Archive for the ‘side dish’ Category

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese Inlay and the Final Challenge

Here it is. My last Charcutepalooza post. The challenge for this, the final month in our year of challenges? Show off a little. Basically, have a party, invite a bunch of friends and feed them until they are ready to burst.

Of course there were a few more guidelines than “just feed people”. A list of items (using at least four) that our meal needed to include: something smoked, cured or brined, something made with pork belly, a pate or terrine,  rillettes or confit and sausage of some kind.

I pulled out all of my trusty charcuterie books. For days I pored over them, considering my menu. A few items easily made the list (my buffalo chicken rillettes and pork belly confit) but some needed more consideration.

Finally, after days of adding something to my list only to replace it with something else two hours later, I settled on the following menu:

To start:
• Scotch Eggs
• Baguettes topped with Bacon Jam and Tomato Confit
• Buffalo Chicken Rillettes
• Baguettes topped with Goat Cheese and Lonzino

• Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese Inlay (based loosely on the version found in Charcuterie, recipe follows)
• Brined Pork Loin with Cured Lemons (from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home)
• Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Maple Syrup and Pecans
• Jim Drohman’s Pork Belly Confit with tender and bitter greens, mustard vinaigrette and sous vide eggs (pork belly recipe from Charcuterie)
• Polenta with Parmesan

And of course there was dessert (I served a nut tart I picked up at Will Bake for Food) and many plentiful cocktails (including a take on a lemon drop that included lavender and rosemary)

Ninety percent of my friends (and my husband) work at a the corporate office of a major corporation that does not allow anyone to take the day after Thanksgiving off work. So, that is the day I settled on for my gathering. Guests started arriving as they got off work and I started feeding them right away. And then I kept feeding them for the next four hours.

It was a glorious night of gluttony. Think about it, how often do you get to eat pork that has been prepared six different ways. The pork belly confit, which was cooked with cinnamon, cloves and allspice than deep fried was my favorite dish of the night, though the still-pink and meltingly tender pork loin was a close second. But then again, those brussels sprouts were pretty good too. Oh, and the veggie terrine…

I’m sad that my year of Charcutepalooza challenges has come to a close though I’m grateful for the new skills I’ve gained and the community of meat-enthusiasts that I have found. I plan to continue my learning and experimentation. Making my own bacon, grinding and stuffing my own sausage, whipping up a rillettes, just because. And now that I’ve got my curing chamber up and running, cured muscles and sausages are again within my grasp.

Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese Inlay
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
This vegetable terrine was a welcome addition to a very meat-centric meal. Add or subtract other vegetables as you see fit, just be sure to think about color transitions as you layer them in you terrine. Make sure to season each vegetable as you prepare it.
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 4 red pepper
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 handful green beans
Goat Cheese Inlay
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 6 ounce Goat cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh soft herbs (parsley, basil, etc)
  • salt and pepper
Gelatin Vinaigrette
  • 2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 3 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices. Shake of as much liquid as you can. Spread the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 2-3 hours or until the tomatoes are dehydrated. Once cool, cut into ¼ inch pieces. (This step can be done 1-2 days in advance)
  2. Heat the grill or preheat the broiler.
  3. Slice the eggplant, zucchini and squash into ⅛ inch slices. Toss the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and grill or broil, turning once until tender. Set aside to cool. Repeat the process with the mushrooms and green beans. Roast, peel and deseed the red peppers, leaving the pepper pieces as large as possible.
  4. Stir together the diced tomatoes, herbs and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper then spoon the goat cheese onto a piece of plastic wrap and use it to form the goat cheese into a log shape the same length as the mold you plan to use.
  5. Heat the water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and allow it to bloom. Heat the bloomed gelatin over low heat until dissolved. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Add the bloomed gelatin to the vinaigrette and set aside in a warm place.
  6. Line a terrine mold with plastic wrap leaving enough overhang on the two long sides to cover the terrine. Lay the eggplant slices over in the mold so that the ends hang over the sides. Brush them with the gelatin vinaigrette. Repeat the process with the zucchini. In the bottom of the terrine add a layer of green beans, followed by mushrooms, and red pepper, brushing each layer with vinaigrette. Spoon the goat cheese in a line down the middle of the terrine. Layer green beans and squash along the sides of the goat cheese. Add a layer of red pepper. Fold the zucchini flaps over, brush with vinaigrette and then finally fold over the eggplant flaps, brush with any remaining vinaigrette. Fold the plastic wrap over and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Remove the terrine from the refrigerator. Open the top flaps of plastic and turn the terrine onto a cutting board. Remove plastic and cut into ¾ inch slices.


Friday, May 27th, 2011

Loaded Potato Salad

Though the weather here in Seattle has yet to show it, Memorial Day generally signifies the start of summer. And of course the start of summer means the start of summer parties.

Next time you need a side dish to take to your friends barbecue try this easy potato salad. It’s all the good stuff about a loaded baked potato without the time (and hot oven use) involved in baking the potatoes.

Make this in the morning (or the day before) so the flavors can marry. It’ll be tastier.

Here’s the ingredients.

You’ll also need a dog (who is flirting the bounds of the “out of the kitchen” rule) in case you drop any cheese.

Okay, you don’t really need the dog, but he is nice to have around.


Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are cooked through (this will take about 10 minutes).

Once the potatoes are cooked drain them and then return them to the hot pan. Immediately pour the vinegar over hot potatoes and stir.

After a minute or so, pour the potatoes into a large dish so that they are more or less in a single layer (this will help the potatoes cool faster).

Then step away. Step away from the potatoes. Seriously, let them cool completely before proceeding or else you will end up with a cheesy, melty mess.

While the potatoes are cooking and cooling saute the diced bacon until it is cooked through and crisp.

Then set it aside to cool.

Once the potatoes are cool place them along with the remaining ingredients in a bowl (reserve a little of the bacon and chives to sprinkle on the top).

Gently stir to combine. Stash this in the fridge until party time.

When it’s time to serve, move the potato salad to a serving bowl and then sprinkle on the reserved bacon and chives.

A seriously tasty side dish that would be great served with grilled steak (you know, a place where a baked potato might be traditional) or even burgers and hot dogs.


serves 6

I used fingerling potatoes because that is what I happened to have on hand, but any potato would work. However, if you do not use a thick-skinned potato (such as a russet) you will want to peel them before proceeding.

1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
4 ounces bacon, diced
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup sour cream

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pan. Pour the vinegar over hot potatoes and stir gently. After a minute, pour the potatoes into a large dish so that they in a single layer and allow them to cool to room temperature.

While the potatoes are cooking saute the diced bacon until it is cooked through and crisp. Then set it aside to cool.

Reserving some of the bacon and chives for topping, combine the cooled potatoes with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir gently to combine completely. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When it’s time to serve, move the potato salad to a serving bowl and then sprinkle on the reserved bacon and chives.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a highly decisive food. People seem to either love them or hate them. There is no in between. Me, I’m in the love them camp. Roasted or suuteed these tiny cabbages are wonderful.

When my box arrived last week, I was especially excited to see this.

Brussels sprouts still on the stalk. I decided to create a Brussels sprout dish that could be fit for the Thanksgiving table.

What makes this fit for your table?
1) It has bacon in it
2) It only requires four ingredients
3) It’s delicious combination of sweet, bitter, salty and nutty flavors
4) It is cooked on the stove top (in one pan) so it doesn’t steal take any precious oven space.
5) Did I mention it has bacon in it

Here’s the ingredients.

Start with a saute pan over high heat. Add the pecans and heat them until they are toasted. You’ll want to stir them every thirty seconds or so until you can start to smell them (about a minute), then start stirring them constantly until they brown a bit. Like this.

Remove them from the pan and wipe the pan out with a paper towel (careful, it’s hot) to get rid of any remaining nut remnants.

Reduce the heat a little and add the bacon to the pan. Saute the bacon until it is crispy and brown…

…then remove it from the pan. Leave at least a Tablespoon of oil in the pan.

Turn the heat back up to high and carefully add the Brussels sprouts to the pan. Toss them a little to cover them all over with the bacon fat and sprinkle on a little salt and pepper. Add a Tablespoon of water and cover the pan to steam the sprouts for two minutes.

Uncover the pan and saute the sprouts for about five minutes more (the water in the pan should be just about gone). Drizzle the honey over the sprouts and stir to coat. After about a minute the honey will thicken a bit to create a glaze.

Lastly, stir in the bacon and the toasted pecans and give it another stir to make sure everything gets covered in the glaze.

Encourage the non-Brussels sprout lovers at your table to try this too. There is enough good stuff going on here that converts could be created. For that, I would be thankful.



serves 4

If you can’t find Brussels sprouts on the stalk replace them with 3/4 pound of fresh Brussels sprouts. I used chestnut honey which has an smoky, slightly bitter flavor but clover honey will work as well although the finished dish will be a bit sweeter.

1 stalk Brussels sprouts, about 3/4 pound once trimmed
3 strips or about 2 ounces bacon, diced
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon chestnut honey

Using a paring knife, trim each of the Brussels sprouts from the stalk. Peel off any wilted outer leaves. Cut very large sprouts in half.

In a saute pan over high heat, toast the pecans. Remove them from the pan and wipe it out with a paper towel.

Reduce heat to medium high. Cook the bacon until it is crispy and browned. Remove it from the pan, leaving at least one Tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.

Turn the heat back up to high and carefully add the brussels sprouts. Stir to coat then season with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan and cook, covered for two minutes.

Remove the lid and continue to cook until the sprouts are tender and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the honey over the sprouts and cook for another minute. Stir in the bacon and pecans and stir to coat.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Potato and Carrot Casserole (In the Style of Pommes Anna)


Pommes Anna has just three ingredients (counting salt) but yet it is one of the most delectable potato dishes on the planet. Delightfully crispy on the outside, smooth and creamy on the inside.

I decided to create a take on this classic French dish. Pommes Anna is usually made with peeled russet potatoes. I used red potatoes (and didn’t bother to peel them). I also decided that adding carrots might be a good idea, a little sweetness added to the mix. The last change I made was to add a couple of cloves of garlic to the butter while it was melting, just to add an extra bit of flavor.

Here’s the ingredients. And yes, that is a whole stick of butter and although it probably won’t all get used, this is not a low-fat dish and is definitely best eaten in moderation.

Using a mandoline I sliced the potatoes and carrots very thin (to about the thickness of a quarter). I discarded the first and last slice off of each potatoes because the skin on those outer edges prevents the potatoes from sucking up butter. I cut the carrots on an angle so that the slices were just a little larger. This step could probably be done by hand if you have a very sharp knife, but it would be very tedious (and hard to get all the slices the same thickness).

While I was slicing I melted the butter, along the the garlic in a small pot on the stove top.

Traditionally pommes anna would be made in a round dish, often a cast iron pan, but my cast iron pan is way two big (I would only get maybe three layers in my giant pan) and this square pan was the first baking dish I came across, so I used it. I used my fancy new silicone basting brush and buttered the dish with the melted butter.

Then I started the layering, potatoes, brush with butter, carrots, brush with butter, sprinkle with a wee bit of salt, repeat. The potatoes should overlap just a little bit. You don’t want to salt every layer or the dish can end up too salty, every other layer seems to work best. And if you are using salted butter you should go really easy on the salt additions.

I ran out of carrots before I ran out of potatoes, so the last few layers of mine were just potatoes. One final brush of butter and into the oven (and see, I didn’t use all the butter, it’s not so bad after all).

I baked the dish at 400 degrees for an hour until the top was browned and the potatoes and carrots were soft.

You’ll often see finished pommes anna inverted onto a serving plate, but I decided to forgo that step, instead just cutting it into quarters and carefully moving each slice to a plate.

I served the potatoes as a complement to pork chops with plum sauce and some roasted then sauteed beets (that I sauteed in that leftover butter, cause that’s how I roll).

The carrots definitely added a nice sweetness to this classic dish. I suppose you could say that the carrots add a little but of healthiness to the dish, but really, there is no making this dish healthy, just tasty.


serves 4

This makes an excellent side dish for pork, beef or chicken.

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
2 clove garlic
8-10 red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed clean
6-8 small carrots (about 6″ long) scrubbed clean

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter along with the garlic over medium heat on the stove top. While the better melts, use a mandoline to cut the potatoes and carrots very thin (about the thickness of a quarter). Butter the bottom and sides of a small casserole dish. Starting with potatoes, alternate layers of potatoes and carrots, brushing each layer with the garlic butter and seasoning every other layer with salt. Bake in preheated oven for an hour until the top is browned and the potatoes and carrots are soft.

About Me

I'm a personal chef living happily with her picky-eater (but willing to try anything) husband, neurotic black lab and a red heeler puppy.

I watch way too much TV and enjoy hip-hop more than any reasonable grown-up should.

I'm an avid swimmer and sometime triathlete (whenever I'm not nursing an injury).

Find out more about me here.

About This Blog

I started this blog at a time when my personal chef business was quite slow and I needed to keep my mind busy and my skills sharp. But now, business is booming so I've had to put the blog on the back burner. So, no new recipes for now, but please enjoy my archives.

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