Sunday, July 24, 2011

Green Bean Side Dish and Awesome Pie Trick

I'm leaving this week to visit family, so I gave bf the task of deciding what he wanted for dinner this weekend. Old-fashioned Chicken and Dumplings and Quiche were his choices. Quiche was on the menu last night and I almost always make a side vegetable for dinner. This green bean recipe is one that I've made before, but I always forget to document my progress because it's so easy and something I just made up. I also wanted to try and perfect the quiche. The previous two times I've made it the taste has been wonderful, but the crust always looks a little wonky. I saw a great picture online of beautiful crust and was determined to replicate it.

So crust first, because it came first. I started by slowly unrolling the dough (I buy it from the store, I know, for shame). Then, using a pizza cutter, I cut off about 3/4-1 inch of the outside of the dough. You want there to be enough dough to come up to the edges of the pie tin, but not over the edges. Place the circle in the tin like you usually would. Then, using the pizza cutter again, slice the remaining dough (which should be in a large circle) into 3 or four pieces. Next, slice each piece into three long strips. Pinch one side of the three pieces together and then bread normally. When the pieces run out, cut a smooth edge with the pizza cutter.

Repeat that step until you have 3 or four braids. Then using a little brush, dab water or eggs whites if you have some available (they are stickier) around the edge of the shell. Place the braids around the top and gently press into the shell. You don't want to squish the braids, just make sure the inside edge is stuck to the crust. Each braid should have a pretty, clean cut edge and a squished, not so pretty edge. Place the pretty edge of one braid of the squished edge of the next braid, using a little water or egg white to seal the two. Don't neglect your seals, because the braids do a little shrinking in the oven and as you can see in my next picture, my braids started to move apart.

So the braids cooked very nicely and were super tasty. They also looked way prettier than my old crusts. However, there were little gaps in between to sections of the crust, so next time I need to use egg whites to seal them in place. Still, a major improvement and a trick I will definitely use again!

Now, the green beans. First, I bring water to a boil for the beans. While the water is heating up, I toast some pine nuts in a small skillet. I usually don't measure, just pour in enough to cover the bottom of a super small skillet. Once the nuts are nice and toasted, I remove them to whatever bowl I plan to serve the green beans in. Next, I add some olive oil and some Parmesan cheese. I used the good olive oil for flavor last nice. I mix the ingredients together and add more olive oil if necessary.

I then cook the green beans for about 5 minutes in boiling water, or until tender. Generally, I plan for a good handful per person, plus a small handful extra. Not very precise, but I find that way of measuring is more successful than weight. When the green beans are done, drain them and pat dry. Then combine them with the sauce and mix together. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and plate.

As a final touch, grate a little lemon zest over the green beans (or leave off if you are like bf and don't like lemon). Enjoy!

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