About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Jan

Jan is a serious home cook who loves to read recipes and then do her own thing. Her focus is ingredient driven comfort food, often with an Italian influence. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about food and travels (next trip to Italy: May/June of 2012) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Kim

Kim joins us after being our permanent sub on the Pomodori e Vino project. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think or The Amy Foundation.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

Our Subs

About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Amy

Amy is a teacher in suburban Boston with far too many cookbooks, her Grandmother's meat grinder and canning jars, and a new Wolf stove. She appreciates cuisines from around the world, with a particular fondness for French, Moroccan, Italian, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. Tweaking her cooking and eating habits resulted long-lasting weight loss and health benefits, proving that living well still tastes good. An old hobby is knitting; and a newer one is canning preserves. Read more from Amy on her blog, Destination Anywhere.


Side Dishes Archives

October 20, 2011

Mushroom Risotto with fresh Thyme and Tarragon

The ingredient this week is Mushrooms. What a choice . . . chanterelles, cremini, portobello, shitake, morels. I picked the dried porcici. Even the Flavor Bible says that the porcini goes with Italian Cuisine. Bellisimo! I see that Deborah also posted a Risotto recipe ~ great minds think alike! We are working each week with the same ingredient. We may see several recipes that are similar. I'm looking at how many different ways I can make Risotto :-)

Wild Mushroom Risotto
1 cup ONION
1 pkg porcini mushrooms (dried)
1 cup crimini mushrooms
2 Tbs fresh THYME
1 Tbs fresh TARRAGON
1/2 cup PARMESAN cheese
5 cups porcini broth (reserved from soaking mushrooms and a couple of broth cubes)
Soak dried mushrooms in warm water to reconstitue. Dice onion and mushrooms, reserving broth from porcini. Add thyme and tarragon to the broth and simmer on low heat.
Heat oil in a large pan. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add rice and cook until translucent. Stir in wine and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed. Slowly add broth 1 cup at a time, stir and cover. When liquid is absorbed repeat with the simmering broth. When all the broth is absorbed, vigorously stir in cheese.
Yum ~ comfort food!
Y'all enjoy~

November 1, 2011

Carrot and Parsnip Puree

Carrot and Parsnip Puree
Serves 6

This simple puree is silky smooth, a gorgeous fall orange color and full of flavor. I loved it!

2 pounds carrots
3 large parsnips
6 thin slices of ginger root
1/3 cup half & half
1 tablespoon butter

Cut the carrots and parsnips into 2 inch lengths and put, with the ginger, into well salted, boiling water.


Boil steadily until the carrots and parsnips are easily pierced with a fork.

Put them into the food processor with the half & half, butter and a generous pinch of salt.
Process until very smooth, puling at first and then letting the machine run. Serve immediately.


November 15, 2011

Cranberry Chutney

Chutney is a great vehicle to marry lots of flavors. I loved using the star anise; they’re so pretty. This chutney can transform a boring grilled chicken breast.

Cranberry Chutney Recipe

4 cups cranberries
1/2 plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water

Toss the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside.


Then assemble:

1 small onion, chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic
1-2 small dried chilis
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cinnamon sticks
6 star anise

3 tablespoons canola oil
Add the ginger and garlic to the food processor, while running, until chopped very fine, almost a paste.

Saute the chopped onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, then add the ginger and garlic paste and cook about 3 more minutes at a very low heat.
Add the spices and cook, stirring until fragrant—1 or 2 minutes more.
Add the cranberry mixture. Bring to a boil. Let it cook for about 5 minutes until almost all of the cranberries are popped.


Simmer for about 20 minutes more. Let cool in the pan. Remove the anise, cinnamon and chilis. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


November 22, 2011

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Vinaigrette

I was lucky that they were selling beautiful Brussels Sprouts on the stalk at our Fresh Market.


So, first...
Remove sprouts from stalk. I use my hands.
Cut the largest ones in half and leave the smaller ones whole.
If you like you can trim the bottom with a paring knife to make a cleaner looking sprout.
Steam the sprouts over boiling water until they are still bright green but you can easily stick a fork into them, about 7 or 8 minutes.

Meanwhile make the dressing.

Cook 4 slices (about 1/4 pound) of bacon in a frying pan and set it aside on paper towels. Save the rendered fat in the pan. Chop the bacon.


2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
generous pinch of salt
few grinds of pepper


Toss the hot Brussels sprouts with the dressing and add the chopped bacon.

That’s it.
This recipe is simple, delicious and full of flavor. The combination of the cider vinegar, bacon and the sprouts is listed in the “affinities” in the Flavor Bible. I can see why. They totally work together.


November 24, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

If y'all are following along. . . you know that the flavor of the week is Brussels Sprouts.
I bet you didn't know that they are actually called 'brusselS sproutS'. The folks at Piggly Wiggly were impressed with my vegetable knowledge (NOT)
The brussels sprout is a vegetable that can be very bitter. If they are steamed or overcooked, they release a sulfur odor ~ which is why most people don't like them. They also will stink up the kitchen. However, if they are roasted, they loose that bitter flavor and become a toasty treat. I promise y'all ~ this is the only way to enjoy them!I checked the Flavor Bible and decided to improve my normal recipe. I have Capitalized the flavors that are recommended.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta
2 tablespoons OLIVE OIL
2 cups diced PANCETTA
3 cups baby Brussels sprouts
2 cloves GARLIC
Preheat oven to 400°
In a large skillet add olive oil and diced pancetta. Let pancetta render, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and lightly brown. Remove from the heat. In the meantime, slice the Brussels sprouts in half and trim the edges. Toss with thyme, pancetta and olive oil. Roast brussels sprouts at 400° for 40 minutes, until dark and crispy. Add the Parmigiano while they are still warm. Salt generously just before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope you are enjoying this day with friends and family. Take a moment to recognize all of the things we have to be Thankful for...
The 'flavors' that enrich our lives.
Y'all enjoy~

November 26, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

No. There is nothing out of the ordinary about roasted brussels sprouts - in fact, a google search reveals more than 1.5 million hits. There is a reason for that though - roasting takes a vegetable that some folks despise (not me) and turn them into a crispy, tasty treat.

I wasn't feeling particularly creative when I picked my recipe for brussels sprouts. I love them roasted with balsamic vinegar, some salty pancetta - the combination of sweet vinegar and salty pancetta being nothing short of sublime. From the Flavor Bible I added garlic, cheese (goat and pecorino), and thyme. I also added raisins because we like the combination of sweet and savoury flavours side-by-side.

These oven-caramelized treats will convert die-hard Brussels sprout foes into instant supporters.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Goat Cheese
1 lb. brussels sprouts
2 T olive oil
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup raisins
2 oz pancetta, cubed
1 T thyme leaves
3 T grated pecorino cheese
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F. Trim brussels sprouts, remove any discolored leaves, and cut into half. Put sprouts in mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, raisins, thyme, and pancetta.

Cover a heavy roasting pan with foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray. Arrange the prepared sprouts in a single layer on roasting pan, and roast 25 minutes, turning occasionally, or until sprouts are slightly crisp and golden brown on the edges.

Toss with the pecorino cheese. Top brussels sprouts with goat cheese.

December 13, 2011

Parsnip and Sage Puree


This simple preparation of the parsnips produced such a lovely, complimentary flavor combination. The sage works beautifully with the unique parsnip flavor. It reminded me of when you have a perfect wine pairing. Each flavor really "enlightened" the other. Try it!

Recipe: (serves about 6)

About 6 large parsnips cut into chunks
About 6 large fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup half & half
3 Tablespoons butter
1 small handful of fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Steam the parsnips until a fork goes in easily--about 8 minutes.
Put them into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process until totally smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and serve.

December 15, 2011

Fall Vegetable Gratin

Y'all can tell that I had absolutely nothing to do with the choices of Flavors we would be cooking.
Not a single Grit on the schedule.
I didn't even know enough to know that Parsnips should never be eaten raw. I am just glad I never served a veggie dish with parsnips and ranch dressing. This cooking challenge has expanded my horizons.
According to the Flavor Bible, Parsnips go well with Savory flavors and creamy sauces. I was at a loss until I pulled out my cookbook from the Hot and Hot Fish Club. Leave it to the Hastings to come up with a recipe for the humble parsnip! Once again, I have capitalized the flavors that are recommended. Fall Vegetable Gratin
From the Hot and Hot Cookbook
1/2 stick unsalted BUTTER
1 large GARLIC clove
1 1/2 tsp HERB SALT
1/2 pound fingerling POTATOES
1 small rutabaga
2 large PARSNIPS
1 large TURNIP
1 1/2 cups heavy CREAM
The rutabaga, parsnips and turnip should be peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch slices. The potatoes unpeeled and sliced.
Preheat the oven to 350°
Melt the butter in a small saucepan with smashed garlic clove.Pour 1Tbs butter into an 8x8 baking dish, using the garlic to smear on all sides. Discard garlic. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt on buttered dish.
Arrange an even layer of sliced vegetables over the dish. Drizzle 1 Tbs butter, 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp herb salt. Continue to layer vegetables with butter and herbs until almost full. Top with a layer of large round turnip slices.
Pour the cream over the gratin, pressing the vegetables down to coat. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.
Allow to sit 10-15 minutes before serving.
y'all enjoy~

December 16, 2011

Parsnip Kugel

Morning all - can't believe it's Friday again already! I almost forget to write this post the week went so fast ... almost.

Okay - so some of you might be scratching your heads about now at this recipe. Kugel? What's a kugel? It's a casserole that can be almost cake-like in some cases (mine or a traditional carrot), cheesy in others, sweet with noodles and cinnamon or savory with potatoes and onion but it's typically served at Jewish holidays and on the sabbath (aka, Shabbat). As I've mentioned I've had noodle kugel, carrot kugel and potato kugel but I've never seen a parsnip kugel so I thought - why not?

The next question for me was savory or sweet? Do I include onions, shallots, some herbs like thyme and sage or go with the nutmeg, brown sugar, and apples? As I was craving sweet that day (I made this on Wednesday), and I had all the ingredients for sweet in the house (savory may have required a trip to the store), I went with the latter and here's what I got.

Parsnip Kugel


  • A bunch of parsnips - not sure what size these were and as I forgot to weight them, I'd say about 10 small to medium
  • medium apple, peeled and quartered
  • 4 oz unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4C canola oil
  • 1/2t lemon rind
  • 1C flour
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1t cinnamon (we love our cinnamon)
  • 1/2t NUTMEG


1. Spray a 7x11 glass pan with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Place the parsnip in a food processor (I peeled mine first as I didn't know if I should or not), chop fine and put in a large bowl.
3. Place apple in food processor and chop fine and add to parsnip. If you don't have a food processor you could grate both or get really handy with a knife.
4. Add to them the egg, brown sugar, lemon rind and oil.
5. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg with a whisk.
6. Add flour mixture to parsnip mixture.
7. Bake for about 40 minutes until cooked through (I tested with a knife) and golden brown. Let it sit for a few minutes and then serve.

Parsnip Kugel

I have to admit - I really liked this! So much so, that I kept picking at it as I passed the counter and finally had to toss it because although Becky liked it too, I just couldn't see us finishing it any time soon and it was too tempting.

Because it's cake-like this came in high on the Weight Watcher meter - at 10 servings we got 5PPV.

December 21, 2011

Caramelized Onions, Chestnuts and Apricots with Cognac


I wasn't too sure about this week's recipe, but I made a similar dish with cippolini onions a few years ago, and adapted it for a quick weeknight side dish. This is slightly sweet, and goes well with pork, or turkey, or our veal cutlets!

Caramelized Onions, Chestnuts and Apricots with Cognac

3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
3 T. butter
1 T. sugar
1 T. white wine vinegar
20-25 cooked chestnuts, cut in half
1/4 c. Cognac
1 c. dried apricots

In a large, deep skillet, combine the chicken stock with butter, vinegar and sugar, and bring to a boil. Add the onions, cover and cook over moderately low heat until crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are covered with a deep-golden caramel, about 30 minutes longer.

Add the Cognac, apricots and chestnuts to the onions and cook just until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and scrape up any caramel stuck to the bottom and sides. Pour the sauce over the onions, and serve.


December 28, 2011

Sweet Potatoes with Ginger Syrup and Bacon

This was my inspiration for this week's recipe:


Let me start by saying I am NOT a sweet potato fan. If I had to eat one, I would want it baked with butter, salt and pepper. I know they are both trendy and healthy, but I associate them with Thanksgiving food. The last time I cooked OR ate a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving was sometime in the 1980's when my ex-mother-in-law set my oven on fire and got 10 pounds of potatoes on the ceiling and walls of my brand new kitchen. PTSD on Thanksgiving foods. The only part of the traditional meal I like is COLD turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce. I try to prepare these for Brad sometime else during the year. I have no interest in sweet potato fries, or anything that makes an already sweet food sweeter.

However...this week's ingredient is sweet potatoes. When I saw this bottle of ginger syrup at Williams-Sonoma, I decided to pair it with sweet potatoes.

I began with four large sweet potatoes.


I washed, peeled and cubed them, tossed them with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them for over an hour until they were tender.


Next I stirred together these four ingredients in a bowl:

4 T. melted butter
3 T. ginger syrup
2 t. cinnamon
4 oz. orange juice

Pour liquid mixture over sweet potatoes and mash in a large bowl. Spread mashed sweet potatoes into a 9x13 baking dish.


Top with 6 slices of crumbled bacon and 3/4 c. gingersnap crumbs, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Did it taste good? Yes.

Will I make it again. No.

I decided that with the exception of fruit, I don't like sweet foods on my dinner plate. This is true for pumpkin, squash, brussels sprouts, and all things people add brown sugar, or maple syrup, or heaven forbid, marshmallows to. I like these foods salty, so add cheese or pancetta, and I'm on board. If I ever HAVE to eat a sweet potato, I'll still take mine with just butter, salt and pepper, please.

December 29, 2011

Sweet Potato Stacks

Y'all know by now that the Flavor of the week is Sweet Potatoes.
Finally. . . a flavor we Southerners know something about! In this recipe, I took the flavors that we love with Sweet Potatoes ~ each in individual stacks. (You can add marshmallows if you'd like)You'll find in this recipe the recommended flavors have been Capitalized.
Sweet Potato Stacks
1 1/2 pounds small sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh THYME
2/3 cup heavy CREAM
1 garlic GARLIC, minced
Zest of one ORANGE
2 BAY leaves
ground SALT and PEPPER
THYME and PECAN pieces for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°.
In a small sauce pan combine cream, garlic, orange zest, 1/2 tsp thyme, and bay leaves. Cook on low for 5 minutes and set aside to allow the flavors to mingle.
Without peeling, slice the potatoes thinly.
In a lightly greased 12-cup muffin pan, Layer half of the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and grated cheese. Continue with layers until the potato stacks are slightly above the rim of each cup.
Remove bay leaves from the cream. Pour cream mixture into muffin cups ~about 1 Tbs per cup. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly golden.
Let stand 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around rim of each cup, and lift potato stacks from cups using a spoon or thin spatula. Garnish, if desired.
You can see, I had decided to use my pecans in a pecan pie ~ so a little crumbled bacon went on top of each. I also like the idea of including a layer of proscuitto in the bottom. . . maybe next time!
Happy Cooking y'all~

December 31, 2011

Sweet Potato Galette with Swiss Chard and Chanterelle Mushrooms

Until recently I have not had much 'experience' with sweet potatoes. In fact, I have never tasted that 'treat' from south of the border the sweet potato casserole with the required topping of marshmallow that I have read about. It's just as well because I know I'd hate it. When it comes to the sweet vs savoury argument I am firmly in the savoury camp (unless, of course, one happens to be debating a dessert then it is sweet all the way baby!!!!!!)

I've had roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, grilled sweet potatoes, and used them in stews and curries - all of which were wonderful since they weren't cloyingly sweet!

I couldn't decide between sweet potato gnocchi or a sweet potato galette (the layered potato side dish not the free-form French pie variety) for my dish. In the end I went with the galette as I needed a side dish for dinner last night.

I think that this 'flavour' revealed a fundamental flaw in the premise behind the book or perhaps in the strategy behind our blog challenge. Dornenburg and Page asked expert chef's what ingredients/flavours they pair with a particular item, in this case sweet potatoes. The more chefs recommended a particular ingredient the highest its rating on the flavour charts. In this case the highest rated flavours were butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, and sugar - all of which lend themselves to a sweet preparation but not as well to a savoury one. The rules behind the challenge are that we must use one of the bold (capitalized flavours), and one of the bold (non-capitalized) flavours. I didn't want to use any of the top flavours at all. In the end I dumped in a tablespoon of butter (how lame is that) that the dish didn't need in order to follow the rules.

In the end my recipe used the following flavours: butter, olive oil, cheese (fontina), chile pepper, garlic, bitter greens (chard), mushrooms (chanterelle), olive oil, and salt (kosher). My galette was five layers of amazing deliciouness (is that a word? If not I hereby claim it as an official 'Flavors Blog Challenge' adjective!) It worked well as a side dish would have been just as fine as a main dish paired with a salad for a nice light meal.

Sweet Potato Galette with Swiss Chard and Chanterelle Mushrooms

2 tsp olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped, thick stems removed
1 cup chopped chanterelle mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you want more of a 'zip')
salt and pepper

1 T olive oil
1 tsp butter
2 large sweet potatoes, sliced crosswise, 1/16 inch thick
¾ c. grated fontina cheese
1 tsp melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a heavy, non-stick, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and quickly cook (taking care that the garlic doesn't brown) until you can smell the aroma - about 1 minute. Add the chopped chard and mushrooms and sauté until the chard is beginning to wilt and the mushrooms have released their liquid. Remove to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

Heat 1 T oil and 1 tsp butter in the skillet over medium heat. Arrange slices of sweet potato in a circular pattern in the skillet. Crowd the slices over the whole surface area, overlapping them, as they will shrink up a little when cooked.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover the sweet potatoes with the chard/mushroom mixture.

Arrange another layer of sweet potatoes over the chard/mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Cover this layer of sweet potato slices with the grated fontina cheese.

Arrange the last layer of sweet potatoes on top of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Press down with a spatula to help mesh the layers.

When the bottom layer of potatoes starts turning golden, drizzle the melted butter over the top and transfer the skillet to the oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the galette is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Place the galette under the broiler for a minute at the end to crisp the top, but be careful not to burn the potatoes.

Let the galette cool in the skillet for 10-15 minutes. Loosen the galette from the pan with a spatula. Fit a plate over the galette, and invert the skillet to release it.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


January 11, 2012

Roast Squash Fondue


I love all squash, and this is easy, delicious, and fun to serve! This can be done with any kind of squash. I have tried a red kuri and a kabocha.

1 red kuri or kabocha squash
1 French Baguette
4 oz grated gruyere
4 oz. grated fontina
1 c. cream
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 t. nutmeg
olive oil, salt and pepper

First cut off a lid, lid you would on a pumpkin. Hollow out the seeds and stringy parts.
Line a roasting pan with foil, and brush the outside of the squash and lid with olive oil.
Sprinkle the inside with salt.

Heat the oven to 450. Toast several sliced of a French baguette. You will need about 8 slices. Reduce oven temp to 400.

Mix together cream, broth and nutmeg. Combine both cheeses.
Layer bread, 1/3 of grated gruyere-fontina mixture, 1/3 of liquid mixture into the squash. Repeat with two more layers. Sprinkle top with salt and pepper.


Cover squash with lid, and bake at 400 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until squash is tender. You will have a cheesy "bowl" of squash fondue. Make sure to scoop out the squash, as well as bread and cheese when serving!



January 12, 2012

Butternut Squash Risotto with Vanilla

Y'all know that this week we are exploring Winter Squash. Well . . . in the South, we know there there is one kind of squash. It's yellow and we can grow it like kudzo in the summer. The idea of Winter Squash is a little strange.
Strange . . . I guess I am.
I love Butternut squash ~ The Flavor Bible suggests flavors such as vanilla and thyme. I decided to try this in a Risotto. I have a Bourbon Vanilla that might work perfectly.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Vanilla
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups peeled cubed butternut squash
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup WHITE WINE
1/2 cup freshly grated PARMESAN
1/2 tsp SALT
2 Tbs fresh THYME
In a medium saucepan, warm the broth with Vanilla over medium-high heat. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the diced butternut squash and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Turn down the heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a Risotto pot, add olive oil and saute the onion until tender but not brown. Add the rice and stir once or twice. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Slowly cook the risotto by adding 1 ladle of the simmering broth and stir then cover. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1 ladle at a time, allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Turn off the heat. Briskly stir in the remaining butternut squash, Parmesan, the butter, and salt if needed. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh thyme.
I thought the flavors complimented nicely . . . Chef Rob was not convinced. Bill . . . well, he will wait till summer for some real squash.

Happy Cooking y'all~

January 14, 2012

'Squash'ed Potatoes

For my squash post I was going to share a wonderful squash risotto with crispy sage I made a few weeks ago. With two other risotto recipes this week I thought 'who needs a third'? Shame because it was REALLY good.

Then I went to plan B. I had some winter squash (being the thick skinned squash as compared to a thin-skinned Butternut squash) left over. I was making beef short ribs for the upcoming beef week and had planned on serving said ribs on some mashed potatoes. Then I thought – ‘hmmm – how about combining the potatoes and squash?’

This was easy! Think mashed potatoes and mashed squash but combine them. Done.

I steamed the squash in the oven with ginger and garlic to add a bit of flavour to the dish (and because those were some of the choice flavours suggested by Page and Dorenburg). The beef ribs were made with ginger and garlic so I thought the flavours would combine well.

They did. This was easy and it tasted great. I know that there are folks out there who do not enjoy squash. I bet they could eat this and not even know - so long as you had an excuse for the beautiful orange colour i.e. it's a special heirloom potato that is orange.

'Squash'ed Potatoes

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved (or quartered, if large)
1 small butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks (6 cups)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup half-and-half

Place the potatoes in a large pot; cover with salted water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 20 minutes.

Drain in a large colander; return potatoes to the pot. Stir over medium heat until dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Place the squash in an oven proof pan with 1 cup of water, the garlic, and the ginger. Cover with foil. Bake until the squash is tender - about 20 minutes.

Drain squash - preserving the ginger and garlic.

Place squash mixture in pot with potatoes. Add butter and cream. Season generously with salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy.

Serve immediately.

January 17, 2012

Roasted beet with Many Flavors+ Bonus Beet Greens


Well, maybe I went a little overboard with the components but the result was a crowd-pleasing dish.
Flavors from the book are:
Apples, CHEESE, fennel, LEMON, DIJON MUSTARD, OLIVE OIL, onions,


3 Bunches of fresh beets (about 12 small to medium beets)
2 Macintosh apples—cored (not peeled) chunked
1 large sweet onion, cut into thin wedges
1 fennel bulb cut into thin wedges (reserve the tops)


2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter

1/4-cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2-cup olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Large pinch of kosher salt
Few grinds of lack pepper
1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds.

Remove all but the top inch of the beet greens, chop and wash the greens and the stems separately in a few changes of water. Without drying, set aside.


Set the oven to 400°.
After washing well, cut the small beets in half and the larger
ones into quarters.
Toss the beets, apples, onions and fennel in a large roasting pan (I lined mine with parchment paper to make clean-up easier) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.


Roast for about 45 minutes or until the beets are fork tender.

Mean while make the dressing.

Mix the lemon juice with the Dijon; whisk in oil. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.


As soon as the roasted veggies come out of the oven sprinkle them with a generous pinch of kosher salt and put into a mixing bowl. Add as much dressing as you like. I used about half of it. Mix gently, put into serving bowl.


You will notice that the onions, apple and fennel mostly melted away, leaving the beets in a luscious sauce formed by the dressing combining with the melted veggies. Rich but you can still totally taste the beets.

The bonus:

In a large skillet, sauté the remaining stems in the butter for about 3 or 4 minutes before adding the washed greens.


Put the cover on and let the greens cook for about 5 minutes. Add a little salt and they are done!


January 19, 2012

Roasted Citrus Beets

By now y'all know that the flavor of the week is Beets. I think beets are one of those like-it-or-not foods.
I fall into the like-it crowd!
They have a rustic sweet flavor that is only enhanced by Roasting. I have added suggested flavors ~ Citrus, salt and creamy cheese. Citrus Roasted Beets with Fennel
2 cloves GARLIC
1tsp THYME
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/4 teaspoon ground PEPPER
1/3 cup OLIVE OIL
3 fresh beets
1 bulb FENNEL
Peel the beets and slice into sections. Toss with zest of 2 oranges and a splash of olive oil. Roast at 400° 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice fennel, add to beets and roast for another 10 minutes.
Stir together the crushed garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar mixture until it is smooth. Set the vinaigrette aside.
Gently toss the warm roasted beets, and sliced fennel with the vinaigrette. Serve the roasted beets and fennel over a bed of spinach, sprinkle with goat cheese.
This is a fresh salad that is best served when the roasted beets are still warm. The goat cheese melts over the beets and makes a creamy sauce.
These roasted beets can also be served just as they are. . . or made into a Beet Risotto for tomorrow night.
Y'all come back for that recipe :-)
Y'all enjoy~

February 9, 2012

Broccolini with Zest

Y'all have seen a variety of recipes for Broccoli. I wanted to find the perfect recipe for Broccolini.
If you aren't familiar... Broccolini is a fusion of Broccoli and Asian Kale. It is tender and slightly sweet. Here I have combined the perfect 'flavors' and enhanced our favorite veggie. It is light, and easy to throw together in a couple of minutes.As always the recommended flavors have been capitalized.

Broccolini a la Flavour
2 cloves GARLIC
1/8 tsp RED PEPPER flakes
1 bunch broccolini, stem ends trimmed
Kosher SALT and freshly ground BLACK PEPPER, to taste
1/2 cup water
juice of one LEMON
In a nonstick fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and heat, add the zest of one lemon. Stir constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broccolini, tossing well to combine. Add the water and lemon juice, cover and steam for about 3 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until all the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.This is the perfect flavor for Salmon . . . my 'go-to weeknight meal'.

Y'all enjoy~

February 11, 2012

Roasted Broccoli with Parmigiano and Balsamico

For broccoli I went with my favourite technique for cooking veggies and roasted up a big bunch of broccoli. Roasting seems to bring out the natural sweetness in all veggies and hide any of those flavours that can irritate some folks. Hmmm - perhaps if George HW Bush had tried some broccoli roasted he might not have despised it so much.

Anyway. Enough of broccoli hating presidents.

From the Flavour Bible combined red pepper flakes,cheese (parmigiano), garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar.


Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmaigiano

1 bunch broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 T olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp crushed pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice from 1/2 a lemon
3 T freshly grated parmigiano
1 T balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cover a sturdy baking sheet with foil. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt, lemon zest, and pepper flakes. Stir in sliced garlic. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the parmigiano over the hot broccoli. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.


Love your roasted broccoli

Note - this would also be great with some raisins and pine nuts added.

February 19, 2012

Lentil, Rice & Multigrain "Pucks"


From day one of this project, I've known that when the week for lentils rolled around I was going to proselytize for my breakfast pucks. I started making these a few years ago. They are a delicious, blood sugar friendly hot breakfast when microwaved with a little rice milk, honey, berries and nuts. Here I've opted for blueberries and pistachios.


But there was one little problem. As you can see from this photo of ingredients, I don't use a single one of the complimentary flavors in the book. So, how do I adjust and still tell everyone about this fantastic breakfast food?


My answer was in the method that must be used to make them. It's a two step cooking process. The lentils, rice and grain blend are cooked in one pot. The steel cut oats are cooked in the second pot. They are combined after cooking.

So, if I triple the recipe for the lentil/rice/grain portion, I can freeze 18 breakfast pucks as usual, and freeze another 18 without the oatmeal. Then when it's time to publish this post, I'll take some of the oatmeal-free pucks and create some sort of side dish using the appropriated flavors from the list.

Here are the ingredients for the lentil/rice/grain mixture.

4 Cups, Sawat-D Healthy Grain multigrain mixture. (It comes in 2kg vacuum sealed blocks. I buy it at Global Foods. It is made by UniversalRice company in Thailand. You should be able to buy it at a well supplied Asian foods market.)
2/3 cup red lentils
2/3 cup wild rice
12 cups water

Bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and cook until moisture is absorbed. Stir occasionally.


Cook the steel cut oats in a second pot. Choose a pot large enough to add one-third of the lentil/rice/grain mixture after the oats are cooked.

1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water

Cook according to package directions.

Mix one-third of the lentil/rice/grain mixture into the pot of oatmeal and reserve the other two-thirds.


Spray three dozen muffin tin cups with cooking spray. Tightly pack the oatmeal mixture into half of them and the lentil/rice/grain only mixture into the other half.


Put in your freezer until completly frozen. Once frozen, turn pucks out of tins and transfer to individual baggies to go back into the freezer until you need them.

Now, to the assignment. Lentils. Here are my complimentary ingredients:

Two oatmeal-free pucks, thawed.
2 Tbs - diced CELERY
2 Tbs - shredded CARROTS
2 Tbs - diced red ONION
2 Tbs - diced green peppers
SALT & PEPPER to taste
1/4 cup red WINE VINEGAR
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
orange zest


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss and refrigerate for several hours to blend flavors.

And that is how we find ourselves with this light, refreshing lentil, grains, & wild rice salad. I have 10 more pucks left in the freezer. Next time I think I'll try an Asian flavor profile. Some pineapple maybe? Some almond slivers? A little cilantro?


February 23, 2012

Lentils with Mediterranean Flavors

Y'all can probably guess that I am not a huge fan of lentils. Lentil soup . . . that is just a way to use a leftover ham hock.
So . . . my mission was to find a new way to serve lentils, using the Flavor Bible.I wanted to include fresh flavors, and add a little spice. Citrus, Kalamata olives, and garlic seemed like a good place to start. They say that Green lentils are more flavorful (maybe that has been my problem in the past).
Lentils with Mediterranean Flavors
1 tablespoon extra-virgin OLIVE OIL, plus 3 tablespoons
1 small ONION
2 GARLIC cloves,
1 1/4 cups dried green lentils
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 cup pitted kalamata OLIVES
1/2 cup fresh Italian PARSLEY
1/2 cup baby SPINACH
1/2 cup cherry TOMATOES
1 tablespoon chopped fresh THYME leaves
2 Tbs LEMON zest
Salt and freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Add the diced carrot, onion, and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils. Add 2 1/2 cups of broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer gently until the lentils are just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, cook the rice with bay leaves and remaining broth until it is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a large fork. Transfer to the bowl with the lentils. Add the chopped olives, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Toss the rice mixture with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to coat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
It makes a fresh and flavorful base for grilled Salmon.
It was even better the next day as a salad!
Y'all enjoy~

February 29, 2012

Green Beans with Parmigiano and Pancetta


This week is BEANS, huh?

Let me start by saying I DON"T eat most beans! It must have been those lima beans my mom made me eat as a kid, or the fact that my mom told me she craved fava beans during her whole pregnancy with me (and said that was why I turned out smart!)

I don't eat chili beans, baked beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, lentils, edamame, fava beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, pork and beans, refried beans, bean dip, bean salad or cannelini beans. Thanks to Amy for covering my lentil day last week!

I DO like coffee beans and vanilla beans, but didn't think that would work for this week's FLAVORS challenge. The good news is, I DO like green beans!

My recipe was very simple!

8 oz. green beans (harcourt verts)
shredded parmigiano
2 oz. chopped pancetta


Spray a baking sheet. Clean and trim beans, and spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Top with shredded parm and pancetta. Roast at 400 for about 10 minutes and stick under the broiler for 2 minutes. Crispy, cheesy, delicious beans!


March 8, 2012

Lobster Mac and Cheese

The flavor for the week is Lobster . . . Y'all know that I love a good lobster.
But ~ Honestly, I love them fresh, when I am in Boston. Paying $30 for a couple of tired looking tails is just a rip-off.
Which reminds me . . . Why did I agree to this cooking challenge?
I sucked it up and paid for my lobster .
Lobster apparently goes with any flavor. Butter is enough in my humble opinion ! Here I combined it with a good southern Mac and Cheese. I have capitalized the recommended flavors.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
3 Tbs flour
juice of one LEMON
2 cups MILK
1 1/2 pounds COLBY JACK CHEESE
1/2 cup marscapone CHEESE
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano CHEESE
Salt and freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
1 Tbs fresh THYME
1 Tbs fresh BASIL
1 pound large pasta shells, cooked in salted water to al dente
2 (2-pound) lobsters, steamed, meat removed from shells
Crumb Topping:
1 1/2 cups coarse breadcrumbs
2 tsp grated LEMON zest
Melt the butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the hot stock, milk, and cream and whisk until the sauce begins to thicken. Cook for several minutes, whisking occasionally.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese and marscapone, season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, basil and pasta and stir until combined. Chop the lobster into bite-sized pieces and fold into the pasta. Pour into a buttered casserole dish or individual baking dishes.For the bread topping: Put toasted bread chunks into a small blender. Add the anchovie paste and lemon zest. Whir to crumble. Sprinkle generously over the pasta.
Bake at 350° until heated through and top is browned ~ about 20 minutes.
This was a meal in itself. Rich and Cheesy. It didn't do much to improve the Flavor of the Lobster . . . in fact, next time I'm using the inexpensive lobster substitute ! But I will make the Mac & Cheese again.
Y'all enjoy~

March 13, 2012

Cauliflower-Stuffed Potatoes with Indian Flavors


I've been in a cauliflower rut for several years now. Every time I find myself cutting up cauliflower, I always revert back to my favorite preparation, which is to just toss the chopped florets on a oil-sprayed pan, spray with more oil, and pop into a hot oven until they turn brown and nutty-tasting.

I turned to the Flavor Bible. I love cauliflower when I've had it in vegetable preparations in Indian restaurants, so veered toward the curry side of things. And then I remembered how well cauliflower plays with potatoes in aloo chole, and went for a slightly different take. I used potatoes, curry powder, garlic, onions, ginger, oil, red pepper flakes, and yogurt from the Flavor Bible. Note that all prep can be done in advance, and the stuffed potatoes put into a 400 oven to reheat and crisp just before serving. These were good, but I think next time I'll make more of a sauce to mix with the cauliflower before stuffing the potatoes.

Cauliflower-Stuffed Potatoes with Indian Flavors

1 head cauliflower
4 medium sized potatoes
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. good quality curry powder
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup frozen peas
red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Curried Yogurt Sauce--Combine 1/2 cup fullfat yogurt, 2 tsp. good curry powder, 1 clove minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at least 1/2 hour for flavors to blend.

1. Prick the potatoes with a flrk, and bake for 45-60 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven.

2. Meanwhile, cut up cauliflower, and place on an oiled baking sheet. Roast in a 400 oven until browned, which should take 15 minute or so. Remove.

3. While cauliflower is roasting, heat the oil in a skillet. Add the sliced onion, and gently saute until well browned. (this may take 15-20 minutes)Add the garlic and ginger, and curry powder. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring well.

4. Add the roasted cauliflower to the skillet, stir to combine with spiced onion mixture.

5. Cut the potatoes in half, and gently scoop out the middles. Coarsely chop the potato middles, and add to the cauliflower. Add the peas, 2 Tbs. of the curried yogurt sauce, and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.


6. Pile the cauliflower mixture into the potato halves, (this can be done before serving, reheat in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes to warm and crisp) sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with the curried yogurt sauce.

Ginger Roasted Cauliflower

For this recipe, I made roasted cauliflower.
I cut up one head of cauliflower and made this "rub" to toss it with.

Ginger Roasted Cauliflower

preheat oven to 425°

2Tablspoons roasted peanut oil
1" piece of ginger root, sliced.
1 large clove of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend those all in a small food processor. Toss with cauliflower pieces.
Line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper to make for easy clean up.
Roast at 425° for about 20 minutes or until desired tenderness.


For a "small bite" you could use toothpicks. We just ate it as a veggie for dinner. You can also use the spice mixture as a rub for chicken.

March 14, 2012

Cauliflower Bites


I called these "Cauliflower Popsicles", because of the weird preparation. I was inspired by pastry chef Francois Payard's idea of freezing pureed vegetables, and then deep frying the frozen cubes.

1/2 half a head of cauliflower (or 1 Trader Joe's bag of flowerettes)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil
a splash of cream
1/3 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. grated cheddar
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1 c. flour
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 c. bread crumbs
1/3 c. panko

canola oil for frying

First I lined a mini-muffin tin with plastic wrap.


Cut cauliflower and shallot into thin slices. Cook shallot in olive oil for 3-4 minutes.
Add cauliflower, cream, broth, salt and pepper. Cook until tender (about 10 min). Puree mixture in a food processor. Stir in cheeses, and spoon into mini-muffin tins. I made mine 2 days before frying.


15-20 minutes before serving, take "cauliflowersicles" out of the freezer. Remove plastic wrap from muffin tin, and unwrap the frozen cubes.


Prepare bowls of flour, eggs and crumbs


Heat canola oil in deep fryer (or saucepan) to 350.
Dip the cauliflowersicles into flour, then egg, them bread crumbs, and fry them 5 at a time for 5 minutes. The outsides are crisp and crunchy, and the insides are a warm, cheesy filling. Delicious!


I have another pan in the freezer! YUM!


March 15, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

The flavor for this week is Cauliflower.
This is one of those vegetables, that you can do anything with ~ or nothing.
I like it cooked or raw.
This is a simple way to roast cauliflower . . . it turns it into a nutty side dish. As usual, the recommended flavors have been capitalized.

Roasted Cauliflower
1 cauliflower head
1/4 cup extra-virgin OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon sliced GARLIC
juice of 1/2 LEMON
juice of 1/2 LIME
LEMON zest
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
SALT and PEPPER to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°
Break the cauliflower into florets and place on a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, citrus juice and zest. Roast at high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even toasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan, Salt and Pepper.Simple!
Let's allow ourselves that simplicity sometimes.
y'all enjoy~

March 17, 2012

Cauliflower Gratin

When we were recently in California for a weekend long celebration of food and wine the Saturday evening was catered by a local restaurant called the Full of Life Flatbread Pizza. Located in Los Alamos, they are famous for their food and their respect for local, high-quality ingredients.

In the minds of those at the party they are famous for their cauliflower gratin.

I was hanging out by the pizza oven, watching the techniques used in making the amazing flatbread pizzas, so I really didn't get to experience the cauliflower gratin. I did hear about as people raced to the buffet table to scoop it out on their plates. I actually have a photo with a mound of gratin on someone's plate that would normally serve 5 people. I won't post it though in order to protect the innocent (Irene).

It's been awhile since I've heard anyone rave about food to that extend . . . and to think it was about cauliflower! I managed to grab one small spoonful of the gratin - a miracle really given the voracity with which people were scooping it out onto their plates.

It was good!

For cauliflower week I decided to try and recreate an amazing gratin.

I started with 4 beautiful heads of cauliflower . . .


Par cook the cauliflower florets and arranged them in a baking dish . . .


Poured on a flavoured béchamel sauce, cheese, and a topping of bread crumbs, thyme, and cheese an baked it until it was bubbly and delicious!


The final result was delicious . . . not quite as delicious as the one we remembered . . . but this gratin was amazing nonetheless!

Cauliflower Gratin

1 1/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic split
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup grated gruyère cheese
1 cup grated white cheddar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Salt and pepper
1 pound cauliflower florettes
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
5 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan with the bay leaf and garlic. Cover, turn off the heat, and let infuse, about 15 minutes. Strain. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute to remove the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the milk. Cook, stirring, until thick. Stir in the cheese, mustard, season with salt and pepper, and reserve.

Heat the oven to 425°F/210°C.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Salt it, as for pasta, and blanch cauliflower until just shy of being tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Pat dry with a tea-towel. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with the sauce and dump into a gratin dish.

Mix the breadcrumbs, thyme, and Parmigiano-Reggiano together. Scatter over the breadcrumbs mixture on top of the cauliflower and bake until browned.

March 22, 2012

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Y'all have seen that the 'flavor' of the week is Pineapple. When they are fresh, a pineapple is sweet and juicy. Luckily, we can find them almost year 'round. I usually use my sniffer when choosing the one I want. The good one's smell like ~ Pineapple!
I'm excited to see what everyone else is doing with their pineapple . . . in truth ~ I am a little short on inspiration.
I made a simple pineapple salsa. Grilling the pineapple brings out the sweetness and dries it a bit. Perfect for this dish.
All the recommended flavors have been Capitalized.
Grilled Pineapple Salsa
1 cup fresh pineapple
2 small CUCUMBER
1/2 cup chopped CILANTRO
1/2 cup chopped PARSLEY
1 tablespoons finely chopped JALAPENO PEPPER, stemmed and seeded
Juice of 1 large LIME
2 Tbs Lemon yogurt
Salt, to taste
Slice the pinapple into managable quarters. Place on a hot grill and roast for 1 minute on each side. Dice pineapple, red pepper, and herbs. Mince garlic and onion. Combine all ingredients and stir in yogurt to desired consistency. I usually serve this over grilled salmon or with Bar-B-Q
I simply ate mine on top of a avocado!
Y'all enjoy~

March 29, 2012

Lemon and Sweet Pea Risotto

Y'all have all heard the saying " When life gives you Lemons ~ make sweet tea ".
Or something like that...
The weather has been beautiful, so I have been digging in the dirt a little. I have uncovered my mint and planted 5 kinds of basil.
Just what I need for a savory pan of Sweet Pea risotto. . .Why not add some Lemon to it for our flavor of the week ! I have capitalized the recommended flavors.

Lemon and Sweet Pea Risotto
4 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
2 cups frozen petite peas
1 cup Parmigiano CHEESE, grated
3Tbs fresh MINT
3 TbS fresh BASIL
1 tsp lemon zest
juice of one lemon

Whir herbs and broth in a blender to mince herbs. Add lemon zest and juice. Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cover and keep the broth warm over the low heat.Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the Aborino rice and cook until the edges begin to turn translucent. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until it is completely absorbed.
Add a couple of ladles of the warm broth mixture to the rice and stir. Cook, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to cook, stirring in a ladle of the broth every few minutes, until the rice is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed Add the peas and cheese. Stir in another splash of broth if the risotto is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the risotto immediately with a sprinkle of Parmigiano, lemon and sprig of basil.Y'all enjoy~

April 28, 2012

Steamed Artichokes with Taragon Sauce

It's unusual to find decent artichokes here in Ontario. Perhaps that is why I had never eaten a fresh artichoke outside of Italy until a few years ago. In Italy they look like this:


a lovely purplish hue to the leaves and the stems attached.

Here in Ontario they are often brown with age, stems chopped off, and encased in a plastic box. Not very appetizing.

Imagine my joy a few weeks ago when I spied a lovely pile of purplish artichokes on display in the market - they weren't browned at all, had lovely colour, long stems attached, and were HUGE! Were it not for the horrid fashion and the fact that people were grubbing through the produce with their hands I might have thought I had been transported back to Italy.

I bought two and made this recipe.

I like to keep my artichokes simple - steamed with a nice sauce in which to dip the leaves.

Many people are afraid of cooking fresh artichokes since they can seem a bit daunting. This YouTube video shows how to do it:

My dipping sauce had butter, lemon, dijon mustard, garlic, shallots, and tarragon. It was the perfect accompaniment to the delicious artichokes.


Steamed Artichokes with Tarragon Sauce

2 large artichokes
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T chopped fresh tarragon

Trim the artichokes and steam for 30 - 40 minutes until tender and the leaves pull off easily.

While the artichokes steam melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the chopped shallot and garlic. Cook over a medium low heat until the shallot and garlic is soft.

Whisk in the lemon juice.

Whisk in the mustard.

Stir in the chopped tarragon.

Cook for 2 minutes over a low heat.

Remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit until the artichokes are cooked and ready to eat.

Prior to serving whisk the sauce. Pour it into a small bowl and serve alongside the artichokes.

June 14, 2012

Dijon Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

Y'all know by now the 'flavor' for the week is asparagus. The one thing I am always reminded when I spend time in Italy is that the most important thing is quality.
You'll see that the recommended 'flavors' have been capitlized.
Dijon Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze
1 tsp SALT
2 lb Asparagus spears
2 Tbs grated parmiggiano CHEESE (the good stuff)
In a skillet, heat oil. Cook trimmed asparagus until just tender. Sprinkle with mustard and balsamic. Salt as desired. Toss gently until spears are evenly coated. Remove from heat.Place asparagus on a serving plate. Sprinkle evenly with cheeseI toasted this for a smidge to melt the cheese.
Y'all enjoy~

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Flavors in the Side Dishes category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Salads is the previous category.

Snacks is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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