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This was not my planned side dish for our Chicken Curry, but I am happy to report that it was an excellent alternative.

Originally, I thought that we would have cauliflower with our curry, but no dice. Cabbage it is.

Cabbage may be better anyway, although I never would have guessed that growing up. My family didn’t eat much cabbage. It is one of those vegetables that must be prepared correctly for it to really knock your socks off.

Cauliflower is kind of the same way in that it needs to be prepared well for me to get excited about it. Perhaps I should get my act together and try the Indian Spiced Cauliflower sooner rather than later.

Chris, do you believe that I like the Indian cookbook that you so kindly brought home for me now? I hope so, because I’m obviously going to be trying to buy an African cookbook.

I wonder if finding the ingredients to cook things from an African cookbook will be as difficult as using my Peruvian one? I am leaning towards as, if not more difficult.

Although we live in a small town, we are really lucky to have two fantastic Asian ethnic grocery stores, a Japanese one and a pan-Asian store. I have had pretty good luck with them having most Asian ingredients that I am looking for, but the Peruvian ingredients are either not available here or I am running into many lost in translation situations with the book. Bone-in guinea pig anyone?

Speaking of our Asian grocery stores, I made another attempt at Char Sui Baos recently, but they weren’t quite right. I need to get some five spice powder. I am fairly sure that I can get it here, I just haven’t made my way to the correct store yet. Until then…let’s talk cabbage.  

Adapted from 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb cabbage, shredded
  • 2 medium onion, finely  chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 green chili, finely chopped, seeds removed
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/16 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder

Directions:

  • Saute onion, ginger, and chili pepper in a heavy skillet with olive oil spray for 20-25 mintues or until the onion begins to turn brown.
  • Add cabbage and remaining spices, combining well, then cook for an additional 10 mintues.
  • Next combine tomatoes with the cabbage mixture and continue cooking until the tomatoes have softened.

Servings ~ 4

Calories ~ 44, Fat ~ 1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 8 g, Protein ~ 2 g

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We got our first hint of snow last weekend.

Apparently snow doesn’t photograph very well at night. I’m not really surprised by that, but I am just a little bit disappointed that my super camera isn’t as super as I thought it was. Still way better than the point and shoot that I was using six months ago.

The snow didn’t hang around for long at all, it was back up into the 70’s in no time. Figures. There is this saying in Indiana about how if you don’t like the weather, you should wait a few hours. Case in point. Snow one night, wearing short sleeves the next day.

In spite of summer’s return, I decided on a warm, wintry, hearty side for dinner the other night. We had some leftovers that needed to be used up so I did my best to use what we had. The butternut squash gratin turned out awesome! We will have it again for sure.

I had about 1.5 cups of cheesy sauce leftover after toping our Corny Croque Madames with just 2 tbsp each. I also had nearly a whole thinly cut butternut squash sitting in my refrigerator thanks to my failed Korean squash pancakes. Obviously these random leftovers should be put together, no?

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of béchamel
  • 1 butternut squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel squash, slice in half, and remove seeds.
  • Cut squash into thin slices, I used my food processor for this.
  • Combine squash, onion, and béchamel into a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 247, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 47 g, Protein ~ 9 g

When I decided to do a Caesar dressing post, I envisioned a beautiful Caesar salad with shaved Parmesan and perfectly browned home-made crutons. I did make some pretty nice looking crutons, but I failed miserably with the shaved Parmesan.

I forgot to buy “real” Parmesan at the grocery store, so I was relegated to dressing my salad with the bottled kind. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it certainly didn’t have the same effect in pictures as the shaved variety. As a means to compensate for my lack of shaved cheese, I decided to fry up some of the “fake” stuff into Frico Crisps.

Enjoy!

Ingredients (per crisp):

  • 1 tsp yogurt butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Melt butter in a skillet over a medium heat.
  • Sprinkle Parmesan in the skillet and swirl the skillet around to coat the bottom of the skillet.
  • Cook Parmesan for 3 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
  • Carefully flip the crisp and cook for not quite a minute.
  • Place crisp on a paper towel on a flat surface to cool.
  • When cooled, cut into desired shapes.

Servings ~ 1
Calories ~ 129, Fat ~ 9 g, Carbohydrates ~ 1 g, Protein ~ 10 g

We are still on our grocery shopping hiatus, I did one of those “type a whole bunch of random ingredients into Google and see what recipes pop up”. That can yield amazing results…or be a complete disaster. It was risky-ish business for this meal because it was for one of our anniversary dinners. The pressure was lessened some though because we have two anniversaries. Yep, we got married twice. Not that exciting of a story. It sounds mysterious though. 

Anyway, we will get to repeat this ritual again next week. Hopefully after grocery shopping.

Fortunately the butternut squash was a winner! In fact, we both thought that it was quite possibly the best butternut squash dish that we had ever tried. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about cilantro and crystallized ginger together, but it turns out that they are fabulous together. They made for a very fresh tasting fall dish.

Adapted from Rachael Ray.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
  • olive oil spray
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Spritz the squash with olive oil spray, then in a large bowl, toss the squash with the coriander, salt, and pepper.
  • On each of 2 large baking sheets, arrange the squash in a single layer and bake, turning occasionally, until tender and golden-brown, about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the squash to a serving bowl and toss with the crystallized ginger and cilantro.

Servings ~ 6

Calories ~ 186, Fat ~ 3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 44 g, Protein ~ 3 g

I used the last of my CSA zucchini and squash in this dish. On one hand, I’m bummed out that the CSA is over for the year. On the other hand, I’m relieved about being able to shop for and plan for meals more effectively.

Our CSA gave us the option of Wednesday or Saturday pickups, but it seems like neither one is a good option for us. We picked Wednesday because we didn’t want to miss Saturday pickups if we were out of town for the weekend. Wednesday didn’t really work out either because of our Saturday meal planning/grocery shopping cycle. I really would have preferred a Friday pick-up.

Last weekend my brother came to visit so we haven’t done any grocery shopping at all in over a week. (Sorry G, we should have bought food before you arrived at least!) Needless to say, we have been having some interesting meals lately. This “squash hummus” was one of the most tasty creations stemming from our grocery shopping laziness.

Look for Squash Hummus and Black Bean Burritos soon! (Well, if they’re any good anyway!)

From Branny Boils Over.

Ingredients:

  • 1 raw zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 2 raw yellow summer squash, peeled and chopped
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves elephant garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c raw tahini
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 roasted almonds

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth or to desired consistency.
  • Serve with veggies, crackers, or pita chips.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 104, Fat ~ 8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 7 g, Protein ~ 4 g

After letting these green beans sit in my refrigerator for far longer than should be acceptable, I decided to give in and bread them. I seem to be on a faux frying kick lately.

We had awesome fried green beans a few weekends ago when we went out for lunch downtown. They were supposed to be served with a curried mayonnaise dipping sauce, but the restaurant was all out of it and gave us ketchup instead. On one hand, I was bummed. On the other hand, I knew that I didn’t need to be dipping fried food into mayo.

I briefly considered making curried mayo for these, but gave in to better judgement and chose a sour cream based wasabi dipping sauce. Chris and I both really liked the wasabi sauce and liked it even better when double dipped in ketchup. Tastes like cocktail sauce, huh? Mmmm.

Maybe next time we’ll do a shrimp and green bean dinner. That totally sounds like an odd combo, but we’re not above having odd dinners at Duke’s House and it would be tasty, trust me!

Green Beans adapted from Jordie Porgie.
Wasabi Dipping Sauce adapted from My Recipes.

Oven Fried Green Beans Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil spray

Oven Fried Green Bean Directions:

  • Wash and trim green beans and cut into halves and thoroughly dry them.
  • In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne.
  • Whisk eggs to break them up completely.
  • Pre-heat oven to 425.
  • Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  • Keeping one hand dry and one hand wet, dip a green bean in the eggs, lift it out and shake off any excess egg, put green bean in bread crumbs mixture and coat completely, lift out and shake off any excess bread crumbs, then transfer green bean to prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining green beans.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once, until browned, crispy, and tender to the bite.
  • Serve hot. We like ours with wasabi dipping sauce and then double dipped in ketchup. (Horseradish sauce would work too!)

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 134, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 25 g, Protein 6 g

Wasabi Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup  reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2  teaspoon  grated lemon peel
  • 1  teaspoon  lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  to 2 teaspoons prepared wasabi

Wasabi Dipping Sauce Directions:

  • Combine ingredients.
  • Adjust wasabi/sour cream to taste.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 42, Fat ~ 4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 1 g, Protein 1 g

I really like grilled eggplant lately. Lucky for me, I keep getting eggplants in my CSA box. I don’t think that I have ever grilled one until this summer. I had tried making a variety of baked eggplant dishes, but I was never able to get the texture that I desired in the oven. My grilled eggplant seems to be a lot more firm. As an added bonus, it cooks much more quickly as well.

Enough about food. On to running. If you read my blog regularly, you have probably noticed that I have switch from running to biking for a little while because I hurt my foot. It is seriously driving me crazy. I did another spinning podcast today, which was really great – if you have biking in mind for your workout. I do not. (No offense cyclists, its just that I want to run!)

I think it is wearing on me a lot more in the past few days because this week I dropped out of the two races that I had left on my schedule this fall. That pretty much means that I will have to wait until March to race again. Very sad. The good news is that the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon race coordinator allowed me to transfer my entry to next year. I’m really thankful for that because at least I’m not out the entry fee and the race.

Hopefully I will be able to start running on grass soon. That’ll be fun. Picture me running hundreds of laps around the inside of a track somewhere for a few months. Yippee! (That was kind of sarcastic, kind of not.)

On the upside, my shoes will probably last for at least a month or two longer than I had originally anticipated.

From Epicurious.

Ingredients:

  • Yogurt Mint Sauce
    • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
    • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tsp curry powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (The original recipe called for 1 tsp, which I found was a bit too spicy for me. I think that 1/2 tsp should be more than enough!)
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grilled Eggplant
    • 2 eggplants (each about 1 pound), cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 tbsp coriander seeds, cracked

Directions:

  • Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices.
  • Place eggplant slices on a paper towel, lightly salt both sides of the eggplant and let it rest on the paper towel for 10-15 minutes until some of the juice has drained from the eggplant.
  • Mix the yogurt sauce ingredients in medium bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate yogurt sauce.
  • Heat a grill to a medium-high heat.
  • Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant with sesame oil.
  • Sprinkle the eggplant with coriander, salt, and pepper.
  • Grill until slightly charred, about 6 minutes per side. (To make fancy grill marks, rotate 90 degrees after about 3 minutes of cooking on each side.)
  • Serve the eggplant with yogurt-mint sauce.

Yogurt Sauce:
Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 57, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 9 g, Protein ~ 6 g

Grilled Eggplant:
Servings ~ 2 (As a meal, 4 as an appetizer.)
Calories ~ 177, Fat ~ 8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 27 g, Protein ~ 5 g