Tag Archives: side dish

Colcannon: You had me at potatoes.

Somewhere in my patchwork ancestry there lives a little Irish. How much? I don’t really know. Probably a little slice. It’s enough to give me pale, tan-resistant skin, an affinity for the smell of rain, a tiny hint of red in my hair, and an undying love for potatoes. I don’t know very much about the cuisine of Ireland. I am sure it involves more than potatoes. Yes? Maybe one day I’ll visit and find out first-hand. In the meantime, I’ll stick with potatoes. One of the Irish dishes I’ve always enjoyed is colcannon. It’s easy to make, comforting and delicious, as potatoes almost always are.

This version has more greens than your garden-variety colcannon, which added some great texture and flavor (and a few more vitamins!). The thing about greens is they cook down so much you can eat a lot of them and not really notice, especially in a wonderful conglomeration like this. This is the third recipe I’ve made out of my new cookbook, The Book of Greens, and it’s my favorite one yet. Lest you think this book is all about healthy rabbit food and vegetarian recipes, feast your eyes on the yummy shot of my skillet full of butter, bacon and sopressata. Oh yeah, baby. Life is all about balance.

Colcannon
(from The Book of Greens, by Jenn Louis)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
4 oz. sopressata or bacon, coarsely chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (I used a little of both)
8 oz. green or Savoy cabbage (I used 1/2 small head of green cabbage)
8 oz. Russian kale without stems, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons (I used one big bunch. You could also use other varieties of kale or chard)
1 cup milk
A few gratings of nutmeg
Salt & pepper
1 3/4 pounds russet potatoes (how much is this? I used 5 medium-ish potatoes. When in doubt, I always throw in another one, but that’s just me)

Preheat the broiler.

In a large skillet or sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and sopressata and/or bacon and stir to combine.

Adding this mixture to just about anything is pretty much guaranteed to make it delicious.

Add the cabbage and kale and cook until both are tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the milk and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the greens are soft but not browned, about 15 minutes.

While the greens are cooking, peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Put the potatoes in a saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the kale and cabbage mixture and gently mix on low speed until the potatoes are mashed and evenly mixed with the greens (you could also use an old-fashioned potato masher for this instead of a mixer if you are so inclined). Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the mixture in a baking dish and place under the broiler until lightly browned on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from broiler and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish. Double recipe if eating as a main dish. <<< My plan for next time.

Colcannon and pork loin. Truthfully, I could lose the pig and double the colcannon. So good.

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Apple Pomegranate Slaw

I am loving Fall this year!  Well, I love Fall every year.  The pretty colors, the crisp mornings, and yes, even the rain.  I like it.  So sue me.

The other thing I love about Fall is the produce that comes into season.  Honeycrisp apples (my favorite of all the apples) and pomegranates!  When those ugly red bundles of joy hit the shelves my heart goes pitter pat.  Yes, they are a bit of a pain to pick apart.  Yes, they stain your fingers.  I don’t care, they are wonderful!  And they are really good for you!  Eat them, eat them now!

I made up this recipe on the fly the other day when I needed a quick side dish.  And can I just say, YUM!  This is easily one of my favorite cole slaw variations to date.

Apple Pomegranate Slaw

Apple Pomegranate Slaw

Apple Pomegranate Slaw

1 cup purple cabbage, shredded or chopped
2-3 cups green cabbage, shredded or chopped
1/2 pomegranate (seeds only)
1 apple (I used Honeycrisp but any kind will work), shredded
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. yellow or dijon mustard
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Serve immediately.

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Killer Cornbread

Funny how a simple side dish can turn the most humble meal into a masterpiece.  I’m not a southern girl, but I can appreciate the beauty and bliss that is really good cornbread.  Take a pot of beans and ham hocks, a bowl of chili, a pan-fried fish or a simple green salad, add a chunk of steaming, buttery cornbread and you have something very special indeed.

I was watching a cooking show once where the chef was making “spoon bread”.  It was more of a cornbread casserole, as opposed to your solid chunks of cornbread.  This recipe is somewhere in between.  It will set up and can be cut into squares and picked up with fingers – if you wait and let it cool down a bit.  Hot out of the oven, it is softer than regular cornbread, and although you can cut it into squares to serve it, you may want to eat it with a fork until it cools.  Mine never seems to make it that long.  It is soooo good!

This recipe uses a prepackaged cornbread mix, to which you’d normally just add milk and egg.  I don’t use a lot of packaged foods, but I’ve made my own cornbread before and it’s never as good.  Therefore, when I see these on sale, I buy a pile of them and fill up the back corner of my cabinet so they are around when I need a quickie side dish.

Killer Cornbread

Killer Cornbread

4 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. Jiffy cornbread mix
1 cup cream-style corn
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onions.  Let cool a few minutes.  In a small bowl combine onions, sour cream, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and salt.  Set aside.  In another bowl, combine cornbread mix, corn, milk and egg.  Pour into a greased or sprayed casserole dish (either an 8×8 square pan, or an 11×7 pan, or something equivalent).

 

Making cornbread. Most people just stop here and cook it. But where’s the fun in that?

Gently spoon onion mixture over the top of the corn mixture.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.

 

As you can see, the placement of the sour cream mixture is not an exact science. Try to get blobs all over the surface.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Let cool and slice into squares.  Try not to eat the whole pan at once.

Hot out of the oven. I like mine a bit gooey so I usually stop at 30 minutes. If you want a more solid square to pick up, go closer to 40.

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Awesome Salad Meets So-So Casserole. Is It Love?

While I like to pretend I’m a creative genius when it comes to making up recipes, more often than not, they are happy accidents from playing with whatever happens to be in my fridge.  If it turns out good, I write it down.  If it’s just so-so, I forget it ever happened.  My goals for this recipe were to come up with something crunchy and colorful to brighten up a somewhat boring casserole.  For this dinner, the casserole was fine and dandy, but the real star of the plate was the side dish.  I wrote this one down.

Orange & Carrot Salad

Orange & Carrot Salad

1 1/2 cups baby carrots, quartered length-wise into matchsticks
1 large can (or two small ones) mandarin oranges, drained
2 tbsp. pomegranate infused red wine vinegar (or raspberry)
2 tsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt and oil until well blended.  Add carrots, orange and parsley and toss to coat.

Green & White Bean Gratin with Orange & Carrot Salad

Oh, and what was the underwhelming casserole, you ask?  Green & White Bean Gratin.  I found it in my Moosewood Cookbook and was intrigued.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It tasted good.  I actually liked it quite a lot. But.  You heard that “but” coming, didn’t you?  This casserole had a definite “side dish” vibe.  Sometimes when I make vegetarian meals, I look at my plate and think, “where are the pork chops?”  I think part of the problem is adjusting my thinking a bit, and what I think of as a complete meal sometimes still includes meat.  But part of the problem is that this main dish needs help!

So it tasted good, and was filling.  But it’s still kind of lacking as a main dish.  I just couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.  And I’m not sure what.  Maybe it needed more crunch?  Maybe more veggie variety or color?  Spice?  Meat?  I’m not sure.  Any suggestions?  Or should this just be relegated to my “tasty side dish” recipe box?

Green & White Bean Gratin

Green & White Bean Gratin
(from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers)

2 cups frozen (thawed) or fresh green beans
2 – 15 oz. cans white beans
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp. dried rosemary, sage or thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
1 cup grated Cheddar, Fontina, or Gruyere cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Butter an 8 inch square baking dish.  Spread green beans to cover the bottom of the baking dish.  In a blender, whirl one can of white beans, undrained, with the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper until smooth.  Pour over the green beans in the baking dish and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.  Drain the second can of white beans and spread the beans on top.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and melted butter.  Sprinkle over the top of the gratin.  Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake until golden and bubbling, about 10 minutes more.

This made a good pairing with Orange & Carrot Salad.  But I still missed that pork chop.

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