lessons learned…

yup… i’m gonna explain some lessons here.

what kind of lessons?

oh let’s just say that while it’s ok to use recipes as a guide, sometimes you should use a measuring spoon or some kind of utensil…

let me explain….

i don’t exactly measure everything like i’m supposed to. i use measuring cups and spoons when i bake but when i’m cooking, not exactly so precisely. i find recipes to be more like a general guide. that means that i usually pour the seasonings directly into whatever it is and taste as i go. my mom frowns upon this. most people do. and clearly i should learn my lesson. or at least pour them into my hand or use some type of spoon. why do i bring this up?

well it actually has absolutely everything to do with this post…

you see i have recently accepted the fact that i probably like a lot more veggies than i thought. my problem has always been a texture thing. i don’t like smushy yucky things and most veggies they served in the school cafeteria were just that. (i mean hell we called the hamburgers “bouncy burgers” – seriously, they bounced on the plate.) and i was a pretty hard headed kid so i didn’t like veggies. but i’m opening up and trying them (i still won’t do smushy ones). if you cook them fresh, i will at least try it. so this is the first thanksgiving that i actually was interested in green bean casserole. we’ve already established that i watch waaaaay too much food network so naturally this time of year there have been all kinds of recipes. so there was one morning that i was watching food network and guy fieri was making a whole thanksgiving dinner and what do you know… homemade, fresh green bean casserole. it was one of those recipes that i just knew i needed to try.

i know. i know. i still haven’t explained the lesson tie in….

here it is…

the recipe calls for cayenne pepper. well i was shaking the cayenne into the casserole and then it kinda decided to create a small avalanche. don’t get me wrong. the casserole was still delicious but it had a little bit more of a kick than i think was intended. but it was still amazing. amazing enough that my mom has been waiting for this post… i had to get through the office thanksgiving before moving onto to the multiple dishes from thursday… so i’m here now. i could never go back to traditional green bean casserole, i never really had it before but now i really pretty much never will. this is a fresh green bean casserole with a homemade cream of mushroom gravy and homemade fried onion strings. i totally feel like it was worth the effort.

green bean casserole with homemade mushroom gravy

  • 1 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed – i ended up with about a pound
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs bacon grease – if you don’t hoard bacon grease like i do, you can use vegetable oil
  • 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and quarter – i used cremini and shitake
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • fried onion straws – for the homemade version use 1 small onion, flour, salt, pepper, seasoning, 1 egg, milk, vegetable oil
  1. preheat the oven to 450F
  2. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. add the green beans and cook until they just turn bright green, 2 to 3 minutes.(you’re not cooking the green beans all the way through – remember no yucky, smushy stuff) strain and plunge the green beans immediately in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. drain.
  3. set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. add the butter and bacon grease (or vegetable oil) .once the butter is melted and the pan is hot, add the mushrooms. cook undisturbed so the mushrooms sear about 1 minute. add the garlic and continue cooking the mushrooms to achieve some nice color. season with the salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg (remember to use a measuring spoon or something to stop the small avalanche). cook 2 to 3 more minutes longer, dusting the mushrooms with some of the flour as they release moisture. stir with a whisk to incorporate the flour and gradually add in the chicken stock. bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and add the sour cream and cream. stir gently and cook over low heat until gravy thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. add the green beans to the pan and fold together so everything is mixed well. spread out evenly in the pan. sprinkle the green beans with the grated parmesan and transfer to a roasting tray (to catch any spill-over). Bake until the casserole is bubbly and the top is melted and golden, 15 minutes.
  4. for the onion strings, cut the onion into quarters and slice thinly. dip some of the onion strings into the beaten egg and milk mixture. toss with seasoned flour and into a pot of hot oil. fry until the strings are golden brown. remove from the oil and drain. (now hide them if you don’t want them to disappear)
  5. top the green bean casserole with the fried onion strings and serve.

seriously. awesomeness.

stay tuned. more to come.


recipe adapted from: guy fieri


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