Category Archives: Side Dish

Creamy Carrot Rice

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A recipe borrowed from Martha Stewart is bound to turn out right. Right?

I chose carrots for May and wanted to steer clear of the basic cook-them-in-a-pot method, to try something different. This might have been cheating a little bit because I didn’t make this carrot juice. I purchased it and I doubt there was any other way, so I’m alright with that decision.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but this very simple to make! Just my speed. I did not have parsley, hence the bland looking (though still orange) rice. All in all, I’d say this was tasty, but could use a bit more.. something. Flavor? Maybe the carrot juice I got wasn’t concentrated enough? Maybe I didn’t put in enough cheese (doubtful)? Needs some tweaking.

Creamy Carrot Rice

Ingredients:
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth, 14 1/2 ounces
1 cup carrot juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup long-grain rice
1/4 cup dry white wine, optional
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Combine brothcarrot juice, and 2 cups water in a 2-quart saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Raise heat to medium; add rice and cook, stirring until grains are translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine, if using; cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until most liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is incorporated and rice is tender but still a little firm to the bite, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among dishes, and sprinkle with parsley and more Parmesan.

The original recipe is from Martha Stewart.

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Beets with Sour Cream and Chives

Beets are baaaaack. When trying to find some recipes and suggestions for them, I found this nice little interactive graphic. Perfect, because I absolutely feared beets!

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I can’t lie, this recipe was very much because I had leftover beets from the previous recipe, and happened to have (and love) sour cream and chives. I also wanted to know what cooking beets on a stove rather than roasting them would do. Turns out it does this:

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A very easy side dish, and I preferred it warm. The recipe suggests serving over egg noodles (which I didn’t have on hand), and I suspect it would be even better in that case.

Beets with Sour Cream and Chives

Ingredients:

2 pounds beets, chopped into 1-inch chunks, with the greens
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup stock
1/4 cup sour cream
chopped chives

Directions:

Peel beets, chop into 1-inch chunks. Roughly chop greens. Put both in a saucepan with butter and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover, and cook until the beets are tender and the greens wilted, 20 to 25 minutes. Boil off any excess liquid. Stir in sour cream and toss with chives.

Recipe found here.

Beet and Beet Green Gratin

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My March vegetable is beets! I don’t love them. They’re purple and sweet, and yeah. Sweet. Too much for me. But this is the beauty of this project – challenging myself to try some things. So I did!

Having been pretty unfamiliar with beets, I hadn’t even considered using the greens attached to them. But look how PRETTY. They weren’t bad.

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They also look quite different once you scrub ’em clean:

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I’m a bit behind on these posts, so I’m just going to cut to the chase. Overall, this was good. I had high expectations that weren’t quite met (because look at the photo from the original recipe), but my suggestions would be to add more cheese. Always. Add more cheese. I may have had a too-much-beet situation, but it seemed like there wasn’t enough of everything else. …Which means I had to much beet. Problem solved!

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Beet and Beet Green Gratin

Ingredients:
2 bunches (6-8) beets, with the greens (about 2 pounds beets and 3/4 pound greens)
Salt to taste
3 eggs
3/4 low-fat milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped chives (1 bunch)
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Roast the beets. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then cut the ends off, slip off the skins and slice across the equator.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the greens in two changes of water. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the pot of water comes to a boil, salt generously and blanch the greens for about one minute. (You can also steam the greens until they wilt, one to two minutes). Transfer the greens to the ice water, then drain and squeeze out the water. Chop coarsely.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet, and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in the greens. Stir together for a minute, season the greens with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish with olive oil. Beat together eggs, salt (about 1/2 teaspoon), pepper, milk, chives and the Gruyère. Gently stir in the greens and beets. Scrape into the gratin dish. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until set and lightly browned on the top. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Original recipe found here.

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

I tried this, and it was worth it. Considering actual alfredo sauce contains around a jillion more calories, I think this definitely worth trying, especially for the cauliflower-averse. It’s not super cauliflower-y, but also not quite alfredo sauce. I think mine turned out a bit bland, but I didn’t stick to the recipe strictly, so maybe that’s why. Give it a shot. Let me know what you think. Oh, I added sausage, so that’s what that is.

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I should also point out that it’s easy to make. Bonus points. You basically just put a bunch of things in a pot.

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And then put those same things in a blender. Easy.

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Your cat will also be confused about the fact that there is no cheese involved at all. Somehow she will have smelled cheese.

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Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

Ingredients:
8 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5-6 cups cauliflower florets
6-7 cups vegetable broth or water
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
½ teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
½ cup milk (more to taste)

Directions:  
Saute the minced garlic with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook for several minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned (browned or burnt garlic will taste bitter). Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender. Add 1 cup vegetable broth or cooking liquid, sauteed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Blend or puree for several minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.
Serve hot! If the sauce starts to look dry, add a few drops of water, milk, or olive oil.
Recipe from Pinch of Yum, who suggests adding Parmesan cheese. I wholeheartedly agree.

Cauliflower Soup

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Let it be known, I’m enjoying cauliflower. More than I expected, actually. Since the fritters went well, I figured I could venture into uncharted territory – SOUP. I’ve never made soup, never had a huge desire to try to make soup, and actually didn’t like it for a good stretch of my life, but I’ve come around. And it’s freezing around here, so the idea of soup (and a yummy smelling apartment) won me over.

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My only instinct with cauliflower is to roast it, so I avoided a roasted cauliflower soup in search of something a bit different. Pioneer Woman to the rescue! Cauliflower soup it is.

Get that cauliflower out, chop off the green and that inner core. Then coarsely chop the rest, unless you’re a perfectionist. I am not.

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Cut up a stalk of celery, a carrot, and some onions. Melt some butter, toss the onions in, adding celery and carrots a few minutes later.

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After that sits for a few minutes, add the cauliflower and some chopped fresh parsley.

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Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring here and there. Then add 2 quarts of chicken broth, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer.

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In the meantime, whisk together flour and milk, then slowly add the mixture to melted butter in a saucepan, whisking the entire time. I didn’t take photos of this part because it looks unappetizing. So you’ll just have to make it and taste it yourself. Add the milk/flour/butter combo to the veggie/broth combo, throw in a bay leaf or two and some salt, and let it simmer for 15 minutes more.

And this part is the best part. Pioneer Woman’s secret is to put a hearty cup of sour cream at the bottom of the serving bowl, add a little soup to warm and mix it up a little, and then pour in the rest of the soup.

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The soup is pretty damn tasty. It’s not too creamy, not too brothy, and I much prefer having big pieces of cauliflower in a thinner soup instead of a pureed thick cauliflower soup. Success!

Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, divided
1/2 an onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1-2 whole cauliflower heads, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons Fresh or dried parsley, chopped
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or stock
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup Half-and-half
salt to taste
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

Directions:

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley, stirring to combine.

Cover and cook over very low heat, and after 15 minutes pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add the flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.

Stir immediately. Eat even more immediately.

Here’s Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

Cauliflower, Cheddar, and Mustard Fritters

The veggie of the month is…. [drumroll please, and pretend you didn’t already see the post title]..

…Cauliflower!

Giving it a shot. First thing I found that looked good was this recipe for cauliflower/aged cheddar/mustard fritters. Now, I did forget the mustard, which I only realized post-frying. Too bad (though it would have been extra delicious). These were good anyway.

Just chop up some cauliflower, put some oil, salt, and pepper on it and roast at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or so. Once it cools, you blend it into a puree.

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Next step: boil milk and butter, whisk in flour until thick, add eggs one at a time. Fold together this mixture, the cauliflower puree, grated cheddar, and dijon mustard.

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Form about 1″ balls of this mixture, roll it in flour and fry in hot vegetable oil.

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If you aren’t using a deep fryer (I didn’t), make sure to turn them so all sides are browned.

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This recipe made more than 6 fritters.

Garnish with a little lemon zest, sea salt (If You’re Me, regular salt), and rosemary (IYM thyme) and voila. Fritters.

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Cauliflower, Cheddar, and Mustard Fritters

Ingredients:

1/2 large cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup milk
4 tbsp butter, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup aged cheddar, grated
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 tbsp sea salt flakes
vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cauliflower with olive oil, sprinkle with half the rosemary, season to taste and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden and very tender (40-45 minutes). Set aside to cool, then process in a food processor until smooth.

Meanwhile, bring milk and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then beat until mixture is smooth and comes away from the edges of the pan (mine was verrrrry thick. I was worried, but it ended up being fine). Cool slightly, add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition to combine, then set aside to cool. Fold in cheese, mustard, and cauliflower puree and season to taste.

Combine lemon rind, sea salt flakes and remaining rosemary in a bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a frying pan. Roll tablespoons of cauliflower mixture into balls, dust in flour and fry in batches, turning occasionall, until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towel, sprinkle with rosemary salt and serve hot.

This is basically Gourmet Traveller’s recipe.

Happy cooking eating!

Baked Onions with Blue Cheese

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Get ready. You’re going to see a lot of blue cheese in here over the next year. The other day on my way home from work I stopped for groceries and bought a container of blue cheese. No plans for it, just thought I should have it. Then once I got home I realized all I wanted for dinner was some sort of food vessel that would get this cheese from counter to stomach. Pronto.

Lucky I have all these onions sitting around.

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Just chop ’em up.

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Put them in a baking pan.

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Mix up blue cheese, butter, parsley, milk, and Worcestershire sauce.

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Smother them onions, bake for 30 min at at 400 degrees and you’re good. And IT’S good.

Baked Onions with Blue Cheese

Ingredients:

3 large onions (recipe I’d found suggested Vidalia, but I had white)
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon milk
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3  cup chopped fresh parsley (I didn’t have it)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 9″ x 13″ baking dish, set aside. Slice onions lengthwise, about 8 wedges each, put in dish. In a bowl, combine cheese, milk, butter, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and ground pepper. Spoon over onions. Bake for about 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Original recipe here.