Category Archives: Side Dish

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onions

I went to Verrill Farm the other day and had a tough time containing myself at the sight of all the locally grown veggies.  Spinach! Peas! Asparagus!  It is funny to think how far I have come.  Looking back, I can’t ever remember feeling anything more than “meh” about a vegetable.  Other than tomatoes, I never really cared much for vegetables.  I could never understand why anyone would choose a vegetable dish when there were meat dishes available.  Marc never seemed to care all that much about eating veggies either.

The players

Fast forward to Summer, 2008 and our first CSA.  As we got a new delivery each week, I started to get it.  When I had my first eggplant that summer, it was a revelation.  I alway thought I disliked eggplants.  It turns out, I disliked the old, bitter ones that are typically sold in the grocery store.  Eating small, ripe eggplants that were just picked made me think about vegetables in a whole new way.  These days, we work hard to eat as seasonally as possible.  That means going without certain veggies (corn, tomatoes, chard, *sniffle*) for much of the year.  However, it also means that when those veggies come back into season, it is like a new world of eating is opened up.

Imagine the heavenly smell of garlic and onions

This spinach dish is one of those revelations.  It is simple to prepare and not much to look at.  But boy, do the flavors hit you in a completely unexpected way.  The idea of putting spinach and dill together was a little strange to me, but don’t let it stop you because it is a dynamite combination.  Fresh dill is a must for this recipe… the dried stuff won’t work.

Almost ready!

Sautéed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Recipe from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffery

Ingredients:

10 oz fresh spinach, washed, stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

For the yogurt sauce:

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 garlic clove, mashed to pulp

a dash of paprika

a dash of salt

To Make:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the spinach to the pot and bring to a boil again.  Allow to boil vigorously for two to three minutes.  Drain the spinach into a colander.  This part can be done ahead of time and the spinach allowed to cool.  If cooking right away, run water over the spinach to cool it down.  When you are ready to cook, squeeze out all the moisture by pressing small amounts of spinach in your hands.  Make sure you get as much water out as you can.  Finely chop the drained spinach.

Put the oil and butter in a medium frying pan and set over medium heat.  When the oil and butter are hot, add the onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about six minutes.  Lower the heat if the onion starts to brown.  Add the spinach, dill, water, and salt and stir until combined.  Simmer gently, uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes.

To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, garlic, salt, and paprika in a small bowl.

To Serve:

Serve spinach hot with a dollop of yogurt sauce in top.  Sprinkle with extra paprika to garnish.  Serves 2 as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Carrot Ginger Slaw

Carrot Ginger Slaw

It’s slaw season people.  The weather in New England has been hovering around the 80 degree mark for a week or so now (give or take a few dips into the 60’s and 70’s) and I am ready for strawberries, fresh vegetables,  and cold salads. 

Shaved Carrots

We definitely have an affinity for cold salads in our house.   We devour heads of lettuce in record time, broccoli salad makes a regular appearance at our dinner table, and I never turn down a cold noodle dish.  However, the nice weather is young, which means that things like lettuce and broccoli are still in short supply.  Luckily, we still have carrots.  Carrots that have been sitting around since the winter, concentrating all of that delicious sugar.  These bright orange beauties make a lovely cold salad.  Punched up with some ginger, curry powder, and raisins, carrots are great for when you don’t have any other veggies around or for when you just want something a little different.

Simple list of ingredients

Ginger Carrot Slaw

Adapted generously from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

1/2 lb carrots (about 4 medium), washed and peeled

2 tbls mayonnaise

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup raisins

pinch of celery seed (optional)

chives or finely chopped green onions for garnish

To Make:

Using a vegetable peeler, shave long strips* of the carrots into a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, curry powder, garlic, ginger, and celery seed.  Gently toss the carrot strips with the dressing until well coated.  Stir in the raisins and garnish with chives. 

To Serve:

Serve cold or room temperature.  The carrots are pretty hardy and can stand up to being dressed and refrigerated for a few hours without going soggy.  Serves 2-4 as a side dish.  Recipe is easily doubled (or more) for a larger crowd.

* Using the peeler to shave the carrot creates a lovely texture and look to the salad.  However, it is kind of a pain in the behind.  If you are pressed for time, grate the carrots using the largest holes on your box grater or food processor disk.  You could also julienne them using a mandoline if you are so inclined.

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Filed under Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Rib-Eye Steak with Balsamic Reduction and a Salt-Baked Potato

Rib-eye Steak with a Balsamic Reduction and a Salt-Baked Potato

 

We experienced another rainy day recently here in Northeast.  Desperately looking for something to do with the kids that wasn’t going to cost any money, my lovely, brilliant Wife, said, “Go to the library”.  Okay, I’ll get Thing One some new books  that she’ll be bored with by the time they’re due back.  Upon entering the library, the first thing that I saw was a cookbook. 

Rib-eye Steak Sizzling in the heavy skillet

 

Doh!  Why haven’t I thought about this before?  Tired of the same old cookbooks?  Go to the LIBRARY!  I was able to checkout a copy of Gourmet Today edited by Ruth Reichl.  I opened it and the first recipe in the “Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb” chapter was for the very piece of meat that I had thawing in the fridge (and had nothing planned for). 

Salt Crusted Potatoes Ready for the Oven

 

Do you know the phrase, “KISS”?  Keep It Simple Silly.  Simple is good.  Simple is easy.  Simple is, well, simple.  That is exactly what this recipe is.    The steak is simple; cook, flip, cook, remove, add balsamic vinegar and reduce.  Simple right?  The potatoes are simple; coat with egg white, roll in salt, and bake.  Simple right?  The meal itself is simply delicious. 

Balsamic Reduction getting the Butter business

 

Rib-Eye Steak with Balsamic Reduction and a Salt Baked Potato 

Adapted from Gourmet Today 

Ingredients: 

1 bone-in rib-eye steak, about 1 inch thick 

freshly ground black pepper 

Kosher salt 

2 tbls butter 

1 tbls safflower oil (or vegetable oil) 

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

To Make: 

Pat steak dry.  Generously sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper both sides of the meat.  Heat a 12″ heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the tablespoon of safflower oil.  Cook the steak for 5 minutes a side and let rest 5 minutes.  With the bone-in steak, 5 minutes a side will produce a nice rare steak.  If you like your steak more done, add a minute or two per side.  

While the steak is resting, pour off the fat from the pan and de-glaze with the balsamic vinegar.  Stir the balsamic vinegar, scraping up the flavor bits on the bottom of the pan, until the volume is reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the last tablespoon of butter.  By the time your reduction is ready, the steak will be nicely rested. 

Salt-Baked Potatoes 

Adapted from Gourmet Today 

Ingredients: 

2 russet (baking) potatoes 

1 large egg white, lightly beaten 

1/4 cup Kosher salt 

Put a rack in the middle of  oven and preheat to 425F.  Prick each potato in several places with a fork.  Coat potatoes with egg white, then role in the salt to completely crust.  Put potatoes in a shallow baking pan and bake until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 1 hour.  

To Serve: 

Rub off as much salt as desired from the potatoes and serve with the skins on.  Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the steak (and potatoes if you want)… or lick it directly from the bowl.  We promise we won’t tell.  It is that good.  Serves 2 (plus a small child or two).

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Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes, Side Dish

Potato Parsnip Latkes

Potato Parsnip Latkes

I am always looking for new things to do with parsnips.  Through our various winter CSA’s we always seem to have parsnips hanging around.  They have a nice sweet and slightly sharp flavor that is tasty in many different culinary applications.  As the winter goes on, the parsnips we receive get sweeter and sweeter, probably as a result of the cold forcing them to store all that sugar.

Latke ingredients

We tend to get kind of lazy with our roots and serve them roasted or mashed.  However, after too many sides of roasted parsnips, we went looking for something different.  Parsnips are similar to potatoes in that they are both versatile when it comes to cooking.  Mix the two together and you have a very happy blend. 

The batter

This recipe is pretty simple to put together, just coarsely grate parsnips and potatoes, stir in flour, eggs, herbs, and salt and pepper.  Drop heaping spoonfuls into a pan with a little hot oil and watch the magic happen.  The latkes fry up brown and crisp.  Serve them hot from the skillet with a dollop of sour cream or with a little applesauce.  Or just eat them plain dusted with salt.  A delicious alternative to the traditional parsnip dish.

Potato Parsnip Latkes

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

1 large all-purpose potato (like a red or a Yukon Gold), 8-10 ounces

1 lb parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tbls fresh chives, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  You can put your cooked batches of latkes in the oven to keep them warm until they are ready to serve.

Peel the potato and coarsely grate it into a large bowl (if you are concerned about the potatoes browning, toss them with about 1 tbls of lemon juice at this point).   Place the grated potatoes in a large, clean kitchen towel and wring it to remove as much moisture as possible.

Mix the potatoes with the parsnips, flour, eggs, chives, and salt and pepper until well combined. 

Place a 12 inch skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to come about 1/4 inch up the side of the pan.  Heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.   Scoop scant 1/4 cupfuls of the mixture into the skillet and flatten with a spatula.  Be careful not to crowd the pan.  Fry until golden on one side, 1-3 minutes, then flip and cook until the second side is golden, another 1-3 minutes.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Place on a cookie sheet in the oven to keep warm until the remaining latkes are cooked.

To Serve:

Makes about 16 latkes.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.  Serve warm topped with sour cream, applesauce, or sprinkled with salt.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Eggs, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetarian