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Week 3 Finalists

July 8, 2009 • 2 Comments

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Recipe 1: Green Bean, Wheatberry and Barley Salad by Heather

This salad possesses the twin virtues of being both good for you and truly tasty. It's a recipe that could easily veer into the arena of rabbit food but does not. The green beans, barley and wheatberries lend a variety of textures, while the vinaigrette brightens and pulls everything together. The addition of dill reminded us of dilly beans - in a good way. Heather calls for cooked barley and wheatberries, which we cooked separately in plenty of boiling salted water with a splash of olive oil. The barley (pearled) took 20 minutes, and the wheatberries about 40. For the dressing, we used 1 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 4 tablespoons of olive oil.


Before we even started the recipe, we had to cook both the wheatberries and the pearled barley. We found that cooking 1/2 cup dried grains in 4 cups of boiling water, with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt, yielded the best results.

Bring the water, olive oil, and salt to a rolling boil, add the grains, and cook to tender. The pearled barley took about 15 minutes to cook, and the wheatberries took about 40 minutes. But test them as you go!

Amanda takes on the dill, as Merrill attacks the green beans. We trimmed a lot of green beans that day...


The recipe calls for 3T of dill, which seemed like a lot, but we used it all- and thought the recipe was just right.


Like the fennel last week, using the cisele method yields evenly sized pieces of shallot.


Ingredients sans beans. We used 1.5T balsamic vinegar, 4T extra virgin olive oil, and copious salt and pepper for the dressing.


Then we added the minced shallot, and let it marinate in the dressing as we cooked the beans.


Unlike other recipes, this one calls for the beans to be started in cold water. They turned out great!


As soon as the beans were done to our liking, 4-5 minutes later, we immediately shocked them in an ice bath. This both stops the cooking, and preserves the vibrant green color of the cooked vegetables.


Layering together the ingredients.


Pepper. Lots of pepper.


Finished! Beautiful!


Recipe 2: Fasoolya Khadra by Susan

We were a bit skeptical of this traditional Jordanian dish - especially for summer - but boy were we wrong. This is one of those recipes, like pot au feu, that seem to defy the laws of cooking by coaxing an intensely flavorful sauce from water rather than broth or wine. Here, beef and beans soften into lushness, enveloped by a silky gravy of tomatoes, garlic, coriander and cumin. We used cheap stew meat, which still required almost two hours of cooking, and sturdier-than-average green beans, which held up nicely even after nearly double the recommended cooking time. We followed Susan's advice and ate the stew with a dollop of yogurt on the side, and we encourage you to as well.


For this dish, we used canned tomatoes instead of fresh, as the recipe said we could, and thought the recipe turned out perfectly. We also used a very inexpensive cut of beef, cubed chuck roast, and the meat was still tender. Humble ingredients, yes, but very delicious results.


Aggressively seasoned meat, ready for the pot.


We added 1 1/2 c. water, just enough to come about halfway up the sides, and cooked it over medium heat, covered, for 10-12 minutes, or until the beef was browned.


While the beef was cooking, Amanda outsourced the job of trimming (more) green beans.


We used fairly hearty green beans- they weren't perfect looking, but they tasted great. It turned out well though, as these heftier beans held their own after cooking for a couple of hours.


Merrill measures out the coriander to be crushed. It turns out that dried spices retain their measurement after grinding or crushing, so no need to measure twice!


This smelled great. As did the cumin, which we also mortar and pestled.


Cutting the green beans in half yields an appropriate length.


After the meat was browned, we removed 1 cup of water for the broth.



We pureed the beef water, 1/2 a 28oz can of whole tomatoes, with the appropriate juice, and the crushed garlic together. This will become the delicious gravy.


We seasoned with all 2T of both spices, and found it was just the right amount.


As the dish cooked, we found it dried out more than we wanted, so twice uring cooking, we added about 1 1/2 cups of water to the dish, recovered, and continued to cook. The kitchen smelled wonderful!


Amanda tests a piece of beef. We found that it required about 1 hour and 45 minutes of cooking, rather than the hour the recipe called for. This was probably a result of the size of our cubes of beef (large), but you should just cook until the meat is tender.


Finished. Delicious- especially when served with plain yogurt!

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Comments (2)

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about 5 years ago Maria R Becce

Merrill,
I made the mistake of looking at the website and watching you and Amanda cook late one night while still at work and ravenously hungry - BIG MISTAKE! i could just smell the beef, tomatoes and beans cooking in the kitchen.
My mother makes a similar dish, with just vegetables (no beef) that includes string beans, potatoes and carrots. She loves to serve it as a vegetable side dish with beef, chicken or pork. I'm about to faint with hunger, so I will say goodbye for now! The website is simply sensational! Very proud of you and Amanda!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, Maria! Come back and visit -- we'll have a new slideshow up this Wednesday. - Amanda