Tag Archives: On the Side

Sweet Plantain & Parmesan “Biscuits”

Yesterday I came home from work and made a huge batch of soup.  It was a “clean-up the fridge” soup with tofu noodles, veggies, chicken, and leftover home-smoked ribs that would make Chinese fast food places weep with jealousy.  After our dinner tonight, there was still enough for a generous serving today.  There were still other areas of my kitchen that needed the ‘cleanup’ treatment…  Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Lemon-Steamed Spinach Flashbacks

I spy…. lemon-steamed spinach! And broth-braised potatoes and Bistrot Paul Bert pepper steak too!

It has been almost two years since I made that meal and wrote about it. Revisiting that post was a bittersweet. Part of me wishes that writing those witty musings came in as easily as it did back when I started the blog. During this last months-long hiatus, that storytelling side got disconnected from my posts. I have been spending more time with my copies of On Writing Well, The Writers’ Idea Book and my big black bargain bin journal to help me snap it back into place.

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Kale Sofrito Risotto

kale sofrito risotto

I don’t consider myself a slave to fashion and trends.  My favorite pair of jeans is a faded, soft as sweatpants boot cut I bought ten years ago.  I have never made a cake pop.  It takes us a while to actually visit new ‘it’ restaurants. Eating healthily should never be considered a trend, however, I’ve fallen deep and hard into the kale love train.

Kale chips

Kale smoothies

Kale pestos

Stir-fried kale

Kale, kale, kale. Read More…

Catching Up with Dorie: Summer Sides

After receiving the warmest welcome for showing up after four months of FFwD hiatus, I’m already skipping this week’s recipe?  Bad Adriana!  I hope these three summer sides make up for it.  I do have plenty of vegetables on hand for this week’s stone soup and it will get done.  I even have a secret ingredient up my sleeve for it!

Way back in Memorial Day weekend, we kicked off the summer with a little cookout.  Remember these corn pancakes? 

Corn Pancakes

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French Fridays with Dorie – Saint-Germain-des-Pres Onion Biscuits

Saint-Germain-des-Pres Onion Biscuits

I can’t make biscuits.  I’ve come to this sad conclusion after dozens of attempts.  The worst part is that I love them.  That pretty one in the center is the money shot for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Saint-Germain-des-Pres Onion Biscuits.  The rest of the batch turned out like little hockey pucks, their crusty outsides overshadowing the minimal soft, flaky centers. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Broth Braised Potatoes

Will the third time be the charm?

Broth-Braised Potatoes

Normally I do not ‘reconsider’ recipes unless I know exactly how to fix them or if any failures come from a mistake or technique I need to improve (hello biscuits!).   The broth-braised potatoes from this week’s French Fridays with Dorie assignment are one of the few times I’ve repeated a recipe I wasn’t crazy about just to see what happens. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Matafan (Fluffy Mashed Potato Pancakes)

Matafan (Fluffy Potato Pancakes)

Happy belated Thanksgiving!  If you celebrated the holiday, I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends.  We spent Thanksgiving weekend in Boston with my best friend and all I cooked was the cranberry sauce.  I won’t even pretend to feel guilty – my priority was playing with Adorable Godson II.  There were a few food highlights from the trip and an earlier stop in NYC, so stay tuned for those.     Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Pumpkin Stuffed with Cosas Ricas

“Cuando llega el mes de octubre corro al huerto de mi casa
Y busco con alegría tres o cuatro calabazas…”

Pumpkin patch at Chateaux de Versailles

There is no autumnal chill in the air, no backyard pumpkin patch like in the little song on top, but come October and November, it’s hard not to get in the mood for the holidays.  The Halloween candy is in the pantry (with a couple of missing pieces) ready for the kids who will show up at our doorstep.  We celebrate Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico with lots of local side dishes sharing the table with the turkey and cranberry sauce.  December and January will roll in, with their avalanche of lechónarroz con gandulesmorcilla…  pork, rice with pigeon peas, and blood sausage – and great parties to share them with family and friends.

There is one traditional Thanksgiving dish that I refused to wrap my head around  – and that brings us to today’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie – Creamy Cheesy Garlicky Rice with Spinach

Last night, I went in autopilot while doing the  prep work for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.  All week long, I had rationalized the recipe as “risotto with a splash of cream”.  Chicken stock fortified with vegetable bouillon simmered in the back burner, onions and garlic sautéed  in a large shallow pan… and then I decided to look at the recipe. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie – Cardamom Rice Pilaf

There are no quotes floating around the Internet about cardamom, other than trade quotes for its price in the commodity markets.  I hesitated before plunking down over twelve dollars for an ounce of green cardamom pods because I have ground cardamom in my cupboard.  After making this rice pilaf, I decided that the expense was worth it, even if the specialty food store took quite a premium on my purchase.  That’s the laws of supply and demand for you… limited supply, higher prices!  I might be able to recoup my initial investment as soon as I find a good chai recipe.

(I will remove my Finance person hat before you start missing my writer’s block from last week.)

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French Fridays with Dorie: Pancetta Green Beans

Pancetta Green Beans

Over the last few months, I have developing quite a case of Francophilia – blame the trip, blame the Beárnaise.  Instead of trying to get rid of it, I decided to further embrace it.  Over the few months I’ve been blogging a little more formally, I have become curious about French Fridays with Dorie.  FFwD, for short, is an open online cooking group that set off in October to cook their way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  To date, they’ve covered twenty-one of over 300 recipes in the book.  My curiousity got the best of me and I ordered the book.  It is a beautiful addition to our collection – I didn’t have anything on contemporary French cuisine at hand.  Since it arrived last weekend, this week is my first entry into the FFwD fray.  I lucked out this week – we got a side dish and an easy one to boot!  We decided to incorporate the pancetta green beans in our pre-Valentine’s Day ‘Woo Food’ weekend.  Green beans on their own might be tasty, but blanched and smothered in pork fat, butter, and a little bit of olive oil they were downright decadent.

If you want to join in the fun, check out the FFwD website.  The actual recipe is not posted to encourage everyone interested to look out for the book.  I’m sure it will be a welcome addition to any bookshelf – the recipes look simple and the photography is wonderful.

It looks like I earned my badge


This was definitely a weekend of firsts.  In addition to this ‘inaugural’ FFwD recipe, we (well, DH) roasted our first rack of lamb.  We had been wanting to do one for a while, and found a great recipe for a thick marinade/coating from Ina Garten.  We were looking for a recipe that did not include mint, and this one fit the bill perfectly.

Mustard Coated Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb

Adapted from Ina Garten

The marinade/coating consists of:

  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt (half of the original recipe)

After allowing the rack of lamb to marinate for 30 minutes, we roasted it in a 450F° for twenty five minutes, allowing it to rest for ten more minutes.  While it was in the oven, we worked on the pancetta green beans.  It was the easy, tasty meal I needed especially after a few hours of being on my feet baking the Valentine’s Day cookies for work.

Rack of Lamb Ina Garten

I think we’ll definitely be making more racks of lamb in the future!