Category Archives: Side Dishes

Columbian Arepas with Chives

I love arepas, but the only ones i’ve encountered are the ones you find at the fair or rock festival with a slice of swiss in the middle. Large and filling, the arepas found at such places are more fluff than substance.  These are more of a cheesey corn cake, the added chives gives it a subtle savory note that is divine.  We served this with pernil, a Puerto Rican pulled pork to round out a brunch we put on with friends. The guests had an alternative option to cornmeal waffles and served the meal topped with guava infused syrup.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup arepa flour (precooked cornmeal)
  • 1 cup  grated mozzarella (1/4 pound)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

PREPARATION

  1. Toss together arepa flour, cheese, chives and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then stir in water until incorporated. Let stand until enough water is absorbed for a soft dough to form, 1 to 2 minutes (dough will continue to stiffen).
  2. Form 3 level tablespoons dough into 1 ball and flatten between IMG_9732your palms, gently pressing to form a 1/4-inch-thick patty (2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches wide), then gently press around side to eliminate cracks. Transfer to a wax-paper-lined surface. Form more disks with remaining dough in same manner, transferring to wax-paper-lined surface.
  3. IMG_3345Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then fry arepas in 2 batches, turning over once, until deep golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes total per batch. Drain on paper towels.

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Wild Rice Salad with Pear and Edamame

July 4th parties generally involves grilled meats, watermelons, alcohol and pool parties. We were asked to bring a side to this year’s party and I thought I would bring something that was light and somewhat on the healthier side, however, I have to confess: I really wanted to make this so that our vegetarian friend could eat something other than salad and watermelon! To make this a vegetarian main course, add 2 medium carrots that have been peeled and small diced; for those that want some protein, add 2 cups shredded cooked chicken in addition to the carrots.

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 Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2- 6 oz packages of wild rice (such as Gourmet House)
  • 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 cups shelled cooked edamame, thawed if frozen
  • 1 medium to large Bartlett pear, peeled, cored and small diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Juice from 1/2 a medium lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
    Toast the slivered almonds, spread the almonds in a single layer on a dry, shallow baking dish or cookie sheet. Place in a preheated 350° oven. After five minutes, remove the pan, shake to rearrange the almonds, and return to the oven. After another five minutes, check the almonds again. If they are dark enough, remove them from the oven. If they need a little more browning, shake again and return to the oven. Check every couple of minutes to avoid overcooking/burning. Overall, the almonds should roast for 10-15 minutes. The almonds will be just barely darker than they were raw; they should not be too dark. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
  2. Place the sesame seeds in a medium frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until golden brown (do not let the seeds burn), about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the almonds.
  3. Add the rice, scallions, edamame, and cranberries to the bowl with the almonds and sesame seeds and toss to combine.
  4. Whisk the olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rice vinegar, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Drizzle over the rice mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed with more salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or honey if needed. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving

Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Garlic

This recipe was made as a side for the 2014 annual family Christmas dinner with a bit of deception: we didn’t tell people that there was goat cheese in dish.  We didn’t want people to dismiss the dish before giving it a chance…and it went over really well!  The addition of goat cheese and nutmeg gives this dish a great nuance that I have not experienced  before in a potato gratin.
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This dish also gave Kevin and I an excuse to use our mandolin slicer which made prepping this dish so much quicker! We took the extra step of rinsing the slices to wash off the extra starch and then blotting the slices dry between two towels to avoid having a watery gratin.  Most food processors have slicer attachments that could work or you could slice the potatoes by hand.
Nod to Cooking Light for this truly delicious and simple dish!
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Ingredients

IMG_5660_21 cup half-and-haf, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups thinly sliced peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 2 tablespoons half-and-half with flour in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the remaining half-and-half, cheese, and next 5 ingredients (cheese through garlic), stirring with a whisk. Arrange half of the potato slices in a single layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

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Pour half of the milk mixture over potato slices, stirring the milk mixture immediately before adding. Repeat procedure with remaining potato slices and milk mixture. Bake at 400° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

Note:  We ended up cooking this dish about 15 minutes longer to get that gorgeous golden brown color.