Archive for the ‘Sides’ category

Hash browns at home

October 8, 2019

A lot of folks, myself included, would think of these as a treat to have when eating breakfast at a diner. But they are so easy to make at home, so why wait? They are a simpler version of the classic Latkes and are a favorite accompaniment to breakfast.

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2 c finely chopped potatoes*
2 TB minced onion (optional)
2 TB bacon fat or vegetable oil (not butter)
3 TB heavy cream (optional)

If using onions, mix with the potatoes. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, medium heat. When a speck of potato starts to sizzle, add the potatoes. Use a spatula to shape and press them into a pancake no more than 1/2 inch thick. Let cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is nicely browned, 5-10 minutes. Flip over (easier if you cut the pancake in half first). If using cream, dribble over the potatoes. Continue cooking until the 2nd side is browned. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

* about the size of a raw navy bean, or a bit smaller

Chick peas with sesame and honey

December 7, 2016

There’s a definite oriental theme to these beans. They are quite strongly flavored and could make a meal on their own. Serve on plain white rice.

2 c dried chick peas (measure when dry) cooked, or 2 – 15 oz cans chick peas
1 medium onion chopped fine
4 large or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 c honey
2/3 c soy sauce (Kikkoman is excellent and widely available)
1/4 c toasted sesame oil
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 TB rice wine vinegar
1 TB grated fresh ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Optional garnishes: Toasted sesame seeds and/or thinly sliced scallions

Put all ingredients except chick peas in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring now and then. Add the drained and rinsed chick peas and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. If the sauce seems to be getting too thick, add a bit of water. Serve over white rice.

Roasted sweet and spicy squash

November 29, 2015

My favorite squash for this is kabocha, but any orange-fleshed variety should do (acorn, butternut, delicata, etc.). In my experience the skin is perfectly edible although it has a slightly chewier consistency than the flesh.

  • One 2 lb squash, washed, quartered, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB honey
  • 1 tsp sriracha or similar hot sauce
  • big pinch salt
  • 1/4 c neutral oil (peanut, canola, etc.)
  • 1-2 TB white sesame seeds
  • black pepper
  • cilantro leaves

Heat oven to 450 degrees

In a large bowl, whisk the soy sauce, honey, hot sauce, salt, and oil together.  Add the squash to the bowl, grind some pepper over, and toss to coat. Arrange in one layer on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until soft and starting to brown. While baking, toast the seasame seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking often, until lightly browned. When the squash is done, transfer to a serving bowl, top with the sesame seeds and cilantro, and serve.

White bean and celery root puree

February 16, 2015

This simple and delicious dish is a welcome alternative to mashed potatoes, and I think it goes particularly well with lamb.

1 c dried navy or great Northern beans or 2-15oz cans of beans.
1 medium size celery root
3 TB good olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Several grinds of black pepper
Salt to taste
Parsley for garnish

If using dry beans, cook according to package directions until quite soft.

Drain the beans and reserve the liquid. Peel the celery root, cut into 1 inch chunks, and simmer until soft. Combine celery root, beans, and all other ingredients (except parsley) in a food processor and  zap until smooth. If the texture is too stiff (not likely), add a bit of the bean liquid. Scrape into an oiled baking pan and bake as 350 degrees until heated through. Remove from oven, drizzle a bit more olive oil on top, and garnish with parsley.

Macaroni and cheese

November 30, 2014

Forget those boxed mixes with the mystery yellow powder, and put away your Velveeta. This is real mac and cheese, a bit more work, but well worth it.

1/2 pound cavatappi (preferred) or elbow macaroni (see note below)
3 TB butter
3 TB flour
2 tsp powdered mustard (Coleman’s preferred)
2-1/2 c milk, warmed
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp paprika (preferred) or a couple of dashes of hot sauce
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp, good quality cheddar cheese, grated or diced
Salt and pepper to taste

The topping:

1c panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 TB butter

Cook the pasta al dente and drain. Rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside.

In a 2 qt saucepan, melt the 3 TB butter and add the flour and mustard powder. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes until completely blended with no lumps. Do not let the flour brown. Stir in the milk, onion, paprika/hot sauce, and bay leaves. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add a healthy grinding of black pepper. Beat the egg and stir it in rapidly so that it does not set before mixed. Add 3/4 of the cheese and stir, over low heat, until it is all incorporated. Remove from heat; taste for salt and add some more if needed. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the pasta and pour into a greased casserole dish. Distribute the remaining cheese on top.

Melt the 2 TB butter and stir in the panko. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.

Bake at 350 f for 45 minutes or until the top is starting to brown and the casserole is bubbling gently. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.

Note: I think of cavatappi as elbow macaroni that went to finishing school. They are a bit longer, and sort of spiral in shape, and the outside is ridged, better to hold sauces and the like. De Cecco is one brand that is widely available.

Quick Cuban black beans

October 27, 2014

I love Cuban black beans, but preparing them from scratch is time-consuming. Here’s a recipe that gives you perfectly acceptable results in 15 minutes.

2-15 oz cans of seasoned black beans
1/4 c diced onion
1/4 c diced green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a saucepan, sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic in  the oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin and pepper and, a minute later, the beans (with their liquid). Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve over white rice.

Roasted (mostly) root vegetables

November 28, 2013

This dish is easy, flexible, low-fat, and DELICIOUS! It’s perfect for the fall when the various ingredients ae plentifully available in high quality. Here’s my latest batch waiting to be popped in the oven.

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You can use any or all of the following root vegetables, using at least 4 or 5 makes for a more interesting dish. To my taste, the onion, carrots, and garlic are the flavor backbone, so I always include those. Peel and cut into 1 to 1-1/2 inch chunks (leave garlic cloves and shallots whole).

White potato
Sweet potato
Onion
Parsnip
Carrot
Shallot
Turnip
Garlic

Winter squash and Brussels sprouts, while not roots, are worthy additions. Cut the peeled squash into chunks as above. For the sprouts, cut a thin slice off the stem end if it has discolored and remove any damaged leaves.

Set the garlic aside and toss everything else in a large bowl with about 1/4c of olive oil and some salt & pepper. I like to throw in some fresh chopped rosemary or thyme, too. Transfer to a baking pan that will hold everything in 1 or 2 layers. Bake at 425 for half an hour, add the garlic, and use a spatula to redistribute the vegetables. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked thru. If they have not browned as much as you would like, run the pan under the broiler briefly. Can be served hot or at room temperature.


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