Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Friday!

I don't actually have a whole lot to blog about today. I am trying very hard not to inundate my blog with posts about politics and of course, all I am consumed with is the upcoming election.

I know that my mind will be able to return to some sort of balance after November 4th. In the spirit of maintaining balance here is a tasty recipe that I plan on using for a side dish at one of the upcoming holiday meals I have to look forward to.

French Beans with Roasted Figs, Thyme and Rustic Croutons
Created by Govind Armstrong
Makes 10 servings

* 1 loaf (16 ounces) walnut-raisin bread , crust removed, torn into bite-size pieces
* 2 tablespoons walnut oil
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

* 3 pounds French green beans , ends trimmed
* 15 firm ripe figs , cut in half lengthwise
* 10 large sprigs fresh thyme
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley , stems removed

* 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
* 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted walnuts
* 1 small shallot , minced
* 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1/4 cup walnut oil
* 1/4 cup olive oil

To make croutons:
Preheat oven to 375°. On a baking sheet with sides, toss pieces of bread with walnut oil, salt and pepper. Bake 10 minutes, tossing once or twice, or until browned and crisp. Let cool. Leave oven on.

To make beans:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add green beans. Cook 4 minutes, or until bright green and slightly tender; drain. Refresh under cold water; drain again and pat dry with paper towels.

In a medium bowl, gently toss figs with thyme sprigs, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. On a baking sheet with sides, lay figs cut-side down and roast 10 minutes, or until lightly caramelized and cooked through. Cool on baking sheet.

To make vinaigrette:
In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, walnuts, shallot, chopped thyme, salt and pepper; gradually whisk in walnut and olive oils until blended.

In a large bowl, toss croutons, green beans and parsley leaves with vinaigrette. Arrange on plates, and top each with three roasted fig halves.

This recipe can be found here, courtesy of the always inspirational Oprah Winfrey.

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