Remembering favorite vegetables

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                Recently, I began thinking about foods that my late dad, Homer Kirkwood, particularly liked to eat. Having been a finicky eater for 80 years, his list of edible vegetables was very short.

                Although he loved fresh green salads and coleslaw, he also enjoyed eating a variety of raw vegetables—sliced tomatoes, onions, banana and hot peppers—with his meals. As for cooked vegetables, I believe that he ate more green beans and potatoes than any other.

                As a child, I followed in my dad’s footsteps along that narrow road of picky eaters. In fact, green beans and potatoes were and still are among my favorite vegetables. Luckily for me, I outgrew my persnickety ways regarding food. In my adulthood, I learned to step out of my comfort zone and try new foods. Sadly, he never did.

                Today I’m sharing my recipe for Kentucky Wonder green beans inspired by dad and my better half Charles’s bountiful garden. I know without a doubt that my dad would have loved them as much as we did.

                I’m also sharing another original recipe called Parmesan-herbed mashed potatoes. Although my dad was particularly fond of potatoes, he would never have tasted these because he hated cheese of any kind. I, on the other hand, adore cheese. My love of cheese and Italian food inspired me to create it. Charles and I found it to be a pleasant change from plain ol’ mashed potatoes.

Kentucky Wonder Green Beans

Ingredients:

                10 c. fresh Kentucky Wonder green beans

                8 slices of bacon

                2 c. yellow onion, diced

                2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

                1 1/2 t. finely ground sea salt

                3/4 t. black pepper

                1 t. garlic powder

                3 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

                Snap off the ends of the beans and discard. Cut or break the beans into 2-inch lengths. Wash and drain the beans; set aside. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the slices of bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; set aside.

                Into a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, pour in the oil. When the oil is hot, add the bacon pieces and brown, stirring constantly. Add the onions, cooking until golden. Add the seasonings and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour in the broth; stir. Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Add the beans, stirring to coat. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the temperature to low. Cook for 30 minutes.

 Uncover the pot and stir. Replace the lid and continue cooking until your desired doneness is reached. I cooked mine for about another 45 minutes as we like our beans rather limp.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Parmesan-Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

                6-7 medium-sized russets potatoes

                1/2 c. milk

                1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

                1 1/2 T. butter

                1 t. finely ground sea salt             

1/2 t. black pepper

                3/4 t. garlic powder

                1/4 t. dried thyme

                1 bay leaf

                1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

                Peel the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, and then slice them into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Place the potatoes and the bay leaf into a large Dutch oven and cover with cold water. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.

                While the potatoes are simmering, place the remaining ingredients into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low once the butter has melted and the mixture is hot.

                When the potatoes are done, drain them and return them to the pot. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Pour in the warm milk mixture and whip with an electric mixer until light and fluffy with no lumps remaining. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings