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Category Archives: Sides

Recipe: Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pepper Jelly

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pepper Jelly

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pepper Jelly

Not a fan of Brussels sprouts? Then here’s the perfect gateway drug into liking these abhorred veggies. Trust me, they’re good and I’ve been able to turn Brussels sprouts haters into at least likers, if not lovers.

They have to be good, right? They’re fried. I would recommend serving Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pepper Jelly with a nice pork dish or chicken dish.

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pepper Jelly

Fry the Brussels sprouts in sunflower oil until they are nice and crispy.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. of fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 TBSP pepper jelly
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups oil for frying (I used sunflower)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the halved Brussels sprouts in a colander. Dry with a paper towel, then toss with paprika, white pepper, black pepper and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven until temp reaches at least 400F (the temp will drop when you add the Brussels sprouts). NOTE: 425F is the smoke temp for sunflower so be sure not to exceed 425F. If using a different oil, be sure to check the smoke temp for your oil.
  3. Once oil is heated, set Brussels sprouts and 1/2 TBSP of pepper jelly in the oil. Flipping often to cook on all sides. You may have to work in batches.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove Brussels sprouts from oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Once all Brussels sprouts have been fried, toss with remaining pepper jelly in a medium bowl then serve while still warm.

I highly recommend using sunflower oil for this recipe. It’s rich in polyunsaturated fat so not as unhealthy as other oils available.

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pepper Jelly is a very simple recipe with minimal ingredients. The pepper jelly does a lot of the work when it comes to flavor since it’s sweet, acidic and spicy. Try this recipe on someone who claims not to like Brussels sprouts and turn them into a believer.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Fusilli Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Goat Cheese

Fusilli Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Goat Cheese

Fusilli Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Goat Cheese


Full disclosure: this Fusilli Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Goat Cheese is a Spring dish, but I had a craving so I made it. And I’m not waiting until the earth thaws out to share it.

This recipe combines the pasta, pesto with sweet peas and goat cheese for a dish that’s sweet, pungent and has a light acidity. It’s a great side dish for chicken or fish. Or, you can do like I did, and just eat a big bowl of it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated romano (or parmesan) cheese
  • 3 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 pound thawed green peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fusilli Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Goat Cheese

Need a quick side dish? Try Fusilli Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Goat Cheese.


Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fusilli in the boiling water until al dente.
  2. Drain pasta, but reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  3. In a food processor, process the garlic, basil and pine nuts until very fine.
  4. Add the olive oil and cheese and process to combine.
  5. Add the peas and season with salt and pepper. Process until all ingredients are smooth.
  6. Spoon the pea pesto into a large bowl then add pasta and toss to coat.
  7. If needed, add pasta water, gradually, to loosen the sauce.
  8. When pasta is thoroughly coated in sauce, crumble in the goat cheese and toss again.
  9. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve as a side or as a main course.

The pea pesto will make the pasta look like it’s been hit with green radiation since it’s so bright. That said, this is a delicious pasta dish if you’re looking to trade out alfredo or marinara sauce.

To make this recipe even healthier, I used whole wheat fusilli. Bring some Fusilli Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Goat Cheese to you’re next dinner and you won’t be disappointed.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

Butternut Squash and kale Salad

Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

Kale is a well-known super food. It’s also a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen. This recipe for Butternut Squash and Kale Salad combines two of my favorite ingredients to make a perfect salad.

This salad can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. Adding in toasted almonds gives it a nice crunch and a balsamic vinaigrette gives it a nice acidic kick.

Ingredients:

  • 8 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Butternut Squash and Kale

    Butternut Squash and Kale

  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk 5 TBSP olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallot and hot sauce. Set aside.
  4. Kale

    Sauteing the Kale

  5. In a medium bowl, combine squash and 2 TBSP oil, season with salt and pepper then toss to combine.
  6. Transfer squash to prepared baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes or until tender and lightly golden. Let cool slightly.
  7. While squash is roasting, heat remaining 1 TBSP of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add kale and cook until bright green and slightly wilted (about 1 to 2 minutes).
  8. Remove from heat then add 4 TBSP dressing and toss to coat.
  9. Add squash and almonds to kale and toss well. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  10. Divide the salad among bowls and drizzle with remaining dressing.

This Butternut Squash and Kale Salad is fresh, flavorful and full of antioxidants and other nutrients. It can be a main dish or a side dish.

The flavors in this dish pair well with a fish or chicken dish. It’s also perfect for vegetarians and vegans.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Bacon-Jalapeño Deviled Eggs

Bacon-Jalapeño Deviled Eggs

Bacon-Jalapeño Deviled Eggs

No picnic is complete without deviled eggs. And what better way to take deviled eggs to another level than by adding bacon and jalapeño?

These Bacon-Jalapeño Deviled Eggs are sure to disappear very quickly so be prepared to whip up some more. Luckily, they’re very simple.

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 4 TBSP mayonaisse
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Deviled Egg Yolk Mixture

    The Egg Yolk Mixture

  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Paprika, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut up bacon and place in a oven-safe pan. Bake bacon for roughly 20-25 minutes or until crispy throughout. Remove from oven and cool on a paper towel-lined plate. Once cooled, cut into small pieces.
  3. Remove the yolks from the hard-boiled eggs and place in a mixing bowl.
  4. To the yolks, add salt, garlic powder, chili powder, jalapeño and most of the bacon (save some bacon for later).
  5. Bacon-Jalapeno Deviled Egg

    Bacon-Jalapeño Deviled Egg

  6. Mash/mix all ingredients with large fork. Gradually incorporate mayo until a fluffy mixture is formed. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Using a pasty bag (or a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off), place yolk mixture into bag and squeeze into boiled egg white centers.
  8. Garnish with remaining bacon and dust with paprika.

Once the bacon is cooked, preparing these deviled eggs takes no time at all. And you’ll get a lot of flavor for a little time.

This is a dish you can take to any party. I guarantee they’ll be a hit.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Mushroom-Pecan Terrine

Pecan-Mushroom Terrine

Pecan-Mushroom Terrine

Traditionally, a terrine is a loaf of meat and fat (similar to pâté) with more coarsely chopped ingredients. This recipe for Mushroom-Pecan Terrine takes out the meat and most of the fat to create a vegetarian alternative.

It’s perfect accompanying cheeses, crackers, fruits and other nuts. It’s also very simple to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound mushrooms (I used button)
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 TBSP fresh thyme (about 10 sprigs), finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Mushroom, Garlic and Red Onion

Mushroom, Garlic and Red Onion Add Great Flavors to this Terrine


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a small loaf pan, line it with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 TBSP butter.
  4. In two batches, pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped (3 to 4 pulses). Be careful not to overprocess as mushrooms will turn to mush.
  5. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 8 minutes). Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute for 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the sherry and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Mix in the salt, pepper and thyme and set aside to cool.
  7. Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl and, once cooled, fold in pecans, eggs and cheese. Pour into the prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until inserted knife comes out relatively clean. While it bakes, the eggs may cause it to rise, but it will settle while cooling.
  9. Cool in the pan then transfer (in the pan) to refrigerator. Remove when the terrine has completely cooled to prevent breaking and/or crumbling.

The Mushroom-Pecan Terrine packs a ton of flavor into a small loaf. In fact, you really won’t miss the meat at all.

Additionally, this terrine would probably work as a meatloaf alternative if you wanted to double the ingredients to create a larger loaf.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Perfect Guacamole

Perfect Guacamole

Perfect Guacamole

Guacamole is one of my all-time favorite things to make. It’s simple, fresh and nutritious. Over time, I’ve perfected my recipe, that’s why I feel confident in calling it Perfect Guacamole.

I think it goes best with tortilla chips, but it also makes a great sandwich spread or topping for most dishes. The only way to eat guacamole is fresh, I don’t know how people do the bagged stuff. Be sure and save the pits and put them in the bowl with the guacamole — it helps the avocados maintain their color.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe Hass avocados; peeled, halved and cored (save the pits)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeño; cored, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 1 TBSP cracked black pepper

Avocados

Avocados


Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, season the avocados with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, lime juice and olive oil.
  2. Using a potato masher or large fork, mash the avocado and seasonings.
  3. Add in onion, jalapeño and cilantro then stir to mix well.
  4. Serve or store. If storing, place the pits in the guacamole (to preserve color) and cover with plastic wrap.

This is virtually a fail-proof recipe — no cooking, not much measuring and not much hassle. So if you mess it up, I feel kind of sorry for you.

Beware: the bowl probably won’t last long so you may want to make more. Just multiply the ingredients appropriately. This recipe should be about right for four people.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Boudin Cornbread Dressing

Boudin Cornbread Dressing

Boudin Cornbread Dressing

I’ve been making this dressing recipe for years and it’s always been a hit. However, in the past, I made it without meat. This year, I added boudin and it made it even better.

That said, a meatless version is just as solid of a holiday side. Sometimes I add in some jalapeños, too.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cornbread, crumbled
  • 10 slices of bread of your choice, dried and cubed
  • 2 boudin links, casing removed
  • 1 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

    Boudin Cornbread Dressing

    Boudin Cornbread Dressing

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cornbread and bread cubes.
  3. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, saute boudin, celery, onion and peppers until vegetables are tender. Combine with bread mixture.
  4. Add seasoning, egg and chicken broth.
  5. Spoon dressing into a lightly greased 3-quart baking dish. Bake, covered, for 45 to 50 minutes.
  6. Cut and serve.

When choosing a bread to complement the cornbread, it’s probably best to use white, but wheat will work. Just make sure it’s pretty dry. If you don’t have time to dry the slices, just toast them until well done.

In place of boudin, you can also use sausage in patty form. Just make sure it’s cooked fairly thoroughly while it’s in the skillet.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Wild Rice, Fruit and Pecan Stuffing

Sides usually offer up a lot of calories, and if they don’t, they lack on flavor. Not this recipe. To cut down on the calories, it only adds dried fruit and pecans to get a nice burst of flavor.

You can experiment with what dried fruits to use, but I’m posting what I used on my first attempt.

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Sauteeing the Rice and Trinity

    Sauteeing the Rice and Trinity

  • 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice-brown rice mix
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, onion and bell pepper (trinity), stirring occasionally until softened (about 8 minutes).
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  4. Wild Rice, Fruit and Pecan Stuffing

    Wild Rice, Fruit and Pecan Stuffing

  5. Add rice, stirring to toast, for about 1 minute.
  6. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper and 1 1/2 cups water. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue cooking, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (about another 20 to 40 minutes).
  8. Meanwhile, spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast 5 to 7 minutes (until fragrant). Once toasted, remove from oven and set aside.
  9. Now, discard bay leaf from rice and stir in pecans and dried fruit. Let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes.
  10. Season stuffing to taste and fold in dried fruit and pecans.

No butter, no fat (maybe a minute amount from the broth), but a lot of flavor.

This dish goes well with anything and you can really use it as a stuffing if you’re cooking a turkey or other bird that can be stuffed.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Bacon Cheddar Biscuit Dough

Bacon Cheddar Biscuit Dough

Biscuits from scratch can seem like a fairly daunting task. But don’t worry, this Bacon Cheddar Biscuit recipe is simple and you can go from step 1 to a finished batch in 45 minutes (cooking time included).

Rather than making plain biscuits, I added some bacon and cheddar to make this extra tasty. Feel free to add more cheese or more bacon if you so desire.

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBSP cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • Frying Bacon

    Frying Bacon

  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 TBSP pepper
  • 1/4 cup chives, minced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, frozen

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, fry bacon until just crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Discard or reserve all of bacon grease except for 1 tablespoon and set the skillet aside.
  3. Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

    Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

  4. Whisk all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a grater to shred butter and toss in with dry ingredients. Using a fork, cut the butter into the flour until pea-sized crumbs form.
  5. Stir in the bacon, cheese, chives and milk. Using a fork, mix until no dry flour remains.
  6. Sprinkle some flour on a clean counter and dump the dough on it. Sprinkle some more flour on top and using your hands, pat the dough into a circle about 1/2- to 1-inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter or other round item (such as a jar or glass) to cut out biscuit shapes. Transfer cut dough to the skillet. Reform remaining dough and cut more biscuits until no dough remains.
  7. Bake the biscuits for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Let biscuits cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

These biscuits go great with most meals. They’re especially an awesome way to make a breakfast biscuit sandwich.

No matter how you consume them, you can store them in a sealed container for several days. If you have any left over, that is.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Duck Fat Potatoes with Caraway and White Onion

Red Potatoes

Red Potatoes

Potatoes and duck fat are a culinary match made in heaven. Some would argue (and they would be right) that the best thing to cook potatoes in is duck fat. The potato really takes in the flavor of the duck fat and the duck fat brings out the crispiness and earthiness of cooked potatoes.

Since I recently made Duck Confit, I was lucky enough to have rendered duck fat on hand. If you aren’t so lucky, you can order duck fat from specialty food stores or online.

Ingredients

  • 4 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 TBSP rendered duck fat (plus extra for greasing the baking sheet)
  • 2 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into thin slices
  • 1 small white onion
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Brush a foil-lined baking sheet with duck fat.
  3. Duck-Fat Potato Galette

    Duck-Fat Potato Galette

  4. Toast the caraway seeds in a small skillet over low heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Use a pestle or other blunt object to crush the seeds. Set aside in a large bowl.
  5. In the same bowl, add duck fat, 2 TBSP butter, 1 tsp salt and pepper. Add potatoes and toss to coat with duck fat and seasoning.
  6. Arrange a quarter of the potatoes in an even layer on the baking sheet. Place 1/3 of the onions over the potatoes. Repeat layering two more times, finishing with potatoes on top.
  7. Bake approximately 45 minutes until potatoes are tender. Brush top layer of potatoes with remaining butter and bake 5-10 minutes longer (until top layer is golden-brown).
  8. Remove from oven, season and serve on a platter.

This is a close to a perfect potato dish you can find. Forget baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and potato salad. This galette is what you need to serve this holiday season.

Splurge on the duck fat. You and your guests deserve it.

Finally, I was lucky enough to have some duck skin on hand. I broiled it to make duck skin cracklins and added them to this recipe. They really sent it over the top, but it’s still great without them.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Cookin', Sides

 

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