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by Caitlin Saniga

Red onion and basil were the stars of this salad, adding so much brightness to the flavor. And whatever you do, be sure to go with fresh corn on this recipe. Fresh corn adds such a nice crunch.

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced finely
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar (I used a peach white balsamic vinegar instead.)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the corn about 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, use a flat-edge knife to cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from: Barefoot Contessa

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by Sarah Steimer

This is one spicy salad – use less chipotle if you want a smaller kick. But try not to be wimpy.

  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups corn
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet before adding the scallions, cooking until softened. Add the chile and cook for about 1 minute.

Add the corn, plus a tablespoon of water. Cover and cook until the corn is warned through. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings, as a side.

Recipe from: Everyday Food

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by Sarah Steimer

This is a smaller version I made just for myself for lunch one day.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus, bottoms trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place the puff pastry on a baking sheet (do not need to grease the sheet).

This is an awesome and pretty easy side dish to go with spring dinners - provided you and your guests like asparagus of course.

With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to make a rectangle. Pierce dough inside the markings with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake at 400 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes.

After removing the pastry from the oven, which should be nicely puffed, sprinkle with Gruyere. Arrange the asparagus crosswise inside the tart shell in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place back in the oven for an addition 15 or 20 minutes, or until the spears are tender when pierced with a fork or knife.

Serves about four.

Recipe from: Martha Stewart (check out the link for a picture of a full tart, as opposed to my mini version)

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by Caitlin Saniga

    As always, fresh dill is best. But if you don't have it, you can sub in 2 teaspoons of dried dill.

As always, fresh dill is best. But if you don't have it, you can sub in 2 teaspoons of dried dill.

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, halved
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes and lemon with the oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Roast, tossing once, until tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Toss with the dill before serving.

Recipe adapted from: Real Simple

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

This was basically a quick way to make cucumbers taste like pickles.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 English cucumbers or 3 garden cucumbers, halved seeded and cut into 2- x 1/2-inch strips (4 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup chives
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it begins to brown.

Toss cucumbers in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter, salt and sugar. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Add chives, tarragon, dill and lemon zest to the cucumbers and toss. Stir together the breadcrumbs, cheese and remaining butter in a bowl, then sprinkle over cucumbers.

Place under the broiler for 2 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden brown.

Serves about six, as a side dish.

Recipe from: Vegetarian Times

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

Maybe not the fanciest salad, but I bought cranberry beans and had to try something.

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    It's sort of a shame you have to cook the cranberry beans, because they lose their very cool red speckles and turn sort of... mauve-y.

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the salad

  •  cups cooked and cooled cranberry beans – either soak them overnight and cook them according to package directions, or cook fresh cranberry beans… of course you could also substitute other beans
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, stemmed
  • 1 quart cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup diced Gouda, or another soft cheese
  • 1 small red onion, diced

Toss the salad ingredients together. Whisk dressing and mix with the salad.

Recipe adapted from: Marcus Samuelsson

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

This was the result of having some fresh veggies and needing a simple dinner idea for my family when they came to visit.

  • 1 green zucchini, small to medium
  • 1 yellow squash, small to medium
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or canned
  • 1/3 red onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (pepper jack is great)
  • 8 soft tortillas

    Using both yellow and green zucchini with the red pepper really pops some color into an otherwise bland-looking quesadilla.

Dice the onions and pepper. Thinly slice the zucchini to about a 1/4-inch thick or less. In a medium saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and add your vegetables. Saute over medium heat, adding salt and pepper, until tender.

Place half the cheese on four of the tortillas, then evenly distribute your vegetables on top. Add cilantro and more cheese – this way the lid will stick. Place another tortilla on top.

Cook the quesadillas in a pan, on a grill OR (I found this to be the easiest) in a sandwich-maker. Cut the quesadillas into quarters before you cook them, so the flipping process isn’t easier and you don’t drive yourself nuts trying to keep all the veggies inside.

Serve with plain, low-fat yogurt (healthier than sour cream!) and salsa.

Makes four quesadillas.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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