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Side dish

Side dish/ Vegetables

Smashed Brussel Sprouts with Pistachios

No chasing these little spheres around the plate!

Seems like Brussel sprouts have always gotten a bad rap in the green vegetable category.  Ever wonder why? Well, after some searching I found that it is in your DNA. Either you have the “sprout gene” (PTC) or you don’t. This gene comes in 2 forms – bitter and non-bitter tasting. If you are really interested in why you may be a BS hater, read on here.

The BS’s, for me, have become less bitter and I think that is the way I prepare them these days. A little sweetness from balsamic or adding dates or golden raisins can’t help to elevate this little vegetable to a better place in our vegetable choices. My mother never prepared Brussel sprouts and that’s probably because my dad didn’t like them and back then she cooked vegetables like cabbage and even green beans long past their “done” stage making things a drab color and mushy. In later years all of my mother’s and dad’s cooking changed and green beans were cooked to a vibrant green or cabbage not cooked to death. I personally like my cabbage cut into small pieces and sautéed very quick so it still has a little bite to it and the color resembles more of what it looked like when cut from the garden.

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Side dish

Eggplant, Potatoes and Peppers

Like eggplant? Try this recipe.

Several months ago our neighbor, Mark, gave me this eggplant from his garden and as usual when I see an eggplant I want to make eggplant parmesan. This time, however, I decided to try something different to go with some steelhead trout we were grilling for dinner.

Over the years I have bought several types of eggplants. The miniature ones I have used for my Baby Eggplant with Pine Nut Salsa which made a cute and tasty little appetizer or side dish. I’ve prepared the graffiti, globe, Japanese,  and white ones. I’ve cut very thin, fried and served with a drizzle of honey like we had in Spain, I’ve done stir fries with them, made caponata and of course eggplant parmesan. Aloo Baisan (eggplant and potato) is a recipe I posted by in 2012; this recipe is a different take on an eggplant/potato side dish.

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Side dish

Potatoes, Broccoli and Cheese

Potatoes, Broccoli and Cheese OH MY!

Who doesn’t love potatoes? Whether they are whipped (not really suppose to whip potatoes though), French Fried, American Fried, hashed, smashed, paved, loaded, twice baked or AuGratined (the list goes on and on and on) there is no wrong way to prepare a potato. I use to eat them raw with salt when I was a kid. Have not done that in at least 60 years. Not sure why not, just never took the time to single out a few freshly cut potato sticks and salt and crunch away for a pre-dinner snack.

Take a look when you have a minute or two at my “side dish” section of this blog at some of my favorite potato dishes.  I love my Potatoes Pave, beautiful to look at and fun to eat. One night I was looking for a side dish to go with some steelhead trout we were grilling; I should say GA was grilling. I’m not sure I could even light the grill or start the Kamado Joe smoker. I happened to have a bunch of potatoes left over from Christmas that weren’t used because our holiday was cut short (what a bummer), there was half a bag of broccoli left from a salad I had made on pizza night at the Brewery over Christmas and several packages of cheese that would eventually get used up. 

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Cabbage Steaks

New Year’s Cabbage, Pork, and Black-eyed Peas and Friends.

So It’s been 11 days since New Year’s Day and I’m still waiting for my good luck/money/prosperity. Well, it will come but I will have to wait awhile I guess.  

It’s been a busy few weeks with kids coming from Chicago and Austin for Christmas and all six little grandsons able to play together for first time in 2 years. And, a little covid to bring things to a close earlier than expected. But as I told our son, Scott, we at least got together for Christmas, had a great steak dinner for his Christmas Birthday, a fish fry and lots of new games we got to play. Things will get better and I’m looking forward to at least a couple of trips to Chicago this year. We also did a pizza night on Sunday after Christmas after the brewery closed. Paul made all the crust, I got together the toppings and GA grilled them on the Big Green Egg at the brewery.  

On top of holiday fun/blues/COVID, my Mac computer died and it had to live at Best Buy for a week just uploading all my thousands of pictures. So, blogging hasn’t been on top of my list of things to pick from everyday to keep me busy. Of course, I’ve been busy helping in the kitchen at the brewery and that is always fun to see what new menu items Paul is going to come up with for the weekend. This past week it was a country pate to go along with his chicken liver pate. They look and taste wonderful.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Green Beans

Love those rainbow vegetables!

Anytime I see any rainbow colored vegetables they end up in my shopping basket. The last time I was at Central Market I snatched up some rainbow radishes; shades of purple, pink, reds and whites (and even black) were just waiting for me when I cruised the produce section. These beautiful rainbow carrots yelled out at me while walking through Whole Foods in Austin one weekend when we were there visiting our daughter and her family. At the time, I did not have any idea for these other than slicing them up in a salad and how boring would that have been.

So Thanksgiving eve morning I’m cruising the internet and came across this beautiful recipe from grilledcheesesocial.com and knew MacKenzie Smith’s (2 time Food Network Champ)  recipe would be a hit at our Thanksgiving meal. Thank you MacKenzie for sharing this recipe. I will definitely be “lurking” your blog for more yummy ideas. (Note: it took my green beans forever to even get close to being tender and if I ever did these again I would probably blanch for 6-7 minutes before roasting.) Good dish but the green beans just tasted too undercooked. I decided that my green beans might have been about a week too old to use and I should have used fresher ones or even frozen.

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Salads/ Side dish

Field Pea Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

Love those field peas!

How time flies. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything and that is because I’ve been baking/cooking at our son and DIL’s Lollitop Sweet Shop and now opened Round Top Brewing. I usually go in Thursday-Sunday and bake at sweet shop and help with breakfast tacos/biscuit sandwiches etc and when done walk a few steps and UP 20 steps to upstairs kitchen at the brewery. Both or fun but I have to say the “food” part of the brewery is my favorite. It’s nice to work with Paul on his ideas and creations and I do not mind one bit taking directions from him and doing things his way.

I’m always looking for new salad or cold side dishes to prepare because it takes the pressure off of having everything hot and ready to go at dinner time.

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Side dish

Creamed Red Potatoes with Snap Peas

Don’t you just love the crispness of a sugar snap pea?

(Note on what I’ve been doing instead of posting here–Baking at Lollitop Sweet shop four days a week and the kids Round Top Brewing just opened the first day of Round Top’s Fall Antique Show. So 10-12 hour days of baking and cooking for other to enjoy. Fun to do but too tired to cook my own food. Now that the show is over, time to get back to cooking up some new recipes.)

Here’s another recipe from Southern Living magazine I received a few months ago with a twist or two. When I first saw this recipe I thought it was going to be like my mother’s “Shooked Potatoes” that she use to make. But a closer look and I realized that these had a cream sauce. I just posted a potato and turnip dish but with Fall here (It’s about time!) I’m always thinking of different ways to prepare potatoes.

There was a package of very fresh sugar snap peas in my refrigerator and I knew these potatoes needed a little freshening up so after blanching the peas a minute or two and then plunging the cute little things in an ice bath they were the last addition to the potatoes and cream sauce. Oh, I almost forgot – I also added 1/4″ parmesan cheese to the cream cheese and some really nice black sea salt to dress them up before serving.

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Side dish

Potatoes and Turnip Au Gratin

Potatoes with what you say !

Can’t say I have always loved turnips; my taste has changed over the years (decades) since I was a kid and would ask my mother or grandmother what the smelly stuff was cooking away on the stove.

I’ve done some different things with a turnip other than cooking them. Take a look at my Turnip Rose garnish I use to make as a platter garnish for parties I would cater. ( I love playing around with vegetables.) I would say it takes me less than 10 minutes to make one. I love cooked turnips but my hub does not but he liked this dish. Who wouldn’t with a cheesy sauce and browned to  perfection. Mix just about anything with potatoes and you have a delicious side dish.

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Side dish

Mashed Potatoes with Mushrooms

Who doesn’t like a good mashed potato dish?

Ok, I’m back in my cooking mode and even though we still are eating out 2-3 times a week, I’ve decided to get back to doing what I have loved doing all my married life, (52 years) and that is cooking and trying new recipes.

I remember as a new bride (and this is way before it’s time) ordering computerized menu plans with recipes and preparing some good and some not so good. I have to say the worst was a Tuna Noodle Rosey; to this day I cannot stand hot tuna casserole type dishes. Another thing I did back in the early 70’s was to order my groceries over the phone using a catalog and talking to “Rosie the robot”, or that was what she sounded like. The groceries were delivered and for an extra charge they would even put them away. I never took advantage of that service since all I had to do was take care of a baby.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Green Beans and Dates

Vegetables with dates? Yum!

Since moving to Round Top in July 2020 I have not been cooking as much as I use to and I guess that’s because I’m baking at Lollitop Sweet Shop (Paul and Brooke’s place) four days a week. There aren’t a lot of places to eat around here especially on Monday-Wednesday and one would think I would be cooking more at home, but I’m not. 

I’ve always enjoyed cooking my own meals and having friends over for dinner more than going out to eat. Recently (and this is the second time I have tried this service) I joined Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon’s meal boxes or whatever those plans are called where they send you all the food and you cook it.  Maybe those are meant for people who don’t want to shop for their groceries or don’t have access to a big grocery market. Well, that would be me, (now) but this service lasted three weeks before I cancelled. I would have to say I wasn’t happy with some of the meals I chose (tough meat or flavors a little off for me.)

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Side dish

Bok Choy and Peas

Trip to farmer’s market always fun.

It’s hard to believe that it had been 18 months since we saw our son, Scott and his family (Missy, Oliver and Charlie). With a 3 hour delay going (an hour delay coming back and terminal change) we finally arrived to hugs and kisses.  It’s hard when you can only face time your grand kids and can’t give them a hug in person. But, we got plenty of those while there and as always we did a lot of cooking and eating.

One day while everyone was working and the kids in a summer school program we went to a local farmer’s market. I have been to farmer’s markets all over the world and am always excited to see local produce and products for sale and I never walk away without buying something. This particular day I found some bok choy, spring onions, heirloom tomatoes, peas and some tapenades.

While there we managed a trip to Top Golf and dinner at Longitud315. Another day we visited the Chicago Botanic Garden and Frida Kahlo exhibit in Glen Ellyn. So, even with mask wearing still required in a lot of these places we still managed to have a very good trip.

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Side dish

Lemon Basil Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower fan?

(It’s been a while since my last post (if anyone is still there) and my NEXT post I will give a look at what our life was like during the antique show. 12 hour days and most of the time I was too tired to cook when I got home and definitely too tired to try a new delicious recipe for this blog.)

Can’t say I was ever a cauliflower fan in my earlier years. That would be decades ago! I don’t remember my mother or grandmother ever cooking cauliflower. I’m not sure why because my dad had the best garden around and grew just about anything he could think of; even Jerusalem Artichokes and who the heck knew what to do with those things back then.

Over the years I’ve done some delicious things with the funny looking head. My Tomato and Cauliflower Soup recipe is one of those recipes that is pretty to look at and delicious to eat. My Cauliflower Potato Salad is infamous with my friends; although now I add one potato to the mix for flavor and texture. I’ve done Cauliflower Steak and Onions before but I have to say I like this Lemon Basil Cauliflower “Steak” better.

Once I found a beautiful head of purple cauliflower (and purple is my favorite color) and couldn’t resist making my Pasta with Purple Cauliflower and Walnut Cream Sauce. There are many other cauliflower dishes on my blog you can “search” for but before I quit telling what I’ve done in the past you have to take a look at my Winter White Soup which is one of my favorite cream soups.

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