Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Passing the Torch, By-passing the Cans

It was an action packed weekend at the Steele house. Not only was Easter celebrated but a certain young lady turned two. When you are two you get to sit at the big kids table and hunt for your own eggs full of chocolate and quarters alongside your brother and sister.

If you are in your late twenties and early thirties, you get to hunt for harder-to-find eggs full of cash money and Cadbury eggs. Grandma Juju even lets you sit at the adult table but you have to bring part of the meal. It's been kind of hard to let go of making everything, but I'm learning to trust these kids. 

Dear Daughter's boyfriend brought a most excellent green bean casserole. Now remember, we don't do canned soup in our house. Everything has to be made from scratch. But Photog Boy was up to the challenge. The guy is a chef par excellence as well as great photographer and student.

I miss the tradition of canned soup green bean casserole but when you taste something like it was served in a French restaurant, well, tradition takes a backseat to gourmet dining.

Photog Boy respects the right of folks not to like caramelized onions but oh what a topping.

Here's the recipe. It takes a few pans and concentration but oh, it's so worth it.

Haricot Vertes a la Photog Boy

16 oz heavy cream
1 shallot diced or a teaspoon dried shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion sliced
2 boxes fresh Bella mushrooms
6 cups fresh green beans, stems removed (each bean pod cut in half or thirds)
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: In a large saucepan, melt one tablespoon butter on medium heat, add shallot and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add sliced mushrooms and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 4 dashes black pepper. Cook until liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms about 5-8 minutes.When the liquid is almost evaporated, add the heavy cream. Bring mixture to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Simmer until reduced by half. Remember to stir occasionally throughout. 

Step 2: While mushrooms cook, add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons butter in a small saucepan (enough to coat bottom of pan) and melt on low heat. Add sliced onion with pinch salt and pepper. Cook onion until caramelized. (This will take a bit of time but don't be tempted to rush by turning up heat.) Set aside.

Step 3: In a medium pot, bring 3 cups salted water to a bowl. Add green beans and cook until crisp tender (You can also steam) and drain. Set aside.

Step 4: Combine drained green beans and mushroom sauce. Put in 9x13 glass dish. Top with caramelized onions and cook at 350 degrees for thirty minutes or until bubbly. 

So, what dish responsibility have you given over to folks for family dinners or celebrations? Do  you find family saying even though they follow Grandma's directions the {fill in the blank} doesn't taste quite the same? Have you found healthier ways of making a traditional entree, side dish or dessert?


  1. I'm hiding my cans of cream of chicken (potato bake necessity!), cream of mushroom (so versatile) and... well, that's it actually! LOL, Julie, I'm so glad he rose to the occasion, good for him and this looks marvelous. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I really miss the soup cans. I can't make all those church cookbook recipes and have them taste like my mom and grandmother made them.

  2. These days, I'm responsible for everything, so no passing along just yet. I look forward to the healthier way of trying things. Those green beans look delicious!

    1. They were! I don't know how my mother did it all by herself.

  3. We don't make green bean casserole at our house. In fact, everyone (except me) groans when we invite people to "bring a vegetable" because they're afraid someone will bring the "dreaded green bean casserole."

    The heathens.

    But to lose the cans! Julie, your daughter's boyfriend sounds like a keeper! I'll have to try this for the next carry in at church (a non-threatening way to get my family to try it!). It looks scrumptious!

    When we have our "extended family" over (living 1000 miles away from blood relatives means we adopt extended family wherever we live), I give people a choice - vegetable, salad, or dessert - and I make the main dish.

    One menu that has gone very well is tacos. I make the seasoned ground beef and provide hard and soft shells. Others bring taco fixin's, salad, or a dessert. Simple, fun, and nobody has to work too hard.

    1. I love those kinds of meals and church potlucks. Everything always works out as far as dishes or ingredients.

      And I wouldn't even call this green bean casserole it was that out of this world.

  4. While we don't eat GBC, this sounds really luscious. Well, except for the mushrooms. Cause you know--ick. But the caramelized onions? Oh yeah! He sounds like a keeper.

    1. Yes he is. I forgot you had that mushroom adversion but I'd eat this even without them.

  5. Yum!! I'll have to try this! I'm really impressed with how thoughtful he was about the onions. :)

    I haven't passed the torch on anything yet. Must start thinking about that once the kids are all on their own.

    1. It's both a fun and terrifying experience, Missy!

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