Tag Archive | "vegetables"

Give Your Seasonal Sides a Fresh Twist

Grilled Cornbread and Sweet Sausage Dressing

If you’re looking to give your side dishes a little more sizzle this holiday season, consider a few fresh ways of preparing them.

How about a green bean casserole made with smoked beans and a homemade cream of mushroom base? Or creamed corn using grilled corn?

Several of the attached recipes are from Garrett Stephens, pitmaster for the County Line, 10101 I-10 W. Another is from Don Strange of Texas, which has served up corn pudding for years to great success.

SavorSA also shares our recipe for Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lavender Honey, a sweet-savory take on the traditional Thanksgiving dish. Plus, we include Luby’s Cornbread Dressing, a local favorite.

The last is a new way to look at that most wonderful yet abused vegetable, brussels sprouts. Try this version for a rich and satisfying flavor.

Pit-Kissed Cream Corn

Here are links to the recipes:

Pit-Kissed Cream Corn with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Grilled Green Bean Casserole with Portobello Cream

Grilled Cornbread and Sweet Sausage Dressing

Brussels Sprouts with Warm Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Spicy Roast Sweet Potatoes with Lavender Honey

Luby’s Cornbread Dressing

Don Strange’s Corn Pudding

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Dinner from your garden

Sauted vegetables.

Sauteed vegetables.

This year our garden took on an extra dimension of usefulness. Usually, it is composed of herbs, flowers and xeriscape shrubs, surrounded by grass that is lush or less-than-lush, depending upon the rainfall.

This year we put in vegetables. Maybe it was a reaction to being suddenly underemployed, like many others around the country. Or, maybe it was because we had more time to enjoy  in the garden. I like to think it was the latter.

As for the results, so far, let’s just say we’re still in ramp-up phase (kind of like our fab new Web site).

Saturday night, though, we went outside and picked tomatoes, squash and fresh herbs, which we added to some heirloom tomatoes and more squash a friend donated from her garden. The resulting dish was colorful, very healthful and served magnificently as a side to seared burgers and pasta tossed in olive oil and garlic.

There isn’t a recipe here, as such. Just follow these simple tips for a great vegetable saute – even if the garden is just producing odds and ends at the moment.

  • Vegetables you can slice, dice, and just throw into a sauté pan with olive oil include any kind of tomato (even a green tomato, and especially grape or cherry tomatoes).
  • Garlic. Onions. These may not be growing in the garden but they’re always inexpensive at the store. Keep them handy.
  • Some vegetables might need to be blanched, or even par-boiled before being tossed into the saute pan. Green beans are one example — unless you are one of those who really like crisp, not-too-cooked green beans.  You know who you are.
  • Back to the olive oil. I generally don’t put in just a spoonful or so of olive oil. The flavor is beautiful and a little more fat, even a tablespoon or two, won’t hurt. It’s a good fat.
  • How to season: salt and pepper are always good. Try some fresh or crumbled dry oregano, savory, a small pinch of marjoram and an even smaller pinch of rosemary. With these latter herbs, a subtle hint is far better than an overwhelming dose. Chopped parsley adds a fresh dash of green. Sautééed mushrooms are never a bad thing.

Finally, don’t overcook these ingredients, fresh off the plant. Some things, like cherry or grape tomatoes, need only to be tossed around the pan over a medium-high heat until some of the skins burst. Perfect as a side, perfect as the “sauce” for grilled salmon or pan-fried trout. What could be easier, or speak more eloquently of summer?

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