Roasted Root Vegetables

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound parsnips, peeled
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled
1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Cut the carrots, parsnips, yam, and butternut squash into similar sized chunks, about 1 to 1 1/4-inch cubes. Don’t cut the vegetables too small, since they will shrink while baking. Place cut vegetables in a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat vegetables well.

Pour vegetables out in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender, turning once while baking, with a flexible metal spatula, taking care not to break up vegetables while turning.

Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Serves 8-10.

Sesame Green Beans

The Hmong name for long beans is taao-hia-chao. Long beans taste similar to the North American green bean. You can substitute them for any recipe calling for green beans. This climbing bean can grow up to 12 feet long, but most of them at the farmers market will be about 20 inches long. When picking look for firm, smooth, dark green beans. Keep them in a loose plastic bag in the crisper.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. long green beans, trimmed into 3 or 4-inch lengths
1/4 cup tahini
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
Toasted sesame seeds or finely chopped peanuts for garnish, if desired

METHOD:

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain beans and immediately submerge beans into large bowl of ice water until chilled. Drain and dry beans. Place beans in large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a small food processor or blender, add tahini, soy sauce and sugar and blend until smooth. Pour sesame paste into small bowl. Whisk in rice vinegar, scallions, and minced ginger. Pour dressing over beans and toss to coat. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds (or peanuts), if desired.

Brined and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. fresh whole Brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
2 quarts water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

METHOD:

In a large bowl, combine water, salt, sugar and soy sauce.

Add Brussels sprouts and marinate 1 hour. Drain sprouts. Do not rinse.

Heat oven to 400°F.

Pour olive oil on baking sheet. Add black pepper and drained sprouts and roll sprouts in oil to coat evenly. Roast sprouts for 35-40 minutes or until tender and edges are caramelized.

SOURCE: Kikkoman’s

Roasted Potatoes

close up of the roasted potatos

These are the traditional British roasted potatoes that are served with Sunday roast beef or lamb dinners. However, they are great as a side dish for fish, grilled meat or roast chicken with their crispy skins and fluffy interiors.

INGREDIENTS:

4 – 6 large russet or Idaho potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1⁄4 cup (or more) vegetable oil, lard, duck fat, or melted butter mixed with a little vegetable oil (or enough to cover bottom of roasting pan)

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400°. Pour enough oil in roasting pan to cover the bottom. (Make sure to use a roasting pan large enough to spread potatoes in one layer.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

In the meantime, peel potatoes; cut into large chunks. Add to boiling water, bring back to the boil, then simmer potatoes for 5-6 minutes to soften slightly. Using a colander, drain potatoes and set aside to dry. (Do not rinse in cold water.)

Place roasting pan in oven and heat until oil is hot.

Place potatoes in the roasting pan and turn potatoes to coat them evenly with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or so, and turn potatoes gently. Roast for another 30-40 minutes or so, or until crispy and golden.

Beets in Orange Sauce

Red Ace is the most commonly grown beet in the U.S., but you can also get rainbow, orange, and yellow beets at the farmers market. These beets are equally delicious as a hot side dish or chilled to top a salad.

INGREDIENTS:

8 whole fresh beets
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
2 tablespoons butter, if desired

METHOD:

Place beets in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring beets to a boil; reduce heat. Place lid on pot and simmer beets for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool slightly. Peel and slice; place in a serving bowl and keep warm.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and pepper. Whisk  in orange juice and red wine vinegar until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, and cook awhile stirring for 3-4 minutes or until mixture has a syrupy texture and is slightly thickened. Stir in orange zest and butter. Add beets and gently stir until warmed through.

Serve warm.

YIELD: 8 servings

Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinachWhen I make creamed spinach, I am transported back to a few special dinners at the quaint House of Prime Rib, a San Francisco institution that has served the same menu since 1949. Dinner started with a simple lettuce salad with julienned beets made at the table served along with a warm crusty loaf of sourdough bread and a generous ramekin of butter.

When it was time for the entrée to be served, a waiter rolled a large silver trolley containing the meat and side dishes up to the table and sliced the prime rib to order, and served it with a helping of creamed spinach (or corn) and a hearty piece of Yorkshire pudding. Baked potatoes with all the trimmings were also an option. Quite a feast!

The dish that always stood out for me was the creamed spinach which included crunchy bits of bacon. Creamed spinach became a classic side dish for holiday dinners at our house. If there was any of the dish left over, we reheated it and topped it with a poached egg for breakfast the next morning or used it as a filling for crepes.

INGREDIENTS:

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled*
2 bunches fresh savoy spinach, washed and stemmed
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 1/2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 cup half-and-half (or cream)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

METHOD:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach to the water and blanch leaves for 30 seconds. Remove pot from heat and pour spinach into a strainer, discarding the water. Run cold water over spinach (or plunge strainer into an ice bath) to cool spinach quickly. Drain. Place spinach in a bowl, stir in the lemon juice, and set aside.

In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic, shallots and cook briefly for a few seconds, then whisk in the flour and cook, while stirring, for one minute. Slowly whisk in the half and half (or cream) and stir until mixture is smooth and mixture thickens slightly. Whisk in salt, nutmeg, and white pepper — taste and adjust seasonings.

Stir in crumbled bacon and add the cooked spinach, along with any juices in the bowl. Serve hot.

*Crumbled bacon is optional, but adds a nice flavor.

YIELD: Serves 4

Celeriac Potato Gratin

Homemade Cheesey Scalloped Potatoes with Parsley Flakes

INGREDIENTS:

1 large celeriac, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thin, kept in water
4-5 large Yukon Gold, Yellow Finns, or Russets, sliced 1/8 inch, kept in water
2 large brown onions, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, savory (or a combination), minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, peeled
¼ cup white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (more, if needed) OR cream (see Chef Notes below)
Olive oil as needed
1-2 tablespoons butter, cut into little pea sized bits
1-2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, optional (see Chef Notes below)

METHOD:

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Rub the inside of the gratin dish (13 inch oval or 4 quart Pyrex baking dish) vigorously with the garlic, leaving traces of oil over the surface. Then mince the clove and add to the onions.

Heat a pan large enough to hold the onions over medium-high, then film with oil. When hot, add the onions and sauté until golden. Season with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of the herbs.

While the onions cook, heat the stock to a boil.

Once the onions are cooked, place them into the bottom of the gratin dish and level. Sprinkle with some of the herbs. Drain the celeriac and potatoes and mix together. Lay most of them into the gratin dish and sprinkle with some of the herbs and some salt and pepper. Finish off the top of the gratin by evenly placing a row of celeriac, then a row of potatoes, until done, overlapping the slices.

Pour in the hot stock/wine combo to come halfway up the ingredients. Drizzle with olive oil, or use a spritzer if you have one, to get most of the surface. Scatter some more herbs over the surface and season. Scatter the butter bits over the surface and cover tightly with foil. Place the gratin on a foil lined baking sheet. This will contain spills and keep the floor of the oven from getting spattered.

Place into the center of the oven and bake 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the cover and press down on the gratin with a spatula, basting the top with the liquid in the dish. Return it to the oven and continue baking until the ingredients are tender and cooked through. This should correspond to when the last of the liquid cooks off.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little so the gratin “sets” and firms up a little.

Chef’s Notes and Tips:

  • For a vegan version, eliminate the butter and use vegetable stock. However, the butter adds a nuttiness and helps with achieving a nice golden color.
  • If you wish to make a richer version of this, replace half the stock with cream (or all of it!) and grate 1-2 cups of Gruyère cheese, scattering much of it inside the gratin, and sprinkling some on the top.

YIELD: 4-6 servings

Brussels Sprouts with Apple Gastrique

INGREDIENTS:

Apple Gastrique
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
salt

Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
Vegetable oil

METHOD:
In a small saucepan, combine apple juice and honey and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer again and add a pinch of salt. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until sauce is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Set aside, keep warm.

In a large, high sided frying pan or Dutch oven, add vegetable oil to the pan until there is about 1/4 inch in the pan. Heat the oil. (The oil should be hot enough to sizzle, but not spatter furiously.) Place the Brussels sprouts in the hot oil, cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden, then turn with tongs. Cook until golden on the second side.

Place cooked sprouts in mixing bowl, and immediately sprinkle with a dash of salt. Pour the warm gastrique over the sprouts, and gently stir to cover the sprouts in the sauce. Transfer to warm serving dish.

YIELD: 4 servings

Irish Boxty Potatoes

Homemade Boxty Irish Potato Pancakes

Irish potato pancakes, known in Ireland as boxty, are made with a mixture of mashed and grated potatoes resulting in a texture that’s a cross between a pancake and hash browns. Serve as a side dish with sausages (bangers) and sautéed cabbage or Swiss chard for an authentic Irish meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes*
1 cup grated russet potato, squeezed dry to remove excess moisture
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for serving

METHOD:

Place mashed potatoes and grated potatoes in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Whisk together egg and egg yolk. Add milk to eggs and whisk to combine. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper and whisk mixture until smooth. Stir in scallions and add mixture to bowl with potatoes and stir to combine.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Using a spoon or small disher, add batter to skillet and spread gently to form a 2-3 inch pancake. Cook turning once, about four minute per side or until golden brown. Keep warm. Repeat until all of the batter is used, adding more butter to skillet as necessary.

Serve warm, with butter.

 

* Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1 cup milk or buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place potatoes in large saucepan and fill with water to cover. Add salt. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a brisk simmer and cover and cook until potatoes are just fork tender. Remove from heat and drain.

Meanwhile, heat milk (or buttermilk) and butter in a small saucepan until butter is  melted.

Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes. Add milk mixture slowly and stir briskly until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

ASPARAGUS
2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral flavored oil
Salt and pepper to taste

ROMESCO SAUCE
1 cup Marcona almonds, toasted
10 cloves garlic
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons Sambal Olek (see note below)
2 cups roasted red peppers, chopped
Salt to taste

METHOD:

For the Romesco sauce:
Put all ingredients into a blender jar and process until smooth.  Decant sauce into a clean glass jar with lid. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the asparagus:
Mix the asparagus with the oil, salt pepper. Grill asparagus the barbeque, turning once. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Place on platter. Serve with lRomesco sauce ladled over top.

SOURCE:  Chef Ken MacDonald of Edgar’s at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley