You're Going To Love These Green Beans with Chipotle Butter

This is an easy recipe with a big taste. It's made with a compounded butter and once the butter is made there is enough that you can also use it on other things such as broccoli. The flavor is smokey with a little heat but not overly so. We adapted this recipe after finding it in an old Bon Appetit magazine (Dec. 2006). We steam the beans instead of boiling them so we can preserve the vitamins and flavor and we give them a quick saute instead of stirring them in a pot. You can add a sprinkle of toasted pinons or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) if you'd like.

Ingredients: 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chile (you can buy a can of chipotle chilis in adobo sauce in the Mexican Food section of your grocery store--use what you need and freeze the rest)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 lbs of green beans, trimmed (feel free to use however many green beans you'd like and simply adjust the amount of butter, using enough to coat them all)

Directions: Blend butter, chile, vinegar, and salt in mini processor until smooth. Transfer to small bowl or jar. You can make this ahead of time and stick it in the refrigerator.
Next steam the beans for 3 minutes. Drain. Melt chipotle butter in large frying pan over medium heat. Add the beans and saute in the butter for 3-5 minutes until they just start to blister. Stir frequently. Season with a pinch of salt if needed. Transfer to bowl, top with nuts if desired and enjoy.


Delicious Food at Ubuntu in Napa

This blog has been neglected but I think you will understand. We are new parents to a baby girl we named Remi Anise Sterling. Her middle name (pronounced like Denise) came to me when I was recipe testing with Catherine McConkie for Rebecca Katz new cookbook. We were using Star Anise, a spice, and it smells so wonderful...sort of like licorice only better. Dylan agreed that it went well with Remi and the name stuck. Rebecca has claimed her our little Spice Girl!

So, yesterday we drove to Napa and left her with Chris's parents for our first real outing. There was a tinge of seperation anxiety but hey, our caregivers were a retired surgeon and a retired baby nurse and lactation specialist! So knowing she was in great hands and having cell phones on the ready, off we went to Ubuntu. The restaurant was recommended to me by a fellow chef, Jason, who works on their biodynamic farm.

The weather that day was warm and sunny and the food was beyond expectations. That shouldn't surprise anyone, Chef Jeremy Fox has many accolades including Rising Star Chef. So, what did we have to eat? Chickpea fries with herbs and romesco sauce. The chickpeas had been mashed and shaped to look like french fries and then lightly fried with the romesco as a dipping sauce. Then there was the hickory smoked grits topped with BBQ brussel sprouts, crunchy green apple and bronze fennel sprouts. Now that should make your mouth water. Dessert was poached pear with fennel and white chocolate, citrus and horchata. It was served in a martini glass with the white chocolate on the bottom, sliced pear and orange with hazelnuts next, topped with half vanilla ice cream and half citrus ice. On the one hand the ice was cleansing and on the other hand the ice cream was rich...wonderful combination. Okay, next time I will remember to get the camera out of the glove compartment and take pictures of the food for you. But hey, I'm a tired new parent and I was lucky to have my shoes on the right feet!
Please spoil yourself by visiting a wonderful restaurant on occassion - it really is worth every bite.