Tag Archives: sides

Brussels and Apples

My mom loves cabbage and apples and have been thinking about another way I could recreate the dish using something other than cabbage.  Thanks to my Mom I came up with this, Brussels and apples!

This is a sweeter side and I cooked mine down until they were really soft.  At the end the brussel sprouts and apples just melt in your mouth.

Brussels and Apples

serves 4-6 as a side

1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed
1 apple, diced
1 medium-large shallot, diced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 Tbsp water
1/4 c. vegetable stock
sea salt

Prepare your produce. Chiffonade, or thin slice your brussel sprouts. When you dice you apple and shallot, you want everything to be a similar size for even cooking. set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a saute pan over medium heat. When hot add the apples and shallot to the pan. Saute them 2-3 minutes then add the brussel sprouts. Add the cider vinegar and cook for a minute. Next add the agave and a little water. saute stirring often about 8-10 minutes. Add 1/4 c. vegetable stock, cover, and cook about 10 minutes more.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving plate and enjoy!


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Eggplant and White Balsamic Salad

It seems like people I talk to either love eggplant or hate it.  I think people’s distaste of eggplant comes from its bitter flavor.  I find the Japanese and Chinese variety tend to be less bitter than purple eggplant. I also love the graffiti eggplant because they are so pretty and it makes me feel like a rebel when graffiti shows up on my grocery receipt.  To avoid bitter traditional purple eggplant I always try to buy the smaller ones, not a guarantee, but it seems to work for me.  Also I slice them, salt them, and drain them on paper towels.

I definitely fall into the love category so I cannot say my opinion of this salad is unbiased, but I think it is delicious and very easy to make.  If your nervous this is good recipe to try.  At least if you are still not fond of it, you didn’t slave away for hours in your kitchen.

Eggplant and White Balsamic Salad
serves 4 as a side

2 Japanese eggplants, sliced 1/4″ thick
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 Tbsp. white Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
salad greens
Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Slice your eggplant crosswise.  You want it fairly thin, but not so thin it falls apart. Maybe 1/4″ thick slices.

Drizzle both sides of your eggplant with olive oil. You want to make sure the eggplant does not stick to the pan (I brushed some olive oil on the baking sheet as well, just to be on the safe side). Also give the eggplant and little sprinkle of sea salt and pepper.

Once the oven is hot bake the eggplant for 10-12 minutes. I rotated the pan and flipped the eggplant half way through so it would cook and brown more evenly. Once it is brown remove from the oven and transfer to plate or cutting board to cool.

Once cool toss with the white balsamic and mint. I let the eggplant sit like this for about 10 minutes before I toss it with the greens. I didn’t specify how many greens you should add because it kinda depends on what you are trying to achieve. I add less greens if I want it as a side and more greens, maybe even some tomatoes, if I want it as a salad. Toss and Enjoy!

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Zucchini Ribbon Salad

I saw a few of these salads floating around the blog world and from the minute I saw the first one I knew I had to try it.

I love a good hearty salad.  They are the perfect dinner accompaniment to leave you happy and satisfied.  The ribboned zucchini along with the crunch of the nuts gives you an amazing texture and the lemony vinaigrette gives it a little bite.  So get out your vegetable peeler and make this happen!!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad
adapted from the Proud Italian

1 Zucchini
1/2 cup nuts (sliced almonds, pine nuts, pecans)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Salad Greens
Any lemony Vinegarette

Ribbon the zucchini. To grill, brush or mist zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle ribbons with salt and pepper. If you are cooking it over the stove, you could add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large nonstick skillet or grill pan but make sure it is evenly distributed so your zucchini doesn’t get too oily. Either grill or sauté ribbons for just a few minutes, the ribbons do not take long to cook. set aside and allow to come to room temperature while preparing your salad. I like to put mine in the refrigerator so they chill slightly.
In a dry pan over medium heat, toast your nuts.
For the vinaigrette I just mixed a little olive oil, Dijon, garlic and lemon together.
Fill your salad bowl with your greens. Toss with some of the Vinaigrette reserving some to drizzle over the top. Add the zucchini ribbons to the top of the salad tossing if needed, then sprinkle on the nuts and cheese. Drizzle remaining dressing over and enjoy!

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Okra and Walnuts

Summer time = lake time to me.  My friends and I love to go wake boarding, tubing, swimming… basically anything that involves water and sunshine!  Where I live there is this little restaurant on this lake that serves burgers, pizza, a lake fare type of thing.  One of their menu items that probably doesn’t get as much publicity as it deserves is their fried okra.  I mean I don’t know why, but it is perfect.  Crispy, hot, and just… perfect.  After a long day on the lake I usually have no problem stuffing my face with the deep fried goodness of it, but on a normal day all I can think about is how far I have to run if I eat this.  Boo!

It wasn’t until I had this okra that I imagined there would be a healthy substitute.  My mom had this at a dinner party, then recreated it at one of her dinner parties, then I recreated it for you.  I have no idea where this recipe came from, but it is amazing and this is my version for you to try.

Okra and Walnuts
serves 4 as a side

1 pint okra, it seems like the smaller okra work better for this
1/2 cup diced red onion or shallot
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Prepare your okra by cutting the brown stem off the top of the okra and halving them lengthwise. Set aside with your diced red onion and walnuts. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over your peeled garlic clove and mince it. Leave you cherry tomatoes whole.

Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium high heat and add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. When hot add your diced onion and soften it for 4-5 minutes. You want it to get soft, but not too brown. Lower the heat slightly if you feel like it is cooking too fast. Add the garlic and saute another minute until fragrant.

Add the okra. You want to stir pretty consistently so the the okra browns all over. The trick is to get good color and a nice sear on it, but for it not to get slimy. I cooked mine about 7-8 minutes.

Add the walnuts and cooked them 2 more minutes to get them nice and toasty. Finally add your tomatoes and season with a little salt. Continue cooking another 2-3 minutes. taste and adjust seasoning then you are ready to serve. Enjoy!

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Watermelon Salad

adapted from how sweet it is

I love watermelon, I mean LOVE IT!  I could probably eat a whole one daily if no one was looking.  It is one of those good for you things that taste like candy to me and is so refreshing at the same time.  One of my go to snacks during the summer is watermelon salad, and now that the summer is coming to an end I wanted to get this last minute post in so you could all try it!

Usually I will just take some chopped watermelon, mix it with some crumbled feta, basil, a sprinkle of salt, then top it with a squeeze of lime.  If I don’t have basil, mint is an equally delicious substitute.  Give this a this a try you will not be disappointed.

In fact I never even dreamed this salad could possibly be any better until I saw Jessica’s post on How Sweet it Is.  Quinoa.  I should of thought of this sooner.  This salad just became out of this world!  Mix your watermelon with 1 cup of Quinoa and and a tablespoon of honey. Enjoy!

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