All posts filed under: Sides

Honey Chèvre Sweet Potatoes

Thanksgiving is this week! It is down to the wire and time to have your thanksgiving checklist in order. Being one of the younger adults in the family I am not required to contribute more than a side dish or two. This year I volunteered to bring the cranberry chutney and one other side dish. I decided to dream up my ideal sweet potato dish. After growing all those sweet potatoes this year I couldn’t pass Thanksgiving without at least a nod to the infamous sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. This is a side dish loved by some and loathed by others. It however, often makes an appearance on many Thanksgiving tables around America. I wanted something a little bit lighter and more interesting in flavor and texture. Insert honey, pecans and goat cheese. I did have brief dreams of making chèvre marshmallows to top my honey glazed sweet potatoes, but alas I decided to keep it a little more simple in hopes that someone might actually feature this dish on their thanksgiving menu. …

Apple Butter

This, like my last post, is another holiday recipe from an aunt. My mom’s sister cans a big batch of apple butter each fall. I look forward to having it on my moms homemade rolls on Thanksgiving and Christmas. My aunt, knowing how much I love it, also always gives me a jar or two for Christmas. My aunt’s recipe is in ratios. Two parts applesauce to one part sugar to one-third part apple cider vinegar and cinnamon to taste. She puts a big batch in a crockpot overnight or for at least 10 hours. It cooks down into a thick, dark sauce with a concentrated flavor and acidic bite from the vinegar. It is equally sweet and tangy. I loosely used my aunts recipe here, but chose to make an accelerated stove-top version rather than cooking it down overnight. I also tried using a bit less sugar. I have noticed several recipes of the generation before using a lot of sugar and I am always trying to cut it down. Apple Butter 5 1/2 …

Auntie’s Cranberry Chutney

Holiday season is officially here. It’s only three weeks until Thanksgiving! Holiday and family recipes are fair game at this point! Today I wanted to share a cranberry chutney recipe handed down from my great aunt. This is what my family always had in place of cranberry sauce. The truth is it was always my mom and I who really enjoyed it. She would make a batch of it and we would snack on it through out the week. The original recipe has twice the amount of sugar than this recipe calls for. Trust me it is just as good with only half the sugar. It is a great accompaniment to chicken as well as turkey. It is pictured here on top of pan seared chicken thighs and sautéed kale. Auntie’s Cranberry Chutney 1  16 ounce package fresh cranberries 1 cup sugar 1 cup orange juice 1 cup raisins 1 cup chopped walnuts 1 cup chopped celery 1 medium apple, chopped 1 tablespoon orange zest 1 teaspoon ground ginger Mix cranberries, sugar, and one cup …

Wild Mushroom Ragout

Cooking with mushrooms has been on my mind a lot lately. (See last post.) Finding the perfect complimentary flavors and cooking techniques has been a lot of fun. I am a nerd when it comes to that. Stacks of cookbooks, my trusty flavor thesaurus, culinary reference guides, and several open tabs on my computer clutter my kitchen work space as I dream up the perfect recipe. I am particularly proud of this recipe, but the true star is the wonderful variety of wild mushrooms I obtained at my local farmers market. Shiitakes, lobster, oyster, and chanterelles are featured here, but another combination would work well in this recipe. Wild Mushroom Ragout 1 1/2 pounds wild mushrooms 2 tablespoons butter 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 small shallots, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 star anise 3/4 cup red wine 3 tablespoons sour cream 1/2 tablespoon fresh tarragon, slightly chopped. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add shallots and garlic. Sauté until butter begins to brown. About two to three minutes. …

Root Veggie & Hazelnut Hash with Goat Cheese

Some time ago somebody imposed some beets on me.* It is a good thing they keep for a long time because it took me forever to get around to doing something with them. I pressured my boyfriend to make his “famous” borsch. I had in mind that I would pickle them. A few times I thought that I would just roast them to have them ready for a dinner side. It’s not that I don’t like beets. They just seemed like a daunting task to me. Finally I got hungry and decided to make a lovely hash out of some of my favorite ingredients on hand, including the beets! I like using beets in this application because you don’t have to roast them before moving on to the next step. This dish comes together quickly. It feels like comfort food while also being healthy. Lots of warm and savory vegetables and no heavy sauces. *I really am grateful for gifts from the garden, even beets. Root Veggie & Hazelnut Hash with Goat Cheese 1 medium …

Stinging Nettles Sautéed in Brown Butter with Crispy Shallots & Farro

Fall Farmers Market pickings tend to be abundant and diverse. Among the gourds, squash (both summer and winter), mushrooms, juicy tomatoes, colorful peppers, onions, berries, stone fruit, and crisp apples there is also a selection of fragrant herbs and salad greens. A carefully wrapped bag of stinging nettled jumped out at me as I walked by. I have been hearing about its health benefits for quite sometime. A slightly anemic friend of mine had once drank stinging nettle tea to get her iron up. I had heard tales of touching the plant to help arthritis pain. While the gentleman helping me said they don’t make any claims of that, he explained that stinging nettle is full of vitamins and minerals. It is known for its blood-purifying and immune-boosting properties. Perhaps it’s a rival for other favorite leafy greens, spinach and kale. Stinging Nettle has a flavor similar to other greens. Think spinach with a little more zest. I found it slightly peppery and thought it would pair well with the zing of dijon mustard. I …

Roasted Strawberry Preserves

There is a berry farm not too far from where I live and one my favorite summer activities is picking berries. They have pick your own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. In the fall you can pick pumpkins. I love the experience of harvesting the berries as well as knowing they are pesticide free and very local. This last weekend I went with some friends to pick berries, but we ended up having to buy already picked berries because the strawberry season went by so quickly. Their pick your own season was over within one week, but when they are ripe they are ripe. These berries were picked at their peak and so yummy. I suppose we lucked out in the end because it was a hot day and we had plenty of time to make stuff with our berries. I chose to make roasted strawberries preserves with the berries I didn’t just gobble up. Roasted Strawberry Preserves 6 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced in half 3 cups sugar 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract Preheat oven to …

Lavender Fruit Salad for Easter

Easter is full of memories. Dyed eggs, egg hunts, frilly dresses, family brunch after church, and of course loads of candy!  I’ve always loved Easter candy the best. Cadbury eggs and Peeps are my two favorites. I don’t care how tooth-achingly sweet they are. As I was reflecting on Easter memories I realized they are mostly sugar-coated. Baskets and eggs full of candy, fruity jello salads, and various desserts. Just thinking about all the sugar motivated me to want something simple and fresh. This light fruit salad is a nice alternative to one covered in cool whip or studded with marshmallows.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a lover of tacky jello salad concoctions or fruit cocktails saturated in heavy cream-like substances. I will have those on my plate this Easter.  However, this lightly sweetened fruit medley has its own merits… When coming up with this recipe I decided to feature just a few fruits to give it a composed look.  The light syrup is infused with lavender and lime, adding layers to the flavor.  …