July 18, 2009

Dinners for Two

Warm weather often makes me want light, refreshing meals. I love having salads for dinner. I love the endless possibilities for combining different flavors and textures. Brian always wants something more substantial, so we'll do a salad with some sort of protein. We love to make variations of taco salad. Earlier this week, I was in a salad mood, and Brian decided he wanted barbecue chicken topped with bacon and cheddar. I was also really craving green beans. And then I thought: of course. A green bean salad. A French country salad, to be specific. Well this was my take, using the ingredients we had on hand: I like to call it France’s Country Salad. ;)
France’s Country Salad
printable recipe

Serves 2.

6 to 8 oz fresh haricots verts (or regular green beans), washed and trimmed
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
6 strips center-cut bacon, cooked (pan-fried, microwaved, or baked)
8 oz boneless chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled
Tarragon-Dijon Vinaigrette (see below)

Bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Wash and trim green beans.  Blanch beans in boiling water for 1-3 minutes until crisp-tender.  Immediately drain and submerge beans in ice water for about 5 minutes in order to halt cooking.  Drain.

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Cook bacon, turning halfway through.  Set aside.  Pour bacon drippings into a bowl and wipe pan clean. (Alternatively, you my choose to microwave or bake the bacon.)

Heat a grill pan over medium heat.  Brush chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness.  Once chicken is cooked, remove to plate and cover with foil.  Allow to rest under foil for about 5 minutes; slice.

While the chicken is cooking, return 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings to sauté pan for onions and mushrooms.  (Or substitute  1 tablespoon olive oil.)  Reheat pan and fat over medium heat.  Add onions and a pinch of salt.  Sauté onions 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and any liquid they release is cooked off (about 10-15 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper.

Toss green beans in  half of dressing and divide between two dinner plates.  Top with mushroom-onion mixture,  bacon (cut into 1/2 pieces), and chicken.  Drizzle remaining dressing over each salad.  Serve immediately.

Tarragon-Dijon Vinaigrette
printable recipe

1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Whisk together all ingredients to thoroughly combine. 



Once Brian saw what was going into it my salad, he changed his mind about his cheddar-bacon chicken.


It was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. And it tasted just like the French countryside. :)

Last night, we finally attempted an entire meal from our favorite new cookbook, “The 150 Healthiest Meals on Earth.” (Thanks to Betsy and Milan for introducing it to us last time we were in New York!) Following the author’s suggestion, we paired Cauliflower Cream (an unbelievably effective substitute for mashed potatoes) IMG_5071
with Haricots Verts (served cold with a pomegranate-mint dressing, so yummy and refreshing),
and Persian-Style Chicken – braised with chicken stock, pomegranate juice, almonds, red onions, cinnamon, and molasses! So maybe it was a little Christmas-y for the middle of July, but it was so delicious that we didn’t mind in the least.
We rounded it all off with a glass of Pinot Noir. (Yes, red wine does qualify as one of the “healthiest foods on earth!”)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Awesome. Simply awesome!

Diane said to us the other day that she can't wait until she lives closer to you so she can enjoy some of your wonderful dishes. And also, to learn a thing-or-two about cooking.

You are the best. Thanks for sharing with us.


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