Tag: green beans

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Sometimes I am asked by a reader to come up with a certain recipe. Quite often it’s a dish connected to a childhood memory of theirs, a food experience saved many years ago, and now they’re hoping to find this specific flavour again. But it’s a tricky thing, it’s almost impossible to relive something as an adult and expect the same satisfaction that we felt back then when we were young.

I used to love Dutch coconut sheets for breakfast, which is as weird as it sounds. This is compressed dessicated coconut, pressed into thin sheets and, to make it even more appealing, they were either pink or pale white. I was obsessed with them. After a culinary break from this delicacy, I tried them again years later and I was so disappointed. But there’s another Dutch classic, which still lives up to my memories, and I enjoy it with the biggest passion whenever I pull it out of my oven: sticky honey cake.

At the end of this winter, I got asked to share a traditional German hot chocolate recipe, which my reader, who lives in the US, connects with the time he spent in Germany as a child. Somehow, I never felt in the mood for it, and my hot chocolate is also a rather simple creation made of milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and ground cinnamon and cardamom, which is not a traditional German take on this drink. I’m sorry, I’ll try to write about it next winter.

But last week, someone dropped a comment on Instagram, telling me that I haven’t made a soup in a long time – and this person was right! She lives in Asia and asked for a soup that she can have with her morning rice. I don’t think that someone who lives in Asia, needs a German girl to tell her how to make a fragrant broth with ginger, spices, and lemon grass, so I thought about something that I could share from my background. Our summers spent in Malta made me fall for minestrone, and when I cook this warming soup with just green vegetables – like fresh beans, peas, and zucchini – it tastes like spring. To turn it into a full lunch, I add tiny meatballs refined with lots of chopped arugula and lemon zest. The strong aroma of the citrus fruit reminds me of the Mediterranean but at the same time, it adds the same lemony freshness that you know from a clear broth made with ginger. Enjoy!

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Serves 2-4

For the meatballs

ground beef 400g / 14 ounces
fresh arugula leaves, finely chopped (with a knife or in a blender), 1 large handful / 50g
zest of 1 lime (1 heaping teaspoon)
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
a generous amount ground pepper

For the soup

olive oil
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
green vegetables (a mix of trimmed green beans, peas, and zucchini), beans and peas cut into bite size pieces, about 350g / 12 ounces
vegetable broth, hot, 1l / 4 1/4 cups
freshly squeezed lime juice 1 tablespoon
bay leaf 1
fine sea salt
ground pepper

For the topping

ramp leaves, thinly sliced, 2
and/ or
spring onion, thinly sliced, 1

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the ground beef, chopped arugula, lime zest, garlic, salt, and pepper and mix until well combined. Wet your hands and form the mixture into tiny meatballs.

For the soup, in a large saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the vegetables, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, lime juice, and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs and bring to the boil again. Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and simmer for 4 minutes. Split 1 meatball to check if it’s done. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and additional lime juice to taste.

Serve the soup in deep bowls, sprinkled with ramps and / or spring onion, and enjoy warm.

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

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Green Bean and Sausage Sandwich with Pear Mustard and Thyme

Bean, Sausage and Pear Mustard Sandwich

A bag full of green beans and a handful of overly ripe pears called for an urgent recipe. In the end, it became a sandwich, almost everything works in a sandwich, but if you prefer, you could easily leave out the bun and go for a proper lunch or dinner.

Crunchy green beans, sautéed until just al dente, pair deliciously well with hearty herb sausage and honey-sweet pears. I cook the fruit in the sausages’ concentrated frying juices until golden and soft, but still in shape. A part of them goes on top of the beans snuggled in next to the meat but the rest is turned into a spicy and aromatic fruit mustard – it’s so good, you can also use it for steak, roasts and burgers. I’m absolutely hooked on it! The ratio has to be balanced, lots of pear stand up confidently against a teaspoon of fine Dijon mustard. It’s more of a mustardy sauce than a thick dip, fruity and rich. And don’t expect a beauty, it comes in a rather pale beige but the taste totally makes up for it.

Bean, Sausage and Pear Mustard Sandwich

Green Bean and Sausage Sandwich with Pear Mustard and Thyme

Serves 2 (as a sandwich or, without the buns, as a warm pan dish)

buns, cut in half, 2
green beans, the ends snipped off, 160g / 5 1/2 ounces
(use 300g / 10 1/2 ounces beans if you serve them without the bun)
olive oil
fine sea salt
ground pepper
herb sausages 2
pears, rinsed (not peeled), cored, cut into slim wedges, 2
Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon

For the topping

fresh thyme leaves 1-2 teaspoons
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

In a large pot, blanche the beans for a few minutes in salted water until al dente, drain and rinse quickly with cold water. Transfer back to the pot, stir in a splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and cook the sausages on medium heat for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside, add the pear wedges (leave 2 wedges out on a plate) and sauté for about 1 minute on each side until golden brown, set the pan aside. Transfer about 100g / 3 1/2 ounces of the cooked pear into a blender, add the mustard and purée until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and mustard to taste and set aside. If you want to serve it as a warm pan dish stop here, add the sausages and beans to the pan and serve with the pear mustard sauce and thyme.

For the sandwich, cut the remaining uncooked pear wedges into slim slices. Brush the soft inside of the buns with the juices from the pan and lay the beans and uncooked, sliced pear on top. Divide the sausage and cooked pear wedges between the buns and sprinkle with crushed pepper and thyme. Finish it off with luscious dollops of the pear mustard, close the bun and enjoy.

Bean, Sausage and Pear Mustard Sandwich

 

Bean, Sausage and Pear Mustard Sandwich

 

Bean, Sausage and Pear Mustard Sandwich

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise and Basil

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

I’ve never been a big fan of mayonnaise but this recipe changed everything, now I’m hooked on it! Mix this dip with a little tahini, juice and the zest of a lemon to lighten up it’s rather heavy qualities and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

When it comes to mayonnaise, I’ve always been quite picky. The ones from the store are not an option for me at all, at least I’ve never found a good one. I always make my own from scratch like I learned from my mother, with good olive oil and fresh organic egg yolks. When it’s mixed with crushed garlic, like the Spanish Aïoli, I can actually enjoy it a lot, especially when I have a fresh loaf of bread at hand.

So a few days ago I decided to make a fresh salad of greens, crunchy beans and peas quickly blanched until al dente. When I thought about the dressing I started to play around with different recipes in my mind. We had just received a culinary gift from a friend of ours who just got back to Berlin after a quick visit to his family in Israel. He brought a huge jar of delicious tahini to my kitchen which I usually turn into Hummus right away, but not this time. I mixed a spoonful of it with lemony and garlicky mayonnaise to top my summery salad sprinkled with spring onions and basil, it was more than delish!

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

 

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

You could whisk the mayonnaise by hand but I use a stick mixer and a small mug which guarantees a thick and creamy result.

For 2 as a lunch or 4 as a side dish you need

green beans, the ends snipped off, 550g / 1 1/4 pounds
peas, fresh or frozen, 140g / 5oz
salt and pepper
olive oil 1 tablespoon
small spring onion, cut into slim rings, 1
fresh basil, about 12 leaves

For the mayonnaise

garlic, crushed, 1 clove
freshly squeezed lemon juice 4 teaspoons
fresh organic egg yolks 2
quality olive oil 75ml / 1/3 cup
salt
tahini 1 tablespoon
lemon zest 2-3 teaspoons

In a large pot, blanch the peas in boiling salted water for 1 minute, take them out with a slotted ladle, rinse with cold water for a few seconds and drain. Use the same water, bring it to the boil and blanch the beans for 4-5 minutes or until al dente, drain and rinse with cold water. In a bowl, mix the beans and peas with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then arrange on plates.

For the mayonnaise, mix the garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside. Drop 2 egg yolks into a mug which should be just big enough for a stick mixer to fit in it. Pour 1/4 of the oil onto the egg yolks and start mixing with the stick mixer immediately, add more oil and the lemon garlic mixture, a little at a time, mixing constantly. When the dip is thick and creamy (after a few seconds) season with salt and whisk in the tahini and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest, season to taste. On the plates, spread a few dollops of the mayonnaise on top of the greens and sprinkle with spring onion, basil and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

 

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

 

Green Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

 

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Green Bean, Artichoke and Grapefruit Salad with Kalamata Olives & Rosemary

Green Bean, Pink Grapefruit and Artichoke Salad with Kalamata Olives

The change of season is nearing (finally!) and the first spring vegetables are back in my kitchen, green beans! They aren’t locally grown and had to travel a bit to reach my cooker but their crunchy green gave me culinary proof that the end of winter is near!

The recipe is easy, I went for a quick bean salad with bittersweet pink grapefruit and a light rosemary orange dressing. I had a colourful plate in mind with lots of different flavours, antipasta feeling combined with sharp freshness. I pulled out a few pantry treasures to mix with the fruit and vegetable: preserved artichoke hearts and juicy Kalamata olives. A strong composition without a single overpowering ingredient, the perfect salad to get prepared for all the summery, culinary pleasures ahead of us!

Green Bean, Pink Grapefruit and Artichoke Salad with Kalamata Olives

 

Green Bean, Pink Grapefruit and Artichoke Salad with Kalamata Olives

Green Bean, Artichoke and Pink Grapefruit Salad with Kalamata Olives and Rosemary

For 2 people you need

green beans, the ends cut off, 300g / 10.5 ounces
pink grapefruit, cut into fillets, 1
preserved artichoke hearts, quartered, 4
Kalamata olives 8
olive oil 3 tablespoons
freshly squeezed orange juice 3 tablespoons
fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 1 heaped teaspoon
salt and pepper

Blanche the beans in lots of salted water for 4-5 minutes or until al dente, rinse with cold water for 2 seconds and drain.

Arrange the beans, grapefruit, artichoke and olives in a large bowl. Whisk the olive oil, orange juice, rosemary, salt and pepper and season to taste. Sprinkle the salad with the dressing and serve immediately.

Green Bean, Pink Grapefruit and Artichoke Salad with Kalamata Olives

 

Green Bean, Pink Grapefruit and Artichoke Salad with Kalamata Olives

Green Beans, Fresh Herbs and a Fried Egg

Pastis Beans with Herbs + a Fried Egg

Three different kinds of fresh herbs are spread on my table, ready to be mixed with my sautéed green beans! I chose a few sprigs of fresh thyme, summer savory and marjoram from my herbal pot selection to turn this simple dish into an aromatic combination of crisp greens and fried eggs. I deglazed the beans with pastis to add one more flavour, a wonderfully warm anise! The strong aroma of this liqueur lifts the beans up to another level, it works with fava beans as well!

Unfortunately, many people around me are not too fond of anise aroma, it’s one of those spices that is mentioned the most when I ask people about their culinary dislikes. Therefore I keep this dish for the two of us and the few who appreciate pastis as much as I do, be it on a plate or in a glass.

Tomorrow I will share a recipe with you which shows off this liqueur’s sweet side!

Pastis Beans with Herbs + a Fried Egg

 Green Beans, Fresh Herbs and a Fried Egg

For 2 people you need

green beans, the ends cut off, 250g / 9 ounces
a small onion, cut in half and sliced thinly, 1
pastis 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
water 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
garlic, thinly sliced, 2 cloves
thyme a small bunch
summer savory 2 sprigs
marjoram 2 sprigs
olive oil
salt and pepper
organic eggs 2
butter

In large sauce pan, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the onions on medium temperature for 2 minutes. Add a little more oil and the beans, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Deglaze with the pastis, season with salt and pepper, add the water and herbs and cook with a closed lid for 8-10 minutes or until the beans are al dente. Season with salt, pepper and pastis to taste.

Heat a little butter in a pan and fry the eggs on a medium heat. Serve the eggs on top of the beans.

Pastis Beans with Herbs + a Fried Egg

 

Pastis Beans with Herbs + a Fried Egg