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December 2011 COTM: 150 Best American Recipes: Side Dishes

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapter about side dishes.

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  1. Tonight I made the butternut squash rounds with sage. They were super simple to make and disnt take long in the oven--important forme since I'm a working mom with a 30-40 minute commute. The garlic oil carmelized nicely on the slices and the little bits of sage were crispy. I would definitely make this again. It was doable on a work night, not something I can say about the majority of my usual squash recipes that require me to cook the squash a night ahead of time.

    The only corrections I would make would be to peel an extra layer of squash off under the skin and brush it with the oil as our rounds were a little tough around the edges. My husband actually nibbled them off before eating the more tender center.

    We ate it with a simple salad I threw together of leftover kamut, a dressing of olive oil, pomegranate molasses, agave nectar, salt and pepper, some chopped parsley and dried cherries and cranberries.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kellyts

      Perfect! Now I know exactly what to do with my butternut squash!

      ~TDQ

      1. re: kellyts

        Butternut Squash Rounds with Sage

        I made a take on these last night. Used a Kiri squash cored, peeled, cut into two-bite sized triangles, tossed (rather than brushing) them with the garlic oil and chopped sage, turned into a baking dish and cooked as the recipe instructs. It worked just fine, and as Kellyts mentions it is a faster way to roast winter squash.

        1. re: qianning

          Tossing it makes so much sense. I will do that next time. DUH! I like this recipe well enough that I suspect I will be making it again before the month is over. Garlicky oil, sage, and butternut squash ... so simple and yet so yummy!

          1. re: kellyts

            I think it might be yummy roasted with ginger oil from carrot-ginger soup recipe - going to try soon.

            1. re: herby

              I think you are spot on, there are a lot of flavor combinations that would work. I often cook cut winter squash low and slow in flavored olive oil in a covered saute pan, which yields a very similar result, but the nice thing about this recipe is you really don't have to watch it too carefully, and it is a bit faster than the stove top method.

      2. Pan-roasted Carrots, pg 197

        Baby carrot season is a distant memory around here, but the recipe notes tell how to make these with "big old carrots", and so I did. Not as pretty as the baby carrots, but still very nice.

        Slowly pan roast carrots, in a saute pan with olive oil over very low heat, until tender and lightly browned. Toward the end of cooking add some rosemary sprigs. Just before serving add honey and butter, and toss. For us half the called for amount of honey and butter was still a bit too much, about a quarter of the amount called for in the recipe would have been just right.

        3 Replies
        1. re: qianning

          Pan-roasted Carrots, pg 197

          Had some lovely rainbow carrots from the FM so I decided to make these. We loved them--total surprise b/c we usually find carrots boring, and there's not much to this recipe. But this particular combination of carrots, OO, butter, honey, and rosemary works exceedingly well. I made half a recipe, but followed the proportions. Nice. And very easy.

           
          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            I usually find carrots fairly boring too, so didn't even think about making this. But given that you feel that way too, and liked this, maybe I need to try it.

            1. re: LulusMom

              It's so easy that even if you don't like them, you won't have invested a lot of time or ingredients. But we really liked them. Who knew!

        2. Roasted Potato Crisps with fresh herbs p. 209

          Ok, I hope someone else tries these and either has more luck or figures them out. I tried them tonight because the picture looks so amazing and this is right up my alley. And I had the ingredients in the pantry. But it mostly made a sticky hash-browny kind of mess for me.

          Basically you slice potatoes very thin on a mandoline and layer them on a cookie sheet with olive oil, slat and pepper and herbs. You boake them at 425 for 20 minutes and then begin to turn them, cooking another 20 minutes or so until they are very thin potato chips. Well, not for me.

          I think the recipe is lacking in specifics... and I am very much a fly by the seat of my pants cook so I don't tend to need specificity. But I followed the recipe exactly and the potatoes did not get crisp by the time I was supposed to do the first turn. I kind of figured this was going to happen but I curious to see what happened. At the first turn, the potatoes mostly just kept stuck together, and made, well, not a mush but more a weird terrine.

          By the end, I did have some wonderful crisps here and there, but not many. The crisps tasted great, though and I'd love a big tray of them! I ended up eating all of it, as it was basically well-cooked potatoes with herbs. Just not like the recipe was supposed to be.

          If I did it again, I would wait to do the first turn until the bottom layer was pretty crisp. But I actually think I might only do one layer on a number of sheets, rather than stack all these layers. I don't understand how the layering of the slices causes them to brown… anyone?

          1. Double-Corn Polenta, p. 203.

            I've posted about this recipe before, but it bears repeating. Made with summer corn and heirloom tomatoes, it's incredible. Made with frozen corn and quartered grape tomatoes, it's almost as good. I use stone-ground polenta, and usually add about 1 cup extra water over the course of cooking, and cook for about 30 minutes. Tonight I used chives as the only herb, and that worked just fine.

            7 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              I was thinking about adding this to my Christmas Table... what do you think, pikawicca?

              1. re: pikawicca

                Double-Corn Polenta, p. 203

                Made this last night. Pretty simple recipe: you cook medium-grind cornmeal in a combo of water and heavy cream. Add in some fresh corn kernels (I used frozen), fresh herbs (I used chives, thyme, and parsley), and parmesan cheese. Top with some diced tomato that has dressed with a touch of olive oil and salt (I used cherry tomatoes). The polenta is supposed to cook in about 20 minutes, but mine took quite a bit longer. This would be great in the summer with fresh corn and tomatoes from the garden, but even with my wintertime make-do ingredients, it was quite good. Leftovers made for a nice breakfast this morning.

                1. re: MelMM

                  I was thinking of this for one of my side dishes at Christmas... do you think it turned out well enough?

                  1. re: Tom P

                    Oh, yes. It turned out great. If it sounds like something that you and your guests would like, I would go for it.

                    1. re: MelMM

                      I'm going to give it a try, then, thank you!

                      1. re: Tom P

                        I made this and a few other recipes from the book for Christmas. This was my least favorite, though the crowd at the dinner table all enjoyed it very much, much more than I. Nothing was wrong with it. I guess I tend to like my own polenta better. And, as some of us have noted, with the title of the book, I keep expecting amazing flavor and dishes rather than "that was very good'. Anyway, it was indeed easy and, as noted, the crowd loved it.

              2. Mushy Zucchini

                I made this yesterday in my ongoing effort to get my kids to eat veggies. I must admit that zucchini is not my favorite vegetable, but I had some in my fridge, and I figured that drenching a vegetable in butter seemed like it might be a big improvement to a fussy 4 year old.

                So the recipe calls for a full stick of butter. I used 1/2 a stick because that just looked like sea of butter as it melted and I couldn't quite bring myself to add the other half a stick. To this, you add 4 cloves garlic minced. Cook that a bit then add your sliced zucchini, salt and pepper. Cover and cook 15 minutes until starting to break up. Adjust seasoning and serve. Super easy.

                The verdict... as you might expect, this tastes like delicious garlic butter with a garnish of zucchini. 4 year old made wretching sounds and refused to eat it. 2 year old prefered braised kale. I ate this with a simple cheese sandwich and some braised kale and felt quite satisfied.

                Don't think this will go into my regular rotation as I'm not a huge zucchini fan and the kids turned up their noses. But I am looking forward to the buttery leftovers.