Amazing Green Beans with Walnuts and Dill Seeds

2 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, diced
1 lb fresh green beans
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup walnuts, rough chopped
2 tsp dill seeds

Melt butter and saute shallot for a few minutes. Add salt, pepper and dill seeds and saute a minute or two more. Turn down heat, add green beans, cover and cook for several minutes, shaking occasionally. Add walnuts, stir and serve.

Asparagus Dijon

I have to admit that asparagus is not one of my favorite vegetables. If by chance it gets overcooked and mushy – yeccch! It is not a pretty picture. But Kumy loves this recipe and I like it too.

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces (Keep the thick bottom pieces separate)
1 Tbsp butter
splash of dry white wine
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sage
1/2 cup half n half
1/8 tsp kosher salt
couple of grinds of black pepper

Heat butter and wine in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the thicker, bottom parts of the asparagus, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add the more tender, upper parts and saute another 7-8 minutes. (I like to stop at this point unless the bottom stems are still really hard, because of my aforementioned aversion to mushy asparagus.)

Mix mustard, sage and half n half in a bowl and pour over asparagus. Gently toss the asparagus in the mustard sauce so it’s warmed up a bit. Check seasonings and serve.

Ronneburg Cottage Cheese

A surprisingly tasty variation of cottage cheese from a restaurant in Iowa.

1 16-ounce container of cottage cheese
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1/4 tsp salt
dash pepper

Blend all ingredients. Yum.

Oaxacan Rice & Beans

Made this for the 2009 block party.  It’s a good dish for a picnic or outdoor gathering, because it’s good warm or at room temperature.

1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 4 oz. can diced green chillies
1 jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil

Heat oil in a medium-sized pan. Saute veggies for 7-8 minutes or until carrots and onions are softened.

1 cup rice, washed and drained
2 1/4 cups chicken broth (use veggie broth for a vegan version)
1 tsp salt
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1″ diagonal slices (frozen is fine, too.)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained.

Add rice to the veggie mix and cook 3-4 minutes. Add salt and chicken stock, cover and reduce heat. Cook 15 minutes. Add in green beans and black beans, cover and cook another 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and blend gently.

Basmati Rice

Making good rice is one of those things which seems like it should be easy, but is often a real challenge. I’ve made rice a million times and I always make it the same way. I use one cup of rice for 2-3 people, and 2 cups for 4-5 people. Be careful in adding the salt – you add one tsp for the first cup, but only  1/2 tsp more for 2 cups.

People are daunted by the idea of rinsing rice, but it’s easy.  Here’s how I do it:

Put 1 cup basmati rice in a sauce pan, and fill it about half full of warm water. Swirl the rice around with your hand.

Pour out most of the water, until the rice is just about to pour out. Cup your free hand loosely under the flow of water, with fingers slightly open so the water can drain through. That way you catch any rice that pours out, and just toss it back in the pan. Rinse and drain the rice one more time.

Add 1 7/8 cup of water  (just shy of two cups, basically), 1 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp of butter to the pan. (Butter is not traditional in Pakistan, but it is in New Orleans rice and we love the addition.)

Bring to a boil on the stove, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Just remember:  if you double the recipe, don’t double the salt. Just add 1/2 tsp salt for each additional cup of rice.

Delicious Variation:  Make rice with chicken broth and 1/2 cup frozen peas.

Kumy always adds 1″ of cinnamon, a green cardamom and a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns. Yum.

Cashew Rice

I have no idea where this recipe came from – or what culture it represents or anything.  It may be that I just had a lot of cashews to use up.  Anyway, my note was “yum” so that’s a good sign.

2 cups rice, rinsed (we use Basmati)
2 tsp kosher salt
3 7/8 cup water

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 cup chopped cashews
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp chopped jalapeno pepper, or 1 chipotle pepper, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tsp salt

Make rice with water and 2 tsp salt.

In a frying pan, saute onion and belle pepper. Add mustard seeds and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes. The add nuts and Jalapeno or chipotle pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes and remove from heat.

Gently blend in the rice, and the then the yoghurt.

Curried Couscous

I have a note with this recipe – great with roast chicken.

1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 1/2 cups couscous
2 1/2 cups hot chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp Curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp golden raisins

Saute onions in oil and butter until translucent. Add curry powder and cook for a minute more. Take off heat and add lemon, tabasco and raisins. Mix chicken broth, couscous and salt, then cover and let sit for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork, and dump into onion mixture. Stir well and serve.