Side Dish Recipes

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Pecan Stuffing with Rosemary, Fennel and Fresh Water Chestnuts Recipe

Here's a stuffing recipe that really packs a crunch. Pecans and water chestnuts provide flavor as well as a nice texture contrast. I added a fennel bulb for a mild licorice flavor, mushroom salt and a small amount of jalapeño for a bit of heat.

For a fancier stuffing, you can add some crumbled blue cheese to the croutons. I finished the pecan stuffing with a little parmesan for a salty (but not overpowering) note.

This recipe is far more savory than the cranberry apple stuffing I made last week. The differences between the two versions really demonstrate the versatility of stuffing. Whatever your preference, there's a stuffing that you and your family will love.


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Homemade Biscuits with Sour Cream, Chives and Parmesan Recipe

Sunny and I woke up very early this morning to prepare a festive brunch for the whole family. We made some fresh juices, smoothies, crêpes, hashbrowns and sour cream biscuits. Making biscuits is a little messy but so worth it. Our family is very fond of buttermilk biscuits, but sour cream biscuits are even more decadent and delicious. The sour cream imparts a tangy flavor and richness that is hard to beat. We flavored the biscuits with parmesan cheese and garlic chives from the garden.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but my Aunt Elise is visiting us from Vietnam. She's never had biscuits before, and so she looked at the little rounds of bread with curiosity. After she took her first bite, she was absolutely hooked. Biscuits truly are universal in their appeal.

garlic cheese biscuits


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Candied Yams with Marshmallows Recipe

Candied Yams with Marshmallows

11.13.09 by Jackie

I experienced my first real Thanksgiving after Lulu and I got married. I say real because I had my very first Thanksgiving meal in July 1998. I know it sounds weird... As a child, I used to go to the US for the summer. Every summer, I'd be hosted by an American family through an agency. It was always a very neat experience. It offered me the opportunity to experience the culture and customs of America while sharing my own culture and customs with the host family.

When I met Reneé and Steve in the summer of 1998, they asked me to cook a typical French meal for them. I made a roasted leg of lamb and crunchy oven roasted potatoes. The next day, Reneé surprised me with a full Thanksgiving feast with all the fixings. I have very fond memories of my time at Reneé and Steve's in Williamsburg, Virginia. They even attended our wedding.

One of the dishes that really stood out was the candied yams. I had not eaten yams (or sweet potatoes, to be more accurate) in France, and this was my first experience with them. The yams were sweet and creamy, and the marshmallow topping was a nice touch.

I now make candied yams with my little sisters-in-law each Thanksgiving. It's a fun recipe for them to make because it's easy and also because they love to eat it. I get added pleasure out of passing on traditions that were taught to me in the past by my former host family. Thanks Reneé and Steve!


The marshmallows before melting in the oven.


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Roasted Herb Potatoes Recipe

Roasted Herb Potatoes

11.10.09 by Jackie

My family has been on a bit of a quest for the perfect roast potatoes. After many attempts to cook a potato that is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and perfectly seasoned throughout, I've found a tried and true method for consistently great potatoes.

The first step is to boil the potatoes, followed by a generous smear of flavored butter, and finally a roast in the oven. The trick to proper seasoning is to prepare the butter on the salty side, which compensates for the relative lack of seasoning at the center of each potato.

When the girls have a craving, which is often, they ask for the "crunchy potatoes". No matter how much I make, there are never any leftovers. We love mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, but I think I'll make a batch of these as well!


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Persian Basmati Rice with Raisins and Saffron Recipe

Recently we went to the home of  family friends for dinner. They made us an absolutely amazing home cooked Persian meal.  If I had known about all the incredible dishes that I was going to get to sample, I would have brought my camera to post them here!

One dish in particular that really stood out was the rice. Every culture that eats rice has its own particular method and manner of preparation. In our home, we make both sticky Asian jasmine rice and Indian basmati rice to satisfy the different palates.

What's different about this Persian rice recipe is that it's not just a neutral medium for delivering the flavors of a main course. It is prepared in such a way that it is delicious on its own. Cooked basmati rice forms the base, but to this are added saffron, fried onions, butter, and flavored raisins. The final product is ethereal, yet rich.

I've had it at restaurants many times, but never with the care and quality that was put into this preparation. as if that weren't enough, we also had another Persian rice recipe made with dill, but that's another post...


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