Category Archives: Side Dish

Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs

Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsYou may not be able to tell from the bevy of desserts I post every week, but I am a huge proponent of eating your greens. Almost every meal I make for myself involves a huge bed of arugula. Yes, for real.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsThat said, on Thanksgiving, there are so many sides that leafy greens can get lost in the mix or left out entirely. To that, I counter this: Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs. It’s the sort of “eat your greens” situation that is absolutely welcome sidled up to cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and Fluffy Dinner Rolls.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsThis is a vegetable side dish that stretches the meaning of the word “vegetable.” Yes, there is kale in there—a lot of it—but it’s coated in a sauce of butter, heavy cream, milk, cream cheese and parmesan, and topped with buttery breadcrumbs. Dietetic, this is not. On Thanksgiving, though, who cares? If there were ever a day for eating a creamy, cheesy, crispy-topped side and calling it a serving of vegetables, this is the one.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsIf you’re wondering why I used kale here instead of going for classic creamed spinach, the answer is simple: kale’s texture holds up. Even after the blanching, shocking, sautéing, saucing, and baking, it still has texture. It contrasts perfectly with the crispy breadcrumbs instead of getting lost in the cheesy sauce. And it’s pretty. And I just *like* kale.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsNow, I know that adding one more thing to your Thanksgiving menu is never something to be taken lightly. Time and energy are at a premium at the holidays! Luckily, Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs is perfect for making ahead. You can stir together the creamed kale part of the equation a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to serve, top it off with the breadcrumb mixture and bake until brown, bubbly, and so creamy and wonderful that even I—a person who has written repeatedly about loathing cream sauce—can’t resist.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsLooking for something a little lighter? Try my Caramelized Brussels Sprouts!

Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs
makes 6-8 servings

Creamed Kale:
2 lbs lacinato kale (curly kale works too)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Breadcrumb Topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or other plain breadcrumbs)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (~1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Bring a large (6 quart) pot of water to a boil over high heat.

Wash and dry kale. Remove and discard the ribs. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice kale into 1/2-inch ribbons.

Fill a large bowl with ice water.

When the pot of water comes to a boil, salt it liberally. Add kale and let cook about 1 minute (until bright green). Remove kale and plunge it directly into the ice water. This method is called blanching & shocking.

Line a sheet pan (or a few plates) with paper towels. Once kale is cool (a few minutes), remove it from the water and place on paper towel-lined pan. Blot with more paper towels to remove excess water.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used the same one I used for the kale) over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Sauté onion 5-7 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in kale, followed by nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir in heavy cream, milk, and cream cheese. Turn heat up to medium-high and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until cream cheese has melted and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Grease an 8-inch casserole dish. Fill with creamed kale.

Make breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and melted butter. Add Parmesan. Scatter mixture over the top of the kale. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

Serve warm. This is best the day it is made, but may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. Breadcrumbs will soften over time, but may be re-crisped in the oven.

To make ahead: after transferring creamed kale to a casserole dish, press plastic wrap to the surface and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, make breadcrumb mixture and scatter it over the top. Bake at 400F until bubbly and golden, about 30 minutes.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy Dinner RollsUntil recently, I’ve eaten (baked) frozen dinner rolls at every holiday dinner of my life and had exactly zero idea that I was missing anything. Warm bread is warm bread, right?

WRONG. So wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrongwrongwrong.Fluffy Dinner RollsI mean, I’m sure I will eat a (baked) frozen dinner roll in the future because warm bread, but now I know the magic and ease of buttery, homemade Fluffy Dinner Rolls and I can never fully go back. In the story of my life, time will be defined as “Before Fluffy Dinner Rolls” and “After Fluffy Dinner Rolls.” Fluffy Dinner RollsOkay, maybe not. But I am changed, and I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you are in the same boat I once was—out there living your lives, blissfully unconcerned that your holiday table is missing something or that you have been denied anything—and I am here to mess all that up by giving you an easy six-ingredient dinner roll recipe that will blow your freaking minds with its buttery, golden wonderfulness and ruin freezer aisle rolls for you forever. #sorrynotsorryFluffy Dinner RollsThese Fluffy Dinner Rolls, y’all. They are fluffy. So fluffy. And they are slightly sweet and buttery as all get-out (whatever that means). There’s butter in the dough, and more is brushed on both before and after baking!Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsDid I mention their softness? When I was testing this recipe, I spent a lot of time poking the golden tops of these rolls and watching them bounce back, just because I could. So soft! So dang fluffy!Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsAs I said, these beautiful dinner rolls require just six ingredients: flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter and buttermilk. These rolls are egg-free, but lack nothing in the flavor or texture departments.Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsThey are super simple to make, too. Don’t let the length of the recipe fool you—I just wanted to ensure that you have all the information you need for Fluffy Dinner Roll success. I’ve included instructions for a stand mixer and mixing by hand, and for using both active dry and instant yeasts. I tried my best to describe how to shape them, but it’s surprisingly difficult to explain with words alone, so here are some pictures of what I did:Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsDon’t worry, they don’t have to be shaped perfectly to be delicious. It took me three batches to get a consistent shaping method. Those other four batches? They were for quality control. Or maybe just making up for lost time.Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy Dinner Rolls
makes 16 rolls

1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast*
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

For brushing:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

Read the recipe all the way through before beginning. Instructions for using instant yeast and mixing by-hand are in the notes at the end of the recipe.

Heat buttermilk until it’s between 90-110F (warm to the touch, but not so hot that you can’t comfortably hold a finger in it).

Stir together buttermilk and granulated sugar in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until it is a bit bubbly or foamy (sometimes a light stir can help this be more visible). If it doesn’t bubble, your yeast is dead. Discard the mixture, get new yeast, and try again.

In the bowl of a stand mixer* fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 cups of flour and salt. Add butter and buttermilk mixture and mix to combine. Mix in remaining 3/4 cup flour. Knead dough in mixer* for 5 minutes or until smooth and slightly sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free environment for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, butter (or otherwise grease) an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Flour a surface. Uncover risen dough and gently punch it down. Place dough on floured surface and pat out into a 1-inch thick disk. Flour a large, sharp chef’s knife and slice the disk into 16 thin wedges.

Shape the rolls. Working with one wedge at a time, roll the point (from the center of the disk, where the long sides meet) toward the short end. Then use your fingers to pull edges or creases underneath, creating a smooth ball-like appearance. Place in pan. Repeat until all rolls have been shaped.

Loosely cover the pan of rolls and place in a warm, draft-free environment for 60 minutes or until they have doubled in size and/or fill the pan.

Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the central or lower position (either will work). Preheat your oven to 400F. Melt the butter for brushing.

Uncover risen rolls. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the tops with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake rolls for 20 minutes, or until deep golden on top. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter when you remove them from the oven.

Let rolls cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

Rolls are best the day they are baked, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Notes:

1. You may use an equal volume of instant yeast. Add it (and the sugar) directly to the dry ingredients, skipping the blooming step. Add warmed buttermilk and butter directly to the dry ingredients and mix as written above in the paragraph beginning “In the bowl of a stand mixer.” The rises may take about 15 minutes longer than with active dry yeast.
2. You may mix this dough in a large mixing bowl with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
3. You may knead this dough by hand on a floured surface.

Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner Rolls

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

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