Sumptuous Sides

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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Rustic sauteed mushrooms

Mushrooms (Julia’s ‘Shrooms)

How Would Julia Do Mushrooms?      While searching for a side dish that contains sautéed mushrooms, I decided the place to start was  to see what Julia had to offer. Known and recognized everywhere, Julia Child was a culinary legend and a household name. Her persona was larger than life, and she had an infectious enthusiasm for both cooking and for having a good time. Few people have had as much influence in elevating fine dining in this country as she, and cooks worldwide owe Julia a large debt of gratitude…

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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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Spaetzle Noodles With Fresh Herbs

     First of all, spaetzle does not rhyme with pretzel. It’s pronounced as either the two-syllable “shpet zlah “or the three-syllable “shpet zel ah.”      Someone once called spaetzle “the noodle’s ugly cousin.” An egg noodle mini-dumpling-like in appearance, it can easily be made from scratch and then formed into spaetzle. They’re then dropped into boiling water, and when they surface, they’re done.      While there are various methods to form the spaetzle noodle, the best method is to actually buy a spaetzle maker or press. If you are a male…

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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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