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Baked Beans

15 Dec

Baked beans by Kelly GarbatoYou might think of baked beans as a summer-barbecue type dish. But if you want to make it from scratch, you need to leave it in the oven for many hours, making it a perfect recipe for these cold days of the year.

The recipe comes from Dr. Robert Wright, who oversaw the graduate program  in the Religion Department of Temple University, where I worked as a secretary right after we were married. At the end of the year, Dr. Wright had a barbecue for his students and invited us. He served these delicious baked beans and gave us the recipe.

These are old-style Boston baked beans, flavored with molasses and brown sugar rather than tomato sauce. It’s an inexpensive but hearty and satisfying dish, and the leftovers are good too

You can cook it overnight if you like. You can also make this in a slow cooker (on high) if you don’t want to keep your oven on that long.

Ingredients:

1 lb. white or pinto beans
1 large onion, sliced thin
3 Tbs. molasses
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
Pinch black pepper

Directions:

Soak the beans overnight, and then boil them in the same water for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Drain beans but reserve the water.

In a large, heavy, oven-proof pot, layer the beans and the onions. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the bean water over so that the beans are just covered. Cover the pot tightly and bake for 8 hours.

Serves 8

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Tunisian Couscous Pilaf with Chickpeas, Dates and Almonds

1 Dec

Couscous with Chickpeas. Dates amd AlmondsThis is adapted from a recipe I clipped from the Detroit Free Press. If you have turkey left over from Thanksgiving, consider chopping some into cubes or strips and adding it to this pilaf for a one-dish meal.

This dish has a nice range of flavors, from the sweet dates and almonds to the standard onion and garlic, the exotic combination of cumin, paprika, cinnamon and corinader, and just a hint of heat from the cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups defatted low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
4 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1 box (10 oz.) or 1½ cups couscous
½ tsp. salt or more to taste
¼ cup sliced, unblanched almonds, toasted
Black pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced green onions

Directions:

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the broth, lemon juice, lemon peel, chickpeas and dates. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

Add the couscous and salt, stir, then remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. The couscous should absorb all the liquid.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and add additional salt, if desired, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and the green onions.

Serves 8

Fresh Corn Salsa

8 Sep

Corn salsaWell, you could make this with frozen or canned corn, but it’s SO much better with fresh, and that’s SO easy to get right now that there’s no excuse.

This is a very easy dish to make, especially if you have a “corn zipper” tool to remove the corn from the cob. Leftovers will last about a week in the fridge.

Double the recipe if you’re serving a lot of people or taking this dish to a potluck.

Here’s a trick for cooking the corn easily:

Put it in the microwave, husks, silks and all, and nuke for 4 minutes at high for one ear or 8 minutes for two (don’t cook more than two at a time). When it’s done, cut about an inch off each ear above any stalk on the bottom. Then, starting at the top of the ear, squeeze gently and the corn will slide right out of the husks, without any silk (or very little) attached. You will probably need a potholder to do the squeezing, because the ear will be quite hot.

Ingredients:

Cooked fresh corn from 2 – 3 cobs
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine
1 small onion, preferably red, chopped fine
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. lime juice (or lemon juice if you don’t have lime)
1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Allow flavors to mingle for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Fresh Corn Casserole

18 Aug

Corn pudding

Fresh corn is everywhere these days, from farmers’ markets to your local supermarket. In many states, including Michigan, it’s local produce — fresh and delicious — and a great buy at this time of year.

Here’s a good recipe for fresh corn if you want to do something besides eat it off the cob (which, honestly, I think is the best possible thing you can do with fresh corn).

Save the recipe to use again when corn season is over; it’s also fine with frozen corn.

Serve it as a main dish with a nice salad for a luncheon or light supper, or as a side dish with grilled fish or (if you’re not a kosher-keeper) chicken.

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh corn kernels (4 or 5 ears)
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup cornmeal
1 small can diced green chilies
1½ tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

Puree 1 cup corn with melted butter and eggs in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the pureed mixture and blend well.

Pour into casserole and bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes until puffed and golden.

Cut into squares or wedges to serve.

Serves 8

Four-Grain Pilaf

24 Feb

Four-Grain Pilaf

Here’s a nice, hearty side dish that combines a lot of different grains for great taste, lots of fiber and an interesting texture.

Ingredients:

1½ Tbs. olive oil
1½ Tbs. margarine
¾ cup chopped onions
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
½ cup medium barley
¼ cup wild rice
¼ cup bulgur
¼ cup basmati rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (plus more if needed)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put half the margarine and olive oil in a medium skillet and saute the onions over medium-high heat until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute 5 minutes longer, tossing, until the mushrooms begin to brown. Scrape the mixture into a small casserole with a lid.

Melt the remaining margarine and the oil in the skillet and add the grains. Saute until the grains begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.

Pour the stock and grains into the casserole and mix. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to make sure the mixture is not drying out. If it is, add a little more stock or water.

Let the casserole sit out of the oven, covered, about 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

 

 

Cinnamon-Apple Latkes

16 Dec

Cinnamon-Apple LatkesThis is great recipe for Chanukah and a nice change from potato latkes! You can serve them as a side dish or as a dessert. Whenever I’ve made this dish I’ve gotten rave reviews and requests for the recipe.

This makes quite a large amount, so if you’re serving just a few people you can halve the recipe. Use a food processor, if you have one, to chop the apples.

 Ingredients:

2 eggs
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup water
3 cups chopped, tart apples
¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
Oil for frying
¼ cup sugar

Directions:

Beat eggs until light and foamy.

Mix in 3 Tbs. sugar, salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon and water and blend well. Stir in the chopped apple, four and lemon peel. Mix well.

Cover the bottom of a skillet with ¼-inch of oil and heat. Use about ¼-cup of the batter for each latke. Drop into the hot oil and flatten slightly. Fry until golden brown on both sides, and drain on paper towels or brown paper. Add oil to the skillet as needed.

Combine the ¼ cup sugar and remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle over the hot latkes.

 

Wild Rice with Caramelized Onions and Cranberries

18 Nov

wild rice pilaf with caramelized onionsLast Sunday’s Detroit Free Press had a holiday food section called Feast, consisting of recipes from readers — including yours truly!

The Freep ran a contest of sorts, inviting readers to submit recipes via their Facebook page in various categories. I sent this one, and they printed my recipe in the Side Dishes category.

My prize was an invitation to the Freep’s Taste Fest at the Great Lakes Culinary Center, an interesting spot I’d read much about but never seen.

We enjoyed lots of yummy treats, including a bunch of tasty organic grain- and legume-based salads from a company called Gabby’s Garden. (Locals: they’re carried at Hiller’s, Westborn, Randazzo’s, Market Fresh, Papa Joe’s, Holiday and other local fancy grocery stores.) There was also a nice upgraded green bean casserole, with haricots verts, wild mushroom gravy and crispy shallots.

My winning recipe is one I got from the Ocean Spray Cranberries people, but they note that they got it from Vegetarian Times, November 1998.  I’ve adapted it slightly. It’s excellent as a side-dish for Thanksgiving or any other fall festive occasion.

Except for caramelizing the onions, it’s extremely easy. Caramelizing the onions isn’t difficult, I just find it takes a really long time – sometimes nearly an hour – to do it properly so that the onions are soft and completely golden brown. The recipes that tell you it takes 10 or 15 minutes are lying! It’s worth being patient because you will get soft, super-sweet onions! If you have more than you need you can save the extra to use on salads, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.(you may even want to consider making extra just to have leftovers!)

Before I get to the recipe, I want to let you know that the blog is taking a vacation for a couple of weeks, as I spend some time with my daughter following the birth this week of her daughter!

Ingredients:

2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup brown rice, uncooked
½ cup wild rice, uncooked
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 medium onions, sliced into thin wedges
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
½ tsp. finely grated orange zest

Directions:

Combine broth and brown and wild rice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. (Or cook the rice and broth mixture in the microwave as you would cook brown rice; I do it at high for 6 minutes and then at medium for 40 minutes.)

While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and brown sugar. When the onions start to soften, turn heat to low and cover the pan for about 5 minutes. Then uncover the pan and continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until all the liquid is absorbed and the onions turn a caramel cover; this will take at least 20 minutes, maybe as much as an hour.

Stir in the cranberries. Cover and cook over low heat until the cranberries swell, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the rice to a large serving bowl. Gently fold in the cranberry mixture and the orange zest.

Serves 6