Green Beans with Garlicky Miso Sauce

As has been my pattern since the beginning with this blog, I haven’t posted in months. 2020 was quite the year. My last post was April 14, 2020. 11 days later, my father passed away, coincidentally on my mother’s birthday. We were only 6 weeks into quarantine and the pandemic and the weeks leading up to his death we were not allowed to see him at all. We didn’t know what we didn’t know back then. The grief comes in waves, especially not having the appropriate closure…

About a month after his passing, my real estate career just blew up. Like many agents around the country, my business fell into this highly competitive seller’s market. I was fortunate enough to be on the listing side for the bulk of my deals and benefited tremendously, finishing the year with nearly $6 million in volume and also achieving the coveted New Jersey Realtors Circle of Excellence award I was striving for since beginning my career.

My dad with my nephews celebrating in last birthday in June 2019 – he was 76

The good news is I’ve been cooking as always. Except for around the holidays where I was ordering takeout because I was so busy, the bulk of my meals continue to be homemade. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of my favorite pandemic eats.

A couple of months back my boyfriend (still waiting #buythatring) and I were up in Beacon, NY. I had been showing some houses in the area and since we were upstate we decided to go together and make a day of it. We stopped and had lunch at a gastropub. When ordering my sandwich I wasn’t in a french fry mood, and my server raved about their green beans. She was not wrong, they had a luxurious, umami packed sauce. While I haven’t been able to replicate it fully, I do think the magic ingredient was miso paste. Since that outing I’ve been preparing green beans almost exclusively like this.

New Year’s Eve meal with my man – steak with chimichurri, grilled shrimp, and the green beans
Browning the garlic so it’s nutty but not burned in a key to this dish
Deglaze the mixture with a bit of water and you’ll get a luxurious, umami packed sauce

GREEN BEANS WITH GARLICKY MISO SAUCE

This recipe is more about technique than quantity. Taste and feel, season to your individual likes. Quantities are approximated.

In a medium stockpot or large saute pan, bring water to a boil. Add your green beans (about a pound) and cook until just about al dente. Drain and blanche. You’ll be cooking/blistering them in the sauce later, so important not to overcook.

In the same pan, heat a mixture butter and a bit of oil over medium to high heat. Add about 1/4 cup of fresh, chopped garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the garlic starts to brown. Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until the beans start to brown and blister a bit. Add a heaping tablespoon of miso paste and stir into the dish. Cook for another minute or so. Finish with about 1/4 cup of water and stir the entire mixture until the miso and garlic are fully incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt (or more miso) and pepper as needed.

The green beans are best served immediately – piping hot. If serving later or reheating leftovers, be sure to fully heat before serving.

Weeknight Steak Tacos with Citrus Slaw

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By now if you have been reading any entries in this blog since March 2020, you know that like most Americans, I am quarantined at home and I am cooking a lot more than before. I made a vow not to order any takeout or delivery until the worst of this is behind us. I might make an exception for a holiday like Greek Orthodox Easter, but I’m not there yet. Also, I have been a terrible Greek Orthodox Christian, I have barely fasted at all this lent. In any case, I digress…

After nearly two weeks of not going to a grocery store, I am extremely limited on fresh produce. As explained in my post about smarter grocery shopping, I did have coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage with a touch of shredded carrots) on hand.

Corn tortillas are another one of those products that I keep on hand as they have a long shelf life, especially in the fridge. Overall, I prefer street-style soft corn tortillas over crunchy or flour tortillas, particularly for tacos (flour tortillas I feel are best for quesadillas). With a few more ingredients, I was able to put together some tasty and fresh-tasting Steak Tacos.

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Steak Tacos with Citrus Slaw – makes 6 tacos

For Steak:

  • 6-8 ounces Steak (ribeye, sirloin, etc all do), seasoned with salt and pepper and wrapped in dish cloth or paper towels to dry
  • Tajin Seasoning

For Slaw

  • 1 cup Coleslaw Mix
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Scallions
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Queso Fresco

For Tacos

  • 6 Corn Tortillas, heated (This can be done lightly brushing the tortillas with a very small amount of olive oil, wrapping in aluminum foil, and place in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can heat the tortillas in a skillet in a bit of oil and wrap in foil until ready to serve)
  • Salsa Verde, optional (I like the Herdez brand)
  • Lime Garnish, optional

Heat a skillet on medium to high heat for about five minutes. Unwrap the steak and sprinkle both sides generously with the Tajin. Cook in the skillet for 6-10 minutes, flipping once, to desired temperature. Remove from skillet and set on a cutting board to rest.

In a medium bowl, add coleslaw mix and scallions. You can create a dressing on the side with the remaining ingredients (minus the queso fresco), or you can add them directly into the bowl. Mix the slaw and taste, adjusting seasonings as desired. Mixed in crumbled queso fresco.

At this point you may assemble your tacos. On two plates, lay 3 tortillas flat on each plate, not overlapping. Top each tortilla with about 1/4 cup of the slaw mixture.  Slice steak against the grain into thin (approx. 1/4 inch) slices. Add 2-4 slices of steak, top with lime and salsa garnish, as desired. Serve and enjoy immediately.

Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve said it before – I live a gluten-FULL or omnivorous lifestyle. However, the last couple of weeks as I deplete what is in my fridge and freezer, as well as not restock the pantry, I’m getting creative with my baking.

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The main stars of these cookies – not pictures, the Lindt Chocolate

I had a bag of King Arthur Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour. I like this, it’s a cup-for-cup or measure-for-measure product, meaning any regular recipe, you swap whatever quantity of flour that is advised with the gluten-free product. I was eager to make another batch of cookies, and I found a great recipe for Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies from this other blog, Delicious Little Bites.

I followed the recipe for the most part, but made some small substitutes as again, I was cleaning out my pantry. Instead of chocolate chips, I chopped up 1 and a half bars of Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate. I like the pools of chocolate you get from chopping chocolate by hand versus using chips. Also, I used more salt than the recipe called for, particularly on top. I didn’t take the time to get the same lovely aesthetic as the recipe author, but I was pleased with the results nonetheless.

What was great about this cookie is it had a nice crinkly outside and a great chew inside, particularly enhanced by the Kraft caramels. The other thing that was nice, is it gave new life to caramels that had hardened too much to snack on or melt. Every time I play around with gluten-free flours, I am impressed. Again, check out the cookie recipe here.

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