Archive for the ‘Side Dish’ Category

Yam Puree with Chipotle

November 10th, 2015 1 Comment

.   My friend Annette made this up years ago, served it at a potluck, and little did she know that I would promptly take her idea and run with it for the next fifteen years.  It’s simple, delicious, and the perfect combination of sweet-spicy-tangy-creamy and has been successful in converting people and to discard their “I hate yams” stance. It could be an interesting twist on aThanksgiving favorite—still a little sweet from the natural sugars of the sweet potatoes, both creamy and

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Za’atar Carrots

October 6th, 2015 3 Comments

  Za’atar is a delicious and versatile condiment originating in the fertile crescent of the Middle East.  It generally is made from oregano, sesame seeds and salt, and variations may include other herbs like sumac, savory, cumin, coriander, fennel or caraway.  Like so many regional condiments or sauces, families would have their own versions and protect these inherited recipes.   I love the tanginess of sumac so I definitely wanted a version with this dark red ‘berry’. The furry berries on the right are from bushes growing

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Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

September 29th, 2015 No Comments

  Picadillo is a traditional Spanish and Latin American dish that one could call a ‘hash’.  Ground meat, olives, dried fruit, and veggies sautéed together and served with rice or in tacos.  How handy is that?  A way to use your regional ingredients in a delicious one-dish wonder with rice, or as a filling for tacos or savory pastry empanadas.  The word Picadillo comes from the Spanish word ‘picar’ which can mean to grind, chop, sting or peck.   Though the hash is generally made with meat

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Lemongrass Pork Patties

September 22nd, 2015 1 Comment

    How do you learn about a culture?  Travel to the region and wander around indulging in street food. Street-vendor food in Mexico like the carne asada tacos in Hermosillo and churros in Tepic shaped some of my greatest food memories ever and have influenced my food choices my whole life.  Street food is always what people miss about their home countries, and after tasting these lemongrass wonders I would almost make the monumental effort to overcome my fear of flying over an ocean to experience real

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Herbed Fruit

September 15th, 2015 No Comments

  Is ‘herb’ a verb? It is now.     I was recently asked to provide some desserts for a party in late September, a request I usually decline because I’m not baking-inclined, but they wanted the entire event to be gluten free so my empathetic streak took over.  A chocolate chile cake was of course on my menu but then I stumbled upon gluten free angelfood cake recipes online, and on chow.com found the idea of combining strawberries mixed with fresh herbs as a topping.  What

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Black Bean Salad

September 8th, 2015 No Comments

  First a little blast of color from local edible flowers.     These are a pile of late summer flowers grown by my friends at Canoe Creek Produce that I used as garnish on salads and an appetizer for a wedding a couple of weeks ago.  I see runner bean flowers, calendula petals, bachelor buttons, snapdragons, and I’m not sure what else.  They were so stunning I had to share them with you.       And even more stunning color brought to

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Tomato Dill Salad

August 18th, 2015 2 Comments

    Purple lisianthus from the Canoe Creek Produce at the Farmer’s Market.  I hear they’re difficult to grow because they are slow to germinate, but it is so worth the wait.  I’ve found myself sitting and just staring at them over the last week and a half that they’ve lived on the table.           In these August days we’re so free with how we use fresh produce here in the midwest, vegetables are mounded into salads because they

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Summer Relish

July 28th, 2015 2 Comments

  It’s amazing to eat produce when it is still warm from the sun.   These ingredients of summer that I’m finding in my garden or the Farmer’s Market—cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, onion—there is just nothing like fresh and connected to the vine or the soil sometime in the last 24 hours.   photo by David Cavagnaro   It’s been a busy summer of catering with back-to-back and mid-week events crammed into the first two months of summer, but this is the flip-side payback

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Yellow Pepper Pesto

July 14th, 2015 No Comments

  Colorful tasty vegetables or herbs ground into a paste…’pesto’ is a loosely used term.  The word pesto comes from the Italian word ‘pestare’ meaning to pound or crush.  Texture has such an impact on the way we perceive and taste a dish, and crushing or pureeing helps create a silky coating that adheres well to sauce-vehicles like pastas and vegetables.     This is a light and lovely spread that could be served over fish, noodles, vegetables, or chicken and has the extra bonus of being

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Avocado Strawberry Salad

June 4th, 2015 No Comments

    NOLA a.k.a. the Rebirth City. I’m traveling with friends this week to New Orleans and Bay St. Louis, visiting friends and eating delectable dinners everywhere we go.  Not much time for words so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.         A sweet morning on the porch while we visited my friend Beatriz who owns the Fairchild House B&B on Prytania in the Lower Garden District.     It was recommended we take the ferry across to Algiers and

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Asparagus Kale Salad

May 26th, 2015 3 Comments

  It’s Spring and there is no getting away from recipes about spinach, kale, eggs, nettles, peas and asparagus…so just get used to it.  Embrace the green.  Green is good.  There’s a lot of green activity going on right now by that greenifying chlorophyll, absorbing the blue and red then reflecting the green to our eyes.  But its most amazing superpower—maybe the most amazing superpower ever—-it converts sunlight into food, trapping the solar energy which excites an electron in the chlorophyll that transforms carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen.

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Western Indian Spinach

May 19th, 2015 No Comments

  Tis the month of spinach and greenery and our livers are thanking us for being drawn to these deep rich colors then serving them up for dinner.  Right now the local spinach is delicate and young, you barely need to add anything.   A side of black tea with a splash of milk looks on the menu as well.  We grew up drinking black tea with a bit of milk and sugar—our father bicycled across the British Isles in the 1940’s and brought back with

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Cabbage Parsnip Slaw

April 8th, 2015 2 Comments

  Many gardeners in these cold climates overwinter their parsnips in the ground, letting the back-and-forth thawing-and-cooling spring weather sweeten their starches into sugars.  So when little else is local in early April of the upper Midwest…parsnips can be found.   Related and similar to carrots (they look like an albino carrot), they’re often cooked into soups, boiled and mashed with potatoes, or roasted in the oven with other vegetables.  They do well in kimchi and can be added to your favorite juicing mix—especially with ginger, spinach and fruits.  Nutrition-wise

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Colcannon

March 17th, 2015 No Comments

  Though it’s likely I have at least a little Irish blood in me since my ancestors were reportedly evicted from Scotland (due to alleged horse-rustling) and transferred themselves over to Ireland, I was not introduced to colcannon until I worked at the Seward Cafe with historian and cook Frank Siegel. Frank would work tirelessly to create Irish feasts on All Hallow’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, researching and cooking traditional dishes and writing an elaborate menu with the Gaelic terms and history of the dish.

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Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

February 3rd, 2015 Comments Off on Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

  A few more shots of ABR in Ironwood, Michigan.  Datsa lotta wood.     I forgot to bring my coffee cup out to the ski-in cabin the first night so I made it in a jar in the morning.  The heavy cream went in first and the coffee on top—a beautiful little melding point.  Note the wood stove in the background.   While we’re at the remote cabins at ABR we use a small insulated bag for the ‘refrigerated’ items like cream, cheese,

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Turnip Chevre Gratin with Peas

January 20th, 2015 2 Comments

.   Once again it’s the time of year when we pack up the trusty (and a little rusty) 4Runner with food and gear and turn her nose northward.  For months we’ve been reading the tales of snow in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have tried to let go of the jealousy.  Last Wednesday was the first time this season that we’ve strapped on skis so this week has been a bit rough. Fortunately we’re tucked away in a cozy rustic cabin at ABR for a few days

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Kale Sausage Soup

January 6th, 2015 No Comments

  This may be a good meal for the post-holiday recovery.  Brothy with good protein and the vitamin punch of kale, your liver will thank you.  This is also a favorite of my friend Mary Kay and one that we’ve eaten as she’s been on this stem cell transplant journey.     This is frozen kale from my garden— no special technique, I just picked the leaves, put them on a plastic bag and wedged the bag in the freezer.  They then shatter into

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Sweet Soup (Søtsuppe)

December 16th, 2014 No Comments

    “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson. . This week’s quote can be taken different ways, but it seemed good for the long nights of the solstice season.  Our weather pattern has been stuck in a dreary, foggy, drabness for the last week and I’ve kept my colored holiday lights on all day just to have some hue in my life other than gray.  November and December have reversed themselves and we have no bright snow

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Crawfish Étouffée

December 9th, 2014 3 Comments

    I have been spending quite a bit of time lately with my dear friend Mary Kay from south Mississippi while she is in the upper midwest.  Recently she wanted to give back to her friends here in the northland the experience of Mississippi/Louisiana hospitality, so over two days we prepped together and created a dinner of Crawfish Étouffée and Jambalaya.  It was a delectable meal of good nature, feasting, and good friends on a cold November night. I didn’t take many photos

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Burned Leeks with Dill Cream Cheese

December 2nd, 2014 No Comments

  Another Faroe Island dinner delight. All I had was a blog photo from a dinner at the Faroe Islands restaurant KOKS and the deducing began.  Regardless of what their version actually was, these niblets may have been my favorite part of the dinner—this and the celeriac purée.  Fortunately there were extra burned leeks for snacking as we cleaned up the feast and sipped our sherry and aquavit.       It takes a zen approach in separating these leek layers intact…ease…don’t rush….    

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