Archive for the ‘Sides’ category

Gamja salad (Korean potato salad)

October 7, 2020

You would never guess that this is Korean from the ingredients, but it is a regular part of banchan, the small snacks served with meals at Korean restaurants. Korean or not, it is a nice variation on potato salad that would not be out of place at a 4th of July picnic alongside ribs and burgers. It’s traditionally served in mounds created with an ice cream scoop, but that’s not necessary of course.

1 large russet potato
1 English (Kirby) cucumber
1/2 medium red onion
1 medium carrot
1 large egg
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp rice vinegar
salt and black pepper

Halve the cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1/4 inch cubes.

Finely chop the onion into pieces about the size of a raw lentil.

Cut the carrot into thin strips with a peeler.

Peel the potato and cut into 2 inch chunks.

Mix the cuke and onion with 1 tsp salt and set aside. Cook the potato in boiling water until soft. Hard boil the egg. Drain and cool the potato, cool and peel the egg.

Chop the egg roughly and put in a medium bowl. Add the potato. Mash together with a fork or, even better, a pastry blender. You do not want it perfectly smooth, some small lumps should remain.

A handful at a time, squeeze the cuke-onion mixture to remove excess water, then add to the bowl. Add the carrot shreds, mayo, sugar, vinegar, and a few grindings of pepper. Mix to blend and taste for salt, adding if needed.

Pierogis with sauerkraut or cheese

September 3, 2020

If you are trying to limit carbs and/or fat, read no further. These little guys are irresistible and you always have room for one more! Because the dough in this recipe is made with sour cream instead of water or milk, it is extra rich and tasty. They freeze beautifully, too. I give the sauerkraut recipe first and the cheese variation follows.

For the dough:

  • 2-1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and, using the dough hook, mix on low for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms. If it seems too dry or wet, add small bits of milk or flour as needed. Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead by hand to form a smooth ball. Cover and let sit while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb fresh sauerkraut or one 15oz can of sauerkraut
  • 2 russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1 TB butter
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Cook in simmering water until completely cooked, then drain and return to the pan. Add the butter and mash with a hand masher or use a ricer.

While the potatoes cook, drain the kraut and put in a bowl of fresh water. Swish around and drain again. Repeat the rinsing and draining one more time. A handful at a time, squeeze out extra moisture. Put on a cutting board and take a few cuts thru it with a knife (to avoid long strands). Add to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Correct seasoning.

For cheese and potato filling: Replace the kraut with 1-1/2 c sharp cheddar cut into small cubes. Be sure the potatoes are fully cooled before adding the cheese.

Assembly: Roll the dough out 1/8 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tin can to cut 3 inch circles. Place 1 TB filling in the center of each circle and fold over, pressing the edges to seal. Set on a wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Form excess dough into a ball and roll out again to cut more circles.

To freeze, set the baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered. When the pierogi are frozen solid, transfer to a zipper bag for storage.

Cooking: Drop pierogi (fresh or frozen) into gently boiling water, being careful not to crowd them. Cook for 5 minutes (6 if frozen) and remove to a plate to drain. Using a nonstick pan, saute over medium heat in a bit of butter and oil until the bottom is lightly browned, then flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately.

Asparagus risotto

July 18, 2020

This requires constant attention but the results are worth it! It makes a luxurious side dish for many poultry and meat dishes–or just on it’s own! It is vegetarian if you use vegetable stock.

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1 lb asparagus, thin spears (~1/2 inch) preferred
2 c arborio or carnaroli rice (do not wash)
¼ c finely chopped shallots or onion
3 c (about) meat, chicken, or vegetable stock
3 TB butter, divided
2 TB vegetable oil
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Trim an inch or so off the butt end of the asparagus—this part is often fibrous. Cut the remaining stems into 3 pieces and set the tips aside.

Bring 3 c of salted water to a boil. Add the stem pieces, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tips. When done to your liking, drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

Add stock to the asparagus liquid to make a total of 6 c. Put in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

In a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, put 1 TB of butter and the oil. Put over medium heat and sauté the shallots for a couple of minutes—they should not brown. Add the rice and stir to coat. Continue to stir for a minute or two and then start adding the stock, about 1/2 c at a time. Stir continuously until the liquid is almost gone. Add another ½ c of stock and continue in this manner until you have used all the liquid. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and some pepper. Check for salt and add some if needed, which you probably won’t. Add the asparagus, cover and let sit for a few minutes. Ready to serve!

Spicy coleslaw

July 1, 2020

Quick and easy, goes well with Mexican and similar food. Tastes best if allowed to sit for an hour or two before serving.

½ head fresh cabbage thinly shredded (about 4 c)
2-4 canned pickled jalapeño peppers depending on spice level desired
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1-2 TB juice from the pickled peppers

Toss the cabbage with the S&P. Stem and seed the peppers and chop coarsely. Add to the cabbage along with the pepper juice and toss to combine.

Mexican red rice

June 2, 2020

This is a staple at Mexican restaurants, plopped on your plate next to the refried beans. But with rare exceptions it is but a pale shadow of what it should be, consisting of little more than tomato-tinged rice. It can be so much more, and it’s not all that difficult. It goes well with many non-Mexican dishes, too. It’s very helpful to have a kitchen scale. This is vegetarian if you use vegetable stock.

2 c long-grained rice, preferably Carolina Gold
1-14 oz can diced or whole tomatoes
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 or 2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded
1/4 c oil
1 c chicken or vegetable stock
3 whole bay leaves
1/2 c frozen peas, thawed

Rinse the rice well and let drain thoroughly.

Drain the tomatoes and save the liquid.

Put the tomato solids, half of the liquid, onion, Jalapeño, and garlic in a blender and zap for 30 sec or so, until fully pureed. Pour into a bowl on your scale–you want 20-21 oz. Either remove some or add reserved tomato juice to get correct weight.

In a heavy bottom soup  pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and when hot add the rice. Stir until the rice turns a light golden brown, 3-4 min then remove the rice to a bowl. Add the pureed vegetables to the same pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until the raw onion/garlic smell is gone–a few minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves and when simmering add the rice. Stir, cover, and simmer slowly until the liquid is pretty much all absorbed. Turn off heat and add peas. Let sit for 10-20 min then fluff with a fork and it’s ready to serve.

Braised leeks and fennel

May 15, 2020

An easy and tasty side dish that goes with many meals.

2-3 leeks
1-2 fennel bulbs
2 TB butter
1/2 c dry white wine

Cut the whites and light green parts of the leek in half lengthwise and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Wash well as leeks tend to accumulate grit. Halve the fennel bulbs and slice thinly. Melt the butter in a 10″ skillet and stir in the vegetables. Cover and cook slowly for 10-15 min. Add the wine and S&P to taste and cook uncovered until the wine is almost all evaporated. Serve hot.

Chicken gravy without a chicken

March 4, 2020

When I roast a chicken, I really  like to have gravy with it. But you won’t have the carcass to make stock until the chicken’s been eaten, and in my experience there are never enough pan drippings for good gravy. There’s no need to resort to the jarred stuff, here’s how to make your own before you cook the chicken. I use wings for this because, weight for weight, they have more skin, and they are usually cheaper than other cuts. You can finish this recipe in a slow cooker, on the stove top, or in a pressure cooker.

2 to 2-1/2 lbs whole or cut up chicken wings (about 12 wings)

Put the wings in a single layer in a roasting pan and pop into a 450° oven. Roast undisturbed until the wings have turned a lovely dark golden brown. Remove the wings to your stock pot, don’t worry if some skin sticks to the roasting pan.

If more fat has accumulated in the roasting pan than you want, pour it off. Put the roasting pan over low heat and add 2 c water. Bring to a gentle simmer while using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the lovely bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour this liquid into the stock pot.

1 large carrot in big chunks. No need to peel if the carrot is clean.
1 celery rib in big chunks
1/2 a medium (baseball size) onion cut in 2 pieces. No need to peel if the onion is clean.
2 halved garlic cloves, unpeeled (optional)
1/2 tsp rubbed sage OR 1/2 tsp dried thyme OR 2 bay leaves (optional)
6 whole peppercorns
Big pinch of salt

Put all the above in your stock pot and add water to cover by about an inch. Cook as follows:

  • Pressure cooker: Cook for 1 hour once the cooker has reached pressure. Let pressure release on its own for 15 min then release the remaining pressure manually.
  • Stovetop: Bring almost to a boil and then cook, partially covered, at a gentle simmer for 4 hours.
  • Slow cooker: Cook on the high setting for 10-12 hours.

Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove most of the solids. You can pick the meat off the bones for your dog or cat if you wish, but otherwise discard–99% of the flavor has been cooked out. Strain the liquid thru a fine-meshed strainer. If there’s more fat than you want, use a fat separator to remove it.

This recipe makes 2 c of gravy. You can scale it up or down as needed. Leftover stock can be frozen almost indefinitely. If you have saved some of the chicken fat, you can use it in place of the butter. For a cream gravy, replace 1/4 c of the stock with half and half.

2 TB butter
3 TB all-purpose flour
2 c stock

Melt 2 TB butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the flour and stir over medium-low heat until completely combined. Add 1/4 c stock and stir until you have a smooth paste–the mixture should be gently bubbling through all this. Continue adding stock in 1/4 c increments, stirring each time until completely smooth. A small whisk is ideal for this. Once you have added 1 c of stock, add the rest all at once. Stir and simmer until completely smooth and thickened. Taste for salt and correct if needed.

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.


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