Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brown sugar makes everything better

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled ham steaks
  • yet more beer bread
  • warm salad of caramelized veggies and spinach
I used to make this caramelized veggie salad all the time, but for some reason it's been ages since I've served it. It's actually pretty easy and REALLY delicious. The original recipe came from a Betty Crocker vegetarian cookbook, if you can believe it!

What I do is take some small red-skinned potatoes, cut them in halves or quarters, stick them in a big pot with about an inch of water, and bring it to a boil. While the water is heating I rinse some green beans, trim the stem ends, and cut them in half, adding them to the boiling water. Bring it all back up to the boil if necessary, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and leave them alone for about 10 minutes or until they're just tender. Drain and set aside.

Then cut up some sweet yellow onion and saute it in a skillet with about a third of a cup of butter until the onion is nice and golden and soft. Add equal amounts of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar (for a pound each of potatoes and beans, I use 1/4 cup each of the sugar and vinegar) along with a pinch or two of salt, and stir just until everything is combined and the sugar has dissolved a bit (but DON'T LET THE SUGAR BURN). Add the potatoes/beans to the skillet and toss to coat, then turn out onto a bed of baby spinach leaves. This is a nice, hearty side dish and the sweet, caramelly goodness really compliments a salty/cured meat like ham.

The ham itself was just grilled on the stovetop in my beloved IKEA grill pan.

And yes, we had beer bread AGAIN! We're not eating this every single night, I swear. It's just so damn EASY, and everyone loves it. This time I made it with Saint Arnold Texas Wheat beer and it was SO good -- not quite as sweet as when I used Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat and more, er, bread-like.

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