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Posts Tagged ‘side dish’

This unusual rice pilaf makes a great side dish for baked chicken or grilled meat. The combination of sweet/savory and tart/buttery flavors is delicious.  I imagine it would even be good using a prepared saffron rice mix (steamed, not boiled as this recipe calls for) in a pinch.  But what I like about making your own saffron rice is that the flavor is subtle, and you avoid the MSG lurking in packaged products.

In any case, try this!  It’s such a nice twist.

(Adapted from Food & Wine)

-1 c. basmati rice
-3 Tbsp. butter
-1 tsp. olive oil
-1/4 c. dried sour cherries, raisins, or dried cranberries (2 ounces)
-2 tsp. sugar
-1/3 c. sliced or slivered almonds
-1/4 tsp. saffron
-salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning. Once brown, immediately remove almonds to a bowl.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until almost tender, between 8 and 10 minutes. Test periodically to ensure the rice retains a slight “al dente” bite.

3. Drain rice in a colander and shake to remove excess water. In a small bowl, dissolve the saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot water. Return the rice to the saucepan and stir in the saffron water. Season with salt and (ideally white) pepper.

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I love savory food for breakfast, especially when someone else cooks it.  This morning my husband hit it out of the park with skillet-fried mashed potato pancakes.  They were awesome—fluffy, crispy, and golden all over.  Two bites in, I was already insisting he transcribe the recipe to share with you.

Hungry yet? (more…)

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Do you ever get really sick of eating rich food?

OK, me neither.

But sometimes you need something acidic to cut the grease, if you will.  The Germans are masters of balancing heavy, hearty food with pickled dishes that perk things up (sauerkraut, anyone?).  German potato salad is another mouth-puckering example.  No mayo, no fuss; just a simple vinaigrette with onion and parsley.  It is unapologetically plain and delicious—just like your Schwäbisch Oma (“Grandma”) might make.

The next time you fry up a chicken schnitzel or grill a bacon cheeseburger, make sure you have some of this on hand.

Caraway seed is a favorite in German cuisine, quite possibly because it comes in such gorgeous packaging.

-2.2 lbs. waxy potatoes (such as red potatoes or Yukon Golds)
-1 Tbsp. whole caraway seed
-1 Tbsp. salt

-1 c. HOT chicken/vegetable broth (from bullion cube is OK; Oma’s not that fussy)

Dressing:
-1/4 c.  sweet onion, minced
-2 Tbsp.  shallot, minced
-2 Tbsp. chives, snipped
-2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
-2 Tbsp. white vinegar
-5 Tbsp. oil (avoid olive oil if you plan to serve cold)
-3/4 tsp. sugar
-1/2 tsp. spicy German or Dijon mustard
-2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
-salt and pepper, to taste

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Brussel sprouts

Credit: allotment.org.uk

My fellow blogger, Eric Hason (of I Am What I Eat) finally relented and gave me his über-simple recipe for brussel sprout salad, pictured here.

1.  Grate raw brussel sprouts
2.  Dress w/ olive oil, lemon juice, S&P,
3.  Grate in lots of Parmesan cheese

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This is one of those dishes where the total is greater than the sum of its parts.  It’s so impossibly simple, I feel silly even offering a recipe.  But these roasted green beans are too good to miss.  Broiling them under high, direct heat imparts a toasty, almost french-fryesque flavor.  I hope you’ll give them a try.

roasted haricot verts 

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Ramen noodle salad (or “Asian slaw,” if you prefer) is a perfect crowd-pleaser, provided your crowd isn’t full of “foodies.”  (How I loathe that term.)  Actually, the foodies will enjoy this dish too, they’ll just never admit it.

I last made this for a Mother’s Day barbecue at my place.  Mom loved it, grandpa loved it, brother loved it, boyfriend (who has good taste) pretty close to loved it.  In short, you can’t go wrong with this in a casual setting.  I think ramen salad was really big in the ’90s—make of that what you will.  I seem to remember eating a lot of ramen then, anyway.

-1 pkg. cole slaw mix (or 1 sm. head of chopped cabbage + 1 shredded carrot)
-4 green onions, chopped
-1 c. fresh bean sprouts, optional
-4 oz. slivered almonds
-4 Tbsp. sugar OR 2 Tbsp. honey
-2/3 c. neutral-tasting oil + 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
-1/4 c. sesame seeds
-2 pkgs. uncooked ramen noodles, seasoning packet reserved (“Oriental” flavor is good, if a misnomer)
-1/2 tsp. pepper
-6 Tbsp. rice vinegar (or a lesser amount of white vinegar)

1. Toast almonds and sesame seeds in a dry pan.

2. Toss together cole slaw mix, bean sprouts (if using), onions, sesame seeds, and almonds.

3. Crumble dry ramen noodles on top.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar/honey, oil, pepper, rice vinegar, and seasoning packet.

5. Toss dressing with salad just before serving.

A squirt of Sriracha garlic pepper sauce gives the dressing a nice kick, if you like.  But depending on who you ask, that might up the “gourmet” factor too much.  Then your salad’s just “uppity.”

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<—- This concept is just…wrong.  Much like the McDonald’s Southern Chicken Sandwich (one of their bestsellers).

I went to college in the South (Atlanta), and sometimes, I really start missing the food.  I never realized it growing up in Maryland, but much of my family’s homecooking was actually Southern style, too.  As my dad tells it, his mother was the daughter of tobacco sharecroppers, and her cooking philosophy was, “If it’s brown: it’s cooking; if it’s black: it’s done.”

Lucky for me, Dad didn’t inherit his mother’s doneness gauge, but he did enter adulthood with some good Southern recipes.  So, I always assumed that everyone ate chipped beef or sausage gravy over biscuits.  Green beans always had bacon or ham in them, and tea was always extra strong with plenty of sugar.  Any kind of roasted meat served without gravy?  Sacrelige.  I didn’t realize these weren’t so much all-American staples as Southern homecooking until I met my boyfriend, a kind lad from Iowa. 

I haven’t convinced him about chicken-fried steak yet, but, seeing as he’s from the land of corn, at least we can agree on cornbread.  And I can’t wait to try this recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Southern Plate.  She writes with the lilt of a Southern accent, and I just love her stories.  Check her out!

DIXIE CORN BREAD

-1 1/2 c. enriched white cornmeal
-3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. baking soda
-2 c. buttermilk
-1 egg
-2 Tbsp. of bacon drippin’s or melted real butter
-1 Tbsp. Crisco

1. Preheat oven 450F.

2.  In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, add a tablespoon of Crisco and preheat.  Sift together dry ingredients; add buttermilk, egg, and drippings, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.

3.  Pour into the greased, hot skillet. Bake in preheated hot oven at 450F for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

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