Sumptuous Sides

sweet

Holiday Side: Candied Sweet Potatoes a la Emeril

Joke: What’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? About ten cents a pound. Let’s Get Something Straight      First of all, it’s time to get something cleared up. Contrary to what many people think, a sweet potato and a yam are not the same. It’s true, they are both root vegetables but they belong to different plant families: the sweet potato belongs to the morning glory family and the yam the lily family. In a nutshell yams are sweeter, are larger, but they don’t supply as much nutrition.      …

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cranberry

Holiday Side: Cranberry Sauce Par Excellence

The Obligatory Side      In our family, at holiday meals (especially Thanksgiving) cranberry sauce has always been considered an obligatory side. When all of us are seated at the table, and the bowls start being passed, there is a frenzy as food is piled high on each plate. When the dish of cranberry sauce arrives, most will politely take a dap (so as not to offend the person who brought the dish). And after everything on each plate is consumed (being from the Midwest we do “clean” our plates), usually the only…

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Succotash

Succotash a la Thoreau

     I know this is a sneaky way to introduce a great recipe for succotash, but it’s a given – almost every succotash recipe contains beans. And when beans are mentioned, two personalities usually come to mind: Duke (the dog in the Bush’s Baked Beans commercial) and Henry David Thoreau.      Duke is not important here, but Thoreau is. He was born on July 12, 1817 and died at the age of 44. If his life hadn’t been cut short by tuberculosis, he would have celebrated his 200th birthday this year. As the longest living…

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Mushroom-potato Bake

Irish Ayes Potato Bake (An Ahead-Of-Time Side)

      We have found hosting a dinner party without auxiliary help to be a bit tricky. If we are assuming the roles of both host and cook, we have to divide our time. We must work in the kitchen and have a socializing presence where we can engage in pre-dinner conversation. Prepare the Dishes Ahead of Time      We can’t be in two places at once. I have found it’s ideal to have the food cooking and much of the preparation done before the guests arrive. As an example, if the entrée is beef bourguignon, we would assemble and…

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Fresh peas

Creamed Peas – An Ahead-Of-Time Side

      We have found hosting a dinner party without auxiliary help to be a bit tricky. If we are assuming the roles of both host and cook ,we have to divide our time between work in the kitchen and having a socializing presence where we can engage in pre-dinner conversation.      We can’t be in two places at once, so I have found it’s ideal to have the food cooking and much of the preparation done before the guests arrive. As an example, if the entrée is beef bourguignon, we would assemble and begin cooking the dish about five…

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Creamed corn

Creamed Corn – An Ahead-Of-Time Side

      We have found hosting a dinner party without auxiliary help to be a bit tricky. If we are assuming the roles of both host and cook ,we have to divide our time between work in the kitchen and having a socializing presence where we can engage in pre-dinner conversation.      We can’t be in two places at once, so I have found it’s ideal to have the food cooking and much of the preparation done before the guests arrive. As an example, if the entrée is beef bourguignon, we would assemble and begin cooking the dish about five…

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Garlic (Baked And Garlic Toast)

     I’m a huge fan of garlic. I love the taste, and I love how it adds interest to a recipe. Cooking with it also gives the whole house a wonderful bouquet. Its aroma signifies happy times in the kitchen.      It contains the chemical allicin.  This is what gives garlic its odor.  Some studies claim that it can kill 23 types of bacteria (including salmonella and staphylococcus) and 60 types of fungi and yeast.  Other studies say it’s helpful in preventing heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, and clogged arteries.  And others claim it…

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Pommes Duchesse

Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)

      I was online looking for an interesting potato recipe that was more than just “taters,” when I came across a picture of an entrée with a side that resembled spiraling Russian minarets. The caption named the featured side dish as “pommes duchesse.”      The recipe looked busy and complicated, but I found it was only mashed potatoes piped onto parchment paper. It was then brushed with an egg wash (for color and crunch), and browned in an oven. It appeared intriguing, so I thought I would try it.      What makes this…

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Risotto Classic With Escarole

From Opera To Risotto      Risotto is one of those dishes that can define the competence of an Italian cook. Flavor and consistency are the determinants, and bragging rights among cooks are highly sought after. As a matter of fact, Giuseppe Verdi was very proud of his rendition. He would challenge other cooks to see if they could eclipse his. Verdi’s wife is quoted as saying, “Giuseppe’s risotto is truly a dish he makes in divine fashion.”    Risotto gets its name from “riso,” the Italian word for rice. There…

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