pesto green beans

green and yeller

I thought about titling this post “Pesto and Green Beans: Two Great Tastes That Look Disgusting Together” but that might have put people off. It’s true, though – you take these gorgeous beans (I happened to have a mix of green filet and yellow wax beans – beautiful), cook them until they’re perfect and tender with just a hint of snap, and you mix them with freshly made basil pesto – and it looks terrible. The pesto turns brown and hides the bright color of the bean – but fortunately, it tastes amazing.


Everyone knows how to make pesto now, don’t they? Continue reading

halibut with thyme & lemon

lemon and thyme halibut

After a short trip out of town last weekend, we did a quick swing by the grocery store to get something easy for dinner. Pacific halibut is still looking wonderful, so I picked up a fillet and went home to peruse another of our new cookbooks, West Coast Seafood. This is the book we’ve been needing for a long time – it sometimes seems like all the really comprehensive fish books are either too elaborate for my sort of cooking, or they use fish that we simply never see in this part of the world (turbot? mackerel?).  This new book seems like it strikes a nice balance between accessible and interesting, and it uses real fish that we can actually buy around here.

For my halibut, I picked an easy recipe that sounded good, wasn’t too involved, and also used up an old lemon that I didn’t want to waste. I zested the lemon over the fish, then sprinkled on fresh thyme leaves, salt and olive oil. The recipe was for grilled halibut, but we didn’t have time to fire up the grill that evening – so I put the fish in the oven along with the Yukon Gold potatoes I was roasting, and it came out perfectly – tender, juicy, just cooked through, with lots of clear lemon flavor.

roasted potatoes

I used the juice from the zested lemon to make a salad dressing, with olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped fresh basil. The lemony greens with the lemony fish were wonderful with the sturdy, crisp roasted potatoes. Also, I had just picked up a bottle of La Piece Sous le Bras chardonnay/viognier/roussanne, and it was magnificent with the fish and potatoes. A lovely, summery supper to finish out the weekend.


roasted balsamic tomatoes

salmon and roasted tomato

I haven’t been feeling a lot of inspiration this week, so I’ve been depending on stopping by the co-op after work each day and seeing what catches my eye first. One night it resulted in a very nice pork tenderloin , with a pilaf of wild rice, mushrooms, shallot, spinach and roasted sweet potatoes, so that worked out all right.

For the next night I had an idea that I would get some fish, probably salmon. No idea what I wanted for a side dish, so I grabbed a cookbook that I hadn’t yet done a thing with, Jamie’s Kitchen by Jamie Oliver. After a quick flip through I was struck by a lovely photo of a panful of roasted tomatoes stuffed with bay leaves (I guess I am all about the pretty pictures), and decided that if I could find the ingredients I would do it. Of course tomatoes are SO not in season right now, but the co-op had some decent hothouse romas, and I had basil in the fridge and my own garlic and bay leaves from the garden. Jamie calls for baby leeks, but that just wasn’t going to happen.

tomatoes ready to roast Continue reading

maple-rosemary-horseradish glaze for short ribs

making maple-rosemary glaze

I’ve already talked about Molly Stevens’ recipe for braised short ribs with porter, but I did leave one thing out when I made it before: the glaze. I really think I like short ribs best as a kind of stew, with everything mushed up in the pot together and served over noodles, but we thought it was worth a try to do the recipe in its entirety at least once.

maple syrup and rosemary

The idea is, after you’ve done your braise, you arrange your short ribs in a single layer in a heavy pan, tuck the vegetables around the sides, then paint them with a glaze made of rosemary-infused maple syrup mixed with prepared horseradish (the recipe uses 3 Tbsp syrup to 1 Tbsp horseradish). The pan goes under the broiler until the glaze is glossy and caramelized. Then, finally, you can eat them. Continue reading

steak night, with herbs and anchovies

Friday nights are often steak nights around our house – we have steak in the freezer, so we don’t have to go to the store, plus it’s both easy to cook and festive to eat. Last Friday we were racking our brains trying to think of something to go with the steak we’d pulled out to thaw, and eventually J came up with an idea for pasta mixed with fresh herbs and breadcrumbs. Sounded good to me!

herbs for pasta

garlic breadcrumbs

J did most of the cooking for this dinner – he trimmed and seared the steaks, picked and chopped the herbs, sauteed the breadcrumbs and chose the wine. I helped season the meat, boiled the pasta and stirfried some spinach to go on the side. The pasta was very simple – rotini cooked al dente, then tossed with olive oil and chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and sage, and served with breadcrumbs cooked with oil and garlic until golden and crispy. Yum. Continue reading