Side Dishes Recipes

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Salsify Potato Cheese Gratin Recipe

Salsify Potato Cheese Gratin

02.04.10 by Jackie

Gratin of salsify is a very common French winter dish. For my version, I added steamed fingerling potatoes and diced Granny Smith apples to make the flavors more interesting. The acidity of the apples and the starchiness of the potatoes give the salsify a great balance both in texture and taste. As you would any other gratin, the dish is covered them with béchamel sauce made with cheddar for a rich color. The crust is topped with Dubliner cheese.

If you've never tried Dubliner cheese, you should. We've all become addicted to it. Its flavor is very similar to an aged gruyère, but with fruitier notes and a sharper bite. It's become one of my "go-to" cheeses for cooking. It takes this classic French version of comfort food to another level.


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Carrot Puree (Mashed Carrots) Recipe

Carrot Puree (Mashed Carrots)

02.03.10 by Jackie

As promised, here is the recipe for carrot purée that I served with my tapenade chicken the other day. I flavored the dish with rosemary, mustard, cumin and almond butter. The almond butter both thickens the purée and provides a nutty flavor.

It's a lighter, healthier version of the creamy mashed potatoes we served for Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes and carrots are a great source of vitamin A and potassium. But don't get me wrong, healthier doesn't mean less flavorful. If you've read my many of my past recipes, you know that I'm not shy about using full fat ingredients. In this particular dish, I just don't think it's necessary to get that unctuous, creamy mouth-feel. Using the cooking techniques in the recipe, you'll be able to convince even the most anti-health food person in your life that the dish is loaded with heavy cream and butter.


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Ratatouille Recipe

Ratatouille

01.21.10 by Jackie

For most, the name of this dish evokes dreams of animated rodents scurrying around a Parisian restaurant kitchen. In reality though, ratatouille is a French stewed vegetable dish from the seaside city of Nice. I make my version with zucchini (courgette in French), eggplant (aubergine), olives, capers, bell peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes.  With the exception of the tomatoes, everything is fresh. I prefer canned tomatoes in this dish because they tend to be sweeter (especially during the winter season).

Given the abundance of fresh vegetables, this dish would be perfect for the summer. In fact, I make it often when the vegetables in my garden ripen. I also like it in the winter though, because it's excellent comfort food. The flavor of the veggies marries wonderfully with the herbs and spices. My family always ends up fighting over the "broth" at the bottom of the bowl.

Ratatouille can be eaten with just about anything. Crusty bread and rice are common options, but my personal favorite delivery device is a savory crêpe. However it makes it to your mouth though, you'll be happy it did!


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Caramelized Fuyu Persimmons Recipe

Caramelized Fuyu Persimmons

12.13.09 by Jackie

Fuyu persimmons are a nice substitute for Granny Smith apples in side dishes. I love caramelizing persimmons and pairing them with roasted duck breast. I don't think a holiday dinner menu can get much more fancy or decadent. We've just had our first crop of Fuyu persimmons this season in our garden, and I decided to take full advantage.

In case you were wondering, there are 2 main varieties of persimmons, Fuyu and Hachiya. The difference is the texture. For this recipe make sure you use Fuyu persimmons, which have are hard, almost carrot-like texture.


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Saffron Cauliflower Gratin (Gratin de Chou Fleur au Safran) Recipe

Saffron is not a standard addition to cauliflower gratin, but I've seen it used at several upscale restaurants in Paris. Gratin de chou-fleur is a very common French dish, so the addition of saffron creates a new dimension of color and aroma.

As a child, I remember being served this side dish quite frequently during the winter. Cauliflower may not be considered by some as a comfort food, but when it's cooked in a béchamel sauce and smothered in mozzarella cheese, it will make even the most die-hard cauliflower haters reconsider their position.


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