Category Archives: Side Dishes

Side dishes

Roasted Barbecue-Spiced Potato Wedges with Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip

 

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I was trying to squeeze the last bits of daylight into my photos, taking pictures on the back patio.  It was close to sunset, and the dusky blue light sat cool and muted on my (finally) ready to photograph potato wedges.  I briefly glanced up and looked toward the back of the yard, near my garden.  The choir in my mind sang a glorious major chord as I saw honey-colored beams peeking over the fence, bathing the far half of the yard in a deliciously warm glow.  Oh brother.  I knew what I had to do.  One large wooden photo background, a cutting board filled with herbs in progress, bowls, measuring spoons, and the like, all needed to make it, stat, to the other side of the yard.  The neighbors probably question my sanity.  In my twenties, I cared about this a bit, but not so much anymore.  I’m beginning to understand the reason for the sequined hats and carefree attitudes of those twice as old as me–at a certain point, one just can’t take as much time to care about appearing foolish when it is magic is happening on the other side of the yard!  I balanced all my props, food and accoutrements on my photo background and carried them topsy turvy style to the prime location. 

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Liz Gilbert, although I was already well on my way to the deep end, this is partly your fault.  You wrote a little book about creativity and inspiration called Big Magic that has only served to amplify my spontaneous and wild creative urges.  I heard your voice in my head saying,  “If inspiration is calling from the other side of the yard, get thee to the other side of the yard!”  When seduced by inspiration, I create big messes, almost unknowingly and frenetically.  When I wake up from my altered state, I see my creation, and all the creative shrapnel, and almost don’t know what happened.

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In my last post, I shared a recipe for the Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip I’m utterly addicted to.  I love to dollop this dip on everything– breakfast hashes, crackers, veggies, and even eat it by the spoonful (don’t judge me!).  I must make a confession.  I’ve been withholding the recipe that this dip was created for–these Roasted Barbecue potato wedges.  I love this dip so much on its own that I thought it deserved its very own post.  

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These spiced potato wedges come together very easily, and make a great side or party appetizer.  I love the combination garlicky, smoky wedges with the cool herby dip.  Do you have smoked paprika in your spice cabinet?  I love to add it into my spice mixture for anything I want to add a savory smokiness to–veggie crumbles for taco meat, corn on the cob, pan fried tempeh, and many other things.

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It might be inconvenient at times, but I believe it’s infinitely worth it to say yes to the magically golden light on the other side of the yard, yes to the frenetic messes that appear as a side effect of creative reverie, yes to deciding to photograph a recipe at 6 pm when daylight hours are melting away, yes, yes, yes to the cheap little thrills that make life more colorful and exciting, and by all means, yes to roasty potato wedges with dip!

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Roasted Barbecue-Spiced Potato Wedges with Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip

  • 2 pounds medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip for serving (optional), recipe here

Preheat oven to 425˚.

On a baking sheet, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, spices, salt and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the bottoms of the potatoes are golden and crispy.  Use a stiff spatula to pop the potatoes off the pan using a firm scraping motion.  Serve while hot with the dip.

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Filed under Appetizers, Sauces, Side Dishes, Snacks, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice with Caramelized Onions

 

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Rice, gone wild!  Double wild!  Mushroom madness!  All this Thanksgiving recipe testing and eating has put me into a food-induced euphoria.  Wild two times in one title is two too many wilds for one recipe, young lady!  Bring your torches.  Ban.  This.  Site.  Hide your childrens’ eyes!  With all this fungus among-us, it’s gettin’ crazy up in here.

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I bought a gigantic bag of assorted dried local Colorado mushrooms at the farmers market this summer.  We’re talking two freezer bags worth.  There will not be a mushroom shortage for the foreseeable future in the Spoon With Me house, in case anybody was wondering. What does one do with so many dried mushrooms, you ask?  You know that mouth-coating savory depth that can be hard to achieve in plant-based recipes?  Think of them as a way to boost the umami factor, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I love to grind them into powder to add savoriness to sauces gravies, and soups.  In this recipe, I used the broth from rehydrating them as part of the cooking liquid for the rice. If you’re a full or part- time vegan or vegetarian, you need dried mushrooms in your arsenal if you want to up the ooooh mommy!

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Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Tangerine-Port Cranberry Sauce

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We all have our food quirks.  The Mister likes to figure out the best flavor combination on any given plate, then repeat that experience as many times as possible.  Salads are evenly tossed and big ingredients chopped up so that each bite has the optimized flavor.

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I once ate dinner with a girl who had a phobia of her foods touching each other.  We were at an Asian restaurant.  Plain shrimp, plain vegetables, plain rice.  No sauce, not even soy.  Each part of the meal was eaten by itself, before moving on   I kind of wanted to put a carrot slice on her rice, just to see what would happen, but I figured that was a bit immature.  Phobias ain’t no joke.  I’m the mixing queen.  I like to see how many unique combinations of flavors I can put into each bite.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Asian Quinoa Salad with Almond-Soy-Ginger Dressing

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Healthy eating can be like mind-twisting voodoo.  If I’m trying to amp up my body’s natural defenses to fight disease, what should I eat?  What shouldn’t I eat?  What if the paleos judge me for not eating meat?  What if the non-paleos judge me for eating meat?     You’re a veggie?  Where do you get your protein?  What?  No dessert?!  You’re too skinny!  Dessert?! You’re too chubby! Don’t know how you do the voodoo that you do, well, it’s a spell, hell, don’t know what to eat, eat, eat! (if you spend any amount of time listening to pop music in the 90s, then you know what I mean!).   

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Should, shouldn’t.  Feed, deprive.  Avoid, indulge.  High carb, low carb, complex carb, no carb.  Trans fats, unsat fats, hydrog-ed fats, no fats…  WHAAAAAT?  Why does every choice feel so loaded?  Why do we eat?  I eat to fight cancer.  I eat to bring my body to optimal health, so that my natural defense mechanisms can thrive.  I eat to feel energetic and vibrant.  I eat to fuel my body and my brain.  I eat to give my body needs, but also what it loves (still leaving room for a genuine straight up treat every now and then!).   The enjoyment of food is one of the best parts of life!  How do you think about what you eat?  

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I’ve got my mind on my healing, and my healing on my mind.  More and more I’m feeling drawn to share recipes for nutrient-dense foods that are still exciting to eat.  It’s easy to find very “pinteresting” recipes for quick and easy cheesy crockpot dip, and a little harder to find tasty healthy foods . Let’s remininsce about our spooning thus far.  Here on Spoon With Me, it’s always been about whole ingredients used to create beautiful food you actually want to eat.  I have occasional dabblings with completely indulgent chocolate truffle cakes, and that’s okay!  The world needs occasional truffle cakes here and there (and no judgement if you get sidetracked, click on the cake link, and decide to spend the 6 hours making it!).

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Right now, my body needs the most fuel to give it the best chance for healing.  So my mission stays the same–well, sort of.  This site isn’t about rabbit food, low fat substitutes, gimmicks, or fad diets.  It never has been.  It’s about being creative in the kitchen.  It’s about flexibility and improvisation, and eating and living well even in the face of challenges.  It’s about riding the waves of life with a sense of humor and grace.  But most of all, it’s about colorful beautiful whole foods you can get excited about cooking and eating!

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In today’s recipe, quinoa serves as the canvas for veggies of all shapes and textures, crunchy toasted almonds and crackly sesame seeds, tied together with a soy-ginger almond butter dressing. Salads are like elementary school art projects; the more colors, shapes, and textures, the better!  This salad also offers your body protein, fiber, complex carbs, healthy fats, and a truckload of veggies! 

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This is not the one night stand cooking that will leave you feeling regretful and empty.  This is the kind of cooking that will keep giving.  Hence, my new slogan, Spoon With Me:  The foods you love, that love you back!  

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Asian Quinoa Salad with Almond-Soy-Ginger Dressing

Serves 8 as a side dish

This is not one of those recipes found in a fancy schmancy molecular gastronomy cookbooks that needs to be followed to a tee. The basic idea is to use vegetables of every color and texture, chop them well, and weave everything together with the dressing.  I have found that blanching the green beans makes them vibrant and easier to eat.  I created this recipe for a dinner party of 8, and we still had leftovers, so keep that in mind and halve the recipe if you’re cooking for a small crowd (or, it makes a great lunch to enjoy throughout the week)!

For the Salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, julienned, and roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced and roughly chopped red cabbage (about 1/2 small cabbage)
  • 3/4 cup almond slivers
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (1 small bunch)

For the Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce (check for gluten-free tamari if needed)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter

Bring the quinoa to a boil with a scant 3 cups water (quinoa will retain some water when you rinse it, so I always use less water when cooking). Immediately reduce to a simmer, and cook for 12 minutes, or until the quinoa is soft and the germ ring (white outline) is visible around each grain.  If there is excess moisture in the quinoa, set it in a fine sieve to drain.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Blanch the green beans:  Fill a medium saucepan with water and a couple teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil.  Set a large bowl of ice water to the side of the stove.  Cook the green beans for about a minute, until bright green and still crisp.  Immediately plunge them into the ice water to cool.  Once cool, slice on the bias (diagonally) into 1 inch pieces.

Toast the almonds in a medium frying pan over medium heat until lightly golden brown and fragrant.  Allow to cool. 

Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a bowl or liquid measuring cup.  Combine and toss the cooked quinoa, and all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over top and stir until evenly coated.  Chill in the refrigerator or serve as is!

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Filed under Salads, Side Dishes, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

Lemony Steam-Roasted Artichokes with Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

 

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I first saw an artichoke plant while wandering through a botanical garden in Spain.  Have you ever seen one?  Quite a prickly beast, and I do mean beast!  Since then, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of growing my own, even though Colorado isn’t exactly known for artichokes.  I’m cornering off a little–okay–sizable corner of my garden for the beast to expand.  I dream of little shop of horrors style plants, arms reaching out, prickly mouths open wide.

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Eating an artichoke is a religious experience.  Don’t talk to me, and don’t give me a napkin.  Just let me pluck and dip and scrape and savor.  They make me so food-protective that I have to make more than anyone in my household could ever eat in a night.  Here’s your artichoke (if you don’t eat it all, I’ll finish it off), and here are my artichokes.  You may have all the aioli you would like (I made an inhuman amount so that you would not eat my share.

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Back in the day, I started making artichokes the way most do, by boiling them in salted water (play disappointing music here).  Why would I want to infuse my artichoke with nothing?  Then, I steamed them in water with lemons and garlic.  Meh.  The first time I roasted an artichoke, I thought, Now we’re talking!.  

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My newest method involves roasting the artichokes face down with a garlicky olive oil mixture, and then pouring enough white wine or vermouth into the bottom of the pan to steam the artichokes at the same time.  The artichokes become more tender, and in the end, that means more artichoke to eat!  I hope you enjoy luxuriously plucking, dipping, scraping, and savoring as much as I do.

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 White Wine Steam-Roasted Artichokes With Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (about a cup), halved if large
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine (or dry vermouth, or broth)
  • 1/3 cup additional water or broth
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried italian herb mixture
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Prepare the artichokes:

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of one of the lemons, about 2 tablespoons.  Cut off the top inch of one artichoke, and the bottom of the stem, leaving an inch or so of the stem intact.  Using kitchen scissors, cut off the tips of the leaves.  Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise.  Place one half in the acidulated water while you work with the remaining artichoke.

On a cutting board, smash the garlic and  one teaspoon of the salt into a paste using the side of a chefs knife.  Put the garlic paste into a small bowl.  Juice one of the remaining lemons into the bowl.  Cut off the peel of the remaining lemon (top and bottom first, then cut off the sides in sheets, making sure to remove the white pith).  Chop the peeled lemon, discarding the seeds, and add to the bowl.  Add the olive oil, dried herbs, crushed red pepper, and a few grindings of black pepper.  Whisk everything together.

Rub every surface of each artichoke half with the garlic oil mixture, making sure to push some of it in between the leaves.  Arrange the artichokes face down in a dutch oven (a roasting pan or casserole dish will work too).  Scatter the cherry tomatoes over top, and use your fingers to toss them around, trying to coat them with some of the oil mixture that has settled in the pan.  Pour the white wine or vermouth into the bottom of the pan along with the additional 1/3 cup broth or water.

Roast, covered, in the oven at 375˚F for 35-45 minutes, or until the outside leaves easily pull away from the artichoke.

Serve with lemon-garlic aioli or your other favorite dipping sauce.

Lemon-Garlic (Cheater’s) Aioli

Sometimes (okay, rarely), I go through the extra effort to make real aioli.  Most of the time, I start with a good quality mayo and go from there.  This is just one of my go-to combinations for artichokes.  If you like spicy aioli,  chile-garlic paste.   If you just want a little spice, garnish the top with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (use vegan mayo if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced and smashed into a paste (or finely grated, or pushed through a garlic press)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1-3 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (chile garlic paste)*, or 1/8 tsp-1/2 tsp ground cayenne

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with cayenne if desired.

*Sambal Oelek can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores

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Filed under Appetizers, Condiments, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan