Category: Sides

Blackberry Goat Cheese Salad

Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and blackberry-red wine vinaigrette.  Now that’s a salad of summer daydreams!

Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams!

I love a GOOD salad.

Notice how I capitalized GOOD?  I mean, I assume you noticed.  I basically shouted the word at you.  But only because it’s really important.

It’s hard to say, “I love salad,” with no shouting of GOOD, and still be taken seriously.  Especially for the Ready To Yumble crew, after we brought you these Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies and these Cheesy Bacon Twists with Puff Pastry.  Salad sounds anticlimactic, a let-down, a begrudging nod to sacrificing flavor for health.

…Ah, not so, friends!  At least, not in the case of a GOOD salad.  We wouldn’t expose you to a sad, blah mess of lettuce and dried out carrots.  No, today we bring you a salad that’s so flavorful and rich – can I use the word “rich” to describe a salad? OK I’m going for it –  that I actually crave it.

Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams! (more…)

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Garlic, Thyme, and Balsamic

Mashed sweet potatoes with the perfect balance of savory flavors make an elegant and easy side dish.

Mashed sweet potatoes with the perfect balance of savory flavors make an elegant and easy side dish.

It’s dangerous for me to write a post that involves thyme.  It just lends itself to terrible puns, and well, terrible puns are a key part of my DNA.  But you know what? It’s thyme to grow up.

OK, OK, that’s out of my system.  Let’s move on.  Because we’re too herbane for that nonsense.

Snicker, snicker.  OK for real now.  I have to focus because this is an incredibly important recipe to have in your cooking repertoire.  Since the first time I made it, it’s shown up on multiple dinner party menus, casual weekday plans, AND…Thanksgiving, which we hosted last year for the very first…thyme.

Don’t worry, I’m actually punching myself in the face now so you don’t have to.

BUT SERIOUSLY, this recipe for mashed sweet potatoes with garlic, thyme, and balsamic is a secret weapon, even more powerful than my sense of humor.  Damning with faint praise, you say?  Well, you may have a point.  Because this dish:

  1. …is easy easy easy.  Boil a few things, mash ’em up, and…that’s it.
  2. …tastes and appears super fancy.
  3. …reheats like a dream, perfect for make-ahead meals.

Mashed sweet potatoes with the perfect balance of savory flavors make an elegant and easy side dish.

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Moroccan Spiced Carrot Soup

This Moroccan spiced carrot soup combines fresh veggies with a touch of honey, lemon, and toasted cumin in a unique and satisfying bowl full of flavor.

Moroccan Spiced Carrot SoupWhile the weather here in Houston skips spring (come to think of it, it pretty much bypassed winter as well) and goes straight to summer, I hear that there are parts of the country that still experience something known as “cool weather”.  Yeah, we had that once.  And we used that opportunity to make a delicious carrot soup.

We made this soup for our annual “Jan-Boree” party.  It’s our own tradition dating all the way back to 2015.  Ah, memories…  It came about because Liz observed that everyone seems to be in a bit of a doldrums in January.  All the holiday festivities have come and gone (and to her immense displeasure, the Christmas tree has been taken away), people have forsaken delicious cakes and decadent meals in the pursuit of New Year’s resolutions, and people have to drag themselves from vacation and shuffle to work.  So she thought it would be fun to host an elegant dinner party at the end of January.  For this meal, we pull out all the stops: I’m talking multiple served courses with wine pairings.  It’s a ton of work, and several tons of dishes, but it’s a good time, and we plan on continuing the tradition.

Moroccan Spiced Carrot Soup

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Baby Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

Sweet baby potatoes, savory bacon, and a hit of fresh lemon make a perfect side dish for almost any occasion.
Baby Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

Don’t you just love a nice big salad?

Yes, those delicious greens…a nice fresh dressing…bacon, sure…potatoes….

Um, okay, maybe it’s not exactly the kind of salad you grab with your co-workers for a typical Tuesday lunch.  But that’s your own mistake.  Because this salad is pretty outstanding.

And I wasn’t being ENTIRELY misleading with my opening sentence.  Greens = nice healthy chives (those count, right?).  Dressing = a lovely citrus blend (okay with bacon…lots of bacon).

In all seriousness, the lemon in the vinaigrette is unexpectedly fresh.  You use both the juice and zest, and together they really brighten up the flavors and cut through what might otherwise be a heavy dish.  (Heavy?  Potato salad?  Whaaa…?)  I’ve eaten some mighty fine German potato salads with extra-extra-extra bacon, and it’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.  But I would actually take this salad, with the bit of citrusy zip, over its similar cousins.  Definitely don’t leave out the lemon. (Or the bacon, actually.  But I doubt I have to spell that out for you.)

Baby Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the real questions is… why “Brussels”?

The things you ponder when you’ve stared at a word for a while.  Same thing happened to me with the word “laptop.”  (Laptop. Laptop.  Lap.  Top.  Starts to sound super weird.)

Wikipedia confirms for me both the spelling and capitalization of “Brussels.”  It also intensifies my questions.  Apparently they were first grown in early Rome (doesn’t compute), then possibly Belgium (okay) in the 13th Century, and its largest modern production takes place in the Netherlands and Germany (hmmm), and possibly the UK but they don’t export (selfish – also, they must eat a ton of veggies).  Okay I might as well link the Wikipedia article at this point.  

So I guess Brussels, the city, did figure in there somewhere.  I’m not sure how everyone settled on them as a namesake, but it maybe it makes more sense than some other words out there.  (Flammable/inflammable anyone?)

K I’ll stop being nerd and talk about this recipe.

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