Monthly Archives: November 2016

  • Harissa Green Beans with Spiced Chickpeas and Feta Cheese

Harissa Green Beans with Spiced Chickpeas and Feta Cheese

Posted on November 21, 2016

This post was originally published here on November 17, 2014. I’ve given the photos and text a bit of a refresh. Enjoy!

Are you guys all familiar with that traditional green bean casserole that’s usually served at Thanksgiving? Yes? Well, I’m not. Because I’ve never eaten it in my life.

I’ll pause for reaction.

Yes, it’s true. Most people are shocked to find out that I’ve never had it. I think it makes me un-American or something. I don’t know. I guess when your family is made up of a bunch of farmers, dumping an entire can of condensed soup onto crisp, fresh vegetables is kind of a sin.

But I’d be down to try it. So maybe someone wants to invite me over for a Friends-giving someday. Hint, hint.

Casserole or no casserole, I still think Thanksgiving should have green beans. I usually do a simple side dish of sautéed green beans with slivered almonds. But this year, I’m changing things up and going spicy with these Harissa Green Beans with Spiced Chickpeas and Feta Cheese. I hope my family doesn’t revolt against me.

Harissa Green Beans with Spiced Chickpeas and Feta Cheese | www.floatingkitchen.net

I used harissa paste, which you can buy in the grocery store or make at home (I’ve got a recipe here), to flavor the green beans. And a short list of spices to season the chickpeas. I roast the green beans and chickpeas separately to ensure they both end up perfectly cooked (just say “NO” to soggy green beans!). And only once they’re done do I combine them with a few crumbles of creamy feta cheese before serving. The end results is a healthy, well balanced dish that’s definitely worthy of your Holiday table. And a bit of an upgrade from the traditional casserole, if I do say so myself (not that I have any actual proof of that because I’ve never eaten it before).

Oh hey, want to know another weird Thanksgiving-related secret about me? My family doesn’t serve mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.

I think that statement requires a second pause.

And now since many of your have probably fainted from the trauma of reading that, I propose that this is a good place to end this post.

Cheers,

Liz

Harissa Green Beans with Spiced Chickpeas and Feta Cheese

Serves about 6

Harissa Green Beans with Spiced Chickpeas and Feta Cheese

Ingredients

  • For the Chickpeas
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika

  • For the Green Beans
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread the chickpeas out on a paper towel. Then use another paper towel to pat them completely dry. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, cumin and paprika. Add the dried chickpeas and toss until they are well coated. Spread the chickpeas out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Then transfer them to your pre-heated oven to roast for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking time. Remove the chickpeas from the oven and set them aside.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the green beans. In a large bowl, combine the harissa paste and the olive oil. Add the green beans and toss them to coat. Spread the green beans out onto a second rimmed baking sheet and transfer them to your pre-heated oven. Roast for 10 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and set aside.
  4. To serve, arrange the green beans on a serving plate. Top with the chickpeas and the feta cheese crumbles. Serve immediately.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days, although the chickpeas will loose their crispness over time.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/harissa-green-beans-with-spiced-chickpeas-and-feta/
  • Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Posted on November 17, 2016

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stonewall Kitchen. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and companies that help to keep my little kitchen afloat!

It’s no secret that I love appetizers. Just sit me down in front of a spread of bite-sized foods and I’ll be pretty happy. I can easily skip the main event all together. Cocktails, finger foods and desserts are where it’s at, in my humble opinion. No need to go to all the trouble of roasting up a whole turkey just for me!

And you know what? I kind of have an inkling that you all might be feeling exactly the same way. So today, I’m bringing you these adorable Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney for all your snacking pleasures. You’re welcome.

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney | www.floatingkitchen.net

My go-to appetizer is usually some kind of toasty bread piled high with cheese and ALL THE toppings. But this year, I really wanted to create something gluten-free. And while I certainly could have just used gluten-free bread, that seemed like a bit of a cop-out. Then I remembered my friend Sarah’s polenta bites from the Summer, and I decided to try my hand at creating a festive Fall/Winter version that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday entertaining. My rendition has whipped ricotta cheese with fresh herbs, a flavorful chutney, a few crumbles of bacon and everyone’s favorite seasonal vegetable – brussels sprouts.

There are a few separate steps required to make these polenta bites. But none of them are particularly taxing or time consuming. The polenta gets baked in the oven (no stirring required!), and can be prepared up to a day or two in advance, which is a huge time saver. And you can even separate out the brussels sprout leaves ahead of time as well, storing them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to crisp them up.

I should warn you that these crispy brussels sprout leaves are highly addicting. Once you start munching on them, it’s hard to stop. You’ll be amazed at how quickly an entire pan can disappear!

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney | www.floatingkitchen.net

But the real star of the show is the Holiday Chutney from Stonewall Kitchen. With it’s blend of fruits (including pears, cranberries and rhubarb) and warming spices, it provides the perfect tart-sweet balance to offset the other savory-salty ingredients in this recipe. Which ultimately makes these polenta bites one heck of a well rounded appetizer.

Both literally and figuratively. You know, because they are round.

Ugh. I’m the worst. Sorry.

Stonewall Kitchen’s Holiday Chutney is also a great addition to any charcuterie or cheese plate (these Simple White Crackers are my favorite!). And it’s a wonderful topping for baked ham, pork or chicken. I like to keep a jar on hand at all times, because it totally helps me bring my A-game to the table around the Holidays!

Cheers,

Liz

Recipe inspired by The Kitchn

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Yield: Makes 16-24 bites, depending on the size

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Ingredients

  • For the Polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups polenta
  • 1 tsp. salt

  • For the Toppings
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 cups loosely packed brussels sprout leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • About 1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Holiday Chutney

  • For the Whipped Ricotta
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. To prepare the polenta, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Generally grease an 9 X 13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together the water, polenta and salt in your prepared baking pan. Then transfer the pan to your pre-heated oven and bake until the polenta is firm, about 50 minutes. Remove the baking dish from your oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Then transfer it to your refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Add the chopped bacon to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp, stirring frequently. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve the bacon fat.
  3. To prepare the brussels sprout leaves, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the brussels sprout leaves to a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then use your fingers to rub the olive oil over the leaves, making sure to separate any leaves that are stuck together. Spread the brussels sprout leaves out onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Bake in your pre-heated oven until slightly crispy, about 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Cut the chilled polenta into appetizer-sized bites. You can use a round cookie/biscuit cutter to make circles. Or use a knife to slice it into triangles or squares. Arrange the polenta bites onto a baking sheet. Brush the tops with some of the reserved bacon fat. Then transfer the polenta bites to your pre-heated oven and bake until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the whipped ricotta. Add the ricotta, cream cheese, milk, salt and black pepper to a medium bowl. Beat with your hand mixer until well combined and smooth. Fold in the fresh herbs. Set aside.
  6. To assemble the polenta bites, first spread some of the whipped ricotta onto the surface of the warmed polenta. Top with the Holiday Chutney, a couple pieces of bacon and a few crispy brussels sprout leaves. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/polenta-bites-with-crispy-brussels-sprout-leaves-ricotta-and-chutney/

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