Side Dishes

Super Side

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Side Dishes | 0 comments

Whilst an epic “supermoon”, the closest full moon to hang over star gazers again until 2034, climbed out of the dusk last evening, I was slicing wedges of Cooking Light’s, Sweet Potato Crust Quiche.

Remember childhood toy commercials, where cool kids played with over-the-top games and amazing toys which never mal-functioned on the tube-- only to fail, break or not work out too well for real?

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Oh, that Easy-Bake Oven haunts me yet!

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A similar rush to letdown clutched me when I balked at this pie shaped casserole, which isn’t technically a quiche and doesn’t contain sweet potatoes, but bright orange sweet yams really.

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Photo source: ebay

I was never meant for toys; tools, kitchen tools, especially the mandoline, wiped out the memory of a mid-century doll-size pink wringer washing machine.  What a mess.

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Cast of Characters

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Begin by coating a pie dish with cooking spray. Carefully, whoosh a pared sweet potato (yam) using a mandoline slicer or sharp knife.

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Place the slices in concentric circles; spray again

(I delivered a sprinkle of kosher salt as well) and partially bake.

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Meanwhile, sauté the onion and spinach filling (add a healthy bit of fresh nutmeg to the spinach).

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Prepare the egg custard.

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Let the potato layer cool slightly.

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Place the spinach mixture over the potato layer.

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Pour the custard over the filling and top with feta.

Bake and let stand for a few minutes to set. Viola—just like the cool kids on the tube.

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Perfect warm up to holiday sides, (imagine the palette of possibilities)

this tasty blooming dish complies in a cascade of categories’.

Breakfast

Brunch

Supper

Side Dish

Gluten-free

Vegeterian

Meatless Monday

Al Fresco

Potluck

Picnic

Travels well

Thanksgiving

Bible Study

 

 

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Move Over Catsup

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Side Dishes | 0 comments

June; low clouds, then sun...  The roses are unhappy although, we are herding apricots again and certain tomato varieties are cranking.  While we wait for full sun to ripen other types, tomato jam is an original savory twist for me.

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Carla Hall grills two pounds of quartered tomatoes in a foil package with crushed red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme, and garlic slivers as a first step, whereas I fundamentally accomplished the same roast in a hot convection oven.

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Pile the herbs on the bottom of heavy-duty foil;

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 place the prepared tomatoes on top adding salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Secure the package and place it on a sheet tray (I used a cast iron skillet).  Roast the tomatoes at 425 Degrees for about 25 minutes;

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open the pouch and lift the loose skins from each tomato.

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Discard the skins and branches; then slide the tomatoes and their juices into the cast iron skillet or a saucepan.

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Bring to a simmer and cook down the jam with sugar and vinegar, stirring occasionally, until thickened. About 40-45 minutes.

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Place the jam in a jar and cool completely.

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Carla serves the jam on johnnycakes (a cornmeal pancake).  I’ll be topping those mighty zucchini pancakes, avocado sandwiches, crostini, eggs, savory waffles, grilled corn, and maybe a pizza with this glossy slightly spicy agrodolce spin on concentrated sweetness and acid.

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Golden Zucchini Two Ways

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Side Dishes | 0 comments

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While I fitfully slept, bright golden zucchini became the (ahem) real beauties,

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growing straight and unblemished from our garden, ideal for whirling into strands of delicate squash pasta. Subsequently, there was the matter of a mound of spring peas MP gathered when he shopped solo at the farmers’ market too. I checked in with Ina; Golden Zucchini Pancakes, and Zucchini Pasta morphed into a groovy light and o’so delicious supper.

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Grate the zucchini on a box grater

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adding grated red onion, eggs, salt, baking powder, for lift;

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and enough flour to absorb the accumulated moisture from the veggies.

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Cook the pancakes in a combination of both olive oil and butter, creating perfect lipid goodness.

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The pancakes are extraordinarily simple, savory and nearly inhalable;

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I’m standing watch over the plants urging those champions to grow, grow, grow!

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Tater Tubbies

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Side Dishes | 0 comments

Nephi Grigg Tater Tots Inventor Oreida Founder.jpg

Nephi Grigg

Tater Tots Inventor

Oreida Founder

 

 

 

When it comes to being a home cook, you can’t beat a food challenge centered on a nostalgic childhood version.

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Way back on Christmas Eve, Ty’s crew worked a regular Lido Station shift, which meant the guys’ families (and household dogs if related), were invited to brunch-at-the-fire-station. 

Now imagine a no fuss panorama; one well-worn practical firehouse, a team of fresh professional emergency responders on alert, a long, long table lined with candy and cookie towers, stainless steel bowls of pre-sliced bananas and blueberries, magnum jars of peanut butter, bottled iconic catsup, and plastic gallon bottles of syrup, momentarily mistaken for jugged ice tea-- stretching the distance.

Close by on an island flanked by a 50-year-old Wolf workhorse range, waffles, pancakes, steaming skillets of scrambled eggs, embankments of salty, fatty, meaty bacon and shiny breakfast sausage links, held up pans loaded with 50’s style fried crunchy cylinders of  grated potato pillows-- Tater Tots!

Koa Lunde

Koa Lunde

A welcomed guest kinda means leave your camera under the table with the pets. Consequently, we ate. I discreetly downed a dozen tots without catsup, flanked by some well-cooked eggs. Frankly introverted and engrossed, I left table chatter and friendly conversation to the dogs and others.

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Then, as we knew it may, the 911 call came and we dispersed in gratitude.  Not a single sugar plum twirled around that Christmas Eve.

However, Ty chided me and allegedly said, “Mom, I bet you’ll be making your own tater tots.”

Chef Kendra Nguyen Easy Cooking gets all the credit for this method and recipe; I decoded measures below.

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I baked the potatoes in the microwave;

then peeled and grated them like cheese.

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Add beaten egg, 1/2 cup flour, garlic powder, salt and Parmesan cheese.

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Use a small scoop to create equally sized tots.

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Then, form the potato pillows into a cylinder;

ahem, notice my tots were a bit larger (the way I roll).

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Prepare an F. E. B. station where tots are easily coated in flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs.

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Line the tots onto a baking sheet for a chill session.

 I made 24 tater tots, aka tater tubbies...

Being timid about the frying thing, I forgot to take pictures.  I used a cast iron skillet and one-half inch of  hot oil which is considered a shallow-fry. Cook the tots in batches until they are goldy, goldy, goldy crispy and soft in the center.  Drain slightly: season with salt.

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Restraint prevailed;

I cooked up only a few freezing others for another day 🙂

Fact: firefighters purchase their own food.

Tater Tubbies

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes, washed (about 2 pounds)
  • ½ cup flour, plus more for flouring
  • 1 ¼ ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese, about ¾ cup
  • 2 eggs, beaten (divided use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Bake the potatoes in a preheated 400 degree oven until done or bake in a microwave oven and allow to cool.
  2. Peel the potatoes and grate on a box grater into a medium bowl. Add one of the eggs, ½ cup flour, garlic powder, salt and cheese.
  3. Shape the potatoes into evenly sized shapes.
  4. Add flour to a small bowl. Whisk together, remaining egg and water in another bowl and add panko crumbs into a small flat dish.
  5. Lightly dust each tot in flour, dip in egg then coat with panko.
  6. Place on prepared baking sheet. Freeze tots for at least an hour.
  7. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees. Cook tots in batches (overcrowding will bring the temperature down) until golden; flip and brown the other side. Remove to a rack season with salt and cool slightly.
  8. --adapted from Chef Kendra Easy Cooking
http://cococooks.net/tater-tubbies/

 

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Tomatoes, Tomatoes Everywhere

Posted by on Jul 31, 2015 in Side Dishes | 1 comment

Tomatoes and summer are constant companions, especially when our neighbors flew away to vacay in Tennessee.

 

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MP has been watching over a dozen tomato plants, including our own waning ones.  Red plump fruit bursting their skin, sun alongside less acidic yellow varieties and a trailing cherry sort, sweet as candy.

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Cooking Light’s Ripe Summer Tomato Gratin with Basil rescues four pounds of tomatoes in one tasty dish, ideal for a picnic or potluck since it can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

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Toast up coarse breadcrumbs;

 

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then combine with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper, and cheese.

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Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and season well. Add remaining oil (I used half called for in the recipe) with basil, vinegar (I used balsamic rather than red wine), garlic, and shallot.

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Arrange the tomatoes in a shallow dish, pouring all the juices over the tomatoes.  Bake at 400 degrees for a quick fifteen minutes; then sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the tomatoes and bake another 10 minutes.

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Let stand and garnish with more soft herbs.  I will make this again doubling up on the fat boy breadcrumbs.  Because it is crazy juicy, we see it snuggling next to grilled or baked fish.

“I am not weary of eating garden vine-ripened tomatoes every day.”  Repeat after me, “I am not weary of eating garden vine-ripened tomatoes every day.”

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I’ll remember you with fondness next winter when El Nino comes to save us from Cali’s insufferable drought.

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Squash and Respect

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in Side Dishes | 2 comments

I am determined to grill, bake or turn every squash from our garden into ribbons of pasta.

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In the words of Alain Passard,

chef and owner of L’Arpege in Paris

“When you really respect the seasons, it works all by itself”.

This Squash Gratin featured in Food and Wine is another quick and healthy side dish for a potluck party; made even more delectable with fresh squash from the midsummer loot outside.

Merely a few ingredients, a sharp knife and a super-hot oven are all you need on hand.

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Slice the zucchini and summer squash into long spears; then douse them with a glug of olive oil.  Season the vegetables with plenty of garlic and kosher salt.

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Arrange the squash in the dish (I alternated side by side stripes).

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Bake the vegetables for 20 minutes, until tender.

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Top the squash with cheese and panko.  Drizzle a little more oil on top of the breadcrumbs for extra golden crustiness.  Pop it back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or so until the gratin is crisp and melty.

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And, who doesn’t think sweet, salty, nutty Gruyère cheese rules?

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