Archive for ‘Side Dish’

October 3, 2011

Local Foods Week | Curried Pumpkin

Local pumpkins are now prolific at farmer’s markets and my Whole Foods.  They are tasty, vitamin-packed treasures that are as versatile as you care to make them.  Add in some of the last of my backyard chilies and yellow cherry tomatoes, and you’ve got a dish that’s downright good for you.

Tonight I yearned for some Indian food and so I spiced up a leftover half of roasted pumpkin to accompany the fish I baked.  With the new addition of mustard oil to my pantry and now this dish, I even felt like I might be breaking some sort of law.  And after dinner there was a very distinctive warmth (not spicy heat) in my mouth that couldn’t be attributed to anything but that mustard oil.  Who says cooking is boring?

Curried Pumpkin, serves two hungry people, originally inspired by a dish by Aktar Islam of Lasan

2 t mustard oil (or grapeseed oil, or other oil with a fairly high smoking point)

1 t whole fennel seeds

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August 30, 2011

My Favorite Summer Corn | Maque Choux

Although summer corn here in Ohio is some of the sweetest and loveliest I’ve ever eaten, I still can’t help but occasionally add to an already great thing.  Gilding the already golden lily, if you will.  This is an easy, flavorful recipe that I’ve made countless times this summer, because it seems to go with everything.  And left to my own devices, I would eat bowls of this all alone for dinner.  It’s so delicious.

Maque Choux (say mock shoe) is a traditional Cajun dish of braised corn, along with

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May 8, 2011

Mother’s Day at Pleasantview Farm | Asparagus with Shallots

Mother’s Day afternoon was spent just how I wanted it: out at a gorgeous farm, with good food, family and friends.  Pleasantview Farm is twenty miles outside of Columbus, but feels a world away.  The farm is quiet with vast expanses of meadow and sky.  A working organic dairy farm, it is home to a great many head of beautiful dairy cows and their adorable offspring.

Since it was a potluck, I brought along an easy asparagus salad that was drizzled with a mustard dressing just before serving (a Ball jar works great for this).  It was an easy, no fuss day.  Perfect for Mother’s Day.

Asparagus Salad with Shallots, serves plenty at a potluck

2 pounds asparagus, stringy ends removed

1 thick slice of pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice

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April 5, 2011

Moroccan Mystique | Orange and Olive Salad

This is one of those things I just wasn’t sure how it would all work.  Oranges and olives?  My goodness, yes.

I will always be impressed that onions, cumin and chili powder lend a North African vibe to this orange salad, but combine the same three flavors with pinto beans and you’ve got yourself the makings of some good beans for a Texas barbecue.  The cooking world is smaller than you think.

This late winter, early spring salad is a blissful marriage of briny, fatty olives with sweet oranges, spicy red onion and crisp mint.  It’s a cinch to put together and uses spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika) that lots of folks already have in the pantry.   It’s a fantastic side for falafels, or spicy chicken and it makes a great lunch on its own.

(Ooo!) Orange, Olive and Onion Salad, serves 6

Inspired by Claudia Rosen’s Arabesque cookbook

4 oranges, supremed or cut into chunks

20 olives, black, green, or a mix, sliced in half or left whole

1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced and then chopped a bit

Juice from 1/2 lemon

3 T olive oil

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t paprika

Pinch of ground chili powder

2 T chopped mint, parsley or coriander, or some combination thereof

Salt to taste

Combine the orange, olives and onion in a medium bowl.  Combine the lemon, olive oil and spices in a smaller bowl, whisk to combine.  Pour over the orange mixture, taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve.

Playlist included There is a Light That Never Goes Out, covered by Noel Gallagher.

 

 

April 4, 2011

The Versatile Bean | Chickpeas

When I made these recently, I couldn’t help myself from nibbling on them once they had cooked most of the way: quickly snatching one at a time with asbestos fingertips from the top of the pot and popping it in my mouth, or Cherub’s, if she happened to wander through the kitchen.   They are surprisingly delicious as a snack.

I almost always hate to say how good something is for you.  People never want to eat it then, it can’t possibly taste good.  But these, in addition to being downright addictive and snackable, are full of protein, fiber and an impressive amount of trace minerals including 71% of your folate (anybody pregnant out there?).

They also work beautifully as a side dish to lamb or chicken with heady, Moroccan spices.  Or transformed, as I will later tonight, into falafel, which is an ideal meal for the meatless Fridays during Lent.  And you can always whip up leftovers into a quick batch of hummus.

I start with dried beans, which have

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