Category Archives: Side Dish

Grill-roasted Beet Salad

I was never much of a beet fan. Jarred blood-red root vegetables just never did it for me. But that all changed recently when wifey decided to whip up a batch of her mom’s famous beet salad…

“Beets?…seriously?” “Why not make mashed chicken gizzards…”
“You will love this, I promise. I have been eating beets since I’m a kid…Plus, my mother says they’re good for you”
“Yea, but you also love Pastaroni, that’s not saying much”
“Oh please, you love that too now”
“True”
“Oh, one more thing – don’t freak out when you pee red, it’s just the beets”
“WTF?!”

Get yourself:

  • 1 Bunch fresh beets (~4 to a bunch)
  • 6 Cloves fresh garlic, skins on and smashed with heel of knife
  • 2T Balsamic Vinegar
  • Thinly sliced red onion, just  a bit
  • .25t Garlic powder (optional)
  • .5t Oregano
  • 2.5T Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Foil

Printable Recipe

Rinse beets under cool water and dry

Preheat grill or oven to 400F

Slice the greens off and the root ends

(someone told me you can eat the greens, go for it if you’re into that)

Place beets on a sheet of foil

Smash the cloves of garlic with heel of knife to open up the skins…

…object here is to roast the garlic and infuse the beets with some garlic goodness

Toss the cloves into the beets

Drizzle 1.5T of olive oil over beets and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Wrap it up in the foil making sure there are no holes or seams

Toss the beets on grill or in oven

Roast for ~40mins or until fork tender like a potato

When done, carefully open up pouch

Beets will be perfectly roasted and surrounded by aromatic roasted garlic

Let cool then peel off skins and slice into disks

Dress beets with the red onion, remainder of oil, balsamic, oregano, optional garlic powder, and s&p

Toss it all together and taste

Serve room temp or chill – they’re even better chilled and eaten the next day

Now, I know beets are not the most appealing looking of veggie sides, but the taste sure makes up for that

I’m a true convert

Oh, and someone else told me to add a little crumbled goat cheese to the beets…

…sounds hella good, I’ll give that a shot next time around

…adios…

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Mozzarella in Carrozza

Leave it to those crazy Italians to take a grilled cheese sandwich and batter it up then deep fry it. Mozzarella in Carrozza (Mozzarella in a carriage) is like a gangsta’ grilled cheese mozzarella stick hybrid sorta thing. You’ve probably seen it on an Italian restaurant menu and you may have even ordered it or its cousin Spiedini di Mozzarella. So…since I’m all about bringing the restaurant experience home…I decided to throw this recipe up so you can do the same…

You feel me?!

Prep time: ~10mins
Cook time: ~10mins

Get yourself:

  • 8 Slices sandwich bread or Italian bread sliced at least 1/4″ thick with crusts trimmed off
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1T Parsley
  • 4T Pecorino-Romano
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 4 Slices block mozzarella sliced thick and about the size of the bread
  • 2 Fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1.5C Plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • .5C Seasoned bread crumb (I use 4C)
  • 1C AP Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Enough vegetable oil for frying
  • Deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot for frying
  • Tongs
  • Plate lined with paper towels
  • Candy thermometer if you’re not using a deep fryer

Printable Recipe

Ready for this?!

Get the fryer going @ 350F

If you don’t have one…definitely worth the investment..

I’m just throwin’ it out there…

Combine eggs, parsley, grated cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl

Beat it up

Should be fluffy with no visible unbroken egg whites

Combine your crumbs

My assembly line

Ford would be proud

Slice up the block and fresh mozz

You can use either or, but I like the combo

Make a cheese sandwich

Block mozzarella goes down first followed by the fresh mozz

Ready to get dunked

Dredge all sides in flour

Tap lightly to get rid of excess flour

Then hit it with the egg and pack on the crumbs

Set aside and repeat with the rest of sandwiches

Drop it in the oil…

That’s a beautiful site…

Dry on a plate lined with paper towels

It’s like the most awesome mozzarella stick ever…

Look at that…

Break into that crust like a molten lava cake…

Let the cheese ooze out…

Dip in a little fresh marinara sauce…

Stare at the other 3 sandwiches fresh out the fryer and debate eating them…

…all

Mangia!!

Panko Roasted Asparagus

I know I can hear you…”Joe, you have all these entrees, where the heck are the sides?!”

Panko roasted asparagus are my go to side for almost any dish. In my house we refer to the crispy panko crumbs as “crunchies” as in, “babe, sprinkle mad crunchies on my asparagus!” The crumbs are infused with some Pecorino Romano and seasoning then bound together with good quality evoo. Off the hook! The side dish is lite, healthy, fun, delicious, and EASY! You’re gonna love this one…

Prep time: 5mins
Cook time: 15mins
Serves: 4-6

Get yourself:

  • 1 Bunch asparagus
  • 2T Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3C Plain or seasoned Panko
  • 1T Pecorino Romano
  • 1t Dry mustard
  • 1t Garlic Powder
  • .5t Pepper
  • .25t Kosher salt
  • Ziploc bag
  • Preheated oven to 450F

Printable Recipe

Prep the asparagi…

Break off ends

Rinse

Dry

Add olive oil first

You want oil to adhere to stalks, but they shouldn’t be sopping wet

I used ~2T evoo, you may need more

Eyeball it (best kitchen gadget you have)

Next, toss your dry ingredients into a Ziploc bag

Shake it like a salt shaker…

Shake it like a Polaroid pictureeeeeeeeee

Drop ’em onto a foil lined baking tray

Drizzle a lil evoo over stalks for good luck

Make sure crunchies are evenly dispersed over asparagus…

Bake in 450F oven for 15mins

The asparagus should be bright green and still have a bite

Don’t overcook until they wilt…

…not cool…

Crispy, golden, crunchy, savory, cheesy, asparagusy

You never thought a side dish could be so…

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

(Post) Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Objectives: RELAX and EAT.

…and so we did…all day.

We decided to kick things off with leftover cinnamon rolls from the Pioneer Woman (wifey froze half of the disturbingly delicious cinnamon roll dough from last time). Perfect.

And so the deliberate yet destructive eating began…

Our next venture was Oreo cookies…homemade, super chocolate-y, creamy, straight up milk dunkin’ OREO’s!…yea that’s right I made ’em and even colored the center…pause. Thanks to a little inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, I whipped up a big batch of V-day O’s, all pun intended…

The day turned to night…

We started dinner off with a lite, weight watchers friendly appetizer…

Swiss fondue with homemade bread

Take bread, dip repeatedly in warm, melty, gooey cheese. groan.

Repeat.

Note: Use a fondue pot if you have one. I battled it out with the cheese in this sauce pot for a good 20mins. You see, stainless steel pots heat too quickly and if the cheese gets too hot too fast it seizes up. I had to beat the seize outta my cheese. Here’s the recipe (click the pic to enlarge)…

Needless to say, dinner did not come immediately after. As a matter of fact, we both fell into a deep food coma and woke up an hour later. Of course I get blamed…

“Why’d you let me sleep that long?!”

“I didn’t let you, I was sleeping myself.”

“But, I thought you were cooking dinner?!”

“Are you seriously hungry after we just inhaled a pound of melted cheese and a loaf of bread?!”

“Well, I’m not starving…but we have to eat dinner.”

“We’ll eat later, in the meantime let’s drink.”

Drink of the night….

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini

This seriously tastes like a chocolate covered cherry…got wasted

Get yourself: 2oz Chocolate vodka, 20z Black Cherry vodka, 2oz half and half, 2oz simple syrup, 6t Maraschino cherry juice + 4 cherries, 1T Ghiradelli Double Chocolate-Hot Cocoa mix, Chocolate syrup.

To make: Combine all your liquids into a shaker over ice and shake. Line rim of glass with chocolate syrup. Place cherries at bottom of glass. Pour drink in. Dust top of drink by putting cocoa powder in a sieve and tapping it. Sit down. If standing, grab hold of something stable such as a counter top or banister or such as…drink, enjoy, thank me later.

Okay, now that we’re feelin’ loose…let’s, uh, cook dinner?

Dinner

Sherry Baby Bella’s

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

Porterhouse for Two — Ruth’s Chris style

I wanted some classic sides to go with the 2.5lb hunk of beast I was serving so I thought sautéed mushrooms and mashed potatoes would be perfect. Then I thought, that’s boring.  So I tweaked them a little and now, lucky me, I can never go back to the classic way because it just pales in comparison.

Sherry Baby Bella’s

These mushrooms are bangin’!

Get yourself: 1 shallot, 5T butter, 2T extra virgin, 6 cloves roasted garlic mash, 2 packages of sliced baby bella’s, 1/4 cup dry sherry cooking wine, salt and cracked black pepper, 1T fresh chopped parsley

To make: In a skillet over medium flame heat up your 3T butter and 1T of oil. When butter foam subsides toss in your roasted garlic mash and stir to break up. Then add your shallots and cook for 5 mins until soft and starting to brown. Now toss in 1T of butter, let it melt, and then add the mushrooms. Toss to coat. Let mushrooms cook down a bit and get nice and soft. Now, raise the flame to high, add in your sherry wine and cook for a few mins scraping bottom of pan to deglaze. Reduce flame to medium and stir all together.Continue to cook mushrooms, they should be shrunken and slightly browned at this point. Add your last T of butter and olive oil. This will create a buttery, and velvety sauce for the mushrooms. Kill the flame. Toss in your parsley. Put the fork down.

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

This recipe yields a batch of (s)mashed potatoes like no other. There’s a hint of roasted garlic and Parmesan and the texture is silky smooth. Roughly mashing the potatoes leaves some chunks of potato and skin which gives the dish  contrasting textures.

Get yourself: 3lbs new baby red potatoes, 1 cup heavy cream, 2T butter, 6-8 cloves roasted garlic mash, 1T extra virgin, 3 handfuls of grated Parmesan, salt&cracked pepper.

First things first, cook your potatoes until fork tender. I like to throw mine in a huge Pyrex bowl, add 1/4 cup of water to the bowl, cover, and heat in microwave for 6-8 mins/lb. They will pierce easily with a fork. Dump any remaining water from the bowl and smash the potatoes.

Leave it chunky (it’ll break down when you stir later). In a large pot heat your butter and roasted garlic mash. When foam subsides on butter add the heavy cream, black pepper and Parmesan. Stir to make saucy. Toss in your potato mash and stir until the potatoes are somewhat creamy and take on a sheen.

I’m warning you may be tempted to eat half before it even gets to the plate!

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…our headliner this evening….

weighing in @ 2.5lb and measuring 2″ thick…

Porterhouse (for 2)

Get yourself: a big slab of Porterhouse beef (I put in a special request at the local butcher), 2T butter, 1T fresh parsley, oven-safe serving platter, s&cracked pepper.

Can’t picture a 2.5lb porterhouse, see for yourself…

To make: All it takes to cook this is a quick sear ea. side over high heat and then it gets finished in the oven. First you will take the meat out at least 15mins before cooking so it gets to room temp. Preheat oven to 450F. Next, liberally salt and pepper the beef.  Heat a cast iron skillet grill pan until smoking hot. Sear the steak on one side for ~3mins then flip. Place 1T of butter on top of beef. Place skillet in middle of oven and check for doneness after 8-10mins. Once beef is done, put 1T butter on oven-safe platter and put under broiler for a few mins (watch that butter doesn’t burn). Take out and sprinkle with parsley.  Then place meat on platter and carve.

Make sure you have your stove exhaust on high bc this steak will hiss and smoke like crazy!

And there you have it…

be VERY careful, the plate is hot!