Tag Archives: side dish

Potato Latkes

17 Nov

My mom has been making these potato pancakes for as long as I can remember. And before this recipe, she probably made another version of potato pancakes. Eating potato pancakes (aka potato latkes) is part of our eastern european heritage (we’re Lithuanian).

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Most of the time, I am disappointed with potato latkes when I order them out. So I typically don’t eat them anywhere other than my family’s house. They are usually made with too much “filling” so that its consistency is more cake than potato. They are too thick and greasy and sit like a bomb in your stomach. I don’t know what they add to it to weigh them down, but it’s just not cool. I find myself asking “where’s the potato”?

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This recipe is INSANE though – not only insanely simple, but insanely delicious. It was posted in the New York Times EONS ago and it comes from Simon and Garfunkel. Here is a pic of it!

simon and garfunkel

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When you use a food processor to grate your onions and potatoes, it goes SO much easier and quicker! Also, if you find the mixture to be too wet, drain some of the liquid out of the bowl.

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You want to make sure you use a non-stick frying pan as well – something that will encourage the pancakes to lift up easily. I have made the mistake of using a bad pan and it was a disaster!

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Our family serves these with sour cream. Some people like to eat them with applesauce or ketchup. Whatever you prefer, go for it!

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 The next time you have Jewish friends over, make this for them – they will beg you for the recipe!

Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tblsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil

Directions:

Grate potatoes into the milk. Grate the onion into the mixture. Add flour and salt, mix well.

Spoon mixture one tablespoon at a time into hot oil in a frying pan. You can make the pancakes as little or as large as you like. Make sure that the pancake is flat and not too lumpy or thick.

Brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve hot with a side of applesauce or sour cream.

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Moroccan Farro with Kale, Pomegranate, and Almonds

22 Sep

I got the dreaded “you need to bring a side dish” assignment again for our summer Sunday dinner a couple weeks ago. I searched through my files for something that sounded good, knowing I wanted to stay healthy.

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I found this recipe in my email. It was from my co-worker, Brian! It utilizes farro – a grain made up from different wheat species. Oddly enough, the exact definition is not too clear. It is a dried grain that you cook in water until soft, but it still has a crunch!

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This dish is interesting because you cook the farro with allspice added to the water. So it has a semi-sweet taste. And that’s before you add the rest of the ingredients! This dish is also perfect for the fall – the flavors are so exotic.

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The health factor in this salad is amazing – healthy grain, kale, raisins, almonds, and pomegranates! I believe there are some superfoods in there for sure!!

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Pomegranates aren’t in season during the summer unfortunately, so I substituted some craisins. It worked out well!

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It tastes exotic and delicious. There is a satisfying crunch as well. And it is truly an intensely healthy side dish to accompany any meal! We paired ours with salmon/shrimp and grilled romaine.

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Moroccan Farro with Kale, Pomegranate, and Almonds

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C Farro ( or wheat or rye berries)
3 C water
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt

4-5 Cups chopped Lacinato Kale ( one bunch)
6 cloves sliced garlic
1 T fine chopped ginger
1/3 C golden raisins.
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 C fresh pomegranate seeds

Directions:
In a small pot bring farro, water, salt and allspice to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low and simmer for 45 min’s or until farro is tender and water is mostly gone.

In the mean time, saute ginger and garlic on med low heat in 3 T Olive oil. When lightly browned add chopped kale. Cook slowly on low heat, stirring often for about 5 min. Add 1/3 C golden raisins. Let simmer on lowest setting until kale is tender …about 15min.

Seed your pomegranate.

When farro is tender, pour it all into the sauté pan with the kale. Its ok if there is a little water still in the farro. Pour it all in. Add the salt, spices, honey, vinegar and sliced almonds. Let flavors meld for a few minutes on low heat. Just before serving toss in the fresh parsley and pomegranate.

Israeli Couscous Salad

18 Sep

So I’ve been in Maine for the past few days with my mom eating TONS and tons of lobster……..13 to be exact 🙂 More on that later. Here – look at this:

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My mom’s been making this summery side dish for years and years. I have always liked it, but didn’t pay much attention to it until last year.

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And then I started making it myself this year. It is not only a cinch to throw together, but it’s soooooooo delicious. I don’t even know what it’s officially called – we just call it “Israeli Couscous” which is so generic.

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The main ingredient is Israeli couscous. Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta shaped like little balls. It is made from wheat flour and then roasted in the oven. It was meant to be a rice substitute for a select population in Israel back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. It cooks a little longer than couscous, but a little less than pasta.

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When you add everything together, it tastes so fresh and has a bit of a crunch from the pepper. It is addictive.

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Oh, and I always toss in more ingredients than the recipe calls for – I usually put in 3 chopped peppers, double the cilantro and green onion, and definitely add more fruits and almonds! And you cant double the ingredients without increasing the amount of dressing. You get the point….more is better with this recipe.

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This stuff is so darned good. As Robbb says when I make this salad –  “I could eat this everyday”!

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Israeli Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked Israeli couscous
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup snipped dried apricots, craisins, or raisins
  • 2 Tblsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup poppy seed dressing
  • ½ tsp shredded lime peel
  • Dash hot pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the salad.

Then combine the dressing – lime peel, hot pepper, and poppy seed dressing.

Pour dressing mixture on top of salad and mix. Sprinkle almonds on top.

(See how simple that was??)

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Avocado Lime Dressing

4 Sep

I love grilled lettuce. I absolutely love it. It is such a wacky idea, but yet tastes so amazing!

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There isn’t much to it either…..you put a lil olive oil on your lettuce, grill it on low heat, and then fix however you like! It can be casual or very refined, depending on how you dress it up and top it.

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And this dressing is amazing. Like, amazing. It is bright and fresh and enhances the grilled romaine.

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Never mind the shrimp there 🙂 That was for another part of the meal. But thinking it through more, you could easily put grilled shrimp on top of this grilled lettuce with the dressing and it would taste amazing. Hmmmmm, another meal idea!!

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There is the grilled romaine to the right in the pic. I had an accidental drunk-pour of the dressing and put a bit too much on there……ooops! It tasted delicious – and I saved the extra dressing to put on some garden-grown tomatoes later in the week. Yum!

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Avocado Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 romaine hearts, washed, trimmed, and sliced in half
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped up all small
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Avocado Lime Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped all small
  • ½ teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt to taste

Directions:

For the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and combine until creamy. Add the pinch of sea salt and mix it in. If it looks way too thick, add more water until it looks like salad dressing. Pour it all into a small container and refrigerate until the lettuce is ready. Can be made a day ahead.

To grill the romaine hearts, heat the grill to a medium-low heat. As long as the grill isn’t crazy hot, you are good.

While the grill heats up, mix the garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper in a little cup. Brush or spoon the oil mixture to the cut side of the lettuce. This isn’t the real dressing so go easy.

Place the lettuce face down on the grill for 60 seconds or until there are clear grill marks and the leaves are beginning to wilt. Flip the hearts over and grill the other side for another 60 seconds. You want the leaves to look charred but not all limp so pay attention.

When they look good, put them on a plate and put some dressing over the hearts. Top with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and plenty of black pepper.

Makes enough for 4 people with some extra dressing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

4 Aug

In the summer, I am almost always tasked with the dreaded “Can you bring the side dish” question when planning Family Sunday dinners. I tend to spaz out – there are so many options and directions to go. And I want to try new things – but I want to ensure it is fresh and healthy.

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I love quinoa….actually, I love MOST healthy grains – farro, quinoa, barley, wheatberry….That reminds me, I have a great wheatberry recipe to post. Stay tuned on that one.

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What is quinoa? Quinoa is not really a grain – it’s more of a seed. It is also a superfood – it has a crazy amount of protein, fiber, and it is gluten-free. And it’s pretty darn delicious and versatile. I have a favorite quinoa recipe that I posted last year that I love to make for quinoa-newbies.

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This recipe is a bit more refined than my favorite punchy southwestern recipe. And the real stars of this recipe are the squash and the parmesan.IMG_1488

The dressing is so delicate and bright. I love lemon-based dressings and marinades so I gravitated towards it.

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The real recipe says to use fresh, raw summer squash. However, I knew we would be grilling meat and I decided immediately that I would also grill the squash a smidge to get it softened and boost the flavor. I am thrilled that I did that – the taste levels soared!

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Other than grilling the squash, this recipe was a cinch to put together! I grated my own fresh parm and shaved some slices as well to put on top. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. I believe my family adored it – this recipe will be making an appearance again before the end of the summer!

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Now you know what you can bring to a get-together when you get stuck with the dreaded side dish 🙂

Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red (or other) quinoa, rinsed in a sieve and drained
  • 2 tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1-1.5 lb assorted summer squash
  • 4 Tblsp finely grated Parmesan, plus ¼ cup shaved with a peeler
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tblsp Sherry vinegar
  • 8-10 Tblsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

 Directions:

Bring quinoa and 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season with salt, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, but not mushy – 12-15 minutes. Drain. Return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and let cool.

Cut squash into 1/8” thick slices – some lengthwise and some crosswise. Transfer to a large bowl, season with 2 tsp salt, and toss to coat. Let sit until slightly wilted – about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pat dry and set aside. (Here is where I differed – I cut them lengthwise, basted with olive oil/salt/pepper, and grilled them for just a couple minutes).

Whisk grated parmesan, zest, juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Combine squash, quinoa, parsley, walnuts, and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over, toss to coat. Garnish with shaved parmesan.

Herbed Mushrooms in Wine

19 Feb

Robb and I LOVE having mushrooms as a side dish. We sautee them mostly – and sometimes we’ll keep it simple with a regular butter/shallot sautee…and sometimes we use this other mushroom recipe that we love. We like to use a mixture of mushrooms – white, portabella, oyster, maitake, etc….

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But we were looking for something a smidge different that used a bit less butter but offered more taste.

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Robb went onto AllRecipes.com and perused some recipes and found this gem! As soon as I looked at it I knew it would be great.

I didn’t know how great.

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This mushroom side dish is DELICIOUS and so simple. I was able to use fresh herbs from the garden still (thank god they haven’t died yet). The wine tasted great with the shrooms, too! And the salt really pulls the flavor of the wine through.

Herbed Mushrooms in Wine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 tblsp non-salted butter
  • 1.5 pounds fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used oregano and thyme and basil)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tblsp fresh chives or parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place mushrooms in the skillet, season with Italian seasoning, and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Mix the wine and garlic into the skillet, and continue cooking until most of the wine has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with chives. Continue cooking 1 minute.

Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes – Thanksgiving Part Deux

28 Nov

I saw this recipe on one of the blogs I follow (http://www.hardlyhousewives.com) and knew I needed to bookmark it to try.

It was my job to bring the sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving this year, and I had already picked out my official recipe to try, but this NEEDED to be made and brought as well.

This looks amazing. And I knew it would taste so good, too!

I love recipes that have a little spice and kick to it.

And this one is healthy and simple!! No-brainer……look at all the flecks of pepper in there!

Here are some pics of my brothers and my dad from Thanksgiving! None of us could get focused for a pic…..I think we were all moving around too much.

 Fun times! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season!

Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 1-4 Canned Chipotles, chopped
  • 2 Tbs of Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbs of Honey
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • Wash and place potatoes (skin-on) in a large pot full of water that covers them. Boil them until they are fork tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain pot and place potatoes on counter/plate to cool off.
  • When potatoes have cooled off, remove skin and discard.
  • Cut potatoes and place in bowl/pot and gently mash.
  • Put on gloves and chop peppers and place in potatoes. Stir together. Start out with 1-2 peppers and then taste to determine level of hotness. You can always add a little more heat by adding some of the sauce the chipotle peppers are canned in. I think for 5 potatoes, I used about 4-5 peppers…I like it hot!
  • Add your butter and honey and a healthy pinch of salt/pepper. Taste and then adjust.
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