Category — Side Dish Recipes
I have been really busy lately, but one of the bright spots of my recent days was making this cornbread and then eating it all.
Cornbread can be too sweet or too mealy or too dry or too boring, but this cornbread is none of those things. I’m guessing it’s largely because of the copious amounts of bacon and bacon grease that go into it, but there could be other reasons. I like it warm out of the oven or lightly toasted. With all the fat in it, even I don’t need to put butter on it… and that’s saying quite a lot since I like to put butter on EVERYTHING. But it’s not solely enhanced by the pig products- it’s rounded out with caramelized onions and a measure of parmesan cheese just for the heck of it. So swine up your cornbread- one bite and you will wonder why you have spent all these years eating stupid regular non-porked cornbread.
December 6, 2009 1 Comment
What is TotMac, you ask? Why it’s homemade Mac N Cheese topped with Tater Tots, of course. Behold: TotMac!
I cannot tell a lie: I did not come up with this concept. There’s a great little neighborhood restaurant here in SF called Q and they are known for topping their Mac with Tots. HOWEVER. While I have enjoyed Q’s Mac on several occasions, I have always felt that the Mac execution could be improved upon. Ergo, I Totted my own Mac, with diabolically delicious results.
October 15, 2009 1 Comment
A couple months back I posted about a condiment competition between me and my Dad. At the time, I made a black mustard, which I called Moutarde Le Bête Noire (“Black Beast Mustard”), and it was extremely pungent and spicy.
It turns out if you mellow this mustard in the fridge for about a week, it’s absolutely fantastic. Although it didn’t win the competition at the time, it’s now a family favorite. One of our newly learned tricks is to quickly saute green beans or asparagus and toss with this mustard before serving. It’s mellow, rich, and complex, and adored by mustard aficionados and skeptics alike.
September 20, 2009 No Comments
This weekend I did something a little different… a Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event I’m calling Family Food Feud: Colossal Condiment Competiton! Read on for details, winners, dark horses, and recipes…
My Dad is super into making things and canning them for later- pickles, jams, tomatoes, syrups, you name it. Every year I try to add new things to our family’s home-canned repertoire, like lemon curd and onion relish. But in short, this came about because what started out as a father-daughter bonding moment over the idea of making homemade ketchup turned into a full-on condiment CHALLENGE! Suddenly it was a competition. We were one-upping each other with over-confident bluster about our innovative and sure-to-be tasty imagined flavor combinations. It was all out of control. And it was ON like DONKEY KONG.
This was to be a serious smackdown between me and my Dad. Having a relatively tactless group of friends and brutally honest family members, we knew no one would play favorites with the judging. The results would stand. Thanks to Foodbuzz, who agreed to sponsor this familial food fight by featuring it in their 24, 24, 24 for July, our competition came to fruition.
July 26, 2009 10 Comments
I throw together a risotto dish quite often, but admittedly it’s a one of those things that can be hit or miss for me. Sometimes it rocks your world, and sometimes it’s merely OK. Last night I think I stumbled on the secret to great risotto: aged black garlic in the mix. When combined with that magical triumvirate of cheese, cream, and oil, you just can’t lose.
July 20, 2009 9 Comments
On a recent trip to Vieques, Puerto Rico, we ate at a fantastic little restaurant called El Quenepo. I loved their grilled caesar salad and thought that while the dish was fresh in my mind, I’d try making a version at home. Grilling the romaine hearts adds a fantastic layer of smoky complexity that compliments the strong flavors of the dressing.
July 14, 2009 No Comments
The other night, I made Mac and Cheese with no recipe and had an epiphany- you don’t need a recipe to make Mac and Cheese. (I know, that’s not a particularly brilliant flash based on the context.) While there are lots of great recipes out there (I particularly favor this one) this is a dish that is perfectly suited to experimentation and variation. As long as you have the basic proportions and method down, you can go wild with this!
To make a 9×13 pan of tasty M&C, the proportions you need are essentially 1 pound of pasta, 2-3 cups of roux, 2-4 cups of cheese, and 1-2 cups of topping. Once you have this basic setup, you can play around with flavor combinations to your heart’s content.
About the elements:
- THE PASTA: Whatever shape you like should do fine. I have never tried with a long noodle like spaghetti or fettucine but if you’re feeling adventurous I’m sure it won’t kill you.
- THE ROUX: The base of the gooey cheesy part is a white sauce or roux. To make a roux you need 1 Tablespoon butter to 1 Tablespoon flour to 1 cup milk. For 2-3 cups double or triple those amounts. Melt the butter and add flour, whisking. Cook until pasty. Add milk, salt, and pepper, and continue whisking as you bring to a boil. Cook until thick.
- THE CHEESE: You can use one type of cheese or a mixture. If you’re using a mild cheese like a medium cheddar, you might want to punch it up with a parmigiano or a brie. On the other hand, if Gorgonzola’s your game, you may want to cut the pungency with a more demure Jack.
- THE TOPPING: The basis of the topping is generally bread crumbs mixed with a bit of melted butter. I like to add grated parmigiano and often, a pork product (crispy bacon pieces or prosciutto spring to mind.) Toasted nuts would be interesting, especially depending on your cheese choice (blue cheese mac with pecan topping, anyone?) You can make a couple pieces of toast in the toaster and put them in the food processor to get 1-2 cups of crumbs. Mix with a few tablespoons of melted butter, salt, pepper, and other accoutrements as desired. Or, you could skip the topping altogether and go for a strictly creamy casserole.
- THE EXTRAS: If you’re inspired to mix in a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, some chopped steamed broccoli, a swirl of pesto, a fistful of browned sausage, or anything else tasty you can imagine, then don’t let me stop you! You should also feel free to jazz up your roux by starting it with sautéed shallots, a couple chopped chipotles, some fresh herbs, or… the possibilities are endless.
Heat oven to 350.
- Cook the pasta to al dente and drain.
- Make the roux and stir the cheese in it.
- Combine the cheesy roux and the cooked pasta well and pour into a buttered 9×13 glass pan.
- Distribute topping over Mac and Cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until cheese bubbles up.
- Serve immediately.
June 10, 2009 2 Comments
I get tired of plain ol’ mashed potatoes, so I’m always looking for ways to change it up. I like to combine cauliflower and potatoes in this mash for the added nutrition benefits and the great flavor combination. After mashing the two together, I gratinee them in the broiler with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano for a taste and texture treat.
Potato Cauliflower Gratin
serves 8 as a side dish.
- 3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- trimmed florets from 1 head cauliflower
- 1/2 cup butter, cut in chunks
- 4 oz. cream cheese, cut in chunks
- about 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup grated parmigiano
- salt and pepper
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook 15 minutes.
- Add cauliflower and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until potatoes and cauliflower are soft and cooked through.
- Drain and return to pot. Add butter and mash. Add cream cheese and continue mashing. Add milk a bit at a time and continue mashing to desired consistency (I like this combo a little lumpy but feel free to go smooth with it.)
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread mixture out into 9×13 or other ovenproof pan. Sprinkle cheese over top.
- Broil a couple of minutes until cheese is browned.
May 23, 2009 No Comments
The other night I made a big batch of carnitas for some family and friends. Of course, you have to have beans on the side, and no one makes better Mexican beans than my brother-in-law Steve-O. He was kind enough to walk me through the process. Since then I have adapted and changed them to my liking.
There are some reasons these taste better than regular beans. One reason is the beer. Another is the method of adding a whole bunch of liquid and then cooking the s*** out of them so all the liquid reduces back into the beans to flavor them.
There is no picture because you know what it’s impossible to take a good picture of? Smooshed up refried beans. I even thought of pulling a picture off of some other website but they were all unattractive too. Go ahead. Do a search. You’ll see. Plus I think it’s safe to assume that you all know what beans look like already.
UPDATE: I was wrong! I added a pretty good picture of beans that I took yesterday.
Steve-O’s Beer Beans
- 2 T lard or vegetable oil
- 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 cans beans (pinto or black, or a combo)
- 1 can or bottle of beer- the yeasty ones are good, or use Mexican beer since you’ll probably be drinking it with your meal anyway
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 or 2 envelopes of Caldo de Pollo, or some chicken broth concentrate (they have a new product at Whole Foods called “savory choice liquid concentrate chicken stock” that is my favorite. Steve uses the Caldo de Pollo from the Mexican foods aisle. You can use bouillion cubes if you must.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan (preferably nonstick), heat the lard or oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft and aromatic.
- Add the beans with their liquid and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. With a potato masher, smash up about half the beans.
- Add the beer, chicken broth, and Caldo de Pollo to the mixture. It should be pretty liquidy.
- Cook over medium low heat, stirring and scraping the sides, until the liquid has reduced and the beans are the consistency of refried beans.
- Taste and add salt and pepper and/or more Caldo de Pollo if necessary and cook, stirring, until deliciousness ensues.
- Go ahead, try and take an attractive picture. YOU CAN’T.
- These will keep for a couple of days in the fridge and can be made ahead.
- To make this vegetarian/vegan, substitute vegetable broth or mushroom broth for the chicken broth and caldo de pollo.
May 4, 2009 2 Comments
Sometimes you just need a perfect side dish that’s sweet, spicy, and salty all at the same time. This is a quick and easy way to makestring beans sing in an Asian-inspired side dish.
If you prefer to walk on the mild side… cut the sambal down. And if you don’t own any fish sauce, don’t stress, just leave it out.
Sweet Spicy String Beans
- 1 Tblsp + 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 Tblsp honey
- 1 tsp sambal
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce
- 12-16 oz. string beans or green beans, trimmed and washed
- 1 small clove garlic, sliced as thinly as possible
- Combine soy sauce, honey, sambal, and fish sauce in a bowl and mix together.
- Put green beans in large saute pan with 1/4 cup water. Turn heat on high. When water starts to bubble, cover tightly and cook 5 minutes.
- Remove lid and add sauce. Toss to coat and continue cooking on high, tossing every few minutes. Continue cooking about 5-10 minutes, until sauce has thickened and coats the beans.
- Add garlic slices and cook, tossing, about 1 more minute.
- Remove from pan and serve immediately.
April 28, 2009 No Comments