the dutch oven, add the onions and a teaspoon or two of the reserved bacon fat. Sweat the onions on med-low until they are translucent. As they cook, occasionally scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up tasty bits left by the bacon.
Step 4 - When onions are done, add the potatoes and green beans. I like to put the potatoes on top of the onions with the beans stacked on top of the potatoes. I can't really say if there is a reason for this, or if it just appeals to my organizational side. When you get everything in the pot, add enough water to reach the pot's halfway mark. Who knows how much this will be - it will depend on the size of your pot! Your pot should more or less look like this.

Step 5 - Bring everything to a boil. This is where using a heavy dutch oven becomes really important. The goal is to steam-cook everything using a high boil. If you use too thin of a pot, the bottom ingredients will probably burn and stick. And this is where using a pressure-cooker comes in handy. I don't mind checking my pot every 10 minutes or so for about 45 minutes. My mom prefers the dish to be done in 10 minutes flat, with no checking - hence her love for the pressure cooker.

Step 6 - Cook your potatoes and beans! This may take 10 to 45 minutes (see previous paragraph). Stir occasionally - add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and anything else that sounds good. Sometimes I throw in a tablespoon of butter. As the potatoes soften, leave the pot top off so some of the water may evaporate. As the water cooks off, add your chicken stock. (If you happen to have a lot of chicken stock on hand, substitute it for water and use it from the very beginning. My frugal side likes to use water initially and add stock right before serving.) 

Step 7 - When your potatoes & bean are soft enough to your liking, remove and serve! I love to eat this dish with sour cream, but it is also delicious plain.  I find it is even better as leftovers, after the chicken stock has soaked into the potatoes. Enjoy!