October: Simple Side Veggies

SAUTED SPINACH

The simple things are always the best. I wanted a green to go with salmon one night. So I did the simplest thing possible.

Ingredients:

1 lb spinach
butter
a pinch of nutmeg.

Wash the spinach and wilt it in a frying pan. Swirl in 1 tbsp butter and finish with a pinch of nutmeg. Simple and could not be better.

Serves 1-2. Spinach really cooks down–I remember cooking 6 lbs for 4 of us in Alabama one night.

CELERY

We’re not used to cooked celery, other than braising, but as I had an abundance I tried this.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of celery.  Clean and cut across the stems. Use the leaves as well.
Unsalted Butter, 2-4 tbsp
4 tbsp heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a saute or fry pan, and add the celery.  Cook until semi-soft.

Add the heavy cream, salt and pepper. Cook until the celery is coated.

Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish.

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Polenta With Sauteed Swiss Chard And Raisins

This is my favorite 5 minute recipe for when I’m hungry and need comfort food. I make it a lot in the colder months when I get home late and want something delicious and fast.

Ingredients:

1 cup of 5 minute polenta
4 cups of water
1 Tbs of salt
2 Tbs of butter
1/4 cup light cream
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
1.5 lbs of Swiss chard, stemmed and sliced
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of golden raisins
additional parmesan for garnish

Polenta With ChardBring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. When boiling add the salt. Slowly pour in the polenta and stir. Keep stirring until it has softened and thickened. About 5 minutes. Add the butter, cream and parmesan and stir until blended. Cover and hold.

While the polenta is cooking prepare the greens.

Wash, stem and tear or slice the chard. Slice the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onion until it is soft. Add the chard and garlic and stir to coat with the oil. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes until the greens are tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the golden raisins. Uncover and stir until most of the moisture has evaporated.

Spoon the polenta into 4 serving bowls. Top each with the sautéed greens.

Sprinkle with additional parmesan if desired.

Adapted from “The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook” by Jack Bishop

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Moroccan Cous Cous, With Spiced Honey Citrus Dressing

Moroccan Cous cousHere’s a great side for the warm season with an exotic Moroccan twist. Serve with grilled meat or bring it to your next pot luck for a pasta salad with “wow” factor.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of Israeli Cous Cous
4 tbl butter

.5 tsp ground cumin
.25 tsp ground cardamon
.25 tsp ground cinnamon
2 lemons, or .25 cup of juice
1.5 tsp orange zest
1 tbl fresh ginger minced
1 tbl honey
.25 tsp turmeric
3-4 tbl Lemon infused olive oil or olive oil with 1 Tbl. lemon rind
salt and pepper to taste

1 red pepper, chopped
1 red onion, minced
10 dried figs or dates, sliced
10 dried apricots, sliced
.5 cup raisins
1 orange, chopped
.5 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped

1 cup pistachios, toasted

Cook the cous cous by first sautéing it in a pan with the butter until it starts to have some color, stir often. Then add 2 cups of water. Cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes.

Chop and slice the pepper and fruits. If the figs or apricots seem very dry you can let them rest in some warm water to soften. Drain before you chop.

Mix the dried spices and oil. Combine everything but the pistachios.

Transfer to a serving bowl. When ready to serve top with the pistachios. Can add chopped cilantro as a garnish as well.

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