Category Archives: Side

creamy roasted jalapeño salsa

Creamy Roasted Jalapeño Salsa

It is pretty hard to grow up in Texas and not have a thing for salsa. The quality of the salsa can make or break a Mexican dining experience. If I sit down at a Mexican place and the salsa is lackluster it is rather difficult to look forward to the rest of the meal. However, really good chips and salsa can almost ruin the rest of my meal, because I just can’t stop eating the scoops of salsa and I spoil my appetite for the rest of my dinner. Continue reading

the best cornbread, seriously

Skillet Cornbread

I know that this is a strong statement, but this is seriously some awesome cornbread. I don’t know where you live right now, but Chicago is currently getting sacked with a windy, blowing snow storm.

SNOW!

My high-rise apartment is creaking in almost disturbing ways, and I am making due with the limited amount of groceries currently in my apartment. Thankfully, I had a bag of black eyed peas and some leftover smoked chicken to use up so I threw that into a pot with some onions and celery and some ground chipotle pepper for good measure. But, black eyed peas are just not worth eating without a nice hunk of cornbread on the side. Continue reading

cranberry. orange. dates.

The Table

Is it really only 13 days until Thanksgiving? Somehow that just doesn’t seem possible. I don’t know if it is because we have had a bit of an Indian Summer week in Chicago which allowed me to commute without any outerwear (no! coat! on November 11th!) and run in shorts and a tee. This year, rather than visiting Dave’s family like in years past, we are heading to Florida to visit my Dad’s side of the family. It will be the first time for Dave to meet most of this part of my family and some cousins I haven’t seen since I was in elementary school. And there may be some beach walking and cute town visiting. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the holiday. I’m starting to compile a list of recipes that I want to make in Florida and the first one of my list is this Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Dates that I made last year. I got the recipe from one of my past Gourmet (sob!) magazines and it is a keeper. If you are in need of a little change to your cranberry sauce, give this recipe a try. Also really great on some greek yogurt for breakfast as leftover.

Cranberry Orange Date

Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Dates
Recipe adapted from Gourmet: November 2008

Ingredients:
•1 cup water
•1 1/4 cups sugar
•3 strips orange zest
•1 cup fresh orange juice
•3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
•1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
•1 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates* (6 ounces), divided
•2 (12-ounce) bags cranberries (thawed if frozen), divided

*Dates are a little tricky to chop because they get so sticky so this is how I do it: make a slice in the date lengthwise and pull out the pit. Then cut the date into long strips. Then gather a few strips together and slice again to make smaller bits. Wipe the knife down with hot water to get of the gunk if it gets too sticky.

Simmer water, sugar, zest, juice, vinegar, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, 3 minutes. Add half of dates and half of cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst, about 7 minutes. Stir in remaining dates and cranberries and simmer until remaining cranberries begin to burst, about 7 minutes more. Serve at room temperature

late summer corn

Corn Relish

August 27th.  How is that even possible?  I’ve spent this past week on a little vacation to the future in-laws’ house outside of Philly and have enjoyed sleeping with the windows open and a few much-needed cooler training runs.  But I’m not ready to say bye to Summer 2010 yet.  It’s been a great one.   Continue reading

mom’s potato salad

Mom's Potato Salad

I’ve always found it funny that our tastes change. As a kid, I wasn’t a picky-eater per se, but there were certain things I didn’t like. Sure, I grew up eating Vietnamese food on the southwest side of Houston and didn’t bat an eye at the wonderfully crunchy jellyfish salad at our spot Tay Do. Or those wood ear mushrooms in a bowl of hot and sour soup, but normal button mushrooms in beef stroganoff, no thanks. Or raw tomatoes. Or my Mom’s potato salad. Continue reading

peanut + lime cabbage salad

Peanut/Lime Cabbage Salad

June. June sorta snuck up on me this year. Since this May was the first that I have spent working and not studying and taking finals, or even graduating, the transition to this summer month just appeared. But I’m glad that it has. June means free outdoor concerts in Millennium Park and beach volleyball leagues. Bocce in Lincoln Park.  Bikes instead of buses.  And the sun staying up until well past 7PM. And my 26th birthday on the 8th. And strawberries and rhubarb and sugar snap peas. Continue reading

getting my groove back

Chipotle Hummus

April is a strange month.  One day it is 80 degrees and you curse the fact that your high-rise apartment building still has the heat on full blast and it is almost impossible to sleep because it is hot and stuffy.  The next day, you are getting caught in a downpour while waiting for the bus, with only a rain coat and no umbrella so that by the time the bus finally makes it to your stop, you are wet down to the lining of your dress pants and maybe even your underwear (TMI perhaps, but it totally happened). Continue reading

packed full

Jalapeno Cheddar Scones

Can I let you in on a little secret?  My current kitchen obsession doesn’t revolve around my KitchenAid, or my growing collection from The Spice House, or gearing up for the Holiday cooking season.  My obsession lies with my freezer. Continue reading

summery salads and ranch dressing

 

While I have certainly been enjoying the summer market bounty in the form of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries), peas (sugar snap, english shelling) and beans (favas), I think that the best part about summer is the salads.  I really do enjoy a salad with my dinner and sadly most of the year this means produce that had to be trucked many miles (probably from California, bagged) and it inevitably is tasteless and a little disappointing.  But for a few months out of the year, everything is different.  

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pickling

I have a bit of a confession to make. Even though my recipe index implies otherwise, I really prefer salty over sweet. For a while my “dessert” after dinner,would be a bowl full of salt and vinegar Lays (SOOO addicting and SOOO bad for you) rather than a couple of scoops out of a Ben and Jerry’s Pint. However, recently I have found a new way to get my salty-fix: jar pickles. Specifically, pickled sugar snap peas and spicy pickled carrots.

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