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Apr 30, 2008 10:18 PM

MAY COTM Flexitarian Table SIDE DISHES (all seasons)

Discussion of side dishes from all the menus for all the seasons here.

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  1. I'm not quite sure if I'm posting in the right category, but here goes....

    I made the Creamy Root Vegetable soup the other night (internet recipe). It was relatively straightforward, but time-consuming. With all the veg peeling, chopping and simmering, it took nearly two hours! I used a mixture of parsnip, carrot, swede and jerusalem artichoke as that's what I had in the fridge. It was a pretty typical soup recipe - I sweated onion, garlic and ginger in butter and olive oil, added ground fennel seeds, turmeric and the root veg and stock (I used a light chicken stock, as I had some that needed using up), and simmered until tender. Then I pureed it using my immersion blender and added cream and seasoning (I halved the amount of cream). It needed quite a lot of S&P to lift it.

    The resulting soup was hearty, as you'd expect from the amount of root veggies used, but a bit, well, meh. I thought the ground fennel dominated a bit, which I wasn't overly keen on. Maybe it would have helped if I'd added the full amount of cream. Overall, it was a handy, filling lunch to take to work for the next few days (especially as the weather has been rubbish here), but I wouldn't make it again.

    1. Butter-braised Radishes with their greens (spring menu 6, p. 64).

      Thanks to oakjoan for pointing this recipe out - I had somehow overlooked it, but I'm so glad I tried it. I had leftover radishes and was going to be eating solo, so I figured it was the perfect time to give this a shot. You braise the radishes in butter, brown sugar and water, add their greens a few minutes after the bulbs, then take them out to reduce the sauce (along with some white wine vinegar and nutmeg). I tossed in a little additional brown sugar at the end (he tells you to taste for this), probably next time would add a little more. I'd also cut the radishes into maybe quarters, because I'd like them to soak up every bit of the braising juice - really a nice dish, and very pretty.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LulusMom

        Butter-braised Radishes with their greens (spring menu 6, p. 64).

        I've been meaning to make this for a while, and finally had the chance this weekend. Love this simple recipe! I used radishes and Japanese salad turnips from the farmers market. I took LuLusMom's advice and halved them so they would soak up more of the braising liquid. Great flavor and quick to cook, this recipe is a keeper.

      2. Rice with Herbs (Spring menu 7, pg. 75)

        This was amazing. From making the sauce (blend spinach, parsley, cilantro, mint and a jalapeno with water) to sautéing the pine nuts with rice, the whole dish was incredibly fragrant. And, the dish didn’t disappoint once I ate it. I paired this with the soy sauce tofu and the salad with the dill vinaigrette. The whole meal was delicious.

        I served this with the soy tofu (pg. 126) and the Spring Greens in Dill Vinaigrette (pg. 52)

        1. Spring Roasted Carrots with Cumin and Lime, page 25
          Chilled Asparagus Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette, page 56

          1. To the carrots I added quartered fingerling potatoes and a red onion sliced in half moons but followed the rest of the recipe pretty much as designed. The combination of cumin with Aleppo pepper and lime was brilliant....We loved this! I did not use the skillet techinique but loaded all the veggies and seasonngs into a roasting pan and set it into the oven at 425*. The result was wonderful.

          2. As for the asparagus..... What can I say? I love sherry vinegar. I love asparagus.... asparagi, in Italian.... I love that word.

          I did not add the hard boiled egg garnish because I thought it would be over kill. I cannot wait to make this again. AND, I cannot wait to serve it to family and friends! Bravo Maestro Berley! To make this complete we found very thin early asparagus at the farm we shopped at yesterday... just as Chef recommended for the recipe. Lucky us.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Spring Roasted Carrots with Cumin and Lime (spring menu 1, pg. 25)

            This was delicious. I had some beautiful baby carrots in the CSA box. I'm not the biggest carrot fan and am always looking for tolerable ways to eat them. This could be it. The lime and cumin were nicely contrasted with the sweetness of the carrots. I added too much lime juice and not enough cumin. I didn't know the total weight of the carrots so I winged it. But, it was still tasty although a bit too tart for my taste.

            1. re: beetlebug

              Isn't that a great recipe? I just love the combo. As I posted below (because I missed Gio's original post), I made it with supermarket 'baby' carrots, and it was still great.

          2. Creamy Risotto-Style Brown Rice with Spring Greens and Asiago - p. 41

            I think this is the right thread - I'm still getting my mind around tofu as a "main"! I cooked brown basmati my way rather than his, as I find that 40-45 minutes is far too long and give you mushy rice. I soaked for about 5 hours, but could discern no difference from the rice when I don't do that, so will skip that next time. I had some really nice baby greens from the farmer's market, including arugula, tatsoi, and baby mustard greens, and supplemented it with grocery store baby arugula to get to 6 oz (I made half a batch). I used a combination of ramps and scallions, and some nice aged (though still soft) Asiago, and probably used more Asiago than called for. Overall, I liked the dish, and did keep tasting and salting to bring out the flavors. My husband said it would be MUCH better as a real risotto, and I think of this more as a rice pilaf than "risotto-style".

            7 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              I made this last night with the pressed crispy chicken

              I loooooved this. I made it with mache and arugula as the greens, used short grain brown rice that I cooked ahead in the rice cooker. The flavor of this reminded me of my favorite soup, broccoli rice, and also of some similar dish I ate growing up (probably zuchhini & spinach rice with romano cheese? not sure, but I absolutely knew the flavor). We all had second helpings of this dish. I used scallions, alas during little league season I can't make it to the farmers market on Saturday mornings.

              1. re: MMRuth

                I made this for dinner tonight and quite liked it (OH loved it). I used green garlic, regular garlic and what we call spring greens but what you probably know as collard greens. I cooked them for a bit longer than called for as they're not as tender as baby greens. I substituted parmesan for the asiago which seemed to work OK. Served with Marcella's lemon chicken (my regular roast chicken recipe), tsatsiki and sauteed courgettes (the first of the season). All in all a pretty nice dinner.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Creamy Risotto-Style Brown Rice with Spring Greens and Asiago - p. 41

                  I made this tonight, with amaranth as my greens. I loved the concept and the texture, but found the ginger flavor a total distraction in the dish. I'll definitely make it again, but without the ginger.

                  I wonder if whether the dish comes out like pilaf or risotto depends on how much of the reserved cooking liquid from the greens you use. I made about 1/3 of a recipe using 1 c of cooked brown rice, but I added about 3/4 c of the reserved water. It all got absorbed, and the effect was creamy, not soupy. (It's curious that the picture in the book looks more soupy than creamy, though.)

                  Btw, the rice was some that I already had cooked, so I didn't follow his soaking regimen, and it seemed fine. I think I'll try it again some time with barley.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Re: MMRuth's rice cooking ala Berley post. I just recently discovered organic brown basmati rice in bulk at our local food shrine, Berkeley Bowl. The directions I found for cooking it (can't remember where) didn't call for any soaking at all. I rinsed it as Madhur instructed me to do in one of her early cookbooks. Not sure if it's necessary anymore. Anyway, I cooked it exactly as I'd have done for regular rice and it came out fine. I hate it when rice splits at the ends and gets mushy!

                    This basmathi is my new favorite rice, along with Bhutanese red rice.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      Glad it worked out - I disliked brown rice for many years, based on cooking it for 45 minutes or so. But this way, it doesn't split and is almost like regular rice. I think I have some Bhutanese rice - need to pull it out. Have to confess that I've not cooked from the book since last Friday, when we decided that two weeks of being veg was enough for us!

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I had a mild dislike of brown rice for years, but then when short grain brown rice was on sale at my food co-op, I bought some and have not looked back. Short grain is so much better. Chewy and tasty. Long grain tends to get dry w/ an unappealing mouthfeel.

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      I made this last night but true to form changed it up, cooking the shorter grain brown rice from Massa Organics in more a risotto style (next time I will probably almost cook it and then turn to risotto style like Berley suggests). I thought it needed more flavor, but didn't want too much butter and cheese, so I added some orange zest. Completely changed the dish, but I liked it. USed radish and turnip greens.