Posts tagged ‘sides’
This dish, an amazing marriage of roasted brussels sprouts, savory sauteed mushrooms, parmesan, and crispy shallots, was probably the most successful new dish we tried at our fake Thanksgiving party this year. And that’s saying something, considering how happy we were with the turkey and stuffing! It manages to be everything that a homey green bean casserole is (comforting, traditional, delicious), but elevated to a new level by fresh mushrooms, homemade shallot rings, and the roasted sprouts. I love green beans, but the sprouts have a more complex flavor and texture that works well here, and even sprout-haters tend to like them in this dish. It’s miles away from any gloop-laden thing you’ve had from a can, but still somehow very close to home.
I have a lot I could say about the origins of this recipe and the importance of stuffing, but I’m going to cut to the chase first. For me, this is The Best Stuffing Ever. The only recipe I’ll need from now on. The One.
This stuffing strata comes out so fragrant, moist, and flavorful, you would never know it hasn’t been cooked inside the turkey. But the fact that it hasn’t set up camp in a turkey means that you can shorten your turkey cooking time, and serve the stuffing to vegetarians without that out-of-place taste of vegetable broth that usually flavors vegetarian stuffing. Also, it’s a total snap to whip up; you can assemble it the day before and just pop it into your already-350-degree oven on the big day. It features all the traditional flavors of a really homey stuffing (sage, thyme, celery, and of course the bread) bound together by a magical mixture of egg, milk, wine, mustard, and gruyere cheese. The strata gets moistness and richness from the egg mixture, but doesn’t turn out soggy or taste of breakfast; essentially, it tastes like everything stuffing should be, but more…better!
I love my River Cottage Bread Handbook. I tend to go through obsession phases with new cookbooks and then let them fall neglected for months, but this is a book that I’ve returned to reliably over the last few months of owning it. It is a great resource for bread making– concise, clearly written, well photographed, and full of recipes for really tasty breads of all kinds. The author recommends no fancy tools (his bread/pizza peel is a board nailed to a stick), and doesn’t really advocate shortcuts or secrets, he simply shows you how to make delicious rustic bread.
When I was considering whether to buy the book or not, one of the things that really sealed the deal was the promise of a five minute bread recipe. Was this possible? Turns out it is! Enter roti, a simple, unleavened flatbread from India/Nepal that is great for scooping up puddles of stew or chasing the heat from a mouthful of spicy curry. It’s crazy easy to make – flour, water, and salt – and while I wouldn’t call it a showstopper when it comes to flavor or texture, it’s tasty in a simple way and provides some palate-relief from whatever you’re dipping it in. And for five minutes and three ingredients, I think that’s a pretty reasonable result! There’s really no excuse for not trying it– even if you’re in the middle of cooking right this minute, you could probably still whip out some roti and have it on the table before your main dish!
Rather at the last minute, we decided we needed some coleslaw on the fourth of July (to go with our pulled pork). I didn’t have a go-to recipe at the time, so it was back to the internet research table for me. And here’s the thing I’ve realized about slaws– you can pretty much make a slaw with anything you want, as long as you start with a good base for the dressing.
You want a standard slaw? Creamy dressing + red/green cabbage + carrots. A slightly less traditional coleslaw? Try adding some julienned jicama or celeriac, or finely sliced sugar snap peas or bell peppers. Like onions? I like to julienne red onions and chop green onions, so you could choose one of those, or use sweet or yellow onions. You want some kick? Throw in a minced jalapeno or some horseradish. Something sweet? Use honey mustard, or add sliced or julienned apples. Something unexpected? Throw in some bleu cheese crumbles. Want to go asian with it? Quick edit the dressing by subbing oil for the mayo, rice vinegar for the cider vinegar, soy for the mustard, then add a splash of sesame oil and you’re golden. And of course you could use savoy or napa cabbage instead of or in addition to regular cabbage. See? Choose your own adventure, as long as you have the dressing blueprint to bring it together.