Choose Your Side

I am a meat and potato guy and my side is as important as my main dish. I do like all different kinds of sides, especially if I don't have to cook, but potatoes in any form or shape will be appreciated above anything else.



ROASTED POTATO WEDGES WITH HORSERADISH SOUR CREAM


Ingredients

2 Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves

salt and pepper mix to taste


Directions

Cut each potato into 8 wedges and place in a bowl and cover with cold tap water. Soak overnight in the refrigerator.


The Next Day:

Preheat oven to 400F˚

Drain water off potatoes and pat each wedge dry with a paper towel. Place back in the bowl and add all remaining ingredients except salt and pepper. Rub mix onto each wedge until well coated. Season with salt and pepper.

Place wedges on a cookie sheet, right side up with skin side touching down on cookie sheet. Roast until golden brown and soft in the center, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot from the oven with horseradish sour cream or your favorite dipping sauce.


Makes 4 servings



HORSERADISH SOUR CREAM


Ingredients

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper mix to taste

2 teaspoons finely sliced chives, optional


Directions

In a bowl combine all ingredients and blend well with a whisk.


Every single diet I ever fell off of was because of potatoes and gravy of some sort.

~Dolly Parton


CREAMY CUCUMBER SALAD


Ingredients

3 Hothouse cucumbers, ends cut off and peeled

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon garlic powder

pinch sweet Hungarian paprika

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

salt and pepper mix to taste

1 teaspoon chopped, fresh dill, or chives (optional)


Directions

Place a mandolin over a larger bowl and slice cucumbers into thin wheels, about 1/8-inch.

Sprinkle kosher salt evenly over cucumbers and toss. Set aside and let the salt draw out all water from the cucumbers. This should take about an hour. Leave them on the counter at room temperature.

When ready, take a handful of cucumbers and squeeze out as much liquid as you can and place in another bowl. Repeat until all cucumbers have been squeezed of all liquid.


Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk to blend. Add cucumber to this mixture and stir well. In my opinion, it is always better to make this salad the day before and let it marinate overnight.


Makes 4 to 6 servings


Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas.

~Horace Gray


RICE AND BEANS


Ingredients

1 cup Jasmine rice

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 cup water

1 cup red Kidney beans (including juice)

1 sprig of fresh basil

2 teaspoons salt and pepper mix

1/4 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced


Directions

Preheat oven to 350F˚.

In a saucepot combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover with lid and bring to a boil.

Place on center rack in oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, set aside, and let steep for another 10 minutes.

Fluff up the rice with a fork, remove basil sprig and serve immediately. If you prefer plain white or Basmati rice click the link and it will take you to the recipe.


Makes 4 to 6 servings


The Basics: "Selecting Produce"

When shopping for cucumbers or fresh produce in general, select carefully. Slightly squeeze for any soft or moist spots. Most items should be firm, bright, and crisp-looking. Just as you would expect it to look straight from the farm. The smell doesn't play that big of a role on vegetables, but should not have a musky odor to it. Fruit however, should smell like ripe delicious fruit. Firm fresh looking without any blemishes. The blemished, underripe fruit you leave for the shopper that comes after you.

Tomatoes should smell like tomatoes, and if they are perfectly ripe, tomato soup or tomato salad with avocado and arugula should begin to swirl around in your head, excited to begin the cooking process.

You should be going to the market and see what's the best today and then decide what to cook, not the other way around. Stay within seasons if you want the best.

English or European cucumbers are not an issue for the most part of the year, but still, feel the ends on each cucumber just so they are firm and crisp before putting them into your basket. They should be dark green without yellow spots. You should only buy the best and have high standards when it comes to produce.

Sometimes grocery stores have rotation issues and try to sneak their older inventory into your basket hoping you either don't know or don't look. Let the person behind you get that. You pass and get the best for your table.



I was brought up on a farm in Southwest France, eating farm-fresh produce three times a day. It was paradise on Earth, and it shaped my eating habits and my sense of taste.

~Alain Ducasse




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