Archive for the 'sides' Category

Warm Potato-Celery Root Salad

The other day I bought a celery root at the farmer’s market (thanks to That Girl for the inspiration). I spent about 10 days trying to decide what to do with it, but none of the recipes in my cookbook collection really appealed to me. So, I turned to The Flavor Biblefor some ideas.

The book listed capers, mustard, and lemon as going well with celery root, so I used all three. Roasting is my favorite way to cook most vegetables, and it definitely worked out well here. Mike said he wished the potatoes were a little crisper, so a little extra time in the oven might be helpful.

I’m thinking the next new-to-me vegetable I’m going to try is kohlrabi. Any recipe suggestions?


Quinoa with Leeks and Walnuts

I went to Bikram yoga this morning for the first time in 4 years, and I didn’t feel like I was going to die! The first class I ever took, I had to sit down for a lot of it because the heat was just so overwhelming. In case you’re unfamiliar with Bikram, it’s a 90 minute yoga class in a very hot room. It’s intense, but you feel completely amazing walking out of that room dripping with sweat at the end. I can’t wait to go back! (And sorry for talking about sweat right before giving you a recipe…lets shift gears to more appetizing things now)

For the past couple years I was convinced I hated leeks. I can’t remember when the aversion started, but I made sure to avoid them (which, fortunately, was pretty easy). Then a few weeks ago I decided to give them another chance, so I made a Turkish recipe from Arabesquethat had leeks in an egg yolk-lemon sauce and realized they were completely delicious. So when I saw this recipe from A Couple Cooks, I was excited to make more leeks.

This dish is really simple, but there are a couple key things that really amp up the flavor. One is sauteeing some shallots and then adding broth to cook the quinoa. The shallots definitely add a subtle layer of flavor. The other is cooking the leeks in butter until they begin to caramelize just a little bit in places. The finishing touches of lemon juice and toasted walnuts round it all out.

(adapted from A Couple Cooks

Grilled Corn with Chili-Lime Butter

We have made a ton of progress unpacking and settling in, but the living room definitely still needs a little work.

We’ll get there…

Yesterday we used our barbecue for the first time in almost a year. The 4th of July seemed like the most appropriate time to bring it out of hibernation.

Mike grilled a pork tenderloin with some rub that I got at Foodbuzz Fest back in November.

I had Smart Dogs.

We decided to try grilling corn for the first time. Some recipes recommended soaking the corn so the husks wouldn’t burn, but others said you actually want the husks to burn a little bit because it adds a smoky flavor to the kernels. We ended up throwing the whole ears on the grill, unsoaked.

I also made some coleslaw, because it just seemed necessary for the 4th of July, plus it goes really well with meatless hot dogs!

I made a simple chili-lime compound butter to put on the corn. Ever since that brunch workshop I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea of compound butters. The beautiful thing about this one is that it has so much flavor you only need to use a little bit.

After dinner we walked a couple blocks to check out the view. I LOVE that this is so close to our house! I really adore living right by the ocean.

Hope you had an awesome holiday weekend!


4 ears corn
2 tbsp butter, softened
zest of half a lime
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt (optional)

To make the compound butter, beat the zest, chili powder, and butter together until smooth. Set aside.

Prepare a grill. Don’t remove any of the husk or silks from the corn – you can do that after the ears are cooked. Grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the kernels are tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove the husks, spread the ears with butter, and sprinkle with a little salt if desired.

Roasted Vegetable Galette with Kalamata Crust

Don’t let your eyes deceive you, that is NOT a chocolate chip cookie wrapped around roasted vegetables. The kalamata olive crust does look a little unusual, but it’s much tastier than the average plain crust! This is definitely the season for roasted vegetables, and they shine here, tossed with some rosemary and roasted garlic. The original recipe also called for cheese, but I skipped it because I know there is so much other rich food available that it seemed like overkill.

I made this for a big Thanksgiving dinner with friends, and it was definitely well-received! But let me back up and walk you through the baking process (which for me included a couple unexpected steps).

We were staying at Mike’s parents house, which meant I had to cook in an unfamiliar kitchen. (Well, not completely unfamiliar, because it’s where I baked a billion cupcakes about a month ago)

I had Ina keeping me company as I diced up butternut squash, carrots, and red onions. The original recipe called for beets and parsnips, but both my local grocery stores didn’t have either of those, so I went with what I could find.

In addition to the vegetables, you cut the top off a head of garlic, sprinkle it with some oil, wrap it in foil, and roast it until it’s so soft you can squeeze out an amazing roasted garlic paste.

Once the vegetables in the oven, it’s time to make the crust. I couldn’t find olive oil anywhere, so I ended up using butter, which I think is a better choice anyway.

I also couldn’t find a rolling pin, so had to kind of mash the dough between to pieces of plastic wrap to flatten it out. It actually ended up working pretty well!

Galettes are nice and easy because you basically just pile your filling in the middle of the dough and then fold over the edges – no pie plate or making the pastry look decorative.

When it was done, we took it over to our friends’ house. The night started with cocktails (which I skipped because I was determined not to have my planned run for the next morning ruined by a hangover)

Then it was time for dinner (with turkey and tofurkey available!)

There was so much good food it was a little ridiculous, but it was a really fun night. Nobody could tell my pecan pie was slightly burnt, and it worked perfectly with the salted pecans!

(adapted from nytimes)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) chilled butter, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives

3 medium carrots, diced
1 red onion, peeled and diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 head garlic

To prepare the filling: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
Toss the vegetables, rosemary, and salt together in a large bowl, then spread on the sheet and roast for about 35 minutes or until tender.

Cut the top (the sprouting end, not the root end) off the garlic and sprinkle with a few drops of oil. Wrap in foil and roast for 35-40 minutes, or until soft.

To make the crust: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and stir. Add the butter slices and rub them between your fingers with the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
Add olives and water and stir with a fork to bring the dough together, then press together into a disk with your hands.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Roll the pastry out to a 14″ circle on a well-floured surface. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

When the vegetables are tender, put them in a large bowl. Taste and add salt (and pepper) if needed. Squeeze about half the garlic into the vegetables and toss well.

Place the vegetables in the center of the crust and fold the edges over. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the crust is beginning to brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes with Vegan Gravy

I love caramelized onions and I really love mashed potatoes, but the thought of combining the two never crossed my mind until I saw this recipe.

There I was, sitting on the couch right after work, agonizing over what to take with Thanksgiving with our friends this weekend, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and working on a grocery list, when I somehow stumbled upon it. I was even intrigued by the vegan gravy, although I normally despise gravy.

I picked up some groceries including, you’ll notice, roasted and salted pecans. I am definitely making pecan pie this weekend, but Trader Joe’s was out of normal pecans. I swear our Trader Joe’s has to be either the busiest store in the chain or is trying to win the award for Most Likely to Be Out of What You’re Looking For (they definitely have a good shot at that one). Anyway…since everyone seems to be on such a sweet with salty kick lately I though MAYBE the salted pecans would be really good in pie. Or I might just be crazy and it will be a total disaster…we’ll see.

I completely dropped the ball caramelizing the onions. I cut them into rings like I always do and it was only about halfway though the caramelization process that I realized chopped would have been a much better choice (and of course that’s what the recipe said to do but I obviously can’t follow directions). However, the flavor is amazing no matter what shape they’re in, so dinner was not ruined. Whew.

It always amazes me to see how much onions cook down. Mine went from this:

to this:

in about 40 minutes.

Then I just boiled my potatoes, drained them, and mixed them in my KitchenAid (never done that before, but it works SO WELL!) with a little salt, almond milk, and onions. Mike even said he liked them better this way than with lots of butter. SCORE.

After an 8 mile run in the dark (is it Spring yet???), there is not much that can beat a giant bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy!

(adapted from The Front Burner)

2 tbsp olive oil
4 medium yellow onions, chopped
8 medium potatoes (I used 4 red and 4 white)
1/2 cup almond milk

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
2 cups water

First, caramelize the onions. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat (don’t let the pan get too hot, or the onions will burn instead of caramelize!)

Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for about 40 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

While the onions are cooking, scrub the potatoes and cut into 1″ cubes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

Drain and put in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix in a few pinches of salt, the almond milk, and the onions and beat on medium high until soft (adding more milk if necessary).

To make the gravy, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Stir in the nutritional yeast and soy sauce, then use a wire whisk and add the flour. It will be a huge globby mess, but keep whisking quickly and add the water gradually.

Keep whisking until all the water has been added, by which point the gravy should be smooth and not lumpy (mine was a little lumpy but the immersion blender took care of that!) and simmer to thicken. Pour over the potatoes to serve.

Quinoa with Broccoli Pesto

I think people who claim to hate vegetables just haven’t tried them in the right form. Show me someone who hates broccoli, and I can almost guarantee that this broccoli pesto will make them fall in love with it.

This is another amazing recipe from 101 Cookbooks, which I changed slightly because I didn’t want to drown my broccoli in heavy cream. I also cooked my quinoa in vegetable broth, because it’s just so much more flavorful than using water. I love this stuff!

(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth

5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems

3 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil

Bring the broth to a boil, then stir in the quinoa and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and let cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, steam the broccoli until tender. Transfer half the steamed broccoli to a food processor with the garlic, almonds, cheese, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Pulse a few times, until nearly smooth (but a little texture keeps it interesting). Taste and adjust seasonings.

To serve, toss the pesto with the quinoa, then top with remaining steamed broccoli.

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Not being from the South, I don’t think I ate a single black eyed pea until a few months ago. I’m not jumping-up-and-down excited about them, but they’re not bad, and since we have a couple bags of them to use up, I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do with them. My search for recipes let me to Texas caviar, which appears to be just black eyed peas and diced vegetables in a vinegar dressing, served with tortilla chips.

I wanted to make a meal rather than an appetizer, so this is what I came up with. Meat-eaters would probably consider this a side, but I think it can hold its own as the main course of a light summer supper. The flavor improved a lot after a few hours in the fridge, so plan ahead. I’m sure frozen corn would work in a pinch, but now that we’re getting into peak corn season, it just makes sense to use it!

1 tbsp olive oil
2 ears of corn
3 cups cooked (or canned) black eyed peas
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 green onions, white and light green parts only, chopped
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
pinch or two cayenne pepper

Slice the kernels of corn off the ears. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a wide skillet, then add the corn and saute over medium-high until it’s tender. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Stir in the black eyed peas, red and green bell pepper, and green onion, and toss well.

To make the dressing, whisk together the 2 tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste (a pinch or two of each). Pour over the salad, toss well, then let sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. It’s even better the next day.

Aloo Gobi

Are you one of those people that constantly ranks things, High Fidelity style? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then please watch the movie immediately).

I am. I could sit here right now and list off my top 5 vacation spots, races I’ve run, meals we ate while traveling in Asia, and outfits currently in my closet, but I’ll spare you. I could also tell you my top 5 vegetables to eat, and cauliflower would be nowhere near that list. But Mike loves it, particularly in Aloo Gobi, which I have to admit is pretty good (and it has potatoes, which are in my top 5). It’s another one of those Indian dishes that tastes more complicated than it actually is, and is such a beautiful yellow color that it makes up for the fact that cauliflower normally is, in my opinion, a blah, anemic-looking vegetable.

So regardless of your feelings on cauliflower, this is definitely worth a try.

(adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen)

3 cups of cut cauliflower (cut into small florets)
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (cubed into bite sized pieces)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons water + additional water while cooking
3 tablespoons oil
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

Combine the ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and cumin seeds in a small bowl and stir in 3 tbsp water.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven until hot, then add the paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes (it may splatter – be careful!)

Add the bay leaves, cauliflower, and potatoes, and stir well. Add 1/4 cup water and the salt, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. If things start sticking or beginning to burn on the bottom of the pan, add a little water and keep stirring.

When the vegetables are tender, taste and add salt if necessary, then garnish with chopped cilantro to serve.

Fideus with Mushrooms and Peas

I realize that what I did to this recipe is pretty sacrelig, and if Judy Rogers ever stumbles upon this blog, I know she’ll be highly disappointed. I used regular old button mushrooms and frozen peas when the recipe called for wild mushrooms and freshly shelled peas. And although I’m sure using what she suggests would have made this even better, it was still HIGHLY delicious with the lowly, ordinary mushrooms and peas from the freezer.

Fideus is basically risotto made with pasta instead of rice. I found thin, 1 inch long noodles in the Mexican food section, but if you can’t find them, just take the thinnest pasta you can find, and break it up into short pieces. You may want to spread the preparation of this dish out over several days. The onion base is time consuming (but SO worth it), and keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Once that’s ready, the actual cooking of this dish is pretty quick.

(adapted from Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers)

onion base
3 cups finely diced yellow onion
3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 diced roma tomato
2 small dried chilis, broken in half

10 ounces fideo pasta (or cappellini broken into short pieces)
2 tsp olive oil

6 ounces assorted mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4″ thick
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh peas (or frozen, rinsed with warm water and drained)
chopped parsley for garnish

To make the onion jam:
Put the onions and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and stir well. Heat until the onions begin to brown on the bottom, then turn down the heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they are all golden and very soft. Add a few pinches of salt, then stir in the tomato, garlic, and chilis. Continue cooking over low for about an hour until it has the consistency of jam, adding a little water if it gets too dry. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and keep in the fridge until ready to use (it will keep for about a week).

To toast the noodles:
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Toss the noodles with the oil in a large bowl, and spread onto two baking sheets so the noodles are in a single layer. Heat in the oven until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from the oven, let cool, and turn the oven up to 475 to finish the dish.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until they’re soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, onion base, noodles, and about 1 1/2 cups of broth. Simmer and stir until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add another 1 1/2 cups broth, and cook until absorbed. Add the peas and remaining broth, and turn the heat up to high, cooking until the liquid is absorbed.

Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then remove and garnish with fresh parsley to serve.

Lemon-Thyme Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad

I spent all day thinking about this dinner. I realize to some people that might be a little obsessive, but I knew I had quinoa and a random assortment of vegetables at home, and I wanted to make something that would use up what I had on hand but not feel like a dumping ground for odds and ends. I wanted it to be well put-together, satisfying, and delicious.

It’s kind of like when you were in middle school and wanted to talk to the boy you liked, so you’d agonize all day over what to say to seem cute and fun, not clingy and desperate. Middle school was so awkward. Anyway…

Roasting the mushrooms, red onion, and zucchini together in a little olive oil with salt and pepper bring out complex flavors in all three, and the lemon and thyme in the dressing bring a bright summer freshness that is hard to beat. With quinoa, the protein-packed super-grain, and some white beans for added protein and fiber, this is an awesome main course dish that will definitely keep you satisfied. For those of you that eat meat, you could always leave out the beans and serve it alongside grilled chicken or shrimp. I’m also thinking that for summer, grilled vegetables would be a seasonally-appropriate stand-in for roasted…whatever works for you!

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa

1 large zucchini, cut into 1″ chunks
10-12 large button mushrooms, quartered
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1 can (or about 1 1/2 cups cooked) navy or canellini beans, rinsed and drained

juice of 1 large lemon (2-3 tbsp)
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Toss the zucchini, mushrooms, and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Remove and set aside.

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the quinoa. Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add the quinoa. Cover and turn to low, cooking for about 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove the cover, transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.

Mix together the dressing ingredients (lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper, olive oil, and shallot) and toss with the quinoa. Add the beans and vegetables, toss a few more times, and serve.


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