Apple Cider Vinegar Glazed Green Beans


I have nothing against the traditional green bean casserole that is found on so many Thanksgiving tables. I’ve even been known to sneak an extra spoonful or two when going back for seconds. But it’s also not my favorite way to eat green beans. I like them crisper and, like so many other things in the world, with bacon. So when the menu planning was entirely up to me, I opted for my style of green beans.

After doing an online search I knew what kind of flavor I wanted to go for. Tangy and savory, and of course with bacon. But I also wanted to bring in something “fall” like. So I adapted a recipe to use apple cider vinegar and the broth/drippings from the turkey. Like most of the things I made for our Thanksgiving dinner, the picture was AWFUL! So I recreated the dish, only using regular chicken broth, to get a better picture. Of course it was a little richer with the turkey drippings, but both ways we were good enough for me to eat half of them all by myself!

Apple Cider Vinegar Glazed Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots

1 lb fresh green beans, blanched or steamed for 4 minutes (I used fresh “steam in bag” beans)
3 strips of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 shallots, cut into strips
1/4 cup broth
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
In a large skillet or wok, cook bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the shallots and cook for another minute. Remove bacon and shallots from pan and set on a paper towel lined plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the green beans to the pan, stir to coat with bacon grease. Add the broth, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Cook over medium high heat for 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat and return the bacon and shallots to the pan.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Adapted from Cooking Light, via My Recipes

Zesty Carrots


At the end of yesterday’s post I told you that the one thing I would have changed about my early Thanksgiving dinner would be to calm down a little bit towards the end and get better pictures of each food item. This dish especially deserves a better picture, but we were all into our first bites when I realized that I hadn’t taken pictures of it. After hearing a round of compliments from everyone at the table, I knew I needed to get at least one picture so I could share it here before Thanksgiving. Hopefully somewhere down the line I’ll get a new (better) picture to really do this side dish justice, but for now this’ll do (and it’s a good thing I snapped it when I did because after everyone’s second helping there wasn’t much left!).

Zesty carrots are an absolute requirement at my Thanksgiving meals. The recipe goes back to my mom’s mom, but it’s appearance every Thanksgiving goes beyond nostalgia. It tastes unlike anything else at the Thanksgiving table. I will admit that it took me several years to finally put it on my plate and give it a try, but once I did there was no turning back. It’s possibly one of my favorite sides each year. This year I included it in my menu plan, not knowing how it would be received. Everyone loved them. Between mouthfuls I heard lots of “Mmm, these carrots are really good,” and two of my guests commented that they don’t usually like carrot dishes but loved this zesty take.

Don’t let the ingredients throw you off. I realize that seeing “miracle whip” among the ingredients for a carrot dish is weird, but there’s a balance of flavors here. A little spice from the horseradish, a little sweet from the carrots, a little zest from the miracle whip. There’s also a good balance of texture; creamy from the sauce and crunch from crumb topping. You may be tempted to skip right over this odd pairing of ingredients, but I dare you to just give it a try.

Grandma Shirley’s Zesty Carrots

6 large carrots, scraped and cut into very thin slices*
1/4 cup reserved cooking water
2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Miracle Whip (not Mayo)
2 Tbsp onion, grated or finely chopped

Crumb topping ingredients
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch of salt

*I use the mandolin blade for my food processor to cut the carrots.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the sliced carrots in a cooking pot (with a lid) and cover with about 1 inch of water with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain but reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Move the carrots to a 2 quart baking dish. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the reserved cooking liquid with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Pour the sauce over the carrots and use a spoon to evenly coat the carrots (use just enough sauce to cover the carrots, there may be an extra tablespoon or 2 of sauce if your carrots are smaller).

In a small bowl, toss the melted butter with the Panko bread crumbs, parsley and salt. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the carrots.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the crumbs start to turn golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Adapted from my grandma Shirley

Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Why do brussels sprouts get such a bad rap? My guess is too many people have had a bad brussels sprout experience with mushy, overcooked, bland ones. I mean seriously, they are possibly one of my favorite vegetables. I compare the flavor to broccoli, just with a smoother texture. And being a member of the cabbage family means that they are going to absorb the flavors of your seasoning really well. Typically I roast my sprouts with garlic and olive oil until the tops are brown and caramelized. But with all of our recent grilling adventures I decided to track down a new preparation method.

Before I go any further, I’ve always said “Brussel” sprouts and just now realized (through some google searches) it’s supposed to be “Brussels“. It doesn’t feel right though…

This recipe hit the nail on the head right away. The blanch ensures that they are no longer tough to eat but it’s quick enough that they are not over cooked and mushy. Then the tossing in that fabulous seasoning? Are you kidding me, match made in heaven. I love the unexpected flavor from the celery seed. Then there’s the grilling, the outside starts to turn a fabulous golden brown that really concentrates the flavor. Really really fabulous. So please, STOP HATING ON THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS and try this recipe.

Before I end this post I need to take a little personal side track. Here we go again! Jesse is headed back to China in a few weeks. Luckily this stay is only for a month (and he’ll be back for Thanksgiving!!) but it’s still a month apart. 🙁 Because of his impending trip I plan on making a lot of comfort food in the coming weeks. The boy loves his mashed potatoes (who can blame him?) and other US friendly carbs. So you can expect to see lots of those sorts of recipes. And possibly some unexpected twists…. You’ll have to stick around and see 🙂

Grilled Brussels Sprouts
(Source: Food52)

12 small to medium Brussels Sprouts
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp celery salt

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, clean and trim the brussels sprouts. Add the brussels sprouts to the boiling water and blanch for 4-5 minutes. Remove the sprouts from the water and drain off any excess liquid.

In a medium bowl heatproof bowl, drizzle the sprouts with olive oil. Then add the seasonings and toss well, until evenly coated. Set the bowl aside. (don’t rinse it out!)

Place the coated sprouts on the grill (if you need to, you can lay out a piece of foil so they don’t fall through) and cook over medium-high heat for 12 minutes, turning the sprouts every 4 minutes.

Remove the sprouts from the grill and put back into the heatproof bowl. Toss with the seasonings one more time before serving.

Broccoli Slaw Quiche


This is another recipe I used during my parents visit to San Diego (I’m getting a lot of mileage out of that, huh?). We had this for breakfast on Sunday, along with the most amazing cinnamon rolls (will be posting next week!). The only thing I regret is not getting a better picture of this Quiche because it was so incredibly good and the picture just doesn’t do it justice. The smooth and creamy custard paired perfectly with the slightly bitter and subtly spicy slaw. Even my dad, who was skeptical of eating Quiche, enjoyed this.

It worked out perfectly that we ate such a big breakfast that day because we went out exploring and didn’t have time for lunch. Friday, we had gone to see the Cabrillo National Monument, which has an absolutely amazing view of San Diego. We walked all around the eastern portion but didn’t have time to explore the west side of the peninsula which overlooks the Pacific ocean. Sunday, we decided to go back and explore the tide pools and navigate some cliffs. We all appreciated the good breakfast and full bellies we had when we were doing all of that walking down and then up cliffs. Much like life you can walk as far down as you’d like, just don’t forget the climb back up is 10x harder!

A side note, this picture was taken within a few minutes of the other pictures, this one is facing east and the others are facing west. Isn’t the change in the color of the sky amazing? One minute there are a few clouds the next the sky is covered. All 3 pictures are unedited!

Broccoli Slaw Quiche
(Adapted from Tidy Mom)

4 large eggs
1 cup half and half
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp nutmeg
A few drops hot sauce (I used Franks, but Tabasco would be good)
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust *
1 1/2 cups Broccoli Slaw
1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven and a cookie sheet to 375 degrees. Rack should be positioned in the middle of the oven.

In a medium bowl (with a pouring spout, if you have one!), whisk together eggs, half and half, garlic, nutmeg, and hot sauce.

Carefully transfer the pie crust dough to a 9-inch pie pan.

Place the Broccoli Slaw on top of the pie crust then pour the egg mixture over top. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes.

* I had initially planned on making my own pie crust, but time got away from me so I used a store bought one I had in my freezer. This was not a good idea! The crust did not have the texture/flavor I was looking for which was disappointing because the quiche itself was so good. Once before I made quiche with a pre-made crust that was already in tin pan and that was better than this crust, but I will still make my own next time!