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Gifts for the Gourmand.

Archive for the ‘Side Dishes/Vegetables’ Category

Apple/Pear Slaw

Summer is just around the corner, picnics and barbeques are already going strong. Here is a light, easy to prepare slaw that will liven up any gathering. This recipe will make enough for 4 people.

You will need:

Apple — one/4 servings, use a sweet variety I used Pink Lady.
Pear — one/4 servings, make sure it’s ripe I used a Bosch for this version.
Lime Juice — one medium/4 servings should be enough
Habanero Pepper — one small/4 servings.
Fresh Mint Leaves — approx. 1/4 cup/4 servings
Kiwi — 2 small/4 servings
Onion — 1 TBSP/4 servings very finely diced, use a sweet variety such as Walla Walla or Vidalia as an alternative you can use a red onion.
Olive Oil — approx. 1 TBSP/4 servings
Sea Salt — just a pinch or two

Use a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Cut all of the fruit into 1/8 inch sticks, roll all of the mint into a log and finely chiffonade. Finely dice the habanero pepper and onion. Add the olive oil, salt and mint to the bowl mix well, add the lime juice and stir once more. Add the apple, pear, onion and pepper stir all to combine. This slaw is best if you let all of the flavors marinate for an hour or so then Enjoy!

German Style Potato Salad

Every once in a while I dig into my past with thoughts of things I haven’t made in some time. Today was one of those days. I had some leftover cooked potatoes which I decided to use for a breakfast plate which reminded me of one of my favorite potato salads. As I have been known to remake old favorites I think this effort is well worth a try.

There are two things that made sense to change, one is the type of potato the other how they are cooked. Back in the day I used good ole red potatoes which I boiled for use in the salad, this time I chose to steam some Yukon Gold for this recipe. Steaming provides a great texture and retains some of the moisture normally lost when they are boiled.

You will need:

Potatoes — one pound small to medium sized Yukon Gold
Bacon — quarter pound, thick cut, diced. Try to get bacon that has a lot of fat since you will need the rendering for the sauce.
Vinegar — two or three TBSP
Sugar — two or three TBSP, white. You might need more to adjust the taste.
Pepper — fresh ground, to taste.

Whether you use a steam basket or colander over a pot really doesn’t matter just be sure that you steam the potatoes in a single layer if there isn’t enough room you can steam them in batches. You can tell that they are done when a sharp knife goes into the flesh easily.

While the potatoes steam put the bacon into a sauce pot large enough to hold it and the vinegar with room to spare. Cook the bacon until crisp, remove it from the fat with a slotted spoon, reserve. Add one TBSP of sugar to the hot fat stirring to combine, carefully add one TBSP of vinegar then repeat with the remaining sugar and vinegar tasting as you go along to get the sweet/sour combination you desire. Keep the sauce warm while you carefully remove the skin from the cooked potatoes, dice them into about 1/2″ cubes. Place them into a bowl with the cooked bacon and then dress with the bacon/vinegar/sugar mixture. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Chickpeas(Garbanzo Beans) & Onions

Over the holiday I had a conversation with my son-in-law about some of the foods my mom, may she rest in peace, prepared for our Christmas Eve dinner. If I’m not mistaken it consisted of 13 courses, all meatless and each served individually in a specific order. Some are simple with one or two steps some not so easy. I’ll try to recreate most if not all of them here so come back often to check them out.

You will need:

Chickpeas — 1 16 oz can
Onion — 1 large Walla Walla or Vidalia – diced
Butter — 1 stick – unsalted
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt — to taste
Pepper — fresh ground to taste.

In a sauce pot large enough to hold both ingredients slowly melt the butter over medium low heat (do not let the butter brown), when it is completely melted and the onion and boil until the onion is completely softened. Meanwhile in another sauce pot add the entire can of chickpeas, liquid included, and bring up to heat. Once the onion/butter mixture is ready drain the chickpeas and add to the butter stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper, stir to combine and serve.

Quick and easy. Enjoy!

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots

I developed this simple recipe years ago but never put it into Let’s Eat. I am sure your guests will love it even those finicky kids.

You will need:

Baby Carrots — 1 lb bag, alternatively you can use large carrots cut diagonally into bite size pieces.
Maple Syrup — Approximately 1 cup – use the real stuff here folks not that “pancake syrup” you find in stores, it’s all high fructose corn syrup with no maple anything in it.
Butter — 5 TBSP make sure you use unsalted.
Sea Salt/Pepper — to taste.

The first step is to steam the carrots. Steam until a sharp knife goes in easily about 1/4 way through to what is called just “al dente”. You want to maintain the some of the crunch. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the carrots in a single layer heat the butter until just melted. Add the carrots simmer on low until the butter coats the vegetables. Add the maple syrup and simmer until the syrup reduces by half.<.p>

If you don’t have equipment to steam the carrots add enough water to the sauté pan to just above half their thickness, cover and let cook until most of the water has evaporated add the butter and maple syrup then proceed as stated above. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can do them ahead of time, keep at room temperature until you are about to serve, return to the sauté pan and heat them up.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnut Sauce

The first time I made this recipe was for a family holiday dinner. I went through the trouble of making everything from scratch including the preparation of the chestnuts for the sauce. It was quit time consuming so I wanted to get this down to as simple a process as possible. I found that you can use canned chestnuts without losing too much of the flavor. For those of you who aren’t too excited about Brussels Sprouts try this recipe I think you might become a convert.

For the Sauce:

  • Chestnuts — ½ pound
  • Beef Broth — 2 cups
  • Garlic Clove — 1 crushed
  • Sea Salt — 1 tspn
  • Fresh Nutmeg — ¼ tspn
  • Unsalted Butter — 2 TBSP
  • For the Sprouts:

  • Brussels Sprouts — 4 Cups fresh or 2 10 ounce packages of frozen

In a sauce pot large enough to hold all of the chestnuts combine them with the beef broth and garlic then simmer until chestnuts are completely softened. By using canned chestnuts this shouldn’t take too long. Press entire contents of the sauce pot through a strainer return to pot and simmer until it thickens slightly, add nutmeg and butter and set aside.

Remove outer leaves of sprouts as these are tough and rather bitter. Cut off a little of the stem end and make a cross mark about ⅛” deep. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the sprouts place them along with enough water to cover by 1 inch, cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes until a knife point goes in easily. Remove all excess water from pan then add the Chestnut puree.

Brussel Sprout Salad

If you are one of the many people that tend to turn your nose up when you hear the word Brussel Sprout take head. This simple, yet delicious salad will change your mind.

You will need:

Brussel Sprouts – quantity depends on how much salad you desire to make. I used about a pound for this recipe.
Sun Dried Tomato – approximately 1/4 cup/pound of sprouts.
Pecan Pieces – approximately 1/4 cup/pound of sprouts.Lemon Juice – approximately 1 TBSP
Sea Salt/Pepper – to taste.
Red Wine Vinegar – approximately 2 TBSP.
Olive Oil – approximately 6 TBSP.
Sugar – approximately 1 tsp.

The best way to shred the sprouts is with a mandoline or food processor fitted with a slicing blade, however, you can use a very sharp knife and thinly slice the sprouts. Cut the bottom off the sprouts and remove any dark outside leaves, they tend to get bitter. Put the sprouts, tomato, pecans, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a non reactive bowl and toss well. The salad goes well with just about anything.

White Bean/Corn Soup

Sorry folks this isn’t a quick recipe, it’s going to take a day or two but the results will be great. The good thing about this one is that you actually get 2 for 1 deal. First the beans then the soup. The beans work well as a side dish or main meal and using them to create a this Bean/Corn Soup you can’t go wrong.

You will need:

One pound dry white beans (I used pinto).
Two large bay leaves.
Four sprigs fresh thyme
Sea Salt/Fresh Pepper
Two smoked ham hock/shanks (I used a Hungarian Style Shank).
Two medium sized sweet onions – 1/4 inch dice.
Two medium sized red bell pepper – 1/8 inch dice.
One small habanero pepper, seeds removed – finely diced.
One large package frozen corn kernels
Low sodium chicken broth

Start with the beans, in a container large enough to hold the entire package and enough water to cover soak beans for 12 hours or overnight.

Once soaked drain them and place in a large stock pot with enough water to cover by at least two inches. Add all the remaining ingredients except the corn kernels and chicken stock. Bring pot to a slow boil and turn heat down to a low setting. It will take a while to cook but this slow method will help to thicken the final product without the need for a roux or other thickener.

The beans should be done when the ham hock/shank meat separates from the bone. You can also tell by taking a few out of the pot and taste, they should be just at the al denté stage. At this point you have a great pot of beans. You can portion out several meals using some for a side and some for the soup.

Now the soup part. Depending on how many servings you want to make remove a sufficient quantity of the beans and place in another stock pot. Add the packaged corn kernels and chicken stock. How much chicken stock to use is a personal choice. The more stock you use will produce a thinner soup. Some recipes might suggest that you blend a portion of the soup however I find that this is an unnecessary step.


Rice with Buttered Onion

I’ve been preparing this simple rice dish for many years and recently made a batch for dinner. A simple side dish that can replace your favorite starch. This recipe can serve 4 people.

You will need:
One medium sized sweet onion – 1/4″ dice.
2 cups rice – Basmati works well.
One stick unsalted butter
Sea Salt/Ground Pepper to taste.

In a sauce pot big enough to hold all of the onion slowly heat butter until just melting, careful not to burn, place all of the onion in the pot a simmer on low until the onion is translucent. Be careful not to add too much color to the onion. Remove from heat and hold. Prepare rice as you would normally, when rice is finished put into a bowl a little larger than the amount of rice, pour the butter/onion mixture into the rice and stir to combine completely. Season to taste.

Prepare an oven proof glass cassarole, preferably one that has a cover, alternatively a piece of foil will do just fine. Place the rice/onion/butter mixture into the cassarole, cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish after 20 minutes to slightly brown the top.

Baby Artichoke with Honey Mustard Glaze

I love artichoke hearts and have always wanted to try to use baby artichokes but couldn’t, until recently, find them in my local grocery store or produce market. A few weeks ago a new Mariano’s opened in my neighborhood and to my surprise and delight they have both green and purple baby artichoke. I bought a few to test a new recipe and came up with this. As a side dish two of them should prove sufficient so this recipe serves one person.

You will need:
Baby Artichoke – two/person
Honey/Mustard (I used Inglehoffer Sweet Hot Mustard) – approximately 2 TBSP/Artichoke
Fresh Lemon Juice – 2 TBSP
Olive Oil – approximately 2 TBSP
Lemon Zest – approximatelt 2 TBSP
Sea Salt/Cracked Pepper – to taste.

Clean the artichokes as you would a large one, cut about 1/2 inch of the top and remove all tough outside leaves. Cut of the small stem at the bottom and remove any tough growth. Cut each artichoke in half length wise, the entire choke is edible at this point. Place cut chokes in a bowl large enough to hold them and add the lemon juice and cold water to cover. In a sauce pot large enough to hold the water and chokes, boil until the chokes are tender, time depends on the size of the chokes and can be tested with a sharp knife, it should slide into the choke easily. Let the chokes cool long enough to be able to handle.

In a sauté pan large enough to hold the chokes add olive oil and bring to the point of an easy shimmer. Pat the artichokes dry and rub the mustard into the cut side and try to get some into the layers of the leaves. Mix the lemon zest, salt and pepper and season the chokes well. Place chokes into shimmering oil and sauté until golden brown. Remove the chokes from the pan and add enough water to the pan to create a sauce. Pour sauce over the chokes and serve.

NB: While the chokes are sautéing move them around a little so that the mustard glaze does not carmelize to much.

Sweet Potato/Carrot/Onion Medley

This side dish works well with chicken,turkey, pork or ham the slight touch of ginger enhances the flavor of each product.

You will need:
Sweet Potato – approximately 3 oz./person
Carrots – approximately 3 oz./person
Pearl Onions – approximately 3 oz./person
Unsalted Butter – approximately 1 TBS/serving
Brown sugar (either light or dark) – approximately 1 TBS/serving
Fresh Ginger – grated – approximately 1 tsp./serving

Cut sweet potato and carrot into large dice (about the same size as onions used) steam vegetables until just under fork tender. I used frozen pearl onions for this recipe if you use fresh you will need to blanch them until tender remove husks before proceeding.
In a skillet large enough to hold all the vegetables place one TBSP butter/serving and heat until butter foams, add pearl onions and sauté until just golden, add brown sugar and ginger along with steamed potato and carrot. If you need to add more butter do so at this stage to allow sugar to coat vegetables. Cook until potato and carrot are fork tender, serve.

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