Category Archives: Side Dish

Tomato & Zucchini Confit

Tomato & Zucchini ConfitThis is the last post-vacation recipe, I promise. After today, I will write about things that are not the most perfect little island off the coast of Maine. I will. But first I’m going to tell you about the easiest, fanciest-sounding (thanks, French name!) savory late summer preserve/condiment/what-have-you: Tomato & Zucchini Confit.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitUnlike the other recipes I’ve posted from our trip, this one was not part of the plan. I was sitting on the Swan’s Island Library internet porch on our second-to-last night trying to think up ways to use the last of our produce, when I saw Chanie Apfelbaum* talking about garlic confit in her Instagram Stories. When I got back to the cottage a little later, I proceeded to make confit from some grape tomatoes and zucchini that were languishing in the fridge and toss it with some red lentil pasta. And it was good. So good that we ate it again for lunch the next day. So good that it was the first thing I cooked when I got home to Brooklyn. So good that I’m here writing about it because it’s so good, you should make it.

*I follow a number of Kosher food blogs, as I make many Shabbat dinners and holiday meals throughout the year. Chanie’s is one of the best.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitNow, you’ve almost certainly heard of confit, most likely in association with duck. The word itself comes from the French word confire—literally “to preserve.” A confit is a preserve created by slow-cooking a food in fat or sugar. Today, we’re confit-ing tomatoes, zucchini and garlic in olive oil.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini ConfitMaking this confit couldn’t be simpler. Start by tipping a pint of grape tomatoes, some diced zucchini and an entire head’s-worth of garlic cloves into a casserole dish. Season them with thyme, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir in 3/4 cup of olive oil and slow-roast until it’s all soft, caramelized, and fragrant. That’s it.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitThe sky’s the limit on applications. Tomato & Zucchini Confit can be stirred into pasta , grains or beans for a quick meal, or used to garnish chicken or fish. For this post, I just spooned it onto some baguette slices that were toasted in olive oil and called it crostini. Really, put this on anything that could use a touch of herby, savory, garlicky tomato & zucchini. (I think you’ll find that that’s most things.)Tomato & Zucchini ConfitI’ve written this recipe so that the oven is at 300F and the confit cooks for about an hour, but you can go even lower and slower (think 250F for 2 or even 3 hours) for greater depth of flavor. I think it’s pretty wonderful as is though.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini Confit is great the day it’s made, but since it’s a preserve, one batch can last a while. Once it has cooled, just pile it into a jar, top it off with olive oil so that none of the tomato, zucchini or garlic is exposed, and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve it, bring the confit back to room temperature. When you’ve had your fill, top the leftovers with more oil and refrigerate the jar again for up to two weeks. If you’re anything like me though, it won’t be around longer than a few days.Tomato & Zucchini Confit

Tomato & Zucchini Confit
makes about 2 cups

1 head garlic
1 dry pint grape tomatoes, whole
1 large zucchini, 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup olive oil

Serving suggestions:
toasted baguette
pasta
cooked grains
beans
chicken or fish

Preheat the oven to 300F.

Separate all the cloves on a head of garlic and peel them; I like to do this by smashing each one with the flat side of a large chef’s knife and slipping off the skins with my fingers.

Place peeled garlic, tomatoes and zucchini in a large casserole dish. Scatter thyme, red pepper flakes and salt over the top. Pour in olive oil and carefully stir to combine. Bake uncovered for 60-75 minutes, or until tomatoes and garlic have begun to caramelize and everything is fragrant.

Let confit cool at room temperature before transferring to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Top with extra olive oil if anything is exposed before storing in the refrigerator. Tomato & Zucchini Confit will keep in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks.

Bring to room temperature before serving. Continue to top the jar off with more olive oil before storing.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini Confit

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Cornmeal Biscuits

Cornmeal BiscuitsOn the last night before I went on holiday break, I cooked for a dinner party in Brooklyn Heights. The hostess wanted to keep it all very casual, so we quickly settled on a menu of chili, salad, and chocolate pudding for dessert, but determining which carby side to serve was more difficult.Cornmeal BiscuitsI mean, I get it. When you’ve got a warm bowl of chili on a cold winter’s night, deciding between a wedge of cornbread or a flaky biscuit is like deciding which child you like better.

But actually probably not because children and bread are not the same. Oops.Cornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal BiscuitsIf you’ve ever found yourself in a cornbread vs. buttermilk biscuits quandary, this is a recipe for you! There’s no more need for minor bread-related anxiety—these Cornmeal Biscuits are the best of both worlds 🙂 Cornmeal BiscuitsThey’re essentially buttermilk biscuits with yellow cornmeal swapped for some of the flour. The resulting biscuits are buttery and tender in the centers, but have crispy, nubbly edges from the coarse texture of the cornmeal.Cornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal BiscuitsThey’re perfect by themselves or with a pat of butter…Cornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal Biscuits…but I think they’re especially good with a drizzle of Habanero Honey.Cornmeal Biscuits

Cornmeal Biscuits
makes about 11 biscuits

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2/3 cup buttermilk, very cold

For finishing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For serving:
butter
jam
honey (habanero or otherwise)

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and use a pastry blender (or two forks or very clean fingertips) to break it down until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in buttermilk until a dough forms.

Flour a surface and your fingertips. Turn dough onto the surface and pat until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Make sure to cut directly down—do not twist. Place cut biscuits a couple of inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Chill dough/baking sheet if anything becomes too warm/sticky at anytime in this process.

Bake biscuits 12-15 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

Let biscuits cool until you can handle them. Serve with butter, jam, and/or honey, if desired.

Cornmeal Biscuits are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.Cornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal BiscuitsCornmeal Biscuits

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceMy mother makes the best cranberry sauce in the world, but that’s not the recipe I’m sharing today.* Sorry to disappoint.

*Just kidding! I wrote her original recipe in the notes at the end. It’s a Thanksgiving two-fer 🙂 Apple Cider Cranberry SauceI have a good reason for holding out on you. My mom’s cranberry sauce is made with a large amount of brandy, which gets cooked off over the course of an hour in the oven. As I have mentioned previously though, I cannot safely consume alcohol, and therefore do not keep it around, even for cooking.

Since I quit drinking five and a half years ago, cranberry sauce is one of the only dishes that I have really missed. I’ve found work-arounds or substitutes for all sorts of other recipes, but I just couldn’t find one that hit all the same buttons as my mom’s.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceIn case you’re wondering, those buttons include:

  • It’s gotta be whole berry. No weird can-shaped cranberry jello here.
  • It can’t have more than three ingredients. I’ve had cranberry sauces with nuts and spices and other fruits and all sorts of other silliness, and all of it was completely unnecessary.
  • It shouldn’t have any citrus. Orange and cranberry are complementary flavors, but I can’t stand them together in cranberry sauce. This is more of a personal preference than anything, but I mean, this is my personal food blog.
  • It can’t be too sweet. I hate when cranberries are so over-sweetened that their natural tartness is completely masked.
  • It has to be easy. Like ridiculously easy. So low-maintenance, it’s silly. And if it can be made more than a day ahead, that’s ideal.
  • If nothing else, it must be so delicious that I want to eat it every time I spot the jar in the fridge.

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceIt’s taken a few years and many sauces with unrecognizable berries, too much sugar, flavors I didn’t care for, and a lot of feeling sorry for myself, but I’ve finally made a cranberry sauce that hits all those buttons. And the missing ingredient was looking at me the whole time in the form of a seasonal fridge staple: apple cider. It has flavor, but not enough to overwhelm the cranberries, and it’s sweet without being saccharine. Perfection.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceThis sauce comes together over the course of an hour in the oven. It gets stirred twice, but needs no help otherwise.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceThe result is soft, bursting berries that slump into a sweet, sticky sauce. It’s just divine. As is the fact that it can be made today and nuked in the microwave just before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, it’s probably even better that way. Love that.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Want more cranberries? See here and here. For more apple cider, see here and here.

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce*
makes about 3 cups

2 12-ounce bags whole cranberries
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all ingredients in a 9×13-inch casserole dish and stir together. Bake 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Remove sauce from oven. Cool for a few minutes before transferring to a serving dish. Serve.

Cranberry sauce may be made up to two days in advance; it reheats well in the microwave.

Note:

If you want to try my mom’s cranberry sauce, swap the cider for brandy and double the sugar. Everything else is the same.
Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels SproutsI don’t spend much time writing about vegetables, seeing as this is a baking blog and all.Caramelized Brussels SproutsBut the truth is that I eat a lot of vegetables. A lot. Gotta balance out all the baked goods somehow, you know?

Let’s not discuss how many times I’ve had pie and salad for lunch over the last three weeks. #bakerproblemsCaramelized Brussels SproutsThese Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are one of my fall/winter favorites. They’re basically your standard roasted brussels sprouts with the volume turned up. Plus, they’re super easy to make and have this sweet-salty-herby-spicy thing going on that makes them totally irresistible. Like, good luck getting them from the pan to the table without eating half the batch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Caramelized Brussels SproutsI make Caramelized Brussels Sprouts for regular weeknights all the time, but they’re also great for dinner parties and holidays. I made them for Christmas dinner last year and they were a huge hit with my whole family! I can’t help but think they’d make a great Thanksgiving side dish, too.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts are very simple to make. Start by trimming the brussels sprouts and removing any banged-up outer leaves. There’s no need to slice them in half—minimal prep is the name of the game!Caramelized Brussels SproutsPut the sprouts on a baking sheet and toss ‘em with fresh rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, a little sugar, and olive oil.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRoast the brussels sprouts for 40 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 15 minutes. The resulting sprouts will have deeply browned (but not burnt!), crispy exteriors and buttery-soft centers.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRemember that “sweet-salty-herby-spicy” thing? Well, add “crispy-buttery.”Caramelized Brussels SproutsAnd maybe “-things-dreams-are-made-of.”
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
makes 6-8 servings

2 pounds whole raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed & kept whole
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, based on your preference
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, based on your preference

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine all ingredients on a dry rimmed baking sheet and toss together with clean hands. Spread coated brussels sprouts into one layer.

Roast 40 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Brussels Sprouts are ready when the exteriors are deeply browned (but not burnt) and the centers are tender. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}I repeat recipes so infrequently that this is only the third time I’ve made this Chorizo Cornbread since discovering it three years ago. It came to be during a late-January snowstorm that was billed as the storm of the century (as all of them are), but was wholly unremarkable.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Except for the cornbread. That part was pretty memorable. Especially the near-perfect breakfast sandwich I made with the leftovers.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Before we talk about leftovers or magnificent fried egg sandwiches, let’s talk about how good salty, savory chorizo is when it’s enveloped in a barely-sweet piece of cornbread. Because it’s really, really good.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}It’s easy too—this recipe takes just about an hour from the time you start browning the chorizo to the time you pull the finished cornbread from the oven. You won’t need a mixer or anything more than a bowl and a silicone spatula either 🙂

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Start by browning eight ounces of raw chorizo and sautéing some diced onion and minced garlic in the rendered fat.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Mix together some yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar. I don’t usually add sugar to my cornbread, but I like the way it balances the salty chorizo here.

You may also notice a complete lack of flour, making this recipe gluten-free 🙂

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Toss the chorizo, onion, and garlic with the dry ingredients. This allows some of the baking powder to adhere to the meat and keeps it from sinking to the bottom of the finished cornbread.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Add some milk, sour cream, and eggs…

…followed by some melted butter.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Spread it all into a parchment-lined pan…

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}…and bake until browned and a little, uh, dimply.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Slice it into pieces while it’s still warm. I like my Chorizo Cornbread served alongside a kale salad or with a vegetable soup or even just by itself, with or without a pat of butter.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}But like I said, the best way to enjoy this Chorizo Cornbread is to sandwich your slice with a runny egg.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}You can leave it simple (like I did) or jazz it up with cheese and greens and a big hit of sriracha. Either way, it’s basically the best egg sandwich ever.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Have a great weekend, y’all.Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

Chorizo Cornbread
inspired by and heavily adapted from Food52
makes one 9-inch pan

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
8 ounces raw chorizo,* removed from casings (use certified gluten-free chorizo for gluten-free cornbread)
1/2 large white onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup milk (not skim or non-fat), room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Brown chorizo, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once brown, use a spatula to transfer meat to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Turn heat down to medium. Add onion and cook in the chorizo fat until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Combine milk, sour cream, and eggs in a measuring cup. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add chorizo, onion, and garlic, and toss to coat. Pour in milk mixture and fold together. Fold in butter. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Slice and serve warm, with a runny egg, if desired.

Leftover cornbread will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:

I find raw chorizo at Brooklyn Fare in Downtown Brooklyn. If you cannot find or don’t wish to use the raw stuff, I recommend dicing 8 ounces of fully-cooked, dried chorizo and letting it brown a bit in oil before proceeding as written. I haven’t tried it, but I think soy chorizo would work, too.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}