Category:Side Dishes’

Quince with Cipollini Onions and Bacon

 - by Elizabeth

quince recipe

Another New York Times recipe, this is also interesting and delicious.  It all started when I had a quince and apple pie at our quilter’s night (thank you, Simone) and then the New York Times did a fabulous feature on all these recipes from all over the United States, where I found this one.  I think it’s a stellar side dish for Thanksgiving.  Because there are two of us, I halved it, so that’s what you see in the photos.

quince quince recipe1 quince recipe2

Ingredients
1 pound cipollini onions
***Note: If you can’t find the cipollini onions, substitute golden pearl onions.***
2 ½ to 3 pounds quinces (about 5), peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
6 tablespoons pure syrup [Grade A, medium amber]
½ pound thick-cut bacon
4 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme

Preparation

cipolini  Bring 2 quarts water to a boil, add the onions, turn off the heat and let sit 5   minutes. Drain and allow to cool.  {NOTE: The packaging from the onions said to cut off one end, and then kind of “squirt” out the inner onion out of its skin.  I did this.}

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss quinces with half the maple syrup and spread in a single layer in a large baking pan. Bake 25 minutes, until tender.

Peel and trim the onions. Quarter large ones; cut small ones in half. Fry bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add onions to the pan and sauté on medium until lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

Cut bacon strips in 3/4-inch pieces. Add to pan with onions. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining maple syrup and the vinegar. Fold in quince. Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Add parsley and thyme. Gently fold ingredients together. Cook a few minutes, then serve warm.

Cranberry Sauce with Grape Juice, Vanilla and Spices

 - by Elizabeth

cranberry sauceI wanted to try a new version of cranberry sauce this year, and found this one on the New York Times website.  Since I don’t drink alcohol, I tried it with grape juice and it was still really delicious.  See Cook’s Notes at end regarding the amount of sweeteners.

Time needed: 20 minutes, plus cooling  Yield: 2 1/2 cups

10 whole allspice berries (I took that to mean “whole allspice”; see note below)
10 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
———-Combine allspice, cloves and peppercorns in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground. Or, just use powdered spices, substituting 1/2 tsp. of each for the whole spices——

3 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 cup Welch’s purple grape juice
3/4 to  1 cup light brown sugar**
3/4 to 1 cup clover or wildflower honey**
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 strips orange zest, about 1 inch by 3 inches, removed with a vegetable peeler
1 (6-inch) sprigs rosemary
1 small cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod

Preparation
In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, grape juice, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, orange zest, rosemary, cinnamon stick and ground spices.  With the tip of a paring knife, split vanilla pod lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to scrape seeds from pod. Add seeds and pod to pot.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring often, until cranberries have burst and liquid thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard zest, rosemary sprig, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool.

**Important: TASTE the sauce.  Start with the lesser amount of sugar and honey and add as needed.  Early in the season my oranges are more tart so I need to use the full complement of sweeteners.  Later, when the oranges are more sweet, I can use the lesser amount of honey and/or brown sugar.  This sauce should be tart, balanced by sweet.

Updated November 2016

Hummus

 - by Elizabeth

HummusI whipped up a batch of hummus a while ago, based on this excellent recipe from the blog Inspired Taste.  While I list the ingredients here, head over there to see their video and their tips.  My sister-in-law Julie tipped me off to this–and they are right.  It is easy to make and really good.

Ingredients
one 15-ounce can (425 grams) chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans
1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini (I use their Homemade Tahini recipe, see below)
half of a large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 to 3 tablespoons water
dash of ground paprika for serving

Directions
In the bowl of a food processor, combine tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then turn on and process for 30 seconds, as it whips up the tahini, making a smooth and creamy hummus possible.

Add olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and the salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice mixture. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process another 30 seconds.

Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid then rinse well with water. Add half of the chickpeas* to the food processor then process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, add remaining chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and quite smooth.

Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until the consistency is perfect. Scrape the hummus into a bowl then drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with paprika.

Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.

*On their website they did a comparison of hummus between slipping off all the chickpea skins, and not slipping them off before processing. After I saw the photos, I decided that I’d leave the skins on as it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference.

Charlie and HummusHere’s our grandson Charlie enjoying a bit of hummus on his pita bread.

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Tahini Paste (from Inspired Taste)

Ingredients
1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) sesame seeds, we prefer hulled
3 to 4 tablespoons neutral flavored oil such as grape seed, canola or a light olive oil
Pinch of salt

Directions
Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly colored (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely. (Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly).
Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times. Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable. You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.
Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.
Store tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month. You may notice it separates over time, like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, give the tahini a good stir before using.

Cranberry Sauce Duo

 - by Elizabeth

We went back and forth this year on whether or not to go out to a restaurant or stay home and cook.  Out?  In?  And since all our children were taken care of and I heard it was going to rain, In was what won in the end.  I went looking for my mother’s most recent cranberry sauce recipe–tore apart all my stashes of clipped, stained, printed-out papers but couldn’t find it.  I went to Epicurious and searched.  Then I realized I probably had it on my computer.  Duh.

So here are two cranberry sauce recipes.  The first is from Epicurious, dated 2000. It’s a bit tart, but with the addition of ginger and the pepper, has a good tang to it. The second came from my mother and I don’t know where she got it from.

Cranberry Relish, from Epicurious

2 oranges
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, cut in fine julienne
1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Preparation
1. Peel 1 orange and cut the zest (orange part only) into a very fine julienne, as thin as possible; set aside. Squeeze both oranges for juice; set aside.

2. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small sauté pan. Heat up slowly and continue cooking until the sugar begins to caramelize. If necessary, wash down the sides of the pan by brushing with a little water to keep the sugar from burning.

3. When the sugar is caramel colored, add the julienned ginger and orange zest. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the cranberries, orange juice and pepper. Continue to cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the cranberries are slightly broken but not mushy (frozen cranberries will take about 7 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool.

Cook’s Notes: I like my berry sauce a little soft, so I cooked it a little longer than they said.  I also tasted it and added about 2 Tablespoons sugar as it was a bit mouth-puckery too tart for me.  I think my oranges were smaller so everything was more intense.  I also grated my fresh ginger, as I keep it in the freezer and there was no way it could have been julienned.

Mom’s Cranberry Sauce, 2006

Cook 12 oz bag fresh cranberries in 1 cup water until skins pop open.  Add 2 cups sugar, scant cup chopped golden raisens, 1 chopped Granny Smith apple, zest and juice of 1 lemon, zest and juice of 1 orange.  Cook 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

(The best yet, she says.)

Korean Tacos

 - by Elizabeth

This post is for Lynne, my fabulous mail lady, who takes a personal and friendly interest in all of us on the mail route.  She and her sister are getting together on Fourth of July with their families and she wanted to grill something, rather than order in a pizza.  Couple that impetus with my visit some time ago to the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) where parked out front along the street, were all kinds of food trucks.

I was delighted because I’d heard about this phenomena, but since I am from a neighboring city we would probably never have such a gourmet delight.  We tried the Korean Tacos–a hybrid of Asian-flavors wrapped up in a tortilla.  Not cheap, so we shared one, and besides we were saving our hunger for Chinese Dumplings.  But I searched for a recipe, finding one that had been printed in the now-defunct Gourmet Magazine.

For meat, I had some really thick boneless pork chops (1″ thick) in the freezer.  I let them partially thaw which allowed me to get a really thin slice on the meat.  I used two pork chops,  which served two amply with leftovers for another meal.  Guessing? They probably weighed together about 3/4 pound.  Place them in a zip-lock bag, then add the marinade:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil (available at grocery stores–get a smaller bottle if you don’t plan to use it a lot, and store it in your fridge)
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes (the kind you get to put on your pizza)

Marinate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.  I did this in the morning, then pulled it out of the refrigerator about an hour before grilling.

On a fairly hot (but not scorching) grill, lay out the slices of pork a few at a time, then go back and flip them over.  They will cook REALLY quickly since they are so thin.

Warm some tortillas, either by wrapping in foil and placing at the back of the grill over indirect heat, or by warming them in a frying pan.  We use the thicker white corn tortillas, which don’t fall apart and are more like the Korean tacos we tried. I think we bought these at Von’s in the plaza, but I’ve seen them other places, too.  Place the pork in the tortilla, layer some slaw on top, and if you like a little more heat, pass some siroche red pepper sauce for the top.

Napa-Romaine Slaw

Makes about 6 cups, enough for many tacos, with leftovers

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar

For the salad:
4 cups (5 ounces) shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups (3 ounces) shredded Napa cabbage
1/2 cup (2 ounces) thinly sliced onion
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Toss the salad in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Add more dressing to taste and garnish generously with sesame seeds.

We served our tacos with some rice, into which I’d added some sliced green onions, about a teaspoon of sesame oil, and a dash of soy sauce.  You could just make extra of the slaw dressing and toss with that.

Quinoa, Corn and Edamame Salad

 - by Elizabeth

I first read this recipe in the New York Times, in a special article on summer salads with recipes by Martha Rose Shulman.  I subjected Dave, my husband, to a series of these, and he declared this one to be a winner.  It’s pretty–green and red–and crunchy, but not a wildly out of control crunch–just pleasant fresh vegetable munching.  While this is a summer salad, I could also see it served as cold side dish at a holiday buffet, as the colors are so beautiful. Regarding the “optional” feta cheese: we tried it both ways–with and without.  Adding the feta cheese brings a creaminess, a certain “mouth” satisfaction to the dish.  I recommend it.

For the salad:
1 cup quinoa, cooked (I made it with chicken broth, but water works as well.  Click **here** for basic quinoa cooking directions.)
1/2  of a 16-ounce bag of WHITE frozen corn
1 small red onion (about 1/3 cup), cut in small dice
1 red bell pepper, cut in small dice
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery, from the tender inner stalks
4 or 5 radishes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen edamame
2 ounces mild feta, cut in small dice (about 1/2 cup), or crumbled.  I buy the bricks, then crumble it.
1/2  jalapeño chile, seeds and membranes removed, minced finely
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 small lime, depending on size)
1 garlic clove, finely minced or pureed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Soak the onion in cold water to cover for five minutes. Drain, rinse and drain on paper towels.  **I have no idea why this step is here, but I did it.  Must be some kitchen chemistry.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad. Serve.

Yield: Serves four main dish, and six side dish servings.

Advance preparation: The quinoa freezes well and the assembled salad will keep for a day in the refrigerator.

Here’s our version. I served it with a delicious foccacia from the local bakery, which was topped with tomatoes, potatoes and dill.  We were full after our meal, and our leftovers the next day were even better.

Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 359 calories; 18 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 43 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 25 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 10 grams protein

Pearl Couscous with Pine Nuts and Sultanas

 - by Elizabeth

Same dish!  Different position!  It’s so you can see the Pearl Couscous up close, and see the pine nuts and sultanas–which are really just golden raisins.  You can buy all three of these items at Trader Joe’s (my apologies if you don’t have one. . . Mom?  Let me know and I’ll send you some).

Look for this box.  It’s called “Israeli Couscous” on the box, but I knew if I put that in a post, I’d be deluged with spam–not the eating kind.  Next to it is a bag of Toasted Pignolias (toasted pinenuts).  Don’t buy the un-toasted kind–this is so much better.

Ingredients:
1 8 oz. box pearl couscous, aka Israeli Couscous
1 shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
handful (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) of pinenuts (can substitute shelled pistachios if you like)
handful of sultanas (golden raisins–I buy those at Trader Joe’s as well–much fresher)
1 can chicken broth (about 1  3/4 cup)

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a medium pan over medium heat.  Add the finely minced shallot and stir until tender, but not brown.  Add the package of couscous, stirring for 1-2 minutes until it is well coated and blended with the shallots.  Pour in a can of chicken broth, cover with a lid, and simmer over low heat for about 10-12 minutes until pearl couscous is tender.  You may need an extra minute or two–taste to see if it’s ready.

When couscous is tender, stir in the sultanas and the pinenuts, and recover for another 2-3 minutes (approx) until the raisins plump up and look integral to the mixture.  Yield: About 4 servings.