Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry crispness...

Thank heavens for television is all I have to say. My hubby had to go out for work today and I was left with the task of making a dessert and vegetable side for the holiday get together we were going to. All while keeping the kids entertained and refereeing their squabbles. Oh and I had to shower and look somewhat presentable. The solution I came up with (that I'm not especially proud of) was television. The kiddie shows were free-flowing until I was able to finish my cooking. But hey, everyone was happy!

So I made that green bean side dish today to take to the party. It's so easy to make and it pretty much goes with anything. The key is to keep the green beans a bit crisp, do not overcook. I also don't add the hazelnuts until the end so that they too maintain their crunch. The sweetness of the shallots balances out the flavors.

On to dessert. I knew I was going to make ice cream but wanted to put a festive spin on it. There are these great little seasonal cookies at Trader Joe's called Candy Cane Joe-Joes. Like an Oreo but the cream tastes like peppermint candy cane. Any holiday cookie would probably do the trick. I'm tempted to try gingerbread cookies next. I put the finished product in a cute ice cream container I found online.

It ended up being a great night. There was a Christmas ham, eggnog and all the kids played nicely together. Doesn't get better than that. Thank you Patrick Family, we are lucky to have you as friends!

Green Beans with Hazelnuts

1 lb of green beans- cleaned, trimmed and blanched (Boil green beans in unsalted water for about three minutes, then drain the hot water and place the beans in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
1 large shallot or 1/2 of a small onion, finely minced
1/2 cup of toasted hazelnuts

Add the oil and butter to large everyday pan on medium heat. Throw in the shallots plus a pinch of salt and saute for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the shallots are starting to brown, add green beans and continue to cook it all for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the hazelnuts and season with salt and pepper.

Candy Cane Cookies and Cream

1 cup of cold whole milk
3/4 sugar
2 cups of cold heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
8 cookies or about 1 cup, pulse in food processor but leave some big chunks (or just smash them in a Ziploc bag)

In a large bowl, mix the cold milk and sugar with a hand blender on low speed. About 2 minutes. Then stir in the cream and vanilla. Pour it all in your ice cream maker and let it work its magic. In the last few minutes of mixing, add your cookie crumbles.


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