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July 4, 2010

Slow Sides #1 - Peas

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Today we begin a new cooking challenge on SlowTalk - Sunday Slow Sides. Along with my fellow cooks and bloggers, we will prepare side dishes using a single ingredient as our base. The single ingredient will be part of the summer's bounty from our own gardens or from farmer's markets or CSA shipments.

Amy of Destination Anywhere is up first this week, and she chose peas. Kim created the colorful logo from one of Amy's CSA shipment photos.

I couldn't find any fresh peas locally, so I used frozen petite peas. When I do find some fresh peas this summer, I am going to try the recipe again because it was yummy.

I decided to use just lettuce (a head of butter lettuce), but next time I want to try romaine and/or spinach to give it a little more color and flavor variety. The mint was great and very refreshing.

All in all, this was a wonderful, light side dish - a keeper! Thank you, Amy!

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July 11, 2010

Slow Sides #2 - Avocados

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It was Shannon's turn to pick the ingredient this week for our Sunday Slow Sides group, and she chose avocados. Yum, I am looking forward to this! Shannon is one of our Slow Travel mods and co-owner of GrapeHops Tours.

I decided to make both of Shannon's recommended recipes, so we had Shannon's grandma's sandwiches one evening and avocado/goat cheese appetizers the next night. You will find the recipes on the second page of this entry.

For grandma's recipe, I used the recommended proportions of avocado to egg and used a little garlic seasoning instead of onion salt. The bread was roasted garlic from La Brea Bakery. The one addition I made was some shredded Smoked Mozzarella & Cheddar that I got from Trader Joe's. It added a nice flavor to the avocado/egg mixture.

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July 18, 2010

Slow Sides #3 - Green Beans

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Green Beans is the weekly ingredient, and AnnieNC of Churches in Venice chose it for us. She gave us the choice of two green bean recipes, one a cold salad and one a hot side dish, and both were from one of her favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks.

Here is the link to the Summer Green Bean Salad recipe (scroll down a little bit for the actual recipe).

I made a few little changes to the recipe - I added lemon zest to the dressing and substituted pepitas for the toasted hazelnuts, but I have decided I am not crazy about pepitas, so I will get some hazelnuts next time. I also skipped the frisee because I didn't have anything similar to that. I did also add the optional bit of honey because my overzealous use of lemon made the dressing kind of bitter. It turned out great, and I had some left over for another batch.

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We had the second green bean recipe the next evening, and it too was great. Here is the link to the recipe Annie provided us from 101 Cookbooks. Again, you should scroll down for the actual recipe.

Both recipes were delicious in their own way - definitely keepers!

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July 25, 2010

Slow Sides #4 - Zucchini

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My Slow Travel compadre, Sharon L picked zucchini for this week's side dish. She also gave us several choices in picking a recipe, simple grilled zucchini or several recipes from the current Bon Appetit magazine. Here is the recipe I chose, Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan.

I actually chose a second recipe too, Halibut with Zucchini Salsa Verde - Here is the link.

Both of these recipes were outstanding! I used several kinds of squash for the salad.
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It was even delicious the next day when the flavors had blended more.
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The Zucchini Salsa Verde in the second recipe was so easy to make and was surprisingly tasty. It turned out to be a brilliant green from the peeling of the zucchini, so I guess using another color squash would be pretty too.
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I didn't use halibut in the recipe ($17.99 lb for fresh halibut was a little too rich for my blood), but fresh tillapia was a nice substitute. By the way, Fresh & Easy carries a lot of really nice fresh fish - sometimes on sale too.
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I am going to try the salsa as a sauce for a ceviche-type dish. It has a lot of lime juice in it, so it should work. More on that later.

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August 1, 2010

Slow Sides #5 - Tomatoes

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This was my week to choose the "secret ingredient", and since tomatoes are my very favorite summer fruit/vegetable, there was no doubt in my mind what I would choose.

For the mostpart, I don't eat tomatoes in the winter - they are just tasteless. But when the summer homegrown tomatoes start getting ripe, I am a happy camper!

I was so sure our garden tomatoes would be ripe by August 1st, but the cool June we had (which I loved) worked against me. So, I had to go to a local Farmer's Market Thursday night and get some multi-colored heirloom tomatoes. They are grown less than 10 miles from where I live but probably 1,000 feet lower elevation. Makes a big difference, I guess.

This "recipe" is so simple, you probably won't even consider it a recipe. It can be used as a pasta sauce or a salsa or ???.

During the summer, at least once a week, we have pasta with fresh uncooked tomato sauce. These are the ingredients I include, but you can all adjust it according to your taste. The key ingredient, of course, is very fresh homegrown or locally grown tomatoes.

Fresh Uncooked Tomato Sauce

Ripe Homegrown or Locally Grown Tomatoes, chopped (I love heirloom tomatoes in various colors)

Sweet Mild Onion (like Vidalia), chopped

Garlic, minced

Good Olive Oil (this time I used roasted garlic grapeseed oil (Cuisine Perel), so that took care of the garlic flavor too.)

Basil, chopped coarsely

Combine all of the above and let them blend at room temperature. Serve over hot pasta with Parmesan cheese. Also good cold the next day.

Giada De Laurentis even did a version with leftover Caprese Salad.

Giada's Video

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August 8, 2010

Slow Sides #6 - Corn

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This week's ingredient choice went to Kim of What I Really Think, and she picked corn!

Here is the recipe that Kim chose and her comments about it:

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Maple-Chipotle Glaze

This is one of my favorite ways to have corn (other than completely plain or drizzled with a little really good olive oil). I need to figure out how to cut the butter down. Oh, and since you'll have leftover Chipotle - they freeze really well. I usually freeze them on wax paper in little mounds and then once frozen, stick them in a ziploc bag so they're easy to remove and use in other recipes.

Preparing the grilled corn and glaze couldn't have been easier. And what a great taste it was! Thanks, Kim - I will definitely be making this again.

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While I had corn on my mind, I came across Chris' recipe for Grilled Corn Salad from Redwoods Picnic, so I decided to try that one too.

I had good intentions of following the recipe exactly, but I ran into a couple of hurdles, so I made my own version. I used Trader Joe's grilled frozen corn (only had 1/2 package in the freezer) plus 1 package of TJ's Soycutash. For the cheese, I used grated smoked cheese blend from TJ's (what else). The dish turned out pretty well - just a little too spicy, for me at least. I have lots left, so I am going to make a little pasta tomorrow to combine with the corn salad to see if I can tone it down a little.

PS - The last picture is of the salad with pasta added. It made a big difference in the heat factor. And it was a very good pasta salad to boot! I know it wasn't true to Chris' wonderful recipe, but it was easy to prepare and very tasty. I will definitely make it again!

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August 15, 2010

Slow Sides #7 - Onions

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This week's ingredient is onions and Terry (teaberry on Slow Travel) is the one who selected it. Here is what Terry said about the recipe:

I really do not like raw onions. At all. But cooked - it's one of my favorite vegetables. I am including here three recipes for onions - the first one, Moroccan Onion Rings, I have made already. I highly recommend it with any Mediterranean dish. The other two I plan to make for the Slow Sides - they've been on my "to try" list for a while.

I made the first recipe, Moroccan Onion Rings, this past week. It was really easy and delicious. I think it would go great with any grilled meats, as well as accompanying Mediterranean dishes. It was great!

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I am intending to make both of the alternate recipes too, and I will add them to this entry when I do.

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August 22, 2010

Slow Sides #8 - Lettuce

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Deborah of Old Shoes - New Trip fame had the honor of choosing this week's ingredient, and it was lettuce. Here is what she said when she posted her recipe:

I'm cheating here. On February 8th, I have to report on "Smothered Boston Lettuce with Pancetta" for our Essentials blog challenge.

On Feb. 8th, I'll still be recovering from SlowBowl.

So, I decided to make this my Sunday Slow Sides selection and let it do double-duty.

So shoot me.

The recipe is on page 507 of Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. If you have the book, that's great. If you don't, I recommend you add it to your collection. Best Italian cookbook on the market. Anyway, for those of you who don't have it, I think Marcella will forgive me for posting the recipe here.

I was really excited about preparing a recipe from Marcella Hazan's book, "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". I have been following the cooks on Pomodori e Vino, who are cooking thru Marcella's entire book, ala Julie & Julia.

There was some discussion among our Sunday cooks of substituting another ingredient for the Boston lettuce shown in the recipe. Spinach was mentioned, as was either Napa or Savoy cabbage. I decided to make two versions so I could compare.

My first effort was with spinach instead of the Boston lettuce. Bill loves cooked spinach, so this dish was popular with him.

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Second try - Napa cabbage. I had heard that Napa cabbage carmelized well, and boy was that right! It turned out really, really well - my favorite, without a doubt!

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PS - For you Trader Joe's junkies, they sell a package of pancetta that is already diced up. For lazy people like me, that is a real plus!

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August 29, 2010

Slow Sides #9 - Peaches

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It was MarciaB's turn to choose the ingredient this week - her blog is Happy Trails For Us: My Reluctant Blog, and she chose peaches! Peaches with tomatoes - I would have never thought of that combination, but it was delicious!

Marcia got the recipe from myrecipes.com - Summer Peach and Tomato Salad.

All of the tomatoes were from our garden and the peaches from our tree and a neighbor's. I had some Feta cheese that had Mediterranean herbs in it, so that added flavor.

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The resulting dish was light and fresh-tasting, a perfect accompaniment to our dinner steaks.

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Thanks, Marcia - I will be making this again!

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September 5, 2010

Slow Sides #10 - Tomatoes

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Sheri of As the Seasons Change picked tomatoes for this week's featured ingredient. She even gave us two recipes to choose from, and I am doing both!

First I prepared Roasted Roma Tomatoes, which Sheri found on Allrecipes.com. We had some small Romas in our garden, so I downsized the ingredients by half. That was probably even too much - lots of excess olive oil. Next time I will cut down on the olive oil, even for the larger Romas.

We had our roasted tomatoes with BBQ'd chicken and ribs, and they were really good. Thanks Sheri!

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OK, on to recipe #2 - Cauliflower-Potato Salad! Here is what Sheri said about it:

Last week I was given an idea for "Potato Salad" by my new leader at Weight Watchers. We enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it since so many of us are trying to either lose weight or eat healthier. It does contain tomatoes - since I had some gorgeous Cherry Tomatoes that needed to be used and simply added them to the salad. Vern told us that she uses two med/lg potatoes to one head of cauliflower. While she uses light mayo, I prefer Olive Oil and Lemon Juice.

I substituted a few ingredients: Didn't have any celery, so I chopped half a cucumber. Also added chopped red bell pepper and a little chopped cilantro, along with the parsley. It was really yummy and pretty healthy too. Thanks Sheri!

Here's all the ingredients:
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And the finished salad:
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September 12, 2010

Slow Sides #11 - Green Beans

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Terry (teaberry on Slow Travel) was kind enough to fill in for Eden in posting a recipe for today's ingredient - green beans. She picked a Bobby Flay recipe that she found on the Food Network.

Terry substituted toasted almonds for the hazelnuts, and I considered doing the same, but I decided to try skinning and toasting the hazelnuts instead. I did a little research online and found this information on boiling the nuts with baking soda to make the skin come off. It worked really well, so I dried the nuts and toasted them.

After that, the dish was easy to put together. The recipe called for 3T of olive oil, but I think 2T would have been fine. Another keeper - thank you, Terry!

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September 19, 2010

Slow Sides #12 - Chard

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Better late than never, they say . . .

Cindy of Baked Alaska fame chose chard for this week's ingredient. Here is what she said about it:

I don't remember where I originally got this recipe-I think it might have even been from Slow Trav. But I had to laugh when I just went and found my copy-it was adapted from a recipe from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and is one of the recipes I'm to cook for our blog. I love this recipe, and it's really quite easy to make. I'm going to post the recipe as I have it written, and then I'll note at the end some things I do to make it faster and easier.

I used the red Swiss chard in the recipe, which made it very colorful. I also followed Cindy's suggestion of using a pie plate instead of a springform pan, which worked out fine.

Here is the tart just before I put the breadcrumbs on top:
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I think I should have added a third egg because they were small, and I only used one bunch of Swiss Chard, so the tart wasn't as high as it should have been. Too many crumbs on top too. So, lots of little things that I would change the next time I make it. Yes, there will be a next time because it was very tasty! Thanks, Cindy!

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October 17, 2010

Slow Sides #14 - Eggplant

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Debbie from Phoenix chose the ingredient for the final week of Slow Sides, eggplant. Debbie's blog is Food, Fun and the Southwest Sun.

I have never been a big eggplant fan, but we had a nice ripe one in the garden, so I thought I would give it a try. Most of the ingredients were in our garden, so it was easy to assemble. Here it is just before I popped it into the oven:

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And here it is when I took it out of the oven. I must admit that I sprinkled some shredded parmesan on during the last few minutes in the oven.

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I baked the dish for an hour 15 minutes, but it should have been longer because the eggplant in particular was not done. I popped it back in the oven for half an hour, and it was much better. When I fix this again, I will cube the eggplant instead of slicing it, as suggested by one of the other cooks.

Now, I have to decide what to do with the leftovers! Probably pasta, as was suggested by Debbie!

PS - Chopped the leftovers to serve over pasta, and it was great! Better than the first time around!

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Winelover's Wanderings in the Slow Sides category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Salad Samplers is the previous category.

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