5 Mouthwatering Side Dishes
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PECANS AND CURRANTS
Recipe courtesy of New York Times
2 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds each)
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
¼ cup currants
½ teaspoon chili flakes
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the squash in two at the base of the neck, discarding the hollow bulb end or reserving for another use. Peel the rest and slice into 1/2-inch disks. Toss the squash in a large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper to taste, and arrange in a single layer. Roast the squash, turning once halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, combine garlic and one tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. Sauté until fragrant and tender, about one minute. Add pecans and sugar, and toss until the sugar has melted and the pecans are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk the vinegar into the remaining olive oil. Add the pecan mixture, currants and chili flakes. Mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the squash on a warm platter and top with some or all of the dressing.
ROASTED POTATOES WITH FIGS AND THYME
Recipe courteous of the New York Times
½ pound dried black mission figs or other dried figs
1 ½ cups brewed black tea, more if necessary
2 pounds fingerling potatoes
1 head garlic
5 sprigs of thyme
⅓ cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place figs in a bowl, cover with hot black tea and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight, depending on initial softness of figs.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes well and trim any bad parts. Separate garlic head into individual cloves but do not remove outer skin.
Drain figs. In a bowl, combine garlic, thyme, figs, potatoes and olive oil; toss. Place on roasting pan and bake until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove and season immediately with salt and pepper. Serve. Diners may remove skin from garlic at the table and eat along with the potatoes, if they wish.
ROASTED CARROTS WITH TURMERIC AND CUMIN
Recipe courteous of the New York Times
10 medium carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted
½ teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and crosswise. If the carrots are fat at one end, cut the fat half in half again lengthwise, so that the pieces are more or less equal in thickness. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme leaves.
Heat a heavy baking sheet in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the carrots on it in one layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the carrots every 10 minutes. They should be slightly caramelized and tender.
While the carrots are in the oven place the cumin and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind. Add the soft butter, turmeric and Aleppo pepper or chili powder and stir with the pestle until well amalgamated. Transfer to a large pan.
Remove the carrots from the oven when done and add to the pan with the spice butter and the mint. Toss together, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve from the pan or transfer to a platter.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PEANUT VINAIGRETTE
Recipe courteous of Karen Van Guilder Little
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and rinsed in cold water
¼ cup peanut oil
4 teaspoons champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter, creamy or chunky
Hot sauce or chile oil (optional)
1 large navel orange
3 tablespoons dried tart cherries or cranberries, plumped in warm water, drained and coarsely chopped
Crispy fried shallots, for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees and place a pan of hot water in the bottom, to help prevent the sprouts from becoming tough. Turn on convection if you have it.
Toss sprouts with peanut oil, sprinkle with salt, and spread out on one or two baking sheets. Roast 15 minutes. Stir and continue cooking 10 to 20 minutes more, until browned and crisp. Check sprouts every 5 minutes or so; if they are browning too fast, reduce heat by 25 degrees and turn off convection.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey. Whisk in peanut butter until thick and creamy. Add water until consistency is like creamy salad dressing. Season to taste with hot sauce, if using.
When sprouts are tender and browned, remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add half the dressing and toss well.
Take orange and cut a thick slice off the bottom and the top to make flat surfaces. Rest bottom on a cutting board and use a small, sharp knife to carve off all the peel and pith, cutting from top to bottom and following the curve of the fruit. When all the orange flesh is exposed, cut out each segment by slicing along the white membranes. Gently loosen from the orange and set aside.
Add half the orange and half the cherries to bowl and toss. Taste. Adjust with more dressing, orange and cherries until flavors are balanced. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with fried shallots or fresh mint, or both, if using.
SWEET POTATO PECAN CASSEROLE
Recipe courteous of Food Network
3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
Mix the brown sugar, pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.
Per serving: Calories 160; Fat 4 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 25 mg; Sodium 180 mg; Carbohydrate 31 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 3 g
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