Tag Archives: side dish

French Fingerling Potatoes

So, if you know me, or if you’ve followed the Foodies Gone Real facebook page for any length of time … you’ve bound to run into my obsession with things FRENCH.

I’m a massive Julia Child fan, my long-term decorating goals are French inspired… and yes, I love French food.  (I had the great opportunity of visiting several times!)

You may have also caught my copy-cat recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu.  (But just to be clear… it may not be legitimately French, but an American attempt at French cooking.)  This is my official side dish.

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If you see me in my kitchen, you might see me in my favorite apron from Williams Sonoma (the MOST durable and thick apron, ever!)

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You can use another potato good for roasting… like a hardy purple potato or red-skinned potato. (Read up on the health benefits of the varieties in this post).  We get fingerling potatoes yearly in our CSA share (Community Shared Agriculture) and they are tougher than the conventional russet.  In other words… these are not the potatoes for mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner.

You should know that fingerling potatoes are considered an heirloom – they are not bred for mass production, but for taste and preserving older kinds of potatoes.

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First up,  pick your six fingerling potatoes chop them into bite-sized pieces.  This really just helps with the cooking all the way through.

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Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy pan.

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While the butter is melting, chop your rosemary.  You can sub in other herbs… thyme, tarragon will work well, too.

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Saute the potatoes and 1 tbl of fresh chopped rosemary in the pan, until the potatoes begin to turn golden.

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Add 2 cups of chicken broth.  Bring to a rapid boil.  Let them boil for no more than 5 minutes.  Cover, and let them simmer for about 20 minutes.

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The goal is for the potatoes to be fork tender.  The starch naturally in potatoes is going to thicken much of the broth into a super yummy sauce.  As in good enough for a spatula after dinner. ;-)

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Don’t mind my mismatch cast-iron.  You do what you gotta do.

After it’s thickened and potatoes are fork tender, salt the dish well.  I do not recommend a specific amount of salt as your broth will determine how much additional salt you might like. (And of course, saltiness is definitely a preference.)

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And viola! Bon Appetit!

 

Introducing Green Beans to Bacon

My husband and I are pretty good sports about our vegetables — even when we don’t love them or care for them, we’ll usually endure them and eat them (and maybe even eat them again) because we know they are SO good for us — you can’t beat what good nutrition does for your health, and we try to get as much variety into our diet as possible.  There are plenty we eat with delight, though!

Green beans were not delightful for us… until we introduced it to bacon.

Introducing Green Beans to Bacon - Foodies Gonee Real

Maybe you’ve heard of it before, this concept… bacon makes all vegetables better.  And we are here to prove it!

For this recipe, fresh green beans were used.  The biggest difference you’ll notice between fresh and frozen are that the frozen will be “mushier” since they will likely have a higher water content as they cook, fresh will have more “crunch”.  I strongly recommend using the french style green beans (not cut up) if you’re going with frozen.

This dish is CRAZY easy to make it as much as you want – this isn’t so much about measuring things out, but based on how many servings you want.  I wanted five bundles, so I needed five pieces of bacon, and grabbed a handful at a time.  Not sure what I mean? Read on, friends!

Ingredients:

Green beans – “French” style (don’t use the traditional “pre-cut”)

Nitrite-free Bacon*, preferably pastured

Rapadura or Coconut Sugar

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat your over to 425*.

Take a handful of green beans.  I usually measure these out within my hand – due to the method of preparation, you want to be able to get your hand all the way around, so I wouldn’t go too big.  Judge your bunch by looking at the picture below.

Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

Take your bacon and begin to wrap it around the bunch, using your hand and thumb to hold it all in place.  Don’t be afraid to stretch the bacon tightly – this will help it “stick” together during the cooking. Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

Place your wraps in the glass baking dish, trying to keep the bacon ends tucked underneath as much as possible.  This dish does not need to be greased… remember all that bacon you’re about to use? It will keep things from sticking once it begins to cook.  (Just do your best.  It will make for easier handling later, but you won’t “break” the recipe by failing to get all the ends tucked under.) Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

Repeat for as much as you need, or to fill the dish.

Top your bacon with fresh ground pepper and your sweetener of choice (I recommend powder/granule forms – I have not tried this with maple syrup or honey.)

Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

Drizzle the soy sauce over your prepped green bean bunches.  You don’t need to drown them, but be generous.

Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

Bake in your over for about 15 minutes.  They bunches will start to look cooked, but we need to cook the undersides of the bacon.  With tongs, you’ll need to carefully flip each bunch over.

Cook for another 10 minutes, and then check on the dish.  Every oven is different, so it is likely that it will be cooked through at this point.

We like crispier bacon in this house, so at this point I usually turn the oven part off, and turn on the broiler.  I broil them for about 5 minutes, or until I see the right level of crispy to my preference.

Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

Let them cool before eating – I usually don’t add any more salt due to the bacon/soy sauce, but I would have pepper on hand as per people’s preferences.

I served this with slow-cooked ribs and it was DELICIOUS.  This bacon theory apples across the board-  have a vegetable you’re not crazy about it? Try adding bacon and see if it’s better.  I bet it will be improved!

Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

*I choose nitrite-free bacon as a preference for UNnatural nitrites.  Nitrites occur within nature, and we can harness these items (celery is a common one) to help with preserving … what I don’t buy into are those fabricated in a lab as I’m going for as real as God intended.  Consequently, when shopping, I usually look for “nitrite-free” bacon, even though it likely still contains natural variants of this (like the previously mentioned celery).

(Small disclaimer: I have seen variations of this recipe – and other bacon/green bean combinations many other places.  This is my original work, and it’s overlapping with any other recipe is unintentional.)

Tri-Color Sage Potatoes

I adore potatoes.  I blame it on my Irish-German (read: Texan) roots.  When asked what my favorite food is, I would tell you a baked potato smothered in butter.

I have since learned to love healthier versions of potatoes – don’t get me wrong, white potatoes aren’t awful, but the simple carbohydrates are just not something my body needs regularly.  (And the point is to eat nutrient-dense food – calories that COUNT.) Hence… tri-colored sage potatoes.

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Here are some perks for incorporating sweet (orange) potatoes and purple potatoes into your diet (aside from eating the rainbow!):

Sweet potatoes:  loaded in vitamin A, and less carbohydrates than its cousin, the white potato (carbs aren’t a concern for everyone … like my husband. His body type is such that he NEEDS carbohydrates in his diet regularly.)  It has lots of vitamin C (think immune support), and the nutrition gained from eating them can be linked to lowering blood pressure and helping with metabolism. (Sources: here and here)

Purple potatoes: fruits and vegetables that are richer in color (think dark reds and purples) have higher antioxidants, which means they fight off radicals that can contribute to/start cancer.  They’re also high in potassium and vitamin C.  (Sources: here and here)

So now that you’ve been given a biology lesson, here’s the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 small purple potatoes
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium white potato
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Thinly slice the potatoes.  I’m talking no thicker than a 1/4 of an inch.  If you have a mandoline, this will work.  If not, a good sharp knife.

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Drizzle olive oil on your baking sheet.  Swirl the potatoes around in the olive oil, then lay them out on the sheet as flat as possible.  Try to keep it to one layer (not stacked on top of each other) … but it won’t hurt a little overlap.

Chop sage leaves very finely.  I recommend stacking them one on top of each other, slice down the middle of the vein of the stem, then cut across the leaves.

Sprinkle the chopped sage across the potatoes.  Salt and pepper the potatoes generously, and give them another drizzle of olive oil.

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Bake the potatoes at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Bring them out and stir them around in the olive oil.  Test a sweet potato – it should be firm but not crunchy in your mouth.  Depending on how thick you stacked, you may need to put them back in for another 2-5 minutes.  If you don’t let them overlap much, they should be nearly done.

Also, keep in mind the type of pan you bake on changes how food cooks – very seasoned stoneware will cook it slower.  Shiny metal pans (or those covered in aluminum foil) will cook quicker.  I cooked mine over shiny metal.

When they were done… and cooled… I ate half the tray.  Standing up. Over the baking sheet.  Yes, they were that good.

I put my husband’s on a plate. :-)P1120328Ready

This recipe was featured on the Homestead Barn Hop.

A New Food: Garlic Scapes (and an Asian-Inspired Side Dish!)

This year we are participating in a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). We are discovering new foods and have fallen in love with garlic scapes!

Bag of scapes!

If you don’t participate in a CSA, you should probably still see some at the Farmer’s Markets (depending on your region — in the NE these are out, in warmer climates, it may be past that time). They are a great onion replacement, and taste fabulous on their own roasted (try this lovely recipe from The Elliott Homestead)

Garlic scapes have a middle “nob” that is tough to chew (etc.) that we choose to cut off or not eat.  Feel free to give a try for yourself! No harm shall come to you by eating it. :-)

Cutting scapes

I threw them into an Asian-inspired veggie stir-fry that I adore! I call it cabbage stir-fry, but my disclaimer is that I do not know by true “Asian-food” definitions that this constitutes as a stir-fry.

CABBAGE STIR-FRY:

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tablespoons of grass-fed butter (you could also use sesame oil if you wanted a different darker flavor)
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated/sticks (I usually just use my vegetable peeler to make a bunch of strips)
  • 4 cups of coarsely chopped cabbage
  • soy sauce

Directions:

Prepare all your veggies.  Truthfully, this is the longest step of the whole process!

While you are cutting them up, turn your stove on and heat the skillet on medium heat for a few minutes (I wouldn’t do it more than 5 minutes before step #3.)

After it’s heated, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on the pan.  This process should be relatively quick as the pan is already hot. (If you use sesame oil, you do not have to wait before step #4.)

Add all your veggies, and saute.  Stir frequently to prevent uneven cooking/burned parts, and add more butter/sesame oil as needed to prevent sticking.

Sauteed cabbage stir-fry

Your veggies are just about done when the start to become transluscent, or lose their color (most noticeable with the red onions).  You can taste a bite of the cabbage, and you don’t want it really crunchy, but you don’t want it soggy, either.  It should have just the tiniest bit of crunch left.

Translucent stir-fry

At this point, add the soy sauce.  I usually just drizzle it around, no measurement.  I would suggest drizzling it, then taste it, and if needed, add more.  Use the soy sauce to scrape up any brown bits or stuck vegetables (shouldn’t be much!).

Soy Sauce Stir-Fry

Now serve! Very easy … and SO tasty.

Cabbage Stir-Fry

Take-out night: Fried Rice

This week (and next) I spending some time away from meal plans and posting a few recipes I’ve had up my sleeve the last few months for awhile…

FRIED RICE.

Fried Rice Cooking!

This is becoming one of my favorite side dishes because it’s easy to turn it into a filling meal.  You have a starch, vegetables, a little bit of protein, and it’s very easy to add more – cook your shrimp, chicken breast, etc. before you start the process and BINGO! A balanced meal.  I think I also like it because you can prep this stuff in advance… you can cook the egg, thaw the peas, cook the rice.  Night of, really… you just throw it all in a pan, and presto!

Unless you’re my husband and this is just enough as a main dish.  What can I say… I married a steak-and-potatoes kind of guy.  (Well, really, a ravioli and meatballs kind of guy, but that’s another story for another day.)  However, this often “does it” for my lunch — I rarely need to add much more to this.  Needless to say, it reheats well, and I often make a large batch and just munch on it throughout the week.

There are two variations, sticky or mushy.  Really, depends on your preference.  I happen to be a mush-food-loving-girl so that’s often how I fix it.  What changes it?  If your peas are fresh/thawed or still frozen when you throw them in the pan.  Throwing them in frozen means you’re going to get water added back to the dish, making it slightly more “mushy”.  If you like sticky fried rice, make sure your peas have no excess water.

I would like to add that I use white rice, and that has to do with the phytic acid content being found in the bran that makes rice “brown rice”.  Granted, brown rice adds more fiber, but I’m not particularly interested in wasting all the nutrition in the rest of my meal on the phytic acid in the bran. So, white rice for me.

Ingredients:
  1. 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice (you can add more or less depending on your liking)
  2. 1 egg, fried, cut into small pieces
  3. 2+ tablespoons of grass-fed butter
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
  5. 1/2 carrot, shredded, matchsticks, or cut into thin strips (I usually use my peeler)
  6. 1 cup of peas frozen or thawed (see notes above about peas)
  7. Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Soy Sauce
  8. dash of tumeric (optional)
  9. dash of ginger (optional)
Directions:

Heat your skillet and add the butter.  You may need to add more butter as you cook if the food starts to stick, so have some around/ready.

Add those onions and carrots and cook!

Onions+Carrots for Fried Rice

Once the onions have started to become translucent, add all the rice and fry it in that yummo butter.

Adding the Rice - Fried Rice

Watch for the rice sticking to the bottom – may need to add more butter!

Once it is thoroughly mixed, dump the peas in.  Notice mine are frozen (if you look carefully you can see the ice).  If you’re using frozen rice, you’ll need to keep the heat on medium, and I recommend covering it with a lid to help it melt faster. You can move to the next step once it’s all melted and mixed in. If you’re using fresh/thawed, just stir until combined.

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Once your peas are mixed, this is where you make it look like take out! Throw a good smattering of soy sauce on the pan and scrape, scrape, scrape all the goodness off the bottom of the pan (shouldn’t be much since you’ve been adding butter!).  Then, give a dusting of tumeric and ginger… feel free to add more to your tastes, tumeric and ginger and SUPER good for you! (Think anti-imflammatory!)

Mix in your fried egg, and voila! Fried rFried Riceice!

Enjoy!

 

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