Archive for the ‘Side dish’ Category

I wish I had a picture of risotto to share with you. If I had a picture you’d see soft pillowy mounds of arborio rice, with flecks of green broccoli, and earthy mushrooms held together with Grana Padano cheese but I don’t. Because I ate it before I could take a picture. All of it. It was that good.

So here is an autumn Valentine for you instead.

It’s almost as good, right?

I felt like I had gotten a Valentine the night my friends came over to eat risotto in heaping bowlfuls. My friends are all single urbanites, charging in a million different directions. I wan’t sure who would show up at the dinner table. In the end, there were five of us – just kind of “coming home” together after a week of hectic schedules, new jobs, and surviving the ordinary. (more…)

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The next time you get a crunchy, salty craving you might try making kale chips.

They are so easy to make and tasty it’s almost ridiculous. You simply tear a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces, coat in oil and seasoning, and bake for about 15 minutes. If you’ve signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) share this summer you’ll thank me in a few weeks when kale starts to arrive by the bagful.

The great thing about kale chips is you can play around with flavorings. Try adding a dash of cumin or garlic salt. Or you can use a seasoned oil. I have some Australian macadamia nut oil in my cupboard and this ended up being a delicious choice. I also toasted some sesame seeds and sprinkled them on top. I recommend a crunchy salt like sea salt or kosher salt for added texture. (more…)

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Cape Cod cranberry orange relish

At every Thanksgiving table there is some kind of cranberry, whether it is canned, sauced, or chopped into a relish. We have always been a relish family. Again, this is a preference of texture – something to balance all of the sweet mash on the dinner plate like peas and pearl onions do. And if the relish is tangy, even better for cleansing the palate between the second and third helpings of sweet potato casserole.

I was delighted to come across this recipe in “Cape Cod Table” by Lora Brody. It has walnuts and lime juice to keep that tangy texture that I like. It also uses brown sugar and maple syrup as sweeteners instead of white sugar. I like a dish that tells a story and this one tells the story of New England. (more…)

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Peas and pearl onions

You may have heard that this year marks the 55th anniversary of the green bean casserole, invented by the Campbell Soup Company to promote its cream of mushroom soup. It has been called a “Thanksgiving icon.”

Not in our house. I only encountered green bean casserole if we ate Thanksgiving dinner at the homes of friends or family. My mother disdained the idea of pouring canned soup over vegetables. Americans have made green bean casserole an “icon” because all the salt, sugar, and fat make those otherwise hearty greens taste really, really good. If Hershey’s had dreamed up cocoa covered green beans they may have been the ones celebrating the anniversary.

Remember: even though green bean casserole has clocked 55 years, the Pilgrims knew nothing of it. We strove for historical purity in our house. (more…)

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I was settling sweetly into fall, having allowed those feelings of rush rush rush pass me by when I suddenly realized: My apples were going “off.” This means all those apples I had gathered from beneath the trees just a few weeks ago were beginning to look a little wrinkly and soft. Oops. So much for my reverie.

It’s good practice to buy fresh produce but that actually requires doing something with this produce. And I sometimes don’t follow through. (I am ashamed to admit to how many bell peppers I have tossed out recently.) I needed to snap awake before the apples were for naught. (more…)

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This is a really easy way to give fresh green beans a little extra flavor and crunch.


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I was strolling through the Farmer’s Market at Copley Square on Friday and I heard a woman say, “This is heavenly.” She’s right. Something about baskets of peaches, tangles of beans, and bright sunflowers softens the heart of a city and brings things down to human scale in a forest of skyscrapers and historic buildings. Rows of homemade cookies, bags of bread, and jars of honey have the power to soothe even as sirens wail and traffic rushes by just a few feet away.

And then there’s the corn. Lots and lots of corn.

You barely need to do anything to food that is this fresh, just take take it home and strip it down.

I was heading to a potluck later that evening and I knew exactly what I wanted to bring: A corn and black bean salad, using raw, sweet corn. I came across this recipe at a Fourth of July party last year.

“It’s so easy,” the hostess kept telling me. A guest at the party insisted that the secret was a packet of Good Seasons Italian dressing. If you don’t have that handy, it’s pretty easy to season this any way you like, using a combination of dried herbs (basil, oregano), salt (onion, garlic, celery), and a little sugar to draw the sweetness of the corn and fruit. This recipe uses mangoes but I bet you could use peaches, which are just coming into season. (more…)

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