Saturday, November 30, 2019

Lebanese Green Beans

When I used to live by the beach in Redondo Beach many years ago, there was a small Lebanese restaurant near my apartment that I used to go in to on a regular basis. My standard was their wonderful Lentil Soup, but one of the other dishes that I loved was their slow cooked Green Beans in Tomato Sauce. Nowadays, most people cook their Green Beans so that they are still crisp, but once in a while, I really like soft, tender Green Beans. That restaurant has long since closed and I don't live down there anymore either, so I've been making Green Beans their way ever since. I found out that the special seasoning was Allspice, which is one of those spices that goes so perfectly with Tomatoes. I like to use fresh Tomatoes, as I think the flavor is so much better, but in the winter, canned Tomatoes work well too. Just be sure to add a bit of Sugar to sweeten up the somewhat acidic canned Tomatoes. I've also found out that it is common for Green Beans to be cooked until they are soft in many Mediterranean countries. But, if you only like your Green Beans crisp, just don't cook them so long!

Lebanese Green Beans

1 pound Green Beans, washed with the ends snipped off
6 Roma Tomatoes (or 1-14 oz can of chopped Tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of Sugar)
1 small Onion or 2 Shallots, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup of Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
a pinch of fresh ground Black Pepper

Bring a small pot of Water to a boil and drop in the Tomatoes for 1 minute. Remove and peel. Then scrape out the seeds and chop.

In a large frying pan (with a lid), heat the Olive OI land add in the Onions (or Shallots) and Garlic Cloves. Cook until you can smell their fragrance. Then add in the Tomatoes and cook until the Tomatoes break down to form a sauce. Add in the Broth and bring to a boil. Then add in the Green Beans, sprinkle with the Allspice, Salt and Pepper and toss. Return to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the Green Beans for 30 - 40 minutes or until the Green Beans are very soft. 

Five Element Analysis

Green Beans are a Wood Food and either of the Broth and Olive Oil both add some more. The Tomatoes bring in the Fire Element and the Metal Element is found in the Allspice, Onions and Garlic.  If you serve this side dish with a Water main dish, like Fish and serve a sweet dessert, you will have a completely balanced meal!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

It's almost Thanksgiving and I am going to my daughter-in-law's family Thanksgiving Dinner and I am bringing my Gluten Free Dressing and Gravy. But I also decided to make a Cranberry Sauce because I like mine to be a bit more tart and more like a Chutney. My son Stephen was over today and he commented that he always liked the Cranberry Relish that had the flavor of Orange, except that it didn't keep well and thought we could use those same flavors in a cooked sauce and I wanted to add some spice. So, we zested the outside of one Orange and squeezed the juice out of it along with another Orange and then added in some Cinnamon and Cloves. We were going to add in some grated Ginger, but I had the idea of using candied Ginger instead, as I just bought some. We only used 3/4 of a cup of Brown Sugar, but you can add more if you like it sweeter  We loved this Cranberry Sauce so we are sharing it with you and will happily serve it alongside our Turkey in two days - Happy Thanksgiving!

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

12 ounces fresh Cranberries
1 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice (from about 2 Navel Oranges)
¾ cup – 1 cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup minced Candied Ginger
1 teaspoon Orange Zest
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Cloves

Use a microplane and zest one of the Oranges. Then squeeze the Juice our of the Oranges and add to a saucepan (If you don't have 1 cup, add in some Water). Rinse the Cranberries in a strainer and pick out any soft ones and place them in the saucepan. Add in the Brown Sugar, Candied Ginger, Orange Zest, Cinnamon and Cloves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the Cranberries pop and the sauce thickens, about 10 - 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Five Element Analysis

Cranberries belong primarily to the Fire Element due to their bright red color. But they are very sour so they also bring in some of the Wood Element too. The Orange Zest brings in even more of the Fire Element and the Juice, because it is sweet, adds some Earth. The Brown Sugar adds in even more Earth. The Ginger bridges both Earth and Metal and the Cinnamon and Cloves contributes the Metal Element. So, if you make sure to have a Water food to serve this with, you will already have found some balance. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Thanksgiving Dressing Muffins

My favorite dish at Thanksgiving is actually the Dressing, which last year I made into Muffins and I'm going to do that from now on. This isn't a recipe - it's a way of cooking the Dressing so that you have individual servings. Just be sure to use the Egg in the recipe to hold the Dressing together. We split the Dressing Muffins in half and poured Gluten Free Gravy all over them and we were all very happy, We will be making these again this Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Dressing Muffins

1 recipe of Gluten Free Bread and Sausage Dressing or Southern Cornbread Dressing mixed with Egg

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cupcake tins with oil. Then scoop dressing into the cupcake tins, rounding the top of each with a spoon.  Place in the oven and cook for 25 - 40 minutes or until the tops are browned.

Other Thanksgiving Recipes on this Blog:

Thanksgiving Spatchcocked Turkey
Delicious Gluten Free Gravy
Gluten Free Thanksgiving Bread and Sausage Dressing
Southern Style Cornbread Dressing - Gluten Free
Stuffed and Baked Acorn Squash
Brussel Sprout Salad with Bacon and Lemon Dressing
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Shallots and Parmesan
Umami Brussel Sprouts
Creamed Leeks
Cranberry Relish with Middle Eastern Flavors
Lactose Free Pumpkin Pie
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Steamed Pumpkin Pudding

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Potluck Bean Salad with Mexican Flavors

Many of you who are my students know that it has been a very busy time for me for both personal and professional reasons. And by the way, my Cookbook will be ready very soon!  So, I haven't done much cooking except that on the last day of my recent module, I decided to bring in lunch since there was a Sounders soccer championship going on in the stadium nearby and all the restaurants nearby were booked for lunch. I made my usual Chicken Salad and Tuna Salad along with a Bean Salad that was so good that I had to share it here and also so I wouldn't forget how I made it! It's really a homemade Salsa mixed in with Beans along with some Corn and Green Peppers. I added Avocado too. It was a huge hit especially with my Vegan students, and I realized what a great Potluck dish this would be. I will definitely make it again, especially for a crowd!  I forgot to take a photo and will add it next time I make it.  

Potluck Bean Salad with Mexican Flavors

2 cans Black Beans
2 cans Pinto Beans
1 Green Pepper
½ White Onion
6 medium Tomatoes
4 ears of Corn, cooked or use 2 cups of frozen Corn
Juice of 5 Limes (or Lemons)
½ cup of Vegetable Oil
1 large or 2 small Serrano Chios
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
Optional:  2 - 3 ripe Avocados, cut into small pieces
For Serving:  Cilantro Leaves

Drain the Beans in a Colander, rinse and drain again. Put the Beans into a large mixing bowl. 

Cut the Green Pepper, Tomatoes and the Onion into small pieces and add to the bowl. Cut the Corn off the cob and add to the bowl

In a small mixing bowl, add together the Lime Juice, Vegetable Oil, Serrano Chili, Salt and Sugar. Stir to combine well.  Pour over the Beans and mix well.  Add the Avocado, if using and stir in gently.  Let the Bean Salad sit for at last 15 minutes, preferably longer in the refrigerator.  When ready to serve, sprinkle with Cilantro leaves.  

Five Element Analysis

Beans belong to the Water Element, especially Black Beans and Avocado adds in a bit more Water along with some of the Wood Element too. The Wood Element is further enhanced by the Lime Juice. The Green Pepper belongs to the Fire Element, with a bit of Wood *because of the color) and the Serrano Chiles and Tomatoes make sure that the Fire Element is fully represented. The Corn contributes the Earth Element and the Onion brings in the Metal Element, along with the Cilantro. This is a beautiful, colorful salad so you probably guessed that it contained al Five Elements and it does in a very delicious way!