Tag Archives: side dish

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Tarragon Shallot Butter

Potatoes are one of my favorite sides, no matter how they are cooked. And, this recipe is one I’ve never tried before, but will be sure to make again. Paired with a sirloin steak that marinaded in a sauce also containing fresh tarragon, they made great dinner companions.

The original recipe called for mixed-color fingerling potatoes, but the grocery store was plum out of any type of fingerlings. However, there were some tri-colored baby spuds available. And I mean “baby” to the point of almost preemies! Thus I knew the cooking time was going to be drastically reduced.

As your potatoes are finishing roasting, make the luscious tarragon-shallot sauce. The actual sauce is made up of only five ingredients: unsalted butter, finely chopped shallot, crushed black peppercorns, lemon zest and juice, and finely chopped tarragon. But boy, it delivers flavor in spades!

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Tarragon Shallot Butter

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes:

  • 1½ lbs. fingerling potatoes, mixture of yellow, red, and blue, if possible
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Tarragon Shallot Butter:

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • ½ tsp. whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 3 large sprigs fresh tarragon, plus more for garnishing leaves removed and finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Fosher salt

Directions 

  1. Roast Fingerling Potatoes: Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C) with a rack in the center position. Rinse and dry the potatoes thoroughly. Slice the fingerling potatoes in half lengthwise. Toss on a large baking sheet with the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  2. Place the potatoes cut-side down on the sheet pan and spread them out evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes and roast for an additional 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are caramelized, crispy, and fork-tender. Remove the potatoes from the oven, place on a rack, and allow them to cool slightly while you prepare the tarragon shallot butter.
  3. Prepare Tarragon Shallot Butter: In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted fully and is bubbling slightly, add the shallot and sauté, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the crushed peppercorns, lemon zest, chopped tarragon leaves, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low, and continue to reduce the sauce for an additional minute or so. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the roasted potatoes in a shallow heat-proof bowl. Pour the warm tarragon shallot butter (scrape the skillet with a spatula to remove any bits) over the potatoes, and toss them gently with a spoon until they are evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional tarragon and serve immediately.

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Adapted from a recipe found on abeautifulplate.com

Fall-Apart Caramelized Cabbage

According to Bon Appétit, this is one of the easiest, most delicious ways to cook down a whole head of cabbage until it’s falling-apart tender. And those gorgeous Autumn colors welcome you to a new cooler season.

Numerous reviewers mentioned they had, or wished they had, doubled the sauce, therefore I went ahead with that suggestion. I also added some smoked paprika, just enough to give it a slightly smoky kick. Finally, homemade chicken stock was subbed for the water. Of course, if you are vegetarian you could keep the water or use vegetable stock.

If the spiced tomato paste has reduced and the pan starts getting dry and dark before the cabbage is ready, just add a splash of water to loosen and let it keep going.

The Hubs couldn’t get enough, he even wanted to drink any leftover sauce—good thing I doubled it! He said the aroma and taste reminded him of Gołąbki without the filling. Smacznego!

Fall-Apart Caramelized Cabbage

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium head of savoy cabbage (about 2 lb. total)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (or water to keep it vegetarian)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped dill, parsley, or cilantro
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream (for serving)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Mix tomato paste, garlic, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
  2. Cut cabbage in half through core. Cut each half through core into 4 wedges, so that the core remains on each piece.
  3. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Working in batches if needed, add cabbage to pan cut side down and season with salt. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer cabbage to a plate. You may have to add a bit more oil to the pan if doing a second batch.
  4. Pour remaining ¼ cup oil into skillet. Add spiced tomato paste and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tomato paste begins to split and slightly darken, 3–4 minutes. Pour in enough chicken stock (or water) to come halfway up sides of pan (about 2 cups), season with salt, and bring to a simmer.
  5. Nestle cabbage wedges back into skillet (they should have shrunk while browning; a bit of overlap is okay). Transfer cabbage to oven and bake, uncovered and turning wedges halfway through, until very tender, liquid is mostly evaporated, and cabbage is caramelized around the edges, 40–50 minutes.
  6. Scatter dill over cabbage. Serve with yogurt alongside.

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Adapted from a recipe by Andy Baraghani for Bon Appétit

Roasted Mushrooms with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

We love all things mushrooms, but I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea. However you might be enticed to try this rich, woodsy side dish with combined straightforward creminis and meaty, smoky shiitakes.

To ensure that the mushrooms are evenly seasoned and stay moist during roasting, they are brined in a saltwater solution. This went against everything we’ve ever read about preparing mushrooms, but we gave it a whirl. A glass pie plate was put over the soaking mushrooms to keep them submerged in the brine.

The ‘shrooms are roasted in a hot oven for about an hour until they are deeply browned. Then they’re coated in extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice before adding the flavorful mix-ins of grated Parmesan, parsley, and pine nuts.

Oh yeah Babe, this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen was divine. Served with grilled tomatoes and strip steaks, we felt like royalty on a weeknight!

Roasted Mushrooms with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and left whole if small, halved if medium, or quartered if large
  • 1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps larger than 3 inches halved
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Dissolve 5 teaspoons salt in 2 quarts room-temperature water in large container. Add cremini mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms to brine, cover with plate or bowl to submerge, and let stand for 10 minutes
  3. Drain mushrooms in colander and pat dry with paper towels. Spread mushrooms evenly on rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and toss to coat. Roast until liquid from mushrooms has completely evaporated, 35 to 45 minutes.
  4. Remove sheet from oven (be careful of escaping steam when opening oven) and, using thin metal spatula, carefully stir mushrooms. Return to oven and continue to roast until mushrooms are deeply browned, 5 to 10 minutes longer.
  5. Combine remaining olive oil and lemon juice in large bowl. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Add Parmesan, pine nuts, and parsley and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.

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Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Roasted Green Beans with Pecorino and Pine Nuts

If you want earthy, sweet green beans with moist interiors and just the right amount of browning, this roasted bean recipe from Cook’s Country does the trick. Because they are often dry and leathery; start by covering the roasting beans which are mixed with oil, salt, pepper, and sugar and let them gently steam for 10 minutes.

The sugar promotes browning when the foil is removed to let the beans blister in the oven’s high heat. To add a lively bite to the flavorful beans, toss them with a lemon vinaigrette and top them with salty, sharp Pecorino and crunchy pine nuts.

Salmon with Sautéed Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs. green beans, trimmed
  • 5 ½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ tsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 4 tsp. juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 ½ oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Combine green beans, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in bowl. Evenly distribute green beans on rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast until green beans are spotty brown, about 10 minutes longer, stirring halfway through roasting.
  4. Meanwhile, combine garlic, lemon zest, and remaining 1/4 cup oil in medium bowl and microwave until bubbling, about 1 minute; let mixture steep for 1 minute. Whisk lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into garlic mixture.
  5. Transfer green beans to bowl with dressing, add basil, and toss to combine. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with Pecorino and pine nuts. Serve.

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Recipe from Cook’s Country

Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Yogurt Cucumber Dill Sauce

These crispy zucchini fritters make a wonderful starter or side dish, and they’re a delicious way to use up summer zucchini, because Lord knows, you or your neighbors are likely swamped with it. Of course there is always the local farm market or grocery store…

The word fritter usually conjures up something heavy and deep-fried, but these zucchini fritters are as light as can be. Serve them as a light vegetarian meal or mezze (small plate) with tzatziki and a Greek salad, or as a side dish to any Mediterranean-style fish, chicken or lamb dish.

To eliminate all of the excess moisture in zucchini, shred on a box shredder, salt it and let it drain in a fine mesh strainer for 10 minutes. Finally you want to wrap it tightly in a clean towel and squeeze out any lingering moisture. Do not let the zucchini sit on its own for too long after it’s been squeezed dry or it will turn brown.

Bind the dried zucchini with eggs and a little flour which allows its delicate flavor to shine. In ATK’s The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook where we found this recipe, and the one I followed, it did not mention baking powder as an ingredient. However, online it shows adding 1/2 teaspoon, which makes sense so I listed it below.

Oh, and do yourself a favor and buy a good block of feta cheese, not the pre-crumbled varieties. Odyssey and Mt Vikos are two great brands that contain no preservatives, additives, or calcium chloride and are Non-GMO. Traditional feta is made authentically by small family dairies in central Greece using fresh milk from sheep and goats.

Zucchini Fritters with Feta

  • Servings: 12 fritters
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. zucchini (about 2 medium), trimmed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or cornstarch)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more if necessary
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. Transfer the zucchini to a fine mesh strainer and set over a bowl. Toss the zucchini with the salt and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Put zucchini in a clean dish towel and fold and wring out real well with (you may need to repeat with another towel), then set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the dried zucchini, scallions, dill, feta, garlic and black pepper. Sprinkle the flour (or corn starch) and baking powder over mixture and stir until uniformly incorporated.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drop 2-tablespoon sized portions into the pan, then use the back of a spoon to gently press the batter into 2-inch-wide fritters. Pan-fry until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat as needed.
  5. Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. Add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary, then repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm or room temperature with lemon wedges.

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By Jennifer Segal, adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Yogurt Cucumber Dill Sauce

Not a dill fan? Substitute cilantro, mint, parsley or tarragon instead. Sauce can be made one day ahead.

Yogurt Cucumber Dill Sauce

  • Servings: Yields about 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and shredded
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk yogurt, oil and garlic together in a medium bowl until combined.
  2. Stir in cucumber and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Refrigerate covered. Take out and leave on counter for 30 minutes before eating.

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Herby Potato Salad

A bit of a twist, this classic potato salad adaptation from Good Housekeeping utilizes lots of fresh, tender herbs, and is a little more sophisticated looking than the typical bowl of potato salad.

The spuds are kept whole, but smashed with the bottom of a cup after cooking them in water. Then they get mixed with the mayonnaise mixture, spread onto a platter and capped with scallions, parsley and dill. While it may look like an overload of toppings, remember there aren’t any actually mixed into the potatoes (although I did reduce the amount of parsley down to about 2/3 cup).

Served at room temperature, it made a wonderful side to grilled bratwurst sausages and caramelized onions. Go ahead and cook the baby reds in the morning or the day before, and save yourself some time at dinner.

Herby Potato Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 24 oz. baby red potatoes
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1⁄4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1⁄2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup torn flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Flaky sea salt for serving

Directions

  1. Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, add 1/2 tablespoon salt, reduce heat and simmer until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Drain and run under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain well and pat dry.
  3. On cutting board, gently flatten each potato with bottom of cup.
  4. While potatoes cook, in a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, mustard, lemon juice and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, gently toss potatoes with the dressing. On serving platter, arrange potatoes in single layer, drizzle with any remaining dressing and sprinkle with herbs and scallions. Add more salt and pepper, if desired.

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Adapted from a recipe for Good Housekeeping Magazine

Greek-Inspired Beans and Tomatoes

By mid-August we harvest green beans on a daily basis. Even with gifting friends our excess supply, the beans will be a staple for dinner many nights a week. We’ve roasted, grilled, steamed and boiled them either alone or in combination with other veggies.

I asked The Hubs to whip something together that would use both an abundance of the beans and our plum and grape tomatoes, and that would compliment our dry rubbed loin lamb chops and Herby Potato Salad. Greek-style instantly came to his mind, which typically uses flat Romano beans. However using our freshly picked pole beans, the dish was still hearty, healthy and bursting with fresh and vibrant colors and flavors.

In lieu of blanching the beans first, you could add them raw at the halfway point of cooking the tomatoes. Just keep a sharp eyeball on the beans so that they are crisp-tender and not overcooked, limp and no longer bright green.

Greek-Inspired Beans and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed, blanched
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin oilive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. plum/grape/cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Blanche* the green beans in salted boiling water for 2 to 3 minuted depending on how thick they are. Drain and immediately drop in an ice bath until cool. Drain in a colander.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat oil until shimmering over medium heat. Add garlic slices and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the onion to the garlic with a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook until the onions are softened, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, turn the heat back up to medium, stir in a 1⁄2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon of the oregano. Stir well, partially cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally until tomatoes break down and release their juices.
    *If you choose not to blanche the beans, you can add raw beans 5 minutes into cooking the tomatoes, and cook just until beans are crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes more.
  5. Stir in the blanched beans and remaining oregano and cook for 1-2 minutes more while beans heat through. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar. Serve immediately.

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Creole Corn Sauté

When the first farm-fresh cobs of corn are ready in early summer, we all can’t wait to start chomping down on those flavorful kernels. By August, we’re ready for a fresh approach to corn on the cob. Over the years, we’ve made many a sautéed corn recipe, noting this Creole version from Cook’s Country would be a great side dish for an upcoming BBQ for eight. Since the original is intended for four guests, we doubled the amounts.

For deep, porky flavor in every bite, it starts with bacon. Aromatics are added, then sprinkled with the reserved bacon over the final dish for texture and additional smoky flavor. Instead of sautéing the bell peppers (I used a red and a green since the recipe was doubled) and garlic with onions, scallions are used for their lightness and are better suited to summer.

Lightly browning the corn kernels lends a pleasant, nutty quality to the Creole Corn Sauté. To meld the dish, extract pulp and milk from corn cobs with the back of a chef’s knife down the stripped cobs and collect the juices, then added the corn pulp to the skillet with the kernels. This way the sautéed corn gets creamy, and the individual ingredients come together as a unified dish.

Creole Corn Sauté

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 medium ears corn
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped fine
  • 5 scallions, white parts chopped fine, green parts sliced thin
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce, Tabasco brand preferred
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cut kernels from cobs over large bowl and scrape remaining pulp into bowl with kernels. Set aside.
  2. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet.
  3. Cook scallion whites and bell pepper in bacon fat until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add corn and corn pulp to skillet and cook until lightly browned, at least 3 minutes, probably longer. Off heat, stir in scallion greens, parsley, thyme, hot sauce, and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Recipe compliments of Cook’s Country

Avocado Cucumber Salad

A super-easy and healthy side dish to go with your grilled entrée. According to The Endless Meal where I found this recipe “Everything works about this salad: the crunchy but slightly softened cucumbers, the creamy avocados, the earthy cilantro, and the hint of spice that tingles your tongue.”

Making this cucumber and avocado salad requires maceration. The basis of which is tossing the cucumbers in a little salt and sugar then letting them sit at room temperature while some of the juice is drawn out. The process softens the cucumber just a little and makes a sort of dressing for the salad.

NOTE: You can prepare it ahead of time by combining the cucumbers and spices in the bag but NOT sprinkling the salt and sugar over. Place the bag in the fridge for up to 8 hours. When you are ready, take the bag out of the fridge, add the salt and sugar, let it sit for a half hour then continue with the rest of the preparation.

Yes, it is a “green salad” but quite different from what most of us picture because there is no lettuce at all! The recipe calls for a red Thai chili, but in lieu of that we used a green serrano making it even “greener”. The flavors and textures paired wonderfully with our grilled pork chop, but the salad does not store well after the initial meal, so eat it up! (That is why we cut the recipe in half for the two of us—with just a tad remaining.)

Avocado Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup minced ginger
  • 2 English cucumbers, quartered and sliced
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 Thai red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. neutral-flavored oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 1/4 cup each: basil leaves and cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Place the ginger, cucumbers, sea salt, sugar, garlic, and red chili in a large, resealable plastic bag. Squish the bag around a little so that everything is mixed together. Set the bag aside on your counter for a half hour.
  2. Pour everything from the bag into a salad bowl. Add the celery, oil, and lime juice and toss well. Season to taste with sea salt. Add the diced avocados, basil, and cilantro and gently toss once more.
  3. Serve within a half hour.

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Adapted from a recipe found on theendlessmeal.com

Lynn’s Twice-Baked Potatoes

These twice-baked potatoes have been a family favorite with my step children from the time they were little. Now, as young adults, the spuds are an oft-requested side dish, especially when steaks are the main entrée. I must confess, both their dad and I maintain a certain fondness for them too! They are pretty decadent, so we don’t serve them too often…

In all of these years, I just eyeballed the amount of each ingredient, adjusting as I saw fit. But I finally decided it was time to write down the recipe when an opportune time presented itself with the engagement of the youngest. When confronted with what they wanted as their celebratory dinner choice, David and his lovely fiancée Vikki, asked us if we would make steaks, twice-baked potatoes, asparagus and Tres Leche Cake for dessert. Game on!

Vikki and David toasting to their engagement.

It’s best—although not a deal-breaker—if you bring the butter, blue cheese crumbles, sour cream, and heavy cream to room temperature. When ingredients are different temperatures, they don’t necessarily “play” well together. Plus, when everything is approximately the same temp, they will cook more evenly in the oven.

If you have eight guests for dinner, or just want leftovers, a 13″ x 9″ baking dish will easily hold eight potato halves, so start with four russets instead of three. In this case however, you may want to increase all of the other ingredients by 25%. The potatoes can be assembled a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Remove from fridge about an hour before they go into the oven at 350°F.

Purple chive blossoms are a flavorful, aromatic, and colorful edible flower that will appear at the end of chive stalks in late springtime. Even if you don’t plan on eating them, they make a nice garnish. You can substitute shredded sharp cheddar in place of the blue cheese if you or your guests abhor the latter.

About that Tres Leche Cake, David (mostly) and Vikki (some) had polished off the entire thing before we got up the next morning!

Lynn's Twice-Baked Potatoes

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 large Russet potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, cut into 3 pieces, room temperature
  • 5 oz. crumbled blue cheese, divided into thirds
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream or whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives or scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Chive blossoms for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork 4 or 5 times. Rub olive oil all over each potato.
  3. Cook potatoes in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a paring knife. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven heat to 325°F.
  5. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, and let the steam escape, another 2 minutes. Over a large bowl, carefully scoop out most of the flesh with a spoon, leaving about 1/8″ thickness against the skin.
  6. Add butter, heavy cream, sour cream, salt and pepper to the potatoes and smash with a potato masher until combined but still a bit lumpy. Next, turn in 2/3 of the cheese crumbles and chives, mixing all ingredients together with a large spoon.
  7. Arrange the six potato skins in a casserole/baking dish. Evenly spoon the mixture into the skins. Run an indentation along the center of each and top with the remaining 1/3 blue cheese crumbles.* Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until the tops are a light golden brown.
    *Make Ahead: Once the potatoes are assembled with the mixture and topped with blue cheese, cover with foil and refrigerate until one hour before placed in oven. Preheat oven to 350°F, and once the oven is ready, cook, still covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes or until the tops are a light golden brown.
  8. Garnish with a chive blossoms, if using. Serve immediately.

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Asparagus with Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

Adding fresh allium notes as well as bright green color to any dish, Vietnamese scallion oil, called mỡ hành, is used as a garnish or condiment on a number of different foods, here we are adding it to cooked asparagus.

This version from Milk Street includes savory fish sauce (or soy sauce), pungent ginger and a little sugar to build complexity. Try it on shrimp, steak, grilled pork chops, corn on the cob or steamed dumplings. Leftover scallion oil can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days; return it to room temperature before serving.

For proper texture and flavor, the scallions should be chopped. Slice them first, then run the knife blade over them a few times to further break them down.

Asparagus with Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup chopped scallions (5 or 6 scallions)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup peanut or other neutral oil
  • 1½ Tbsp. fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
  • 3 Tbsp. water

Directions

  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, gently rub the salt and pepper into the scallions until the scallions begin to wilt.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering, then pour the hot oil over the scallions; the scallions will sizzle. Stir, then stir in the fish sauce, ginger and sugar. Cool to room temperature.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add asparagus and cook, stirring only a few times, until charred. Add 3 tablespoons water, then immediately cover. Reduce to low and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with scallion oil spooned over.

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Recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Tender, Smoky Grilled Artichokes

It’s odd, that even though we love artichokes, neither of us have ever cooked thistles. So this was our first foray, and we decided to grill them. After a bit of online research, we happened upon this approach from Simply Recipes. Apparently, the trick is to steam them first.

Artichokes take a long time to cook, and like moist heat, so it’s best to just grill them at the end for the grill marks and smoky flavor—which it did in spades! Steaming, instead of boiling, assures the artichokes don’t get too soggy from the water and they stay dry enough to get good browning on the grill.

After we brought them home from the grocery store I had to read up on how to store them for a few days. Well let me tell you, everybody seems to have their own opinion. But my first mistake was cutting a good portion of the stems off so that the large globes would fit into a plastic ziploc. That is a no-no, BTW.

According to Williams Sonoma, sprinkle artichokes with a few drops of water and store in a perforated plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If cooking them on the day you buy them, leave them at cool room temperature. Once opened, marinated artichoke hearts will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Let’s just say prepping these puppies was a little labor intensive, especially scooping out the fuzzy chokes. Instead of rubbing all of the cut areas, including each leaf to prevent the artichokes from turning brown, we acidulated them. This is done by filling a large bowl with 2 quarts of water, slicing a lemon in half, and squeezing the juice into the water, leaving the rinds submersed in the liquid.

The grilling aspect is easy-peasy. Just prepare your grill for direct, high heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the artichoke all over with the herb infused oil, then sprinkle all over with salt. Place the artichoke halves cut-side-down on the grill grates, cover, and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, until you have nice grill mark on the cut sides of the artichokes. If desired, serve with mayonnaise, remoulade, or aioli.

Tender, Smoky Grilled Artichokes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half (no need to peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2 to 4 large globe artichokes
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Steep herbs in warm olive oil: Place chopped fresh herbs in a small bowl (not the bay leaf), cover with olive oil. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds (or heat oil and herbs on the stovetop until warm). Let the herbs steep in the warm olive oil while you prepare the artichokes.
  2. Prep the artichokes: Prepare a large pot with an inch of water at the bottom. Add the cut cloves of garlic and the bay leaf, and place a steamer rack in the pot.
  3. To prepare the artichokes, have lemon wedges ready. If you want a nice presentation, use scissors to snip away the pointy tips of the artichoke leaves. As you trim the artichokes, rub the cut areas with juice from the lemon wedges to prevent the artichokes from turning brown from oxidation.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to cut away the thick outer layer of the artichoke stems. Trim the stems to 2 inches from the base of the artichoke. Cut off and discard the top 1/2 inch of the artichokes. Cut the artichokes in half.
  5. Scoop out the chokes and inner leaves: Use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the fuzzy chokes and the small inner artichoke leaves. Rub lemon juice all over the inside and exposed cut areas of the artichokes.
  6. Steam the artichokes: Heat the water in the large pot with a steamer rack on high. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium high and place the artichoke halves, cut side down on the steam rack.
  7. Cover. Steam for 20 minutes (less or more, depending on the size of the artichokes), until you can easily pull off the outer leaves, and you can pierce the heart easily with a knife.
  8. The artichokes can be just a tiny bit less cooked than would be typically perfect for steamed artichokes, as you will be cooking them further on the grill.
  9. Grill the artichokes: Prepare your grill for direct, high heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the artichoke all over with the herb infused oil. Sprinkle all over with salt.
  10. Place the artichoke halves cut-side-down on the grill grates. Cover, and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, until you have nice grill mark on the cut sides of the artichokes.
  11. Serve: Sprinkle the cut sides with more lemon juice. Serve alone or with mayonnaise, remoulade, or aioli.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Elise Bauer

Portuguese Wine-Braised Potatoes with Garlic, Bay and Chilies

Salivating for some fabulous potatoes with a lot of flavor? Look no further than these Portuguese Wine-Braised Potatoes with Garlic, Bay and Chilies that we first spotted in a recent issue of Milk Street magazine. Paired with another of their recipes of Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic, and some Fresh Peas with Lemon & Chives, it was a dinner to remember!

The traditional way of cooking potatoes with these classic Portuguese flavors is to slow-roast them in the oven or long-braise them on the stovetop alongside meat. But in “Authentic Portuguese Cooking,” author Ana Patuleia Ortins includes a quicker, meat-free version that yields a wonderfully delicious side.

Milk Street adapted her recipe, opting to use a mixture of wine and chicken broth for simmering (wine alone tends to toughen the exteriors of the potatoes) and substituting jarred crushed peppers—the type often smeared onto Italian hoagies—for the spicy Portuguese red pepper paste called massa de malagueta. If you cannot find crushed peppers, simply use ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes instead.

In Portugal it’s known as “batatas cozidas em vinho e alhos” and varies by region and family, but the heart of the recipe is consistent: potatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil. First the onions and garlic are cooked until jammy-sweet, then the potatoes are added and simmered in white wine to add wonderful acidity to balance the starchiness.

“The thing that people don’t understand about Portuguese cooking is that it’s flexible. The way they say it, it’s ‘com gusto.’ It’s how you like it.”

Patuleia Ortins

We knew it was going to be a winner so we increased the recipe by 50% right off the bat. And although the directions indicate it takes about 30 minutes for the potatoes to meet no resistance when pierced with a knife, ours took an additional 20 minutes—therefore be prepared to add extra time if needed.

Tip: Don’t stir the potatoes too vigorously or they’ll break apart and make the sauce gluey. Aim to keep the large pieces of potato as whole as possible. Also, don’t reduce the sauce too far; as the potatoes sit off heat, they’ll continue to absorb the sauce.

Portuguese Wine-Braised Potatoes with Garlic, Bay and Chilies

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ tsp. jarred crushed peppers or ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, bay, crushed peppers, paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until fully softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the potato mixture, then add the wine and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then cover, reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, about 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and cook over medium, now stirring more often and adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, until the liquid has thickened and lightly coats the potatoes, about 7 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay and stir in the parsley. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Roasted Broccoli and Olives

If you want an easy, yet different side dish, try this unique combination. The original recipe is listed below, although I made a few changes such as using pitted olives. I mean, who wants to stop after every bite and fish pits out of your mouth, especially in front of others! This allowed me to cut them in half before roasting.

With only two of us at the dinner table, I scaled back some on the amount of broccoli because it wouldn’t all fit on the baking sheet in one layer, and it just seemed excessive for the both of us.

Then when it comes to smashing the garlic together with the salt, it’s just easier with a mortar and pestle, if you happen to have one.

Roasted Broccoli and Olives

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and gently crushed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
  • 2 ¼ – 2.5 lbs. broccoli, washed, drained, and patted dry
  • ½ cup mixed unpitted olives
  • Flaked sea salt
  • ½ lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine garlic and 1/2 tsp. of the kosher salt. Using the back of a spoon, muddle garlic and salt until garlic begins to release its oil. (Or use a mortar and pestle like I did.) Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Trim broccoli stems; cut stalks lengthwise into halves and/or quarters. Place in prepared baking pan. Pour garlic oil and olives over; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Roast 20 to 25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until tender but al dente. Transfer to a serving dish.
  4. To serve, sprinkle with flaked sea salt; drizzle with additional olive oil. Squeeze lemon juice over.

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Adapted from a recipe by Scott Peacock for Better Homes & Gardens

Citrus Couscous Salad

The temps are warming here in southeastern PA, which starts our craving for brighter tasting food. This Citrus Couscous Salad recipe was spotted in Fine Cooking Magazine, but originated in Better Homes & Gardens from what I can surmise. Doesn’t really matter, we made numerous changes to make it our own.

Orange zest, juice, and segments brighten up this fresh take on a “pasta” salad recipe. Despite popular belief that couscous is a type of whole grain (it does have a rice-like appearance), it is actually a pasta made of semolina and wheat flour that is moistened and tossed together until it forms little balls. (Sorry keto-friendly dieters.)

Not only does couscous cook quickly—a plus for most home cooks—it is an excellent main or side dish that pleases almost anyone’s palate. While the original recipe used 6 oranges, and fed as many, the ingredients list here was halved for the most part. Although, the thyme and olive quantities remain the same, pine nuts were swapped out for the hazelnuts.

Because it can sit at room temperature, it would be a great asset at any pot luck or picnic.

Citrus Couscous Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 large Cara Cara, navel, or other oranges
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1⁄2 cup Israeli couscous
  • 3⁄4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1⁄2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. pinenuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped, pitted Castelvetrano olives or Manzanilla olives
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler remove strips of zest from one orange, being careful not to remove the white pith; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan with a tight lid heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add couscous; cook 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often. Add two orange strips, broth, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat. Cover; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until couscous is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Let cool; discard strips.
  3. Meanwhile, using a paring knife, remove peel and pith from the other two oranges. Working over a small bowl to catch juices, cut out each segment from membranes. (Or slice into wheels.)
  4. For citrus oil: Chop enough of the remaining orange strips to get 1 tablespoon In a 10-inch skillet combine chopped strips, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic, and thyme. Heat over low heat 5 minutes or until warm; set aside.
  5. To serve, on a platter combine orange segments and juices, couscous, red onion, pinenuts and olives. Drizzle with red wine vinegar. Spoon citrus oil over top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and, if desired, crushed red pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Better Homes and Gardens