Tag Archives: Side Dish

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Confession: I lived in New York City (Queens) for almost nine years and visited the major Union Square farmer’s market so few times as to be able to count them on two hands. Please don’t judge too harshly. It’s not that it isn’t a fantastic farmer’s market – it definitely is! – but I lived just far away enough to make getting there a serious pain, and there’s a huge Barnes & Noble a stone’s throw away, so I always got really distracted anyway. (We’re here for sour cherries. We’re here for sour cherr-BOOOOKKKKKSSSSS!!!!)

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Living in Hoboken is different, in that several different small farmer’s markets are readily accessible during summer and early fall months (since the entire city is a tad over 1 square mile), and aside from days I’ve been out of town, I don’t think I’ve missed a day yet. Which brings us to rainbow carrots.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

I keep seeing them, week after week, worming their way into my subconscious like the cleverest of ad campaigns. I caved a few weeks ago, made this superlative side dish with my purchase, and here we are.

Both times I made this, I know I made some kind of protein for the main dish, but I cannot remotely remember, as it was royally upstaged. Lamb chops, maybe? That does sound good…

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Anywho! This is incredible. Sweetness of the carrots, playing off the creamy, spicy aioli, all punctuated by the crunch of the dukkah. Such a beautiful dish. Enjoy!

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

3 tbs whole hazelnuts, skin on
1 tbs sesame seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Kosher salt and black pepper
12 skinny carrots or 6 thin rainbow carrots sliced in half lengthwise, tops trimmed and scrubbed clean
Olive oil
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 tsp harissa

Preheat your oven to 400 F and place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
First make the dukkah: in a small skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until lightly golden and aromatic, shaking the pan often, about 2 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl and set aside. Repeat the process with the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds, toasting each separately, then adding each to the bowl with the hazelnuts. Set aside to cool completely.
In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, pound or process the hazelnut mixture into an unevenly textured mix. You want some little chunks, not a fine powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
On a sheet pan, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the carrots, turning once, about 15-20 minutes, until cooked through but not mushy.
While the carrots are roasting, make the aioli by whisking the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, harissa, plus salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until smooth. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
To serve, arrange the carrots on a serving platter. Sprinkle with as much dukkah as you like (you’ll likely have leftovers), then drizzle with aioli. Pass extra aioli at the table.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

If I were a New-Year’s-Resolutions-making kind of girl, then one of mine for 2016 would be: learn to like cauliflower. Even as my palate has matured over the years, cauliflower and I could never quite be friends. I’ve always found this particular vegetable somewhat off-putting, with both a perceived bland flavor and a weird texture.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

So. What do you do to a food you don’t love? Smother it in cheese. Oh yeah. Then bake it in the oven until that cheese is browned and bubbling, and the cauliflower has turned incredibly soft but not mushy.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

I’m happy to say there’s at least one variation of cauliflower that I very much enjoy now! Actually, spoiler alert – I’ve found two ways in which I love it, but that post will come later. For now, we stick to drenching cauliflower in a three-cheese sauce and topping it with more cheese, and while I wouldn’t necessarily describe this as low-carb mac and cheese, it might be the closest thing. I highly recommend! Enjoy!

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

Source: slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
6 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated
8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled, divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus extra for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets, each floret cut into 2 or 3 pieces
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 10-inch baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium heavy saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Don’t let the mixture brown. Slowly whisk in the milk. Raise the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Monterey jack cheese, half of the goat cheese, and half of the Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl, then pour over the cheese sauce. Stir well to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan or skillet, then sprinkle the remaining goat cheese and Parmesan evenly over the top. You can also top the casserole with a few more grinds of black pepper if you desire.
Place the skillet or baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake until the cauliflower is tender and the top is bubbly and browned, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and extra Parmesan, if desired.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Pecan

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Pecan

With less than two weeks to go until December 25th, I’m guessing that most of us are starting to think about menu planning – I know I definitely am. Here I’m offering up a side dish we should all consider serving for our holiday meal. It’s easy, it’s unexpected, and of course, it’s delicious.

This is one of those side dishes you sit down to eat and don’t think much of, until you realize you have been ignoring those around you and absolutely scarfing it for the past five minutes. And then you wonder how uncouth it would be to take seconds of it even though you’ve touched nothing else on your plate. I really can’t say enough good things about it.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Pecan

I absolutely loved the mixture of the savory, grassy herbs with the sweetness of the potatoes and the maple syrup. The crunch of the pecans lends a needed contrast with the softness of the sweet potatoes, and truth be told, I wasn’t sure how to feel about leaving the skin on the potatoes until I tasted it; rest assured, it’s wonderful. Interesting, unexpected, and balances out the sweet notes with a little bit of “roughness”.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Pecan

Highly, highly recommend this one. Enjoy!

Source: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

2 medium to large sweet potatoes
3 tbs olive oil
4 tbs pecans
4 scallions, thinly sliced
4 tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 tbs dried cranberries
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

4 tbs olive oil
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs orange juice
1 scant tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Do not peel the sweet potatoes! Wash them, dry them, then cut them into ¾-inch cubes. Spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and mix well with your hands. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, shaking the pan well about halfway through.
On a separate baking sheet, toast the pecans for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop coarsely.
Make the DRESSING: whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
When the potatoes are done, transfer them to a large bowl while still hot. Add the scallions, parsley, cilantro, pepper flakes, pecans, and cranberries. Pour the dressing over and toss gently to coat (you may not need all the dressing!). Season to taste, then serve at once or at room temperature. It’s even pretty good leftover and cold.

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans “Barbecue” Butter

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

New Jersey is nicknamed The Garden State, and until moving to the NYC region, I never knew (or cared – gotta be totally frank here) why. You know why? It’s because of all the gorgeous summer produce those farmers spin out every year! I am suddenly feeling rather lucky to live here and have access to all of this – the tomatoes! The peaches! The corn!

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

Once you taste this Jersey sweet corn, you have to take back every single bad thing you’ve ever said about this state. I’m serious. (And if you’re not originally from here and you’ve lived in New York for the past ten years, you *might* (cough, cough) have said something bad about the ol’ NJ).

This corn is so perfect that all it really needs is salt and maybe a pat of butter after grilling it. But that’s a hideously dull “recipe” to blog. And since I try my hardest to keep this space from being the culinary equivalent of watching paint dry, we have to jazz up that corn somehow.

corn on the cob with New Orleans "barbecue" butter

I chose to try out a corn recipe that is reminiscent of New Orleans barbecued shrimp, a classic dish which involves no actual barbecue sauce, but rather spices and an utterly obscene amount of butter. Since corn loves butter, and since the sweetness of corn can take on the very assertive spices of New Orleans quite nicely, this is actually a genius idea. One I didn’t think of myself, I’ll freely admit. Go America’s Test Kitchen!

The cooking method used here is also pretty genius. You’ll need a 9 by 13-inch aluminum roasting pan, and a grill surface large enough to accommodate it. Indoor or outdoor grill, either is perfectly fine as long as it’s big enough. This may be my new favorite corn on the cob recipe. I hope you love it too!

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Special Collector’s Edition: Best Ingredients, Best Recipes

6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp tomato paste
½ tsp minced fresh rosemary
½ tsp minced fresh thyme
½ tsp cayenne pepper
8 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
2 tbs canola or vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, use a fork to thoroughly combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, and cayenne.
In a 9 by 13-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan, place the butter all over the bottom of the pan, in small spoonfuls. Set aside at room temperature.
Brush the corn evenly with the canola oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill the corn over medium-high to high heat (indoor or outdoor grill is fine), until lightly charred on all sides, 5 to 9 minutes. Transfer corn the aluminum roasting pan and cover tightly with foil.
Place the roasting pan on the grill and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until butter is sizzling, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the grill and carefully remove the foil, allowing steam to escape away from your face. Serve the corn immediately, spooning the excess butter in the pan over the individual ears.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

Breaded Tomato Casserole

As y’all know, Matt and I met, over twelve years ago, on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, so every two to three years, we take a little weekend weekend getaway to New Orleans, sometime in February or March, and two weeks ago, that weekend rolled around for us again.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

I have a favorite kitchen supply store that I must frequent every time we’re there, right on Royal Street, and it never fails that I always pick up a cookbook or two when I’m there (despite the fact that I always say I won’t this trip). One of my finds this time around was Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree.

breaded tomato casserole

I’m quite an admirer of Dupree’s, so please know my tail is a bit between my legs when I tell you that I had no idea such a book of hers even existed. But, better late than never, I always say. It excited me to no end to find a book entirely dedicated to biscuits, one of my great loves in life.

breaded tomato casserole

I immediately baked up a batch upon returning home, and of course they were wonderful; but I think the section of the book that might intrigue me most of all is the chapter on using up your leftover, day-old biscuits. I knew I wanted to dive into this chapter most of all, so I made us this odd-sounding yet compelling dish, which really couldn’t be simpler. It’s just stale biscuits crumbled up and mixed with a touch of sugar, canned tomatoes, and I threw in some dried oregano. I added some grated parmesan to the top, for a bit of crust, and I must say that we just loved it.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

Tasting both distinctly Italian and US Southern, it’s reminiscent of bread pudding, but denser, and the tomato flavor is incredibly prominent. And of course, for that reason, make sure you use very high quality canned tomatoes – they’re not hiding behind anything here! While this dish is hearty, Matt and I both firmly agreed it’s a side dish, and would have a little trouble passing off as a main dish – it’s just not quite filling enough.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

As an aside, or a post-script, I used canned tomatoes here because 1) the original recipe is written that way and it sounded good to me, and 2) fresh tomatoes are decidedly not the least bit in season in the northeastern US. But, I’m thinking this could be incredible revisited in the summer using fresh juicy tomatoes in their peak season. Hmm… Enjoy!

Breaded Tomato Casserole

{One Year Ago: White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with NOLA Bourbon Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Red Beans and Rice; Irish Soda Bread}

Source: slightly adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree

3 cups torn or chopped biscuits in ½-inch pieces
1 tsp granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
A generous ½ tsp dried oregano
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
Grated parmesan cheese, for the top of the casserole (a couple generous handfuls)

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 2 ½ quart baking dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together the biscuit pieces, sugar, salt, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine thoroughly and coat all the biscuit pieces with the juices. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and pour the melted butter evenly over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes, then evenly sprinkle the top with parmesan. Put it back in the oven for 5 minutes, then remove and serve warm.

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

I’m dropping in today to share with you a very simple, quick, yet incredibly flavorful side dish you can have on the dinner table in minutes. Still made from scratch, very health-conscious, a touch spicy (the spice level is well within your control though), Matt and I scarfed the entire plate when I made this for dinner!

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

I’ve been cooking seriously for quite a while now, and sometimes I’m still amazed at how much flavor can be coaxed out of not that many ingredients in a very short amount of time. But, this is one of those dishes that proves it can be done! Fortunately for us all.

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

Enjoy this one guys, it’s just soooo easy and delicious!

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

{One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Doughnuts}
{Two Years Ago: Butter Pecan Ice Cream}

Source: slightly adapted from Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp

1 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
2 tsp capers, drained
¼ tsp crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
2 tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 to 1 ½ lbs. broccoli, florets only (save the stems for this delicious dip!)
Kosher salt, to taste

Heat the oil and 1 tbs butter in a large frying pan over high heat. As soon as the butter is melted, add the garlic, capers and crushed red chile flakes and cook for 30 seconds, until just fragrant. Add the broccoli and a pinch of kosher salt and toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is cooked through and starting to char on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add enough water to coat the bottom of the pan. Shake the pan around or stir to coat the broccoli. When the water has mostly evaporated off, and this will take less than 1 minute, shut off the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter and swirl to melt and coat.
Serve immediately.

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

Man. Does anyone else besides me seem to have so much trouble getting back into the swing of things in the New Year? Every year it’s the same. Every year I look forward to the holidays being over so I can resume my normal routine. And then, every year, it’s like my body is not ready for the whole thing! I find myself on January 2nd and days later still going to bed too late, feeling slow in the mornings, my workouts are sluggish…

olive oil and feta mashed turnips

I suppose there’s always next year to plan ahead and correct this, right? In the meantime, let’s keep with the spirit of cleaner and healthier New Year’s eating with a dish that was new to me – mashed turnips, sort of standing in for mashed potatoes, but also completely standing on their own.

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

Instead of the usual suspects of gobs of butter and heavy cream, we’re adding olive oil and feta cheese, both decidedly better for us, to lighten up our creamy mash. And like I mentioned, this little side dish does stand on its own. Its texture will remind you of mashed potatoes more than its taste. Its taste is really all its own, and one I found very pleasing. The feta brings a nice, sharp, flavorful quality, and the olive oil lends a just slightly fruity note that I thought paired very well against the almost-sweet flavor of the turnips.

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

I mashed my turnips with a potato masher, which of course left them a little chunky, but you could easily run them through a potato ricer if you’d prefer them to be smoother. I hope y’all enjoy this one, it’s a wonderful cold-weather comfort food that won’t weigh you down or break any new goals/resolutions!

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

{One Year Ago: Bang Bang Broccoli}
{Two Years Ago: Caramelized Onion Gorgonzola Galette}

Source: slightly adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

3 large turnips, peeled and cubed
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cubed
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs unsalted butter
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Kosher salt and black pepper
Snipped scallions or chives, for garnish

Add the turnips and potato to a medium stockpot. Fill with enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the turnips and potatoes are fork-tender, 7 to 9 minutes.
Drain the vegetables well then add them back to the pot. Let sit for about 1 minute – the residual heat will dry out the last vestiges of water. Add the olive oil, butter, and feta cheese. Use a potato masher to crush the vegetables until they are mostly smooth.
Note: if you want things smoother, place the vegetables through your potato ricer before adding the oil, butter and cheese.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mash into a serving bowl and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Vanilla Pecan Butter

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Vanilla Pecan Butter 6601

‘Tis still the season for Brussels sprouts, at least in my humble opinion, so today I shall share a potential side dish for your big holiday dinner, one that NEEDS to grace your table. If not for your Christmas dinner, then some other dinner, like on Thursday or something. Or tonight! These. Sprouts. Are. So. GOOD!!!

Brussels sprouts and vanilla pecan butter 6561

I was about to write something along the lines of these being the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever tasted, but I hedged a little; not because they aren’t indescribably delicious, but because it’s just SUCH a strong statement to say that any Brussels sprouts could, with any degree of real certainty, outdo sprouts topped with an obscene amount of prosciutto bread crumbs. Or sprouts nestled in with broccoli and scattered with bits of almonds. Or sprouts that have been deep-fried – really, yes, deep-fried!

Vanilla Pecan Butter 6573

So you can see my hesitation to not quite go all the way there. But I can tell you with much certainty that this side dish is completely superlative. Vanilla in a savory dish is tricky, but it totally works here. It doesn’t scream vanilla by any stretch, it’s just an interesting and almost musky background note. The sprouts are perfectly charred, richly buttery, and the crunch of the pecans gives a lovely contrast to the softness of the Brussels.

roasted Brussels sprouts with vanilla pecan butter 6582

You really have to try this one. It’s easy, and so, so delicious.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Vanilla Pecan Butter 6605

Source: Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

{One Year Ago: Greek Yogurt Pancakes}

1 ¼ lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 vanilla bean
6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Put the Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven until light golden brown and a knife inserted into the centers goes in without resistance, about 35-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the butter: split the vanilla bean and use a small paring knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to a small bowl with the softened butter. Add in the pecans, then season lightly to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir until well combined, then place the butter on some plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to shape the butter into a log, then encase it in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bring it out about 5-10 minutes before you need to use it.
When the Brussels sprouts are done, remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a large serving bowl. Slice the butter off in small pats and immediately add them to the sprouts. Toss to melt the butter. Keep tossing until it’s all melted and all the sprouts are coated.
Serve right away.

Brussels Sprouts with Sherry Vinaigrette and Prosciutto Bread Crumbs

Brussels Sprouts with Sherry Vinaigrette and Prosciutto Bread Crumbs 6349

Like most red-blooded American children of the ‘80’s, I hated Brussels sprouts growing up. Fortunately, back then the little cabbages weren’t the least bit trendy, and I probably saw them grace our dinner table less than five times in eighteen years.

Brussels sprouts 6360

Contrast that with today, where Brussels sprouts have enjoyed quite the fifteen minutes of fame in high-end restaurants, best-selling cookbooks, cooking shows, and yes, food blogs. I’m not sure what today’s red-blooded American children are going to do! Parents, please weigh in: do children still hate Brussels sprouts? Or have they too come around to see the merits of these little beauties?

Brussels sprouts with sherry vinaigrette and prosciutto bread crumbs 6341

One sure benefit of the Brussels sprouts craze is that there is much information and instruction on how to cook them properly. Honestly, they are at their best when seared and almost charred. Which is how they are prepared here. And this recipe really impressed me.

I’m sharing it as part of my November-getting-you-ready-for-Thanksgiving thing I’m doing on the blog, and I do think these would be quite at home at any Thanksgiving spread.

Brussels Sprouts with Sherry Vinaigrette and Prosciutto Bread Crumbs 6364

Yes, this recipe requires three separate steps, but, but! All three steps can be done at separate times, and all three steps can be made ahead. The vinaigrette can be made up to three days ahead, the bread crumbs can be made up to two days ahead, and the sprouts themselves can be made several hours in advance. Assembly is a snap, and you can serve this at room temperature, so you can literally throw this together at the *very* last minute with no reheating even remotely necessary.

Brussels Sprouts with Sherry Vinaigrette and prosciutto bread crumbs 6374

And this side dish is so unbelievably delicious, it could easily upstage the turkey (well, okay, maybe not quite this turkey). Think about it: you’ve got perfectly browned and tender Brussels sprouts, doused in a tangy vinaigrette and then coated in this toasty, salty, porky crunch of the bread crumbs. It’s really amazing. Enjoy!

Brussels sprouts with Sherry Vinaigrette and prosciutto bread crumbs 6379

Source: slightly adapted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton

{One Year Ago: Apple Cider Margaritas}


1/8 lb. prosciutto, cut into large pieces
1 tbs olive oil
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup minced fresh chives
3 ½ tbs minced fresh tarragon leaves

¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 tbs finely chopped shallots
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tbs olive oil

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed, outer leaves removed, and sprouts halved
½ cup plus 1 tbs olive oil, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Half of a lemon

First, make the PROSCIUTTO BREAD CRUMBS: adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 F. Line a plate with paper towels.
Place the prosciutto pieces in a mini food processor and pulse until finely ground. Combine the prosciutto and olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the prosciutto is brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the prosciutto with a slotted spoon to the prepared plate. Add the bread crumbs to the pan and stir to let them soak up the oil from cooking the prosciutto.
Scatter the bread crumbs on a baking sheet and place them in the oven to toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice during. Remove the bread crumbs from the oven but leave it on. Add the prosciutto and minced herbs to the baking sheet with the bread crumbs and stir to combine. Return the baking sheet to the oven for about 10 minutes, stirring them once or twice and keeping a careful eye (and nose!) to make sure they don’t burn. They should be golden brown and crisp. Set them aside to cool to room temperature. If not using right away, transfer to an airtight food storage container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
To make the SHERRY VINAIGRETTE, combine the vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper in a small bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to combine. If not using right away, transfer to an airtight food storage container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring back to room temperature before using.
To cook the BRUSSELS SPROUTS, put the halves in a large bowl, drizzle them with ¼ cup olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat evenly.
Heat the ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is almost smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs and working in 2 batches, place the Brussels sprouts cut side down in a single layer in the oil and saute them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown on both sides and tender but not mushy. Remove the sprouts to a bowl or plate as they are done. Repeat, using the last tbs of oil or more as needed, until all the sprouts are cooked. If not using immediately, transfer to an airtight food storage container and keep at room temperature until ready to use.
To assemble and serve the dish: drizzle the sprouts with the vinaigrette, starting with half and seeing if you need the rest. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the sprouts. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a platter and sprinkle them with the bread crumbs. Be very generous with the bread crumbs. Squeeze a few more drops of lemon juice over the bread crumbs and serve.

Pumpkin Polenta with Maple Syrup Black Pepper Pecans

Pumpkin Polenta with Maple Syrup Black Pepper Pecans 6138

Thanksgiving dinner is all about the sides for lots of people, but I’m convinced that pretty much all of those people have two ovens in their kitchens. If you are roasting a turkey or turkey breast and you only have one oven, the sides can become a thorn in your side very quickly. As a member of the Tiny Kitchen with Only One Oven Club, I’m quite partial to side dishes that can either be made ahead, or are entirely stovetop. Oh, and if they’re really, really quick, that’s just a lovely added bonus that makes me love them even more.

pumpkin polenta with maple syrup black pepper pecans 6133

So I’m sharing the perfect Thanksgiving side dish today for those of us not blessed with that second oven. You do need your oven space for the pecans, but they can be made up to two weeks ahead and stored in an airtight food storage container, and don’t even need to be reheated!

And then the polenta? It cooks entirely in one pot on the stovetop, and it’s done in less than 10 minutes. Oh, and it’s creamy, hearty, satisfying and delicious. Seriously, this is probably the simplest Thanksgiving side you could ever make.

Pumpkin Polenta with maple syrup black pepper pecans 6126

The pumpkin flavor was more subtle than I was expecting, but still there, and as Matt said, “pumpkin doesn’t have to beat you over the head every single time.” I was happy with the dish. Hopefully you and yours will be, too. Enjoy!

Pumpkin polenta with maple syrup black pepper pecans 6118

Source: Polenta from 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray and Pecans from Fine Cooking Magazine, Oct/Nov 2012

{One Year Ago: Almond Flax Seed Granola Bars}
{Two Years Ago: Classic Buttermilk Biscuits}


1 tbs egg whites (about ½ the whites from 1 large egg)
Kosher salt
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups (8 oz.) pecan halves

2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
¾ cup quick-cooking or instant polenta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs unsalted butter
Kosher salt and black pepper

First, make the PECANS: preheat your oven to 325 F and place a rack in the center.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white with 1 tsp kosher salt until very frothy, about 1 minute. Whisk in the maple syrup, butter, and 2 tsp black pepper, then stir in the pecans with a large spoon. Make sure they are fully coated.
Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice with a spatula, until they have absorbed all the glaze and are a shade darker, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool for about 5 minutes. Stir with the spatula and continue to cool until crisp, about 5 minutes more. Store in an airtight container if not using immediately.
Right before you plan to serve, make the POLENTA: in a medium saucepot, combine the stock, milk and pumpkin puree. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer. Back off the heat a little, to around medium-to medium-high and slowly whisk in the polenta. Whisk or stir continuously until the polenta begins to mass together and thicken up. This will take about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low, and add the grated cheese and butter and stir to combine and let the butter melt. You will likely need to lower your heat level during the whisking of the polenta, as polenta really gets an attitude and will start to spit at you. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve immediately, sprinkling each serving with a nice handful of pecans.
Note: polenta is very forgiving; if it gets too thick, just thin it with a splash of stock or milk. Also note that you will likely have extra pecans. This is not a bad thing.