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.
I seem to be on a bit of a condiment kick these days! This week I finally got around to making horseradish from scratch, which had been on my to-try list for quite awhile. I actually already bought and wasted a horseradish root once a few weeks back, but my desire for potato salad with horseradish (scroll to the bottom if you’re in it for the potato salad only!) on the Fourth of July was strong enough to send me to the store for a second root.
I initially had a little trouble motivating myself to take the time (and dirty the food processor) to make something I could buy at the store in a little jar all ready to go. But now that I’ve tried preparing horseradish myself, I have to say that making your own is fun! I totally wouldn’t judge anyone for buying it pre-prepared, and for general purposes I will still be keeping a store-bought jar on hand, but I’ve also learned that it’s really quite quick to make, it tastes fresh, and it packs a real punch (although of course you get to dilute it at your discretion when you cook with it if you don’t want it too spicy). And it keeps for about a month in the fridge so you’ll have time to use it up in all kinds of tasty preparations– I’m including recipes below for how to prepare the root and how to make a delicious creamy horseradish sauce with it (great on sandwiches, steak, or pork), as well as the recipe for my current favorite potato salad with a horsey kick. If you’ve never tried using homemade horseradish in your cooking, I encourage you to give it a try! But of course, if you are not in possession of a horseradish root or inclined to whip out the food processor, both the creamy horseradish sauce and the potato salad can be made with store-bought horseradish. I hope that either way, some horseradish might make its way onto your menu this holiday weekend! Happy Fourth of July!
Well, I think it’s fair to say my first documented week of menu planning was a disaster. We stuck to our plan 3 days out of seven (4 days if you count moving skipped parts of Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday’s meals to Sunday), and one of those days was just sticking to the plan of eating out. I was pleased that we made use of our backup plan to cover one of those days, but all in all it went pretty badly. On the bright side, the nights we ate the Sonoran enchiladas and the baked chicken with mustard-herb crusts (read on for the recipe) were good enough to ease the sting of failure.
Luckily, I think I learned a bit about making things go a bit smoother. I think my main pitfall was that I originally built the menu plan by choosing recipes I was excited about, but I did not make the time on Sunday or set aside the money to go buy all the necessary ingredients. This ended up biting me in the butt the very next day– I would have gone through with the plan to make Chicken Machaca on Monday, but I got home tired and couldn’t face the idea of going back out to the store for chicken and peppers. So, next time, I’ll make sure I have all the critical ingredients for the first day or two, and ideally at least most of the critical ingredients for the rest of the week before I start.
So, here’s my attempt at week two. Last week we had 4 “weekend” type meals, so this time we’re shooting for a much better ratio. Most of these recipes are relatively simple, utilize the proteins and fresh produce we got this weekend, and should be low maintenance enough for a busy week. We’ve already taken care of Sunday and managed to stick with the plan as written!
Sunday (everyday): Chicken Machaca with rice and Parral Pea Pods (carryover from last week)
Monday (weekend): Korean BBQ Sliders and Tuscan Fries with salad
Tuesday (everyday): Homemade Pizza with Jicama and Cucumber Salad
Wednesday (everyday): Light Sweet and Sour Pork (carryover from last week) with rice and sauteed zucchini
Thursday (everyday): Spaghetti Bolognese (lighter style with mushrooms, ground chicken and a touch italian sausage) with Roasted Cauliflower
Friday (everyday): Baked Chiles Rellenos
Saturday: Flex night, freedom to eat out or collaborate with friends
Backup plans: breakfast for dinner, bean burritos
And now, for a super easy and healthy recipe for chicken brushed with mustard, coated in herby panko and baked, read on! Also an italian recipe for sauteed mushrooms (mushrooms trifolati). Delicious!
I initially came across this recipe when putting together a link brainstorm for my previous brussels sprouts post, and immediately bookmarked it because everything about the title is exciting. Sprouts? Good. Horseradish? Yum. Cream? Keep going! Bacon??? Oh yeah. However, I held off making it at first because I figured I needed a real occasion to make something with a bacon cream sauce, of all things. But then, with a half pound of sprouts on their last legs in my fridge, I figured I’d take a look at the recipe again, and I realized that the sauce is creamy because of sour cream, not heavy cream, and sour cream can be quite everyday friendly under the right circumstances! This was a really delicious (and accessible, to the sprout skeptic) way to enjoy brussels sprouts, it was quick and easy using a few simple ingredients, and it was pretty healthy for something with such a title.