Szechuan Green Beans


Major umami — caramelized beans, low fat ground turkey, in  a super flavorful, gingery, garlic-y, spicy (up to you) sauce.


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4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I prefer Aleppo pepper flakes — not as searingly hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound green beans, ends cut off
  • 1/4 pound ground pork or ground turkey (but seriously — I added 1/3 pound).
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

This goes together so quickly, so be sure to have everything prepped in advance!

  1. In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins and light charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork or turkey into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir sauce to recombine and return beans to pan with sauce. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Cider-Glazed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

I know, I know–balsamic glazed brussel sprouts with bacon are the rage these days, but it seems like the balsamic vinegar sauce overwhelmsthe  flavor of the sprouts at times.   I found this new recipe on the Kitchn blog, and modified it a bit, and have had these for dinner the past three nights.  I know–that’s a little nuts —  but they are delicious.


The original recipe called for baking sheets — and I would probably use them if I were making a lot.  I used an oven proof skillet (cast iron is awesome), and it worked super well.   There are two recipes below — the first one is when I make a double serving of the brussel sprouts — the second is bruised sprouts for a crowd (8 to 10 servings).  Here’s how I made them:

Cider Glazed Brussel Sprouts for 1 or 2

Heat your oven proof skillet in the oven as you’re preheating the oven at 400 degrees.  BE SURE TO USE A POTHOLDER FROM HERE TO THE END!

  • 1/2 lb. brussel sprouts, cut in half through the stem.
  • 4 – 6 fingerling potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 3 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1″ pieces.
  • 1/4 cup apple cider.  The original recipe called for unfiltered apple cider — but I could only find that in giant containers.  I bought a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, and it made a delicious glaze.
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (the original recipe called for brown sugar)
  • kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • aleppo pepper (optional — I love the flavor and it provides just the a tinge of heat


Toss the potatoes with a teaspoon or two of olive oil — and toss the potatoes into the hot skillet and bake those in the oven for 5 minutes.   Then add the bacon to the skillet — stir potatoes, and cook until bacon begins to crisp — about 5 – 6  more minutes.   Then toss the Brussel sprouts in a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and toss those into the skillet, stirring the contents, and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Then take the skillet out of the oven — pour the glaze over the veggies and toss well.  Let the veggies sit in the glaze for a couple of minutes before serving.   Taste — and add salt, pepper and aleppo pepper to taste.  Eat ’em up!

Cider Glaze

Meanwhile put the apple cider, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup into a small pot, and simmer on the the stove top until it is reduced by half.  It won’t look thick at this point because it’s so hot.  Remove from the heat — and if it is super sticky, you’re on the right track — you can warm it before you pour it over the Brussel sprouts.


Here’s the original recipe from the Kitchn Blog.

Serves 8 to 10

1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved through the stem
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Divide the bacon between 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer. Place the baking sheets in the oven and heat to 400°F.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl or pot (something large enough to easily toss them), drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Remove the hot baking sheets from the oven. Stir the bacon. Divide the sprouts between the 2 sheets, and arrange them cut-side down into an even layer.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and stir the Brussels sprouts and bacon. Return the baking sheets to the oven, switching them between racks and rotating them from front to back. Roast until browned and tender, 12 to 15 minutes more, depending on the size of the Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Heat the apple cider, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook until it’s reduced by about half and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the Brussels sprouts are ready, remove the baking sheets from the oven. Turn the oven off. Combine the Brussels sprouts onto one baking sheet, drizzle the glaze over the sprouts, and stir to combine. Return the baking sheet to the turned-off oven and let sit until the Brussels sprouts absorb some of the glaze, about 2 minutes more.



Potato Salad with Tarragon and Shallots

It’s not yo’ mama’s potato salad — this is MY culinary POV — a nice bite of champagne vinegar tempered with warm potatoes and rounded out by tarragon.  It’s SUMMAH!!!!

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SERVES 6 – 8.

2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, halved
3 tbsp. vinegar
1 shallot, peeled and minced
3 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3–4 tbsp. mayonnaise

1. Boil fingerling potatoes in a large pot of salted water over high heat until tender, 10–20 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Add vinegar, shallots, tarragon, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix gently, let cool, then mix in mayonnaise.

Asparagus with Pancetta, Leeks and Pine Nuts

I love asparagus.  In all ways.  Well–not really.  Not canned.  Not frozen.  But FRESH asparagus in all ways, and THIS is my new favorite way.  Super easy, so there’s no excuse.


  • ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • tablespoon butter
  • pound asparagus, stalks trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces on the bias
  • 1 1/4 cup leek, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • teaspoon orange zest
  • tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large non-stick pan, sauté pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan, then add asparagus pieces and leek and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and red pepper flakes and serve immediately.

Brussel Sprouts a la Zazu

I dunno.  We make this amazing brussel sprout hash . . . but I think THIS recipe takes THAT recipe to a whole new level.  My new brussel sprout lovefest:


4 ounces slab bacon, cut into lardons

4 cups brussel sprouts, quartered

4-6 small red potatoes, quartered and lightly steamed

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup banyuls (or sherry vinegar)

1 head frisee, cleaned

1 apple, diced

3 tablespoons roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped hazelnuts

1 tablespoon quality extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons gorgonzola

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saute pan on medium high heat, render the bacon until slightly browned, a few minutes.

Add the brussel sprouts until browned on at least one side, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots and open up their fragrance, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and toss.

Okay — now this is where David and I differ on how to finish this dish.

David:  Add the frisee, apples, hazelnuts, and extra virgin olive oil and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Plate and garnish with gorgonzola

Caitlin:  Add the hazelnuts and olive oil and toss.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Put the frisee on a serving dish, then spoon the brussel sprout mixture on top and garnish with the apples and gorgonzola.  I hate soggy apples!  I also would add more hazelnuts.

Eat ’em up!

from Zazu Restaurant, Santa Rosa, CA

Chile Corn Cakes

Chile Corn Cakes

Serves 4

4 T. olive oil

¾ c. flour

¼ c. yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 t. baking powder

½ c. red bell pepper, chopped

½ c. yellow cornmeal

2 c. fresh corn kernels

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ c.. milk

2/3 c. yellow onions, chopped

1 T. unsalted butter, melted

1 T. chili powder (New Mexico,

or California)

2 T. cilantro, chopped

1 t. cumin, ground

¼ c. chicken stock

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 2 T. of the olive oil and sauté the peppers, corn and onions for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions begin to soften.  Add the chile powder and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the chicken stock and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Into a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.  Add the cornmeal, egg, milk and butter.  Stir until very smooth.  Add the corn mixture and cilantro.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat some vegetable oil.  In large dollops, add the corn batter and sauté until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Cook in batches, adding oil as necessary.  Serve with additional with sour cream mixed with lime zest and 1 t. lime juice.

Brussel Sprout, Potato and Bacon Hash

Our favorite mid-week quick meal.


serves 4 to 6


Extra-virgin olive oil


  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lb of fingerling potatoes, split down the middle
  • 2 cups Brussel sprouts, cut into thick slices
  • 1/2 lb red pearl onions, peeled
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add a 2 count of olive oil. Cut bacon into long strips and add to pan together with thyme. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes to render the fat then strain and set aside. Discard half the fat in the pan then add  potatoes and pearl onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly browned and mostly tender. Add the brussel sprouts and sauté until they begin to caramelize.  Add chicken stock and steam for 3 to 5 minutes until liquid has evaporated and vegetables are tender. Add balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Cook until balsamic has reduced then fold in fresh parsley and bacon.

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