Category Archives: side dishes

Parsley Chive Potato Salad

october 16, 2015

parsley chive potato salad

As the nights grow cool and frost becomes inevitable, I try to think of recipes to use my tender herbs before they become dormant. Late autumn and winter cold leave me only rosemary. Not that that’s a bad thing; seasonality makes me appreciate what I have when I have it available.

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Watermelon with Spicy Tahini Sauce

june 26, 2015

watermelon with spicy tahini sauce

The ideal scenario for summer outdoor dining and entertaining may be summed up in several steps. Throw something on the grill. Steam some ears of local corn (or grill them, as in grilled corn and sugar snap pea salad). Toss a simple salad. Serve something chilly for dessert – ice cream, gelato or sorbet.

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Asparagus with Carrot Honey Vinaigrette

may 1, 2015

asparagus with carrot honey vinaigrette

Two very important words : local, and asparagus. Placed together,  an item that is at the top of your farmer’s market shopping list. You must enjoy local asparagus during its short run at the markets, because the taste, and the color, and the texture is superior to any asparagus purchased at your grocer’s. Unless, of course, your neighborhood grocer carries local.

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Parmesan Spoonbread Souffle

september 26, 2014

parmesan spoonbread soufflé

 

Spoonbread is the ultimate Southern comfort food.  Served hot from the oven with a generous dollop of soft butter, it satisfies.  Creamy and hot, and quite possibly made from locally milled cornmeal, spoonbread  can be made plain jane, with sweet milk or buttermilk, studded with kernels of fresh corn or with any number of variations like the pumpkin spoonbread currently on the fall menus of The Good Eats Company.

The word soufflé can strike fear in the heart of even the most dauntless chef or home cook. Failure to rise.  Lumpen appearance.  Gritty texture.  Their mercurial nature makes soufflés poor candidates for make-ahead prep; they must be served right away, and like all things that go up, they must come down, and sometimes before they are presented.

I don’t miss soufflés on restaurant menus because I never much cared for super fluffy foods that lack a certain heft – too airy for my taste.  But I do love a good spoonbread,  and retooling my favorite vintage recipe to resemble a towering soufflé, while bringing it down to earth with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, suited me (and my tasters) just fine.

Today’s spoonbread features not only colorful pastured eggs from Teal Brooks’ Pine Fork Farm, but also fragrant white cornmeal from historic Woodson’s Mill in nearby Nelson County, Virginia.

Woodson's Mill white cornmeal and pastured eggs from Pine Fork Farm in Quinton, Virginia

Woodson’s Mill white cornmeal and pastured eggs from Pine Fork Farm in Quinton, Virginia

Fine in texture and nutty in flavor, it makes the perfect cornbread (I use it to make the skillet cornbread for Little House Green Grocery’s Sunday Suppers) and heavenly spoonbread.  Since the late 18th century, the millstones of Woodson’s Mill have used water power from the Piney River to grind corn and other grains, providing sustainable, preservative-free products sold locally and beyond. This quick and easy bread (don’t be put off by the electric mixer) makes a great breakfast entree and would make a fine accompaniment to entrees like chicken with wild mushrooms and carrot and chorizo sausage with lentils and tomato.

Here is your weekend recipe for southern comfort, y’all. Enjoy!

parmesan spoonbread souffle

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes four servings                                                            parmesan spoonbread soufflé

ingredients

four eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 cups milk, preferably whole
1 cup white cornmeal
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons baking powder
directions

  1. Preheated oven to 350 degrees and butter four 10 ounce oven ready ramekins.
  2. In heavy two quart saucepan, bring milk to scalding (just to the boiling point) and gradually whisk in cornmeal to avoid lumps.
  3. Over low heat, whisk frequently and cook until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in butter, salt and sugar.
  5. Off heat, whisk in egg yolks.
  6. With electric mixer, beat egg whites just until peaks begin to form.
  7. Whisk parmesan cheese into cornmeal mix, then gently whisk in baking powder just until incorporated.
  8. With spatula, gently fold in about one third of the beaten egg whites, then gently add the rest until just combined – okay to see a few streaks of egg white.
  9. Working quickly, divide mixture between the ramekins and bake 20 minutes or until puffed and very lightly golden.
  10. Serve immediately with lots of good butter.

cook’s tips

  • eggs are easiest to separate while still chilled, but room temperature whites whip better
  • have all ingredients at room temp to avoid shocking or stiffening the cornmeal mixture
  • whip the egg whites just until they begin to hold peaks – overbeating gives a grainy texture
  • add part of the whites gently to lighten the cornmeal mixture, then gently add the rest, folding with a spatula and avoid whisking
  • baking powder, your leavening agent, is called double acting because it starts working when liquid is added, and when heat is applied; work quickly once baking powder is added to your recipe – letting mixtures sit on the counter will decrease rising power

 

Burrata Caprese Salad

september 12, 2014

burrata caprese salad

Tomato season is winding down in Virginia.  Time to enjoy the last of these fruits of summer, fresh in salads and salsas or preserved with canning and slow roasting.  I like to make my green tomato chutney which carries me through to next summer.

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herbed creamy potatoes

Herbed Creamy Potatoes

march 7, 2014

herbed creamy potatoes

Like most Americans, I am a mutt.  But having a mother with both parents named Oneal gives me some serious Irish game each St. Patrick’s Day.  Not that I ever need an excuse to enjoy potatoes in any form (exception made for tater tots and their dubious character), but the notion of honoring my heritage with green potatoes would likely make my ancestors proud.

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Hoppin’ John

december 29, 2013

hoppin' john

Southerners know how to ring in the New Year with culinary good luck talismans : hoppin’ john ( a dish of stewed black eyed peas), greens and cornbread.  The black eyed peas are said to symbolize coins, the greens represent paper money and the cornbread makes a good stand-in for gold.  Lest you think we only care for financial stability while ringing in the new, congratulate us also on our good taste, as these dishes are delicious, filling and perfect for company and good cheer.

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Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes

Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes

november 16, 2013

Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes

At Thanksgiving many of us take the literal approach to preparing sweet potatoes by making them even more sweet.  Candied yams, sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows…nothing inherently wrong with these dishes, except that some folks simply do not care for treacly sweetness alongside their savory foods.

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ginger cinnamon applesauce

october 15, 2013

ginger cinnamon applesauce

The heady perfume of Virginia apples at my local roadside stand draws me in, and I load up my box with way more than I can use in a week.  What’s a cook to do?  Well, cook ’em up, of course.

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slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs

october 1, 2013

slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs

 

When you are given a gift of late season tomatoes, you have only two choices; you can eat them all right away, or make them last longer by preserving them for later enjoyment.

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