Monday, May 9, 2011

Cajun Crunch String Beans (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I used to shop at this Israeli spice store located in Queens, NY- the most muti cultured borough in the world named Pereg. It's a gourmet herb and spice store that makes their own spice mixtures and teas where they are sold by weight in huge glass containers or in burlap bags. It's just my kind of place- so authentic.


In any event, I shopped there for years and even trekked out to Queens when I moved to Long Island. It was that worth it because the spices are pure, fresh and natural with no additives, no preservatives, no added volume and no food coloring. 


The last time I was there was a year ago. As usual they always displayed new things for their customers to try. This time it was cajun almonds. It was a gorgeous vibrant orange hue coating the almonds. I bought them, not knowing what I would do with them, until I had a recipe in mind. Since it was the CSA season and I got plenty of fresh snappy string beans, I figured these would work as a spicy topping. It was a bold spicy crunchy mixture livening up the string beans.


So months later and I wanted to make this Cajun Crunchy String Bean dish again. I drove out to Queens, only to find Pereg has closed and taken their business online. Disappointed, I went back home and decided to make my own Cajun Crunch Almonds.



Serves 6-8

ingredients
1-pound fresh string beans, diagonally sliced 2 inches
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

Directions
      1      Preheat oven to 350°F
      2      In a small bowl; mix and combine the almonds, Cajun seasoning and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Make sure to coat almonds with the seasoning.
      3      Line a small baking pan with aluminum foil. Arrange almonds in a single layer on baking pan and bake for 7 minutes in oven. Once done, set aside.
      4      In a medium size saucepot, heat 1-tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and stir until the garlic becomes fragrant and looks fuller.
      5      Add the string beans into the pot and sauté, combining the oil and garlic. Lower heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes or until the string beans turn a darker green color.
      6      When ready to serve, arrange string beans into a serving platter and top with the Cajun almonds.

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