Tag Archives: side dish recipe

Simmered Asparagus with Orange and Mint

A classy little asparagus dish that requires barely any time at all.
A classy little asparagus dish that requires barely any time at all.

My favorite way to enjoy asparagus is grilled. The high heat brings out the natural sweetness of the spears, while the lick of smoke makes anything tastier.

But now and again, it’s nice to swap primal and rustic for elegant and lady-like.

That’s where “Simmered Asparagus with Orange and Mint” comes in.

It’s much like glazed carrots — pan-simmered with a little water and aromatics until the liquid evaporates and turns to steam, leaving behind perfectly tender spears coated with deliciousness.

The recipe is from “All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice” (W.W. Norton, 2019), of which I received a review copy. It’s by award-winning cooking instructor, cookbook author, and recipe developer Molly Stevens.

It’s one of 150 recipes in this indispensable book that offers up approachable and thoughtful dishes for home-cooks that make use of vegetables, grains, meats, fish, and sweets.

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Burnt Broccoli with Tahini-Mustard Dressing

Whisk together tahini, two types of mustard and vinegar for an addictive dressing for broccoli.
Whisk together tahini, two types of mustard and vinegar for an addictive dressing for broccoli.

Admittedly, much like a 5-year-old, my husband actually likes mayo or ranch dressing on his broccoli.

I get it, I get it. Folks like him just like a little creamy something-something to tone down the bitter, in-your-face vegetative character of broccoli.

But I’ve found something way better to dress it with instead.

“Burnt Broccoli with Tahini-Mustard Dressing” satisfies in the same way, but is definitely a step up.

This quick recipe is from “MUNCHIES Guide To Dinner” (Ten Speed Press, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by the editors of Munchies, the James Beard Award-winning food brand of VICE media group.

The look of the book is definitely millennial-driven, with its bright-colored, Instagram-like photos and its let’s-get-in-the-kitchen-and-hack-this vibe.

Some of the recipes would definitely qualify as stoner food, but ones you’d really want to eat no matter what your current state: I’m thinking of you, “Carne Asada Fries” and “Cacio e Pepe Popcorn.” Others are standards that should be in everyone’s wheelhouse, including “Lemognrass-Steamed Mussels,” “Grilled Caesar Salad,” and “Chicken Pot Pie.”

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Modern Cauliflower Gratin — Lighter and More Flavorful

A gratin that won't weigh you down.

A gratin that won’t weigh you down.


Usually smothered in heavy cream and copious amounts of melty, gooey cheese, gratins are both comfort food and festive special occasion fare.

They’re also rich, heavy, and total gut-busters.

But what if they could be lightened — without sacrificing the luscious quality we love about them?

Leave it to the geniuses behind America’s Test Kitchen to do just that — at least with cauliflower gratin.

Meet “Modern Cauliflower Gratin,” an inventive take on the classic. It’s one of more than 700 innovative recipes in the new cookbook, “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

Cooks Illustrated Vegetables

If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, then you know all too well how meticulous these recipes have been tested until perfected. Although the book is called “Vegetables” illustrated, it doesn’t mean this is a vegetarian cookbook. While vegetables are dominant, many recipes feature meat or seafood, or make use of chicken broth.

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Sensational Seared Miso Mushrooms

What's in this bowl? An umami bomb, that's what.

What’s in this bowl? An umami bomb, that’s what.


There are only three ingredients in this recipe and none of them is meat. Yet you won’t believe the powerhouse of earthy, meaty flavors it possesses.

The secret is red miso.

“Seared Miso Mushrooms” is a recipe from the new cookbook, “Feasts of Veg: Plant-Based Food for Gatherings” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Nina Olsson, a Sweden-based photographer and recipe developer who created the blog, NourishAtelier.

The book is a collection of vegetarian recipes that take influences from around the world. Think “Caramelized Onion Tarte Tatin,” “Smoked Tofu Rillette,” “Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos,” and “Sweet Tahini Babka.”

Feasts of Veg. jpg

Miso is made from soybeans fermented with rice or other grains. If all you know is the lighter tasting white and yellow varieties, it’s high time you tried its deeper, darker cousin that’s been fermented even longer. It is much more pungent, with a much deeper and stronger earthy funkiness that will give anything it touches a big boost of umami.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Eggplant with Anchovies and Oregano

High-heat roasting turns eggplant sweet and custardy.

High-heat roasting turns eggplant sweet and custardy.

There’s no doubt that London’s Yotam Ottolenghi is prolific.

The chef, who has reinvented Middle Eastern fare, owns a slew of restaurants, including the fine-dining Nopi and Rovi. He’s also the author of six best-selling cookbooks.

As delicious as they are, though, many of the recipes in those cookbooks require a real commitment. They tend to be recipes that a multiple pages long and require several components to assemble. They’re recipes you have to block out a good amount of time on a weekend to do.

Ottolenghi Simple

His seventh cookbook, “Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy is the antidote to that. Almost every recipe is only one page long. Some of them can be made in less than 30 minutes, and with 10 ingredients or fewer.

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