Dairy-Free Dining

The new apartment, while not yet photo-ready, is finally getting to the point where we can actually cook in it. In other words, I can (for the most part) find things in the kitchen. And there’s, like, space to walk around and stuff.
Of course, we can’t have things quite so easy – I’m currently on a course of antibiotics (don’t worry, nothing serious) that lasts two weeks and keeps me from drinking alcohol, eating dairy, and basically doing anything fun. So, when I was trying to plan meals for the week, I realized what a hard time all the no-milk no-butter no-cream no-cheese people out there have. Yikes.
However, I was determined not to go hungry. Now, I thought, just because I can’t eat anything good doesn’t mean I can’t eat anything good. Wait. I mean…you’ll see.
Between the Silver Palate cookbook and Food and Wine, we managed to come up with a menu:

Chicken with lemon and herbs cooked in foil, with a side of sweet and sour greens beans. Sounds pretty good, right?

Now, I would call this a 70% success. The chicken good, but somehow both a little too lemony and a little bland for my taste. It was easy – everything got thrown in foil and cooked in the oven, and that was pretty much it. (I’m not a huge fan of boneless skinless chicken breast, so make your own judgements on this one if you like. It’s certainly healthy. The recipe can be seen here, though I cut the lemons a bit thinner than in their picture.)

The green beans were equally easy, and, in my opinion, a much greater success. They literally take about five minutes, so even I can’t make the excuse that it’ll take too long to get extra vegetables on the table…not that I do that, Mom.

Sweet-and-Sour Green Beans

From Grace Parisi for Food and Wine
The sauce here is simple, but has a good mix of tangy, tart, and sweet that still lets the bean flavor come through. This one might go into my repertoire for an easy side dish – making vegetables as a side dish always makes me feel like a grown up making a “real meal.”
3/4 pound(s) green beans
2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoon(s) cider vinegar
1 teaspoon(s) sugar
Freshly ground pepper
Place the green beans in a steamer basket set over a large saucepan of boiling water. Steam until bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the shallot and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar; stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the beans. Season with salt and pepper, toss well, and serve.

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