Tag Archives: side dish

Prosciutto Cups with Ricotta & Balsamic Figs

From here on out you will only want to eat things out of little meat cups.

Fall is awesome. It’s not too cold, not too hot, you have an excuse to start making heartier meals, and watching football all day totally counts as an activity. It’s the total package, just like these little babies. Prosciutto cups always seemed difficult to us until we actually tried them (hint: it’s easy). The salty richness of the pig is balanced nicely by the freshness of the ricotta, and the whole thing is lifted by the sweet and slightly acidic balsamic glazed figs. Better stocked grocery stores will have fresh figs into early November so get on it and up your appetizer/snack game forever.

Equipment Needed: Muffin Tin, Small Cup or Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Frying Pan, Spatula, Spoon

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices prosciutto ($14.99/lb)
  • 6 fresh black mission figs ($4.99/pt)
  • 1/3 C balsamic vinegar ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 1 TBSP maple sugar (you can substitute brown sugar if you can’t find maple sugar; we got ours at Kalustyan’s)($3.99/3 oz)
  • Roughly 2 C fresh ricotta ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary ($1.49/sprig)
  • 1/4 C honey ($4.39/12 oz)

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  • Pull the rosemary leaves off the sprigs and mince them up. Sprinkle some salt over the minced leaves and scrape them against the cutting board as you would if you were making a garlic paste.

Crush up the rosemary a bit to make it infuse better with the honey.

  • Dump the rosemary into a small cup or container and pour the honey over it. Let that sit on the back of the stove to draw ambient heat and meld flavors while you cook everything else.
  • To make the cups, take each slice of prosciutto and line each muffin compartment in the tin making sure that the bottom is completely covered. The end result should look like a cupcake wrapper. The prosciutto will inevitably split several times when you first attempt this. Resist the urge to put your fist through a wall and just be gentle and patient when handling each piece. Pop these in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until they’re crisp.

The first few will frustrate the hell out of you and fall apart. The last few you will be able to do blindfolded.

  • While the cups are cooking place your frying pan over medium heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and maple sugar and stir everything together. Let the vinegar reduce for about 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  • Keeping an eye on your vinegar while it reduces, remove the stems from the figs and slice them in half lengthwise. Once the sauce has thickened a bit place the figs in the pan, sliced side down. Let them sit and cook for 5 minutes; resist the urge to move them so they caramelize a bit.

The reduced balsamic will nicely balance the sweetness of the figs.

  • Pull your prosciutto out of the oven when it’s crispy and set them aside to cool.
  • Flip your fruit and cook for another 5 minutes to soften them through. Turn the heat off, pluck the figs out of the vinegar and set them aside to cool slightly.
  • Carefully pull your prosciutto cups out of the tin and fill each one with a spoonful of ricotta. Place a fig on top of the cheese, sliced side up. Drizzle a little balsamic from the pan over top if you wish and then drizzle some of your rosemary honey over the whole lot for a sweet and earthy accent.

And rosemary honey because we said so.

Roasted Radishes with Anchovy Caper Butter

Sweet, crispy French breakfast radishes slathered in butter? Oui, Oui.

We’ve been trying to expand our veggie vocabulary a bit lately and the Greenmarket is just the place to inspire. A recent trip yielded some gorgeous looking French breakfast radishes that were practically begging us to take them home. Oh little madames and monsieurs, how about a little menage a trois with some anchovies and butter? Oui, oui. Mind if our friends butter and capers watch? No? Now it’s a party.

Equipment Needed: Cast Iron Skillet or Oven Safe Frying Pan, Cutting Board, Tongs, Microplane, Small Bowl or Cup, Fork

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6-8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsners, Lighter Saisons, Dry Stouts

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb French breakfast radishes (or regular radishes if you can’t find them) ($1.50/lb)
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter (room temperature) ($4.99/lb)
  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets ($1.99/2 oz tin)
  • 1-2 TSP capers ($1.99/3 oz jar)
  • Coarse Sea Salt ($3.49/26 oz)
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 450° F. If you haven’t taken the butter out of the fridge yet do so, you’ll want that at room temperature.
  • Scrub the radishes under cold water to remove any excess dirt, pull of any questionable leaves but keep the rest on. Dry the radishes and place them in your skillet to await their fate.
  • In a small mixing bowl add the butter, 1 TSP capers, 3 anchovy fillets and the zest of a lemon.

So zesty.

  • Squeeze in the juice of half of said lemon and stir the whole lot together, taking care to mash the unholy hell out of the anchovies so they incorporate into the butter. Give it a taste and adjust it to your liking; we typically add more anchovy and capers to brine things up a bit.

Whip it good.

  • Toss the radishes in extra virgin olive oil until everything’s evenly coated. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper over top and toss another anchovy fillet into the mix. It’ll melt down while the roots are roasting and lend a subtle umami kick to the veggies. Pop ‘em in the oven for 12 minutes, turn ‘em and cook for another 12 minutes.

Coat the radishes evenly.

  • After the cooking time is up turn the oven off, spread some of the anchovy butter over each radish and pop them back in the oven for another minute to let everything melt together. Plate ‘em up and serve with leftover butter for dipping.

Make it a happy ending with a healthy slathering of butter.

Captain Jack’s Cheesy Toasts

Unquestionably the greatest party food of all time.

These delicious little cheese bombs hold a soft spot in our hearts; they’ve always been a part of our Christmas Eve celebration with our neighbors and were a favorite of our family friend, Jack. There’s no reason to limit yourself to special occasions for these puppies. The prep is quick, the ingredients are basic, and the results are consistently delicious. Think of it as an upgrade to your boring cheese and crackers.

Equipment Needed: 2 Baking Sheets, Mixing Bowl, Large Fork, Spatula, Aluminum Foil

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: Oaky whites or lighter reds

Suggested Beer Pairing: A cold Coors Light in honor of Captain Jack (or whatever you’re drinking)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cocktail loaf rye bread (about $3/loaf)
  • 1/2 small onion (you’ll need enough for 3 TBSP) ($0.99/lb)
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese ($4.49/8 oz bag)
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard ($3.85/8 oz jar)
  • 2 TBSP grated horseradish ($1.99/6 oz jar)
  • 1/3 C bacon bits (this is the ONLY time you’ll ever see us recommend imitation bacon bits; staying true to the original recipe is a matter of principle on this one)(about $3/3 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 °. Line your baking sheets with aluminum foil so you don’t spend the rest of the night scrubbing burnt cheese off of them.
  • Lay out the rye bread slices in an individual layer across the baking sheets. You don’t need to leave that much room between them but you’ll want to be able to get a spatula in there.
  • Pour your mozzarella into the mixing bowl. Mince up the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of onion and toss that in too. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, bacon bits and a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir everything together. Give it a taste and adjust as necessary.

Separate the cheese so you don’t get huge clumps on your toast.

  • Spread a forkful of the mix onto each of the pieces of bread. Pop them in the oven until the cheese is baked to a golden brown. This should take about 8-10 minutes. If you value having sensation in the roof of your mouth, as well as the ability to taste your food, let them cool for at least 3 minutes before serving.

Resist the urge to put too much on each piece, it will spill over and be a waste of cheesy goodness.

Kale Caesar Salad

All kale Emperor Caesar!

Caesar salad; delicious classic that can run the risk of getting boring. Without bastardizing things too much we found some baby kale to add a little bitterness and texture, added bacon (surprise!), and used sourdough for the croutons. The result was a slightly heartier version that played well with our more traditional dressing (make your own and you’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff). Um…romaine who?

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Blender or Food Processor, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon, Paper Towels, Sieve or Salad Spinner, Small Mixing Bowl, Fork

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 4-6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc 

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ale, Black IPA, Dry Stouts

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz baby kale (you can use two bunches of normal kale if you can’t find the other stuff) ($4.49/5 oz package)
  • 6 slices sourdough bread (about $3.99/loaf)
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon ($7.99/lb)
  • 4 eggs ($12.99/lb
  • 2 lemons ($0.50/each)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 4-5 anchovy fillets ($1.99/12 oz tin)
  • 1/2 C Parmigianna Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
  • 1 TSP capers ($2/3 oz jar)
  • 1/2 TSP ground mustard ($3.49/3 oz)
  • 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper ($2/3.5 oz jar)
  • 1/4 C & 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, separated ($8.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Dressing Preparation:

  • Separate your eggs and pour the yolks into your blender (or food processor). Peel and crush the garlic cloves and toss them in as well.

Separate your eggs over a different bowl so you don’t run the risk of getting egg whites in the dressing,

  • Squeeze in the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and grate in about 1/2 a cup of Parmigianna Regianno. Throw in the anchovies, mustard, cayenne pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a teaspoon’s worth of capers. Blend the whole lot together.

Start with the juice of one lemon and add more to taste. We ended up using 1 1/2.

The anchovies will provide the umami backbone for the dressing.

  • Once the solids have broken down slowly pour in 1/4 C of extra virgin olive oil. Be careful not to thin it out too much, though; the dressing should still be able to coat a spoon without running off that easily.
  • Taste, taste, taste. Caesar dressing is all about the right balance and is more art than science. The flavors will need a little time to meld, though, so stop when it’s at the brink of where you want it then pop the dressing in the fridge for an hour. You can always go back and readjust more later.

Salad Preparation:

  • Sift through your kale and throw out any overly wilted or rotten leaves. Rinse, dry and set aside.
  • Place the frying pan over medium heat and add your strips of bacon. While your piggie pieces are crisping up take the sourdough bread and cut it into 1/2-1 inch cubes and set aside.
  • When the bacon is nicely crisped up remove it from the pan and drain it on paper towels. Leave the fat in the frying pan, though, as this is going to help flavor your croutons. Yes, bacon fat croutons.
  • Thow in the bread cubes and stir so they get evenly coated with the remaining fat. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over everything to provide the extra lubrication required and salt and pepper liberally. Leave the bread to sit for about 4 minutes per side and once it’s crisped stir it up to fry the other sides.

Don’t stir the bread too much but make sure it doesn’t burn.

  • In a large mixing bowl add the kale and pour the dressing over the top. Toss the leaves thoroughly to ensure even coverage.
  • Cut the bacon into thin strips crosswise. Sprinkle over the greenery and add croutons until you’re satiated. Stir it up if you want to further incorporate the dressing or eat it as is to keep the flavors distinct. Grate some extra cheese on top if your heart desires and get to it.

Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad

The umami and warmth of the mushrooms plays nicely with the richness of the cheddar and the peppery bite of the arugula.

This dish was inspired by a meal Jake had at the restaurant Fore Street in Portland, ME. Their version used black trumpet mushrooms and clothbound cheddar, which we didn’t have access to, but we think we’ve done it justice. For a meatless salad that eats like a meal look no further.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon, Paper Towels, Sieve or Salad Spinner, Small Mixing Bowl, Fork

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4-6

Suggested Wine Pairing:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Rioja, Malbec 

Suggested Beer Pairing: Porter, Stout, Bitter Ale

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz arugula ($3.49/5 oz package)
  • 2 lbs. baby bella or crimini mushrooms ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 large shallot ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 6 oz porter cheddar (or any good aged cheddar) (about $8.99/lb)
  • 1 C walnuts (about $8.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP & 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, divided ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 2 TBSP whole grain mustard ($4.99/8oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • 4 TBSP balsamic vinegar, divided ($8.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Dressing Preparation:

  • In your small mixing bowl combine the mustard, 1/4 C of olive oil, 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar and your honey. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk everything vigorously with a fork. Give it a taste to adjust the flavors to your liking and set it aside.

Salad Preparation:

  • Peel your shallots and garlic. Cut the shallots into quarters, lengthwise, and then go on to slice each piece thinly. Crush and mince the garlic and combine the two in a small bowl.

Slice your shallots thinly so they cook down more easily.

  • Using a damp paper towel, wipe off your mushrooms and slice them thinly. Place the frying pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When it’s shimmering add the mushrooms with a palmful of salt and pepper. Let them cook down for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the garlic and shallots.
  • Pour in 2 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and let everything cook down for another 10 minutes and take off the burner.
  • Wash and dry your arugula and put it in your serving bowl. Take the cheddar and cut it first into quarter inch thick slices and then into quarter inch cubes. Set aside separately from the arugula.

Cut your cheddar into tiny little cubes known as brunoise, a classic knife technique.

  • Place a frying pan over medium head and add a tablespoon of butter. Make sure to swirl it around the pan to coat the bottom. Add your walnut pieces and let them sit for about 4 minutes (make sure to check at 3 minutes; if they smell like they’re burning, they probably are).
  • Stir the walnuts and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Toast for another 4 minutes and remove from the heat.

Watch the walnuts carefully. Toasted = delicious. Burnt = not so much.

  • We suggest layering things as follows: Arugula, mushrooms, walnuts, and cheddar. Drizzle some dressing across the top of the whole lot and graze away.

Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes

Little lemony roasted potato pearls.

Potatoes can sometimes make us feel blasé. Mashed? Mixed ‘em with everything possible. Baked? Ho hum. Roasted? Always. But a recent sale on meyer lemons inspired us. A simple citrusy twist with some fragrant rosemary takes these tubers to the next level. Pair them with a nice roasted chicken or some Mediterranean fare to keep things interesting.

Equipment Needed: 13 x 9 Baking Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon, Large Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio 

Suggested Beer Pairing: IPAs, Pale Ales, Lighter Saisons

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes (you can use any kind of potato but fingerlings or smaller potatoes make for a more interesting presentation) ($2.49/lb)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 meyer lemons ($0.50-$1/each)
  • 4 large rosemary sprigs ($1.50/sprig or bunch)
  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 3 TBSP whole grain mustard ($4.99/8oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 415° F.
  • Wash your potatoes well making sure to scrub off any dirt. Put them in the baking pan and set them aside.
  • Peel and crush the garlic with the flat site of your knife. Mince it up and sprinkle a generous amount of salt on top. Using the edge of your knife, press down bit by bit on the pile of garlic crushing it into an even finer paste. When you get to the end of the pile consolidate everything and keep crushing until smooth. Toss the garlic on top of the potatoes.

Add more salt if you need extra abrasiveness.

  • Wash your rosemary sprigs and remove the leaves from the stems. Give them a rough chop and toss them in with the potatoes as well. Pour in the olive oil and spoon in the whole grain mustard. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper and still up the whole shebang until everything’s evenly coated.

We like ours with a little extra mustard to keep things interesting.

  • Wash the lemon and cut it into eighths, being careful to remove as many seeds as you can. Throw those suckers in with the potato mix and toss it in the oven. Let it roast up for 20 minutes and then give it a good stir. Pop it back in the oven for another 20 minute or until the spuds are fork tender. Serve with a little butter or sour cream if you desire.

Seriously, these little suckers have a ton of seeds. Remove as many as you can before you throw them in.

Garlicky Pickled Scallions

A perfect pickled produce for plentiful pairings.

Another one fresh from the fields, this CSA bumper crop works great on sandwiches, chopped up on a hot dog, as a side for BBQ. You know, whatever. Yes we need to learn how to pickle things properly so they last longer but for now stop complaining and just enjoy the fact that we’ve given you yet another brilliant idea that will make you look epicurean in front of your friends.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot with Lid, Wooden Spoon or Whisk, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Measuring Cup

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 12 ish

Suggested Wine Pairing: Whatever you’re drinking

Suggested Beer Pairing: Whatever you’re drinking

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches scallions (about $2/bunch)
  • 5 cloves of garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
  • 1 C white vinegar ($2.89/12 oz)
  • 1 C sugar ($2.39/2 lb box)
  • 2 TBSP coarse kosher salt ($2.29/48 oz box)
  • 1 TSP black peppercorns ($3.69/2.25 oz)
  • 1 C water (free)

Preparation:

  • Mix the sugar, vinegar, salt and water in your pot.
  • Cut the root end off your scallions and cut the green leaves off at the point where the stalk starts to turn that light green/white. Pull off the outer layer as it’s usually pretty grungy and wash those puppies thoroughly. Slice them in half lengthwise and set them aside.

Watch your fingers as you slice the scallions down the center.

  • Put your pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. While it’s coming to temperature peel and smash your garlic cloves. Also, cut out a quarter of a lemon and set it aside.

Crush the garlic cloves for maximum flavor diffusion in the pickled mix.

  • Once the vinegar mixture starts boiling add the scallions, garlic, lemon wedge and peppercorns. Stir everything around to make sure it gets coated in the pickling liquid and remove the pot from the heat. Cover the whole lot and let it sit until it comes to room temperature. Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Use it to top sandwiches, as an accent for salads, or just an acidic side for fatty dishes.