Haricots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

Haricots Verts (French for green beans) are those skinny (and usually more expensive) green beans you see next to the regular green beans in the grocery store.  I will always chose them over the standard green beans mainly because they are more tender and more flavorful.  I was looking for something a bit different to do with my beans the other day and happened upon this recipe.  I remembered my Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar in the fridge and substituted it for the white wine vinegar the recipe called for.  The result was a delicious, very flavorful dish with a nice hint of orange.  Pretty AND tasty!  🙂
Hericots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

Hericots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Haricots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

slightly adapted from Bobby Flay


  • 1 pound haricots verts (French green beans)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 2 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼  cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup ricotta salata, grated


To a large pot of boiling salted water, add the haricots verts.  Bring back to a boil, and cook about 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain and immediately plunge beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain and pat dry.

For the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, zest, vinegar, honey, and some salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Combine the haricots verts, almonds and about half of the ricotta salata in a serving bowl. Pour some of the dressing over the top and gently toss to coat. Taste and add dressing a little at a time adding salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and serve.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • If you don’t have Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, use white wine vinegar.
  • If you can’t find ricotta salata cheese, use feta.

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Salmon Nicoise Salad

I’ve really been missing a garden this summer…there just hasn’t been enough time to tend to one this year.  So I was very excited when a friend gave me a bag of homegrown green beans.  Oh, my…what shall I do with them?  My boys wanted some of Groomer’s Copper River Salmon for dinner, so I figured I’d just incorporate the green beans and make a Salmon Nicoise Salad.

While there are many different definitions of “Nicoise Salad”, they all seem to agree that it originated in the area of Nice, France.  Most contain nicoise olives, tomatoes, potatoes, anchovies and hard boiled eggs.  Some restaurants will serve the salad on a flat plate with the various vegetables in sections rather than all mixed together.  It’s then usually topped with seared tuna and drizzled with a vinaigrette.

My version, though, is mixed and topped with salmon that I season, sear in a skillet, then finish in the oven.  There really isn’t a set amount of ingredients. It’s all a matter of preference or what you have on hand in the fridge!

I stumbled upon a good video lesson for how to properly cook salmon and other fish, so if you’re a little intimidated about cooking fish, click here!

Salmon Nicoise

Salmon Nicoise Salad

Salmon Nicoise Salad


  • fresh salmon fillets (I like mine skinless) **see Liz’s Tidbits
  • small red potatoes, cut into quarters (I used little red new potatoes, but fingerling would be good too)
  • fresh green beans (I like haricot verts)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • hardboiled eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
  • kalamata olives, pitted

lemon-mint vinaigrette

  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil

Blend all in blender.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place cut potatoes on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven 15-20 minutes until done. Check at the halfway point and turn with a spatula. When done, set aside to cool.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add a tablespoon of kosher salt and the green beans. Blanch for about 4 minutes until crisp tender, drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, dry on paper towels and set aside.

For the salmon, heat a non-stick OVEN PROOF skillet over medium high heat. Pat salmon dry with a paper towel, brush with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning. Once skillet is hot, place fish seasoned side down and cook 2-3 minutes until a nice brown crust has formed. Carefully turn fish over and place skillet into the oven for another 3-4 minutes or until done to your liking. Remember, the fish will continue to cook from the residual heat, so keep that in mind. Let the salmon rest for about 5 minutes…it should be pink in the center and flake apart easily.

Place the green beans, potatoes, tomatoes and olives in a large bowl. Top with salmon and hardboiled eggs and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Buon appetito!

Liz’s Tidbits:

If I’m planning to sear my salmon in the skillet and finish it in the oven, I’ll ask Chuck at Groomer’s to skin the filets for me (he’s always so helpful and knows just exactly how I like my fish!)   If I’m grilling instead, I’ll leave the skin on as it will act as a protective layer between the fish and the fire.

Green Bean Salad w/Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing

I LOVE arugula!

Arugula is a leafy green herb in the mustard family that has a hot and peppery flavor.  I actually prefer it to lettuce in my salad.  So, when I saw this recipe for a green bean salad with arugula, using basil and lemon, I knew I had to give it a try!  I served this as a side dish with my Redfish on the Halfshell (see previous post), and daughter, Alexis, liked it so much, she has requested the recipe. 🙂

Green Bean Salad w/Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing

Green Bean Salad w/Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing

adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 strips lemon zest about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, white pith removed
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lb fresh Haricots Verts (see Note)
  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and spun dry
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 oz) 1-inch-diameter fresh mozzarella balls, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Fill an 8-quart stockpot three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Put the basil and lemon zest in a metal sieve, immerse it in the boiling water, and blanch for 5 seconds.  Remove, tapping the sieve over the sink to shake off excess water.  Turn off the burner but leave the water in the pot with the cover on.
Roughly chop the lemon zest.  Put the basil and zest in a blender and pulse a few times.  With the blender running, slowly pour in the oil, puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Transfer to a small bowl or liquid measuring cup and cover.  Refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.
Return the water to a boil over high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons salt and the beans. Cook until the beans are crisp-tender, about 4-6 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water, and spread the beans on a large rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate to cool completely.  If making more than an hour ahead, cover and refrigerate.
In a large bowl combine the cooled beans with the arugula, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Toss with the basil oil and lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice.
**Note:  Haricot vert is French for green beans.  “Haricot” meaning beans and “vert” meaning green.  French green beans are longer and thinner than most American varieties and are also more tender and have a more complex flavor. When lightly cooked, they are crispy, and very tasty, with a hint of sweetness.  Blanch only for a short period of time (4-6 minutes) to keep their crispness.  If you can’t find haricot vert in your grocery store, chose the thinnest young green beans you can find.

You “Da MAN”–Lobster, Potato & Green Bean Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Lobster, to me, is a celebratory food…kind of like Dom Perignon.  When I think of either of these, I think of special occasions.  Well, Hubby was “Da MAN”  last week, closing a nice real estate deal.  While we did NOT crack open a bottle of Dom, I DID splurge and buy lobster for dinner.  Keeping with my theme of “Main Meal Salads” for summer, I decided to replicate an outstanding salad which comes from my friend, Blanca.  It’s absolutely delicious, and it also gave me a chance to use some of the basil from my garden.  When Hubby called to say he was on his way home, and asked what was for dinner,  I told him we would clean out the fridge and he could have leftover sausage & Ranch Style beans from Teenage Son’s birthday party.  I could tell he was less than thrilled, but being the diplomat that he is, he kept his thoughts to himself.  Needless to say, he was PLEASANTLY surprised to see lobster being served in place of sausage & beans.  If you don’t want to splurge on lobster, try this salad with either shrimp or chicken.  Either would be great!

Everyone loves to be spoiled once in a while.  Spoil your special someone today!  😉

Lobster, Potato & Green Bean Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Lobster, Potato & Green Bean Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Serves 6 as a first course

Printable Recipe


  • meat from about 3 large lobsters (see note)
  • 12-18 small red new potatoes (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (I use hericot verts)
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • about 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • butter lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes

Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover them with cold water and add salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are cooked through but still firm, about 10-20 minutes.  Drain and refrigerate to stop further cooking.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Drop in the green beans and cook until tender-crisp, about 2-4 minutes.  Drain the beans and plunge them into ice water.  Drain, pat dry and set aside.

Combine basil  leaves, garlic and nuts in a food processor or blender.  Pulse to combine.  Add about 1/2 cup of the olive oil and process to a coarse puree.  Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the vinegar and enough of the remaining oil to make a spoonable vinaigrette.  Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.  In a large bowl, toss the potatoes and green beans with half the vinaigrette.  Divide among 6 salad plates lined with lettuce leaves; top with lobster pieces and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.  Garnish with  cherry tomatoes.

Note: If you don’t want to steam the lobsters yourself, your local grocery store’s fish department will gladly do it for you.

What Do You Call a Choking Bean? A GREEN BEAN!

What do you call an old lady carrying beans?  A BEAN BAG!  Bet you can’t guess what this post is about……

Seriously, we should be eating more of these little cuties, as they are loaded with nutrients!

  • they are low in calories (approx. 44 calories in 1 cup)
  • excellent source of vitamins A, K, C, manganese, fiber, potassium, folate & iron, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin

OMG! Makes me want to go eat a whole bowl right now!  This year my guys (hubby & teenage son) decided they’d plant pole beans among other things in our garden.  Since I was born with two black thumbs and no green ones, we made an agreement early on that they would tend the garden and I would do the cooking!    If you have a chance to grow your own food, I highly recommend it.  Not only is it so much better for you, but it’s so much fun to be surprised every day with what comes out of the garden!

This green bean dish has become a family favorite.  If you can find a Meyer lemon, it is SO worth it for the flavor!  They are much more mellow and less acidic than the standard lemon, but if you can’t find one, a regular lemon will work just fine.  Also, I keep a bag of ciabatta bread crumbs in the freezer for topping vegetable dishes.  The texture of ciabatta makes for some really crunchy crumbs, and when you mix in some grated Parmesan cheese, it makes for a really tasty topping!   Just take a loaf of store-bought ciabatta bread and pulse it in your food processor.  Put the crumbs in a freezer bag, and they’ll keep in the freezer for a LONG time!

Fresh From the Garden Green Beans w/Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette & Parmesan Breadcrumbs

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I use ciabatta)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Finely grated zest of one Meyer lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

Preheat oven to 350°.
In bowl, mix breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper, and lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until a nice golden brown color.  Let cool, transfer to a bowl and mix in cheese.

In another bowl, whisk lemon zest, juice, cream, a pinch of salt and pepper and slowly whisk in remaining 1/2 cup of oil.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add beans and cook just until tender, 4-6 minutes.  Drain well and toss the beans with vinaigrette.  Transfer to serving platter and top with breadcrumbs.

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