Feisty Green Beans - Birthday Edition

For my birthday this year, I wanted to keep things low-key. Don't get me wrong, I believe that every birthday should be celebrated; after all, you never know which birthday will be your last. I just didn't want a big party. So, instead if even going out to eat, I decided to cook. Cooking brings me much more joy than going out to eat, and I almost always love what I make!

Feisty Green Beans is one of my favorite recipes. Oh, how I wish I could take credit for this delicious recipe! I found it on 101 Cookbooks a while ago and have made it several times, each time with slightly different ingredients, and every time it is delicious! It is slightly spicy and soulfully satisfying. I once made  Feisty Green Beans for a crowd. Every time I added another ingredient to the pan, another person would come up to me and tell me how much they hated that ingredient and why... Amazingly, each of them gave the beans a try. Not one person disliked it.

To go with the beans, I sliced up some kohlrabi. I love the crisp texture of kohlrabi, and its benign flavor complemented the spicy beans perfectly. Kohlrabi is high in dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium (goodbye anxiety!), vitamin C, and more. I simply cut the coarse outside off of the vegetable, sliced it into bit-sized chunks, and lightly salted it. Perfect.

Also on the side, I thinly sliced a baguette and spread a thick layer of fresh brebis cheese (sheep's milk cheese) on each slice. This would have been even better if I had toasted the slices first, but I opted for ease in this case.

Finally dessert arrived! A flourless chocolate cake ala Seward Co-op. So rich, so good. The top chocolate flower was way too sweet for both Martin and me, so we ended up not eating it. The pinot noir we were drinking went superbly with the cake. I must do that combo again soon!

Feisty Green Beans
Serves 4, originally posted by 101 Cookbooks

1 lb green beans (I used mostly yellow beans)
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup white wine (I used red wine this time. Just choose a wine you love.)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used hungarian paprika)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Drain the tofu. Press the tofu by wrapping in a towel and placing something heavy (like a can of tomatoes) on top of it. Let sit like this until you're ready to use it.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the green beans for just a minute; they should be a bright color and still crisp. Drain and dunk in an ice-cold water bath to stop the cooking. Drain and set-aside.
  3. In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water (for about 5 minutes).
  4. Heat your largest skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cook until the onions and garlic start to brown just a bit. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Remove the bay leaves.
  5. Stir in the spices. Cut tofu into 1/4 inch cubes and add to the skillet. Drain the raisins and add to the skillet. Cook until heated through, about a minute or two. Add the butter and the green beans and stir until the butter has melted. 
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in the sour cream, toasted almonds, and cilantro. Devoir. 

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