For my first post, it is only fitting that I borrow a recipe from Jessica Fechtor, who wrote the memoir, “Stir.” Inside the back flap of the cover we read: “Written with intelligence, humor, and warmth, Stir is a heartfelt examination of what it means to fix what’s broken and live with what can’t be fixed, to nourish and be nourished, to remember what it is to be hungry, honor that hunger, and learn how to feed it.” Something inside of me, yes, “Stirs,” when I read her words.
I have wanted to start a food blog for years and I have become a faithful follower of too many different blogs. My subscriptions have multiplied and the topics have expanded based on new interests and new eating styles. I have even attempted to make my own a few times – a place to share my own recipes and connect with other bloggers, but I have always thrown in the towel, intimidated by the project ahead.
Flash forward a couple years as well as several blog attempts, I found myself at an author’s talk for the new book, Stir. The author shared her story of how after suffering a ruptured aneurism she had to come to terms with her new reality and “reclaim her everyday.” When she entered the kitchen she was able to return to her love of cooking and baking and make things for the people around her. Starting a blog gave her the space to explore her love of writing, cooking, and baking.
I left that evening completely inspired to take the leap and finally publish a blog. It has taken a few months but here I am, with the hope that this newly created space will grow with my own stories, discoveries, and developments of my favorite gluten free and dairy free recipes. While this blog is for my own enjoyment and growth, I hope that you too will feel inspired and benefit.
After finishing Jessica’s memoir, I discovered her blog and stumbled upon this recipe for green beans and potatoes. The timing was perfect as I was on my way to the farmer’s market, where green beans and potatoes were currently abundant. After experiencing fish and chips in London when I was young, I took to eating my fries with vinegar and salt, so I knew this was a recipe I wanted to experience and share with my family.
The combination of the fresh, crunchy beans, fragrant nuts, and creamy, salty potatoes make this a dish that will be repeated for many meals to come.
Salt and Vinegar Farmer’s Market Salad
Serves 6, as a side dish.
2 pounds of baby potatoes (white, red, and purple- the smaller the better)
1 1/2 pounds of green beans
2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil*
A copious amount of course sea salt (I used celtic salt but Maldon salt would also be great)
Black pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (according to taste- I used more!)
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
Preheat the oven the 500 degreed F.
Prepare the vegetables: Wash and trim the beans and set aside. Scrub the potatoes, dry them, and toss with the coconut oil. Cut then in half/quarters and toss them with the coconut oil, 3-4 generous pinches of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Transfer the oiled potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and position them cut sides up. Roast the potatoes for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through careful not to break them up. You will know they are ready when they are browned and crispy.
While the potatoes are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Also, prepare your ice bath. Make sure you use a bowl big enough to hold plenty of water and ice so that the temperature of the water remains cold even after you have dunked the hot beans. Add the beans to the boiling water and blanch for 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Immediately remove the pot from the heat, drain the beans into a colander, and transfer them into the ice bath. Leave them there until you are ready to toss them with the potatoes.
Put the slivered almonds in a dry pan over moderate heat and toast until they start to color. Keep tossing the buts to prevent them from burning. When browned, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
When the potatoes are brown, blistered, and cooked through, transfer them back into a large bowl. Dry the blanched, shocked beans and add them to the potatoes. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and 5 tablespoons of vinegar. Taste, and add more salt and vinegar, as needed. Add in the slivered almonds, mix, and serve immediately.
*I prefer to use with coconut oil when cooking at a high heat, and in this recipe I chose refined coconut oil so that there would be no coconut flavor.