Toasted Almond Mint Pesto

May 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Side dish, Summer Meal

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Here’s a little something-something to smear over a bite of your juicy grilled lamb chop…

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Almonds, oven or stovetop toasted.  Chopped garlic. Cracked pepper, sea salt and fresh lemon juice.  A big fist of mint. All smashed together with a mortar and pestle.  Well, actually it’s the molcajete we use for guac, but same diff.  Stir on in a good pour of fruity olive oil and call it a pesto.  

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A great addition to a lamb dish.  Or tossed in fresh pasta, smeared on crusty bread, mixed into a salad dressing…..  

 

 

Zucchini – 1988

May 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Side dish, Summer Meal

Zucchini was big part of childhood in that the backyard garden shot them out of the ground directly at you.  Hundreds of them.  So there were zucchini breads, zucchini salads, zucchini in pasta….  Apparently a popular garden item in the burbs’, as everywhere you turned in Framingham, Mass circa 1988, someone else was pushing the ubiquitous squash on you.  

And so late one summer night several young men were reportedly spotted with a large crate of zucchini, surreptitiously depositing them in unlocked cars all along Union Avenue.  And no, things never ever ever got crazier than that during my whole time in high school.  

In any event, as the weather warms and before they get played, here’s a little ditty to get your zuc’ on:

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Half a teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and crushed. Sauté a bit of chopped shallot and garlic in olive oil, a touch of tomato paste.  Diced zucchini in, toss around.  Season with S&P and a shake of red pepper flakes.  This all happens in like 5 minutes, keep a little crunch in your squash.  

Spring Asparagus Soup

April 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Dinner party, General, Side dish

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Here’s an easy Spring soup.   Tough to mess up, tasty and make-ahead. Great for a dinner party or, as here, a holiday meal.

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Two asparagus bundles, rinsed and chopped.  Reserve some tips- blanche briefly, shock in ice bath and set aside.  Slice and rinse a leek, sauté in a knob of butter with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Add chopped asparagus, cover with chicken stock.  Let it go a good long while then hit with blender more than you think necessary.   Back on stovetop, a good pour of cream. Taste, adjust seasoning.  

Top with a tip and add a crouton for a little crunch.  Here, sourdough squares crisped with more butter than you think necessary.  

Whole Roasted Cauliflower – GET SOME

April 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Side dish

Looks great, tastes great.  And fun.  Get some…

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My knock off of BA’s somewhat fussy take you can find here.  Trim leaves and poach for 15 mins in salted water.  Pat dry with paper towels, onto a sizzle platter and drizzle with olive oil.  Garlic power and salt liberally.  Into 450º oven until browned nicely.  Stab it with a knife (BA got that right) and serve.

Say No to Tasteless Cauliflower

May 23, 2014 by  
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Get your flavor on with long hot roast.  Chop a couple heads into florets:

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Drizzle some olive oil over and toss around with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Into a 425º oven until it looks like this:

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Oh and try not to eat all of it right off the pan.  

p.s. Triple Threat Mommy followers may recognize this one from a guest post a while back…

Crispy Onion Ring Assembly Line

April 12, 2014 by  
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Crispy rings, great alongside a thick juicy steak.  Note from pics that most of the work is fully delegable.  

Cut up and separate into rings, toss in flour mixed with some cornstarch and a bit of salt, set rings aside.

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Mix equal parts milk and buttermilk into the flour (until a bit looser than pancake batter), dip in rings and let excess drain off.

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Gently toss rings in panko, let set in fridge for a bit.

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Fry in canola or peanut oil at 350º in batches until lightly browned and crisped, keep warm in 200º oven until service. 

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p.s. served these with a knock-off bloomin’ onion sauce – equal parts mayo and ketchup, some hot horseradish, S&P, paprika and dried oregano.

5 Things to do with Beets

January 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Salad Course, Side dish

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The beet.  What to do…  

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Slice off thin root, chop off tops (wash and save for other use).  Drizzle of olive oil, wrap in foil with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and/or rosemary.  Roast a good hour at 425º.  Let cool, unwrap and peel off outer skin.  Now what?

1 – The Stack: Here’s a pretty presentation.  Slice beets and stack with alternating slices of goat cheese.  Drizzle with champagne vinegar, olive oil.   A throw of sea salt and cracked pepper.  Garnish with some chopped fresh herbs and toasted pistachios.  Click here for a past post and pic on this one.

2- In a Salad: Beets add a nice sweetness to a bitter greens salad.  Cut into small cubes, if using red beets add right before service (too soon and they’ll stain the salad).

3- A Solo Performance:  Serve alone as a side dish.  Cut into cubes or slices, heat and toss with melted butter and S&P.  Garnish with chopped fresh dill.

4- Lightly Pickled – Chop and toss with apple cider vinegar and sliced red onions, let sit overnight at least.   Serve cold in place of (or beside) a potato salad.  

5- In a Bloody – Cut into large cubes, let sit overnight covered in vodka.  Use the vodka for the Bloodies, garnish with the cubes.  

Still steamin’ …

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Brussels Sprouts (Raw!!) and Candied Pecans

November 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Holiday Meal, Salad Course, Side dish

We spent this Thanksgiving with family at my cousin’s house (thanks S&E!), and my assignment was bringing brussels sprouts.   The thing about brussels sprouts — great just out of the oven, but on a re-heat the luster is lost.   And not wanting to crowd E’s kitchen on the biggest/busiest food day of the year, here’s the solution — raw:  

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Shred the sprouts super-thin on a mandoline (not the stringed instrument).   Toss with a mustard vinaigrette, candied spicy pecans and dried sweetened cranberries.  Easy, festive-looking, and a pleasing result.  Recipes for the dressing and pecans are below…

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Vinaigrette:  Three parts extra virgin olive oil, one part red wine vinegar.  A squeeze of dijon mustard, a little squirt of agave nectar.  Salt and pepper.   Mix until thick and emulsified.  Taste.  Adjust.   Toss with shredded sprouts and dried cranberries just before service.

Candied Spicy Pecans:  Melt a couple tablespoons of butter with a good squeeze of agave nectar.  Add kosher salt and a generous amount of cayenne pepper.  Toss with pecans, roast on a cookie sheet lined with parchment at 250º for a couple hours.  Let cool completely and toss with just-dressed sprouts.    

Crispy Smashies

June 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Side dish

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Baby red potatoes, simmered tender.  Smashed flat.  Salted.  Drizzled with olive oil and crisped up. 

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Simmer small red potatoes until tender, drain and let cool a bit.  Onto cookie sheet, gently smash flat.  Drizzle oil over, S&P and garlic powder. Flip. Repeat. Into 425º oven, flip once, remove when browned and crisped on both sides. 

Below is the whole meal together — Crispy Smashies, Pan-Seared Skirt Steak, Sourdough Rolls and Roasted Asparagus.  A good old-school American meat-and-potatoes dinner.  For me it’s all very Lee Greenwood circa Gulf 1.  In boot camp when the idea of a meal like this brought wistful thoughts.  Some time around training day 40, I mailed my parents asking for a picture of a dinner they were having.  They responded with a snap of beef stew and cherry pie. And man did it look good.      

  

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p.s.  serve with Dijon mustard.

UPDATE:  Some answers on the pan — I used a plain old aluminum cookie sheet here (which cost $18 at BB&B but I get for $3.99 on the Bowery…).  You could probably use a non-stick but the potatoes might not brown up as much. If you are only doing a couple servings a cast iron pan would do nicely as well.    

Wilted Tuscan Kale with Garlic

June 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Side dish

So here’s two giant bunches of kale in a pan.  Over thinly sliced garlic bathed in a nice pour of warmed olive oil. And then there’s a disappearing act…

What?? No way, that pan’s like way over-full.

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Wait a minute, what’s happening?

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Where did it all go?

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Oh, into an awesome chicken platter.

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Wash the kale well, rip it up.  Slice a few cloves of garlic super-thinly, and into a pan with a good pour of olive oil.  Kale in, let wilt.  Season with kosher salt, cracked pepper and just a little touch of nutmeg.  Add a knob of butter near the end if that grabs you.  

p.s. – taste this before service.  If it strikes you bitter, drizzle in just a touch of agave nectar. 

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