Category: romano beans


In those menus where “vegetable plate” is included in the title, it’s pretty much just that–a plate of vegetables. But it is anything but haphazard in design. I strive to achieve an interesting balance of tastes and textures on the plate that appeals from a gustatory as well as visual perspective. And I like to try new and interesting combinations.

The highlight of tonight’s menu is a bean and tomato dish that I created simply because I thought the flavors would be nice together. And they were! A few thin slices of onion and a peeled and chopped yellow tomato went into a skillet with a bit of olive oil and stewed together over low heat until the tomatoes were saucy but still chunky. Meanwhile, sliced Romano beans were blanched briefly in boiling water until just crisp tender. At that point the beans are drained and added to the skillet with the tomato mixture and everything is heated together for just a minute or two before serving. A bit of sea salt and a grinding of fresh pepper was all that was needed to finish the dish. Superb if I do say so myself!

July 24th Vegetable Plate

Oven-roasted new potatoes split and topped with a dollop of sour cream
Romano beans and tomatoes Chez Edouard
Fried okra breaded with Southwestern-spiced cornmeal
Yeast rolls

Peach and blueberry cobbler with whipped cream

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Sometimes old favorites such as standard meat-and-potatoes fare simply need a brightening…a fresh approach…a swift kick in the pants. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here, the meatloaf gets a new treatment which the addition of orzo pasta, fresh tomatoes, and black olives as components of the loaf. Green beans are accented with fresh dill. Creamed corn gets a flavor boost from the addition of chili powder, cumin, and diced onions and red peppers. And leftover mashed potatoes are transformed into crispy oven-fried cakes. Just a few simple changes helps elevate the ordinary and/or expected into something altogether different.

The potatoes are probably not the potato “pancakes” with which you might be familiar. Most recipes call for mashed potatoes mixed with flour and eggs that are pan-fried in oil. In this case, cold mashed potatoes are simply formed into patties, dipped in egg white, and dredged in seasoned bread crumbs. Place these in the fridge for a few minutes to set the breading, then place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and “fry” in a hot oven, turning halfway through the cooking. The result is a wonderfully crispy exterior with a creamy interior not unlike tater tots. Do not try to accomplish this in a skillet on top of the stove folks. It won’t work!

I have some golden rules about corn that I will share in an upcoming post but for now, suffice it to say the first of those is to use the freshest ears you can possibly lay your hands on.

Meatloaf of ground beef mixed with cooked orzo, fresh tomatoes, black olives, onions, red peppers and fresh basil
Romano beans glazed with butter and fresh dill
Spicy creamed corn
Oven-fried potato cakes
Yeast roll

Housemade blueberry ice cream and sugar cookies

Tonight I entertained friends with a dinner predominantly based on vegetables from the farmers’ market and herbs from my deck garden. Yesterday the market was brimming with a wide selection of fresh offerings which provided inspiration for the meal.

The parfaits I made for the family 4th celebration earlier in the week were such a hit, I decided to experiment further with the idea. Tonight’s rendition involved gelled pureed peaches along with the vanilla panna cotta. Again, another well-received dessert offering. Technically speaking, the plain gelatin I used was derived from animal sources, so that keeps the meal from being 100% vegetarian. The vegetarian alternative (agar agar flakes), is not available in my area but if you can find it you will achieve similar results.

Appetizer:
Roasted mushrooms stuffed with Mississippi caviar

Main Course:
Roasted red bell pepper halves stuffed with orzo, chopped tomato, artichoke hearts, and basil and garlic infused ricotta topped with fresh mozzarella
Roasted baby summer squash
Romano beans with extra virgin olive oil
Yeast dill rolls Chez Edouard

Dessert:
Peaches-and-cream parfait garnished with fresh blueberries and served with pecan sandies

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