Tag Archives: green beans

Roasted Garden Panzanella Pasta

I tried to get the essentials into the title—roasting, garden harvest, classic panzanella, and pasta. From the garden, I’m roasting tomatoes and green beans. My husband doesn’t care for tomatoes, but he tends the garden—sometimes you have to eat what you sow. The green beans are meant to draw him into the dish. I’m going to roast the bread cubes, as well, instead of toasting the bread in a skillet. Then it’s just a matter of making the right dressing and tossing it all with pasta and cheese curds. I know mozzarella is traditional, but I’m in love with Yancey’s Fancy® Fresh Cheddar Cheese Curds, and I think they will be perfect.

I’m going to use rice vinegar in the dressing, because it’s the mildest of the vinegars. I’m also going to seed the tomatoes before roasting and add all that liquidy stuff to the dressing, straining out the tomato seeds. But olive oil will be the star. The bread cubes, green beans, and tomatoes will all be tossed with extra virgin olive oil before roasting, and then some more will be in the final dressing.

I’m roasting more ingredients than I will use, but nothing is lost. The extra roasted tomatoes, beans, and bread cubes, will probably end up in lunches or snacks.

Roasted Garden Panzanella Pasta

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 cups cubed crusty bread, such as from a batard or baguette—I toasted the whole loaf, but only used 2 cups in the dish
  • enough tomatoes to make about 1.5-2 cups—use any type of tomato; mine were Early Girls, the first to ripen here. I roasted 10 tomatoes, but used only 4 in the dish.
  • 1.5 cups fresh green beans
  • 4 oz. pasta cooked according to package directions—I used whole wheat penne
  • 6 oz. cheese curds—mine were fresh cheddar, which is much more mild than aged cheddar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing
  • 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for roasting vegetables
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or other mild vinegar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely grated
  • salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 425º; line 2-3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

  1. Bread: Toss bread cubes in large bowl with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil—I used 3 for the whole loaf—don’t overdo it. Spread on one of the baking sheets and toast in oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside 2 cups for the dish.
  2. Vegetables: Core and seed the tomatoes, reserving the tomato seeds and pulp for the dressing—I had about 1 cup of liquid from the tomatoes. Place the halved tomatoes, cut side up, on one of the lined baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the green beans with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread on the second lined sheet; salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the vegetables on separate racks in the oven, about 15 minutes for the green beans and about 30 minutes for the tomatoes. I like a little caramelization on the tomatoes.
  5. Dressing: In bowl with reserved tomato seeds and pulp, add the 3/4 cup olive oil and vinegar. Whisk until combined, then pour through strainer to remove seeds—whisking helps to separate the gel from the seeds before you strain them out. Whisk in garlic. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more oil or vinegar to taste.
  6. Panzanella: In large bowl toss pasta, bread, vegetables, and cheese with dressing until well coated. Set aside and allow the dressing to be absorbed by all the ingredients. Serve at room temperature.

We also had a roasted pork tenderloin, but that was really just a bonus for the gardener, who did eat a few of the tomatoes.

Garden Green Bean Casserole

I know, it’s the middle of summer and not a holiday, where you usually expect to see a green bean casserole, but the garden keeps giving and there are only so many things to do with green beans. We don’t care for sour green bean salads, so that doesn’t leave much else. Although we are both familiar with that casserole made with canned soup and canned fried onions, it was never a fetish at either of our parents’ homes on holidays, so I feel free to make it my own without violating any holiday rituals. If you have air conditioning during this hot summer, you might want to try this dish now when it’s not overshadowed by a holiday turkey.

I made one big change to the beloved casserole which might seem like heresy to you if it is a staple at your holiday—no French fried onions! Instead, I sautéed thinly sliced onions until brown before adding the mushrooms and beans to a white sauce. Another option would be to caramelize the onions for a richer addition. Still the dish needed a topping, so I used buttered fresh breadcrumbs—a nice choice.

Green beans can be Frenched in your food processor by stacking them in the chute and using the slicing blade. I don’t know where I learned this, but I’m sure it was some Internet tip that has saved us from slicing beans individually. The resulting beans are surprisingly well-sliced, if not perfect. Even if you don’t make the casserole, just making French style green beans is a nice change if you have been overwhelmed by your garden this summer. Another benefit is that the beans cook more quickly when sliced.

Garden Green Bean Casserole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°

  • 3-4 cups fresh green beans, stem end removed
  • 1 medium or 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Crumb topping: 1.5 cups fresh breadcrumbs tossed with 4 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Stack green beans lengthwise in chute of food processor. All my beans fit without trimming, but you could cut them to fit if needed. Using medium slicing blade, press beans through. I had to fill the chute three times.
  2. Toss the cut beans in boiling water and simmer for about 6 minutes or until the beans begin to wilt. Drain and set aside.
  3. In large skillet, sauté onions over medium heat in 4 tablespoons butter until browned. Stir in sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until mushrooms are cooked down, their liquid has evaporated, and they have browned.
  4. Stir flour into onion, mushroom, butter mixture until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. The mixture will be dry and clumpy, but that’s fine.
  5. Stir in milk, continuing to stir until all the flour mixture is distributed and smooth. Simmer, stirring, until the sauce is thickened.
  6. Stir in the cooked green beans.
  7. Pour into baking dish and top with crumb mixture.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until crumbs are nicely browned.

Beef Barley Stew

Nothing fancy here, just an old-fashioned beef stew with barley instead of potatoes. As you know, I try to call anything in a bowl that might be mistaken for soup, stew, to make an end run around my husband and his aversion to soup. I gave him both a spoon and fork, and he used the spoon, though. I asked him afterwards if he thought it was soup or stew and he said “stew,” so it was a win. He said it was too thick for soup, which is always “watery”—clearly, he’s not a soup connoisseur.

I could only find quick cooking barley 😦 but it still did its thickening routine, just not by soaking up so much of the liquid or having to cook so long. For vegetables, I stuck to the traditional onion,  green beans, and carrots—there’s a tasty reason those are traditional. I used a beurre manié at the end to slightly thicken the gravy.

Beef Barley Stew

  • Servings: at least 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-2 1/2 lb chuck roast, trimmed and cubed

olive oil or other fat for browning

1 large onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, grated or minced

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups green bean, cut in 1/2″ pieces

5 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

salt & pepper to taste ( is your beef stock salty?)

1 cup quick-cooking barley (adjust times and liquid if using regular barley)

beurre manié, made from 4 tablespoons each flour and butter (see below)

  1. Choose a chuck roast with good marbling. Trim off most of the fat, especially the hard fat, and cut the meat into chunks—large if you want to eat it like a stew; bite-sized if you want to eat it more like a soup. I cut mine on the smaller size.
  2. In a heavy 6 qt. stockpot, brown the beef in about 3-4 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat until browned all over. Season as you cook, but consider how salty your beef stock might be.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, but not browned.
  4. Add the carrots and green beans, the beef stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Stir in the barley, cover, and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the barley has swelled up and become tender. 1 cup of quick-cooking barley, requires 2 cups of liquid, so I included that in my calculations when determining the amount of beef stock to use.
  6. Stir in the beurre manié until incorporated, continuing to simmer for a few minutes, to cook out the rawness of the flour.

Beurre Manié

In a small bowl, work equal amounts of all-purpose flour and soft butter together until they form a paste with no discernible lumps of flour. I use the tines of a fork for this, but you could use the back of a spoon or even your fingers. Just keep working it until it comes together. Then you can just gather it up with a large spoon and stir it into your hot, simmering or boiling sauce.

Beurre manié is one of those thickening miracles that comes in handy at the last minute. Sometimes, I make a beurre manié with masa harina corn flour and butter to thicken chili at the end. Not only does it thicken, but it adds a nice corn flavor.

Earthy Venison Stew

This stew started with a recipe someone photocopied and gave to us years ago, which I adapted and simplified to fit the kinds of hearty, rustic flavors I thought better suited the venison. I used two pounds of cubed venison, for which you could substitute beef or pork. We butcher our own deer, and you can see in the photo that we keep it lean, so you need more cooking oil if using a lean cut of meat in the stew.

I really dislike the taste and texture of potatoes in this stew and don’t think it needs any starchy accompaniment, but I could see serving it with rice or noodles, if you really need that.

Earthy Venison Stew

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 lbs venison, cut in one inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (or more—venison is very lean)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6-8 oz cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3-4 cups venison or beef stock
  • 4-6 carrots, sliced (not too thinly, because they need to stand up to long cooking)
  • 3-4 cups fresh green beans, cut in about one inch lengths
  • 10 juniper berries, crushed, tied in cheesecloth
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, unsweetened if you can find them (good luck)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Shake venison with flour and pepper until coated. Heat olive oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown cubes in small batches to brown evenly. Remove meat to platter until all is browned.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. In same pan, adding more oil, if needed, add onion. Cook until translucent, then add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have begun to brown.
  3. Stir in tomato paste until well blended.
  4. Return browned meat to pan with orange juice and 2 cups beef stock. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Raise heat to medium again. Add carrots, green beans, and juniper berry package. Add at least one more cup of beef stock—you’re trying here to make sure you are making a stew, not a soup. Bring to boil and then cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Remove juniper berry packet. Stir in dried cherries. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, using the last cup of stock, if needed.

The floured meat thickens the gravy, but you could add more thickener if you find you need it. Serve the stew in a bowl or over rice or noodles. The combination of venison, mushrooms, juniper berries, and cherries creates a unique flavor that is perfect on a cold winter night. It would be even better in a cabin in the woods with the fireplace flickering.