Thursday, June 30, 2011

Arctic Char w/ Roasted Garlic & Rosemary

So during my recent first trip to Trader Joe's I saw some Arctic Char on sale.  I had never had it before and we love fish, so I picked some up.  I had no idea what it tasted like or what to cook it with so I did a quick Internet search and found this recipe on Food Network.  It catch my attention because I had some fresh rosemary in my fridge that I still needed to use up (from another recipe I haven't shared yet).  And I love roasted garlic so it sounded perfect!  It was seriously so easy and really bright with the lemon.  Roasted garlic doesn't have a strong garlic flavor, it just turns sort of sweet almost and it was a great pair with the fresh rosemary.  Just be sure to leave yourself enough time to roast the garlic, or do it the night before!

1 small-sized bulb garlic
2 (1/2 - 1 pound total) Arctic char fillets
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Leaves from 1 or 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice off top of the garlic bulb, wrap in foil and roast for 1 hour. Set aside and allow bulbs to cool. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the bulbs into a food processor, and add the oil, lemon juice and rosemary. Process until mixture is smooth.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
Place fillets on well-oiled, foil-covered baking sheet. Salt and pepper the fillets liberally. Spread puree over the fillets, making sure all the flesh is well covered. Let fish marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes (if time).
Bake fish for 12 to 15 minutes, until the meat flakes easily and has a somewhat darker appearance on the inside.
Broil for another 2 minutes to brown the tops of the fillets (optional).

we had ours with rice, green beans, & edamame

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Portobello Mushroom & Brie "Burgers"

As you probably know by now, I am a total 'plan my recipes out for the week & make my grocery list prior to going to the store every Sunday' type of girl.  One of the few things in my life that I like to be super organized about.  Probably due to the fact that if I just wing it, I will buy way more than I need and things will go to waste, and I will undoubtedly forget something I can't live without for the next week and have to stop by the store again at least once.  However, sometimes when things go happens! 

One of the items I picked up last week was a package of two huge portobello mushrooms.  They looked so good, and immediately I thought to myself portobello mushroom "burgers!"  I think I saw Ree from Pioneer Woman make these once so I knew I could throw together a recipe.  Then I remembered the Brie cheese I had also purchased and knew this would be the perfect combo.  Add some caramelized mushrooms on top and I knew I could get Corey to eat them, even if mushrooms aren't his favorite (if you remember from this post on the mushroom soup I made once - which you should try, it was Divine!).  I had some small multi-colored sweet peppers in my fridge I needed to use up, so I threw them on the grill with the portobellas.  I also knew a sweet sauce would go great with the brie cheese.  There is this restaurant in town called Kincaid's that has the most amazing brie appetizer.  They serve it with apples, nuts, and a sweet chocolate & carmel sauce...YUM.  So I decided to make some balsamic syrup to drizzle on top.  This burger was to die for.  And for the record, Corey loved it!  We were dreaming about it laying in bed saying how we wished we had another (at 10pm)...

Two large Portobello Mushroom caps
Olive oil & Salt and pepper for seasoning
Brie (half of a large wedge should do it)
1/2 large Onion
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Sugar
4 small sweet multi-colored peppers (optional - or you could use one large red pepper)
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
Tomatoes & Lettuce for toppings (optional)
Buns, or english muffins

Start by preheating your grill.  Slice onions and cook on low in a skillet with butter & sugar until they caramelize.  Wash mushrooms thoroughly and brush with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
Once grill is preheated, add peppers to char on all sides, and add mushrooms. 
Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan over med high heat and bring to a boil.  Turn down once boiling to med low heat and let it simmer until reduced by at least half.  It will become thick like a syrup once complete and will taste very sweet.
Continue to cook mushrooms about 5 minutes on each side until you get good grill marks.  (And continue to turn your peppers so they cook evenly). 
We chose to have these on english muffins because we didn't have any buns, but you can serve on whatever you would like.  Toast or grill your buns of choice and begin to assemble your burgers!  We layered the portobello, then the Brie, then sliced the peppers thinly, then the caramelized onions, then the basil, then the balsamic drizzled over the top, then add your tomatoes & lettuce if using at the end to keep your top bun from getting soggy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My first trip to Trader Joe's

Can I just say this is seriously my new favorite place?  I went the other night for a quick trip with my sister and intended on getting a few fun snacks or whatever looked good.  WRONG...I left with a full cart and over $100 less in my pocket.  Opps, guess thats what I get for not having a list to stick to!  I should have known how this trip was gonna go when the first thing I saw was the cheese isle.  But just wait until you see what I picked up!  And if you have never been, its fabulous.  I mean everything seems cheaper, their cheeses are like half the price of the grocery.  And the wine...well they have this thing called the "two buck chuck."  They carry a brand called Charles Straw for around $2.50 a bottle.  I picked up the Shiraz and the Chardonnay.  The Shiraz was to die for, I haven't tried the Chardonnay yet.  One of my favorite blogs, How Sweet shares her Trader Joe's trips on occasion so I thought I would do the same to help convince you to go if you haven't been before.  To die for!  (on a side note we had 34 people baptised at church awesome is that!!!)

produce:  Portobellas, bananas, eggplant, garlic, avocado, roma tomatoes, pineapple, fresh basil - can't wait to show you what I'm making this week!!!

some good "snacks", veggie chips, pistachios, white bean & basil hummis, edamame, fresh salsa, cilantro jalapeno hummis, and a Luna bar to try out!

More yummy Snacks: Cinnamon almonds, the best raspberry sorbet, and dark chocolate covered pretzels (they go great with a glass of red wine!)

Man Food for Corey when I'm not home.   He was so excited.  A ravioli & a tortellini, chicken wantons, Mandarin orange chicken, chicken burritos
limited myself to only 3 cheeses!  Feta, Brie, and Blue Cheese

a few grains: Pita bite crackers, whole wheat pitas, and pecan praline granola, yes please!!

a few beverages: blueberry pomegranate green tea, a few bottles of wine, Chai latte mix (yum), and a forgotten photo of some goose island india pale ale for my hubby!

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

What could be better than a fresh muffin in the morning, straight out of the oven, with a gooey lemon glaze?  Yum!  These muffins were so moist and I loved the little crunch from the poppyseeds.  The glaze was the perfect in between of sweet and tart. 

I intended on making a healthier version, but once I got zoned into cooking...I completely forgot and just followed the recipe!  Next time I will definitely try half whole wheat flour, adding some flax seed meal, and using less sugar and butter (or a substitute for butter).  But, let me tell you following the recipe will not steer you wrong!!  This comes from Joy the Baker.  The only change I made was to make my glaze a little thinner by adding more lemon juice.

2/3 cup granulated sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter, melted until browned and cooled
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (for topping the batter before baking)

For the Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar whisked together with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice (I used 1/2 cup powdered sugar with same amount of lemon juice).

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a 12 mold, regular sized muffin tray with paper muffin liners, place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, rub the granulated sugar with the lemon zest until the sugar is lightly colored and scented with lemon.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk (or sour cream) vanilla extract, melted butter and lemon juice.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together.  When almost thoroughly mixed, add the poppy seeds.  Divide batter between muffin cups.  Sprinkle each would be muffing with granulated sugar.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've posted this recipe once here but didn't have a chance to take any pictures, so I thought it was time for an update!  I made these cookies to munch on for a quick Father's Day dinner we threw together last minute that turned out awesome!  This is the hands down best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever found.

1/2 cup butter (melted)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (12 oz) bag of semi sweet chocolate chips (or less if you wish)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda

Evenly position 2 racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or just lightly butter them.  Melt the butter in the microwave and cool slightly. Whisk the sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.  Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Scoop tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared pans.  Space the cookies about 2-inches apart on the pans. Bake, until golden, but still soft in the center, 12 to 16 minutes (12 minutes was plenty for mine).  Transfer hot cookies with a spatula to a rack to cool.  Perfection!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Greek Layer Dip

So I had this dip once at my friend Jenn's house for a get together and remembered it being so good!  Then I saw it on Closet Cooking and loosely followed his recipe to remind myself of all the layers I wanted to use!  Its as easy as chopping some veggies, crumbling some feta, and layering a few things.  The suggestion I have for next time would be to serve it on a platter rather than in a bowl.  It would be better to spread out the hummus thinner and be able to get more veggies and feta in each bite.  I served it with pita chips and wheat pita slices.

1 container of hummus of your choice (I used roasted pine nut hummus)
1 cucumber
2 roma tomatoes
1/4 small red onion
Crumbled Feta
1 small can kalamata olives (optional - I didn't use them)

Spread hummus thin on platter.  Dice veggies very small.  Layer veggies and top with crumbled feta.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spinach Quiche

I made this quiche once last summer and remembered it tasting so good, but I had clearly forgotten how good!!!  I found the original recipe on a blog called My First Kitchen, but unfortunately her blog is no longer available as she is taking a blogging break. 
Some changes I made were using 4 eggs verses 3, using fresh spinach verses frozen, using the milk & half and half verses evaporated milk, and using 1 1/2 cups verses 2 1/2 cups cheese.  I also added in some additional seasonings.

9 inch deep pie shell
4 eggs
10 ounces fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or other white cheese
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup half & half
about a 1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
shaved parmesan

Preheat oven to 425.  Slice onion and saute with butter & sugar to caramelize.  Place frozen pie shell in pie pan to defrost while you prepare filling.  Wilt spinach in a sauce pan over low heat and let cool before mixing with other ingredients so your eggs don't get cooked before the oven.  (You could sub frozen spinach and defrost prior to using).  Whisk eggs, milks, seasonings, spinach, and mozzarella together.  Top with dollops of ricotta.  I continued to let my onions caramelize during the initial cooking of my quiche and topped them about 1/2 way through cook time.  Cook quiche for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 325 and cook an additional 40-50 minutes.  Top with shaved parmesan once it comes out of the oven.

before the oven

fresh out of the oven with parmesan

so much spinach, such good flavor!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

We were really in the mood for a salad and a steak for dinner tonight so we decided to combine the two!  I was remembering how good the blue cheese vinaigrette was from this bbq chicken salad I made before and thought it would go perfect with the steak.  Add in some sweet caramelized onions and some tomatoes and you have a really easy, awesome dinner.

1 rib eye steak
Montreal Steak seasoning (or other if you have it)
Worcestershire sauce
Spring Salad Mix
Roma Tomatoes
1/2 large sweet onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
Blue Cheese vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Start by getting your onions cooking, they take the longest.  Slice them and cook them in a pan with the butter and sugar on low heat until they caramelize.  Season steak on both sides and sear both sides in pan with a little olive oil.  Cook it the rest of the way through in the oven (watch carefully and don't overcook).  I cooked mine at 350 for about 7 minutes in the oven and it was pretty thick.  Slice steak and toss with just a little worcestershire and more seasoning.  Serve salad mix, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and steak.  Drizzle with vinaigrette. 

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
(I halved this dressing recipe and it was more than enough)
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 medium shallot, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, dry pan roasted and chopped
2 tablespoons peach jam (or just a pinch of sugar would work)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup blue cheese or Gorgonzola
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in food processor.  Taste and add additional seasoning if needed or more olive oil and vinegar if too thick.


After making calzones and spinach rolls I knew this stromboli would be good and I knew I was going to make it with the pre-made pizza crust because its so good!  It was another good Sunday night dinner!  The only thing I might do next time would be add in some banana peppers because we love them!  And I think it would taste like these Antipasto Squares that I made once, soooooo good!  Original recipe from Our Life in the Kitchen.  Check out her blog, she has amazing pictures and great recipes.

1 roll refrigerated Pizza Dough
Egg Yolk
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 400.  Start layering the meat in the center, leaving an inch or two along the edges. Add provolone and mozzarella.  Combine the egg yolk with a couple tablespoons of water and brush the egg wash around the edges.  It’ll help the dough stick together when you roll it up.  Starting along one long edge, gently roll it up.  Place it on a baking sheet, seam side down.  Coat the top and sides with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with a little granulated garlic.  Bake at 400 for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Cut into slices serve and with pizza sauce for dipping.

Garlic Pepper Shrimp

This was the first time I have ever bought fresh shrimp and peeled and deveined it myself.  I keep cooked frozen shrimp in the freezer most of the time and just heat it up when we use it.  This shrimp was so different.  It was so fresh and so tasty.  And actually not as much work as I thought it would be!  The original recipe is from Cheeky Kitchen and she served hers with rice.  We decided to go the pasta route and just added a little bit of extra olive oil, lemon juice, and the sauce with the shrimp after cooking.  Thats how I'll share the recipe below.  We had penne, but next time I'd go linguini.  This shrimp was awesome, and the house smelled amazing while it was cooking!!!

1 pound raw, easy peel shrimp
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh chives, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 package whole wheat linguini noodles (or other pasta or rice)
Juice from 1/2 a large lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Start to cook pasta.  Rinse, peel and devein shrimp (but leave tails on if you wish).
In a blender or food processor, blend together the garlic, melted butter, and olive oil until the garlic is very finely chopped. Pour the olive oil mixture over the shrimp, sprinkle in the fresh chives, salt, and a hearty amount of fresh cracked pepper.
Place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through (be careful to not overcook the shrimp! they shouldn't curl into little circles, but should look like quarter moon sickles once done.)  Mine took about 9 or 10 minutes.
Drain pasta.  Dump shrimp and remaining garlic butter sauce from the baking sheet pan over the pasta.  Drizzle more olive oil over pasta if needed and add in lemon juice.  Serves 2 to 3.  Enjoy your simply amazing and irresistible dinner!

lazy this night, i need to step it up with my picture taking!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Southwestern Sloppy Joe's

Sloppy Joe's are seriously one of Corey's favorites.  He probably asks for them once a week.  I bookmarked this recipe on For the Love of Cooking about a month ago and then one of my friends made them and told me how good they were so I decided to put them on the list for this week.  Corey quickly agreed.  These were so good.  They were a little like the regular sloppy joes, but a tad spicy and had a really sweet flavor.  The spices were perfect.  And if you wanted to tone it down you could use green pepper rather than the jalapeno!

Southwestern Sloppy Joes with Avocado Slices:
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 small jalapeƱo, seeded and diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp coriander
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
5 small pearl tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup of ketchup, more if needed
1-2 tsp brown sugar
3/4 cup frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Hamburger buns, toasted
Avocado slices
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion & jalapeno and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the lean ground beef, making sure to break it up into crumbles as it cooks. Add the chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Mix the ingredients so the spices are evenly coating the beef and onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the beef is cooked through. Add the minced garlic and diced tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, sweet yellow corn, and cilantro. Cook for 2 minutes. Taste and re-season if needed. Scoop the filling onto a toasted hamburger bun and top with avocado slices. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

I served this with puffy cheddar mustard potatoes...recipe coming soon!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

These I made as well for my sister's birthday.  The recipe is from my friend Katie's blog and I knew my sis would love them because she loves peanut butter (who doesn't?).  They were so good, those kind of cupcakes that you savor each bite.  They were a little reminiscent of banana bread but the peanut butter icing took them over the top.  I took Katie's suggestion and added chocolate chips and definitely recommend you do that as well.  Her recipe called for a cream cheese based peanut butter icing, but unfortunately I knew these would be siting out for a while so I had to go with another icing.  I will share both below so you can choose!

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg 1 large egg yolk
1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Mash bananas with fork in another medium bowl until smooth.
Mix sour cream and vanilla into bananas. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until well blended.
Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with banana-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended after each addition.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (generous 1/4 cup for each).
Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
Chopped lightly salted roasted peanuts (optional)

Sift powdered sugar into large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter.
Using electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth.
Spread frosting over top of cupcakes, dividing equally. Sprinkle lightly with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Peanut Butter Frosting
(I made this one) courtesy of Ina

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream (or you can use a tad bit of water)

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

don't be afraid to slather on the icing for these too.  its not too rich.  i wish i had used more!

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

So my sister's 23rd bday was Friday and I wanted to make her something sweet.  We also left for our 5th annual girls trip to Nashville Friday so I decided to make some cupcakes to bring down for everyone to celebrate.  I've only made the out of the box cupcakes prior to this.  Oh my goodness, homemade icing is the best, I don't know if I'll ever go back to that store bought stuff!  Plus it gave me and excuse to use my new stand mixer again!  I also made banana cupcakes with chocolate chips and peanut butter icing...I'll share that recipe next! 

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
courtesy of How Sweet
makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup assorted brightly colored sprinkles + more for top of frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Fold in assorted sprinkles.
Pour into cupcake tins and fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool, then frost.

Vanilla Buttercream
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of milk, if needed
Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixture until completely smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly. Gradually increase mixer speed and add vanilla, then beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl. If frosting is too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.  You may feel like you have too much frosting but don't be scared to use it all on these cupcakes!  Its not too much and not overly sweet!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lemon Shallot Baked Salmon

You know I really thought this would just be another salmon dish when I first saw it.  Since we try to eat fish regularly we can always use another way to mix it up so I thought I would give this a shot.  It was seriously so good though!!!  I was also a little leery of the creamy herb dressing, but it was the perfect topping.  Really light and fresh!  I made mine a little different than the recipe based on what I had at home so my modifications are below.  Recipe comes from Cheeky Kitchen.

2 salmon filets
1/4 cup olive oil or less
zest of 1 lemon & juice of half the lemon (mine was pretty large and had a lot of juice so add more if you need)
1/2 shallot

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor or blender, combine the olive oil, lemon, and shallot. Blend until pureed completely.  Place salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the lemon-shallot sauce over the salmon. Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly-ground pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when touched with a fork. Top with Creamy Herb Dressing (recipe follows).

Creamy Herb Dressing:
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (I used plain regular low fat yogurt)
1 tablespoon each fresh chopped mint, dill, tarragon (I used a few sprinkles of Italian seasonings)
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup table cream (I had half & half
1/2 teaspoon salt

Balsalmic Green Beans & Cherry Tomatoes

This is such a fresh, easy side dish that looks fancy.  The flavors are surprisingly pretty outstanding together.  The recipe comes from Eating Well.  Its very easy not to mess this up so don't feel like you have to stick to the recipe as far as measuring goes, I pretty much just eyeball everything.

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans and cook, stirring often, until seared in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Add water, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes for tender-crisp or 6 minutes for tender. Push the beans to the side; add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, stir everything together and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar, salt and pepper.