Side Dishes

Saucy, Sexy...Saurkraut?

Yep! Sauerkraut! I just made a batch of the freshest tastiest most mind blowing sauerkraut I have ever eaten.

And it was SOOOOOO easy! Do yourself a favor and make a batch of this stuff ASAP.

Keep it on hand in the fridge for up to a year and you will have a great tasting side for so many different dishes.

I made mine with a great big ole head of purple cabbage.

I like the way it looks as it can be very eye catching on the plate. It doesn’t taste all that much different than green cabbage sauerkraut, so you can go either way.

Besides being incredibly tasty, sauerkraut, and many other fermented foods, like kombucha, yogurt, strong aged cheeses, and kimchi, are very good for you.

Due to the natural bacteria that are produced in the lactofermentation process, the food is preserved along with many vitamins, and probiotics that aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Add a little sauerkraut sauteed with onions to a nice grilled pork chop. Slap some on your next hot dog with lots of mustard. And, of course, you simply must have some with your brats and potatoes for that awesome Oktoberfest feast!

I just had some, sauteed with onions, for breakfast with Italian sausage and eggs. Deeeelish!

homemade-sauerkraut-recipe

What You'll Need

  • One head of cabbage, sliced thinly, except for a couple leaves, save those
  • 1 tbsp salt (for really big cabbages, add a little more salt)

How to Do It

Put the cabbage and salt in a big bowl, turn on the TV and watch your favorite Sci Fi and massage the hell out of the cabbage for 10 minutes. Really get in there! You are working the salt into every nook and cranny of the cabbage. You are also extracting moisture. So massage it like you are on a date!

After 10 minutes, put the cabbage in jars. I used a few pint sized mason jars.

Pour the liquid evenly into the containers.

Now with the extra leaves you saved, cut them down to fit into the tops of the jars. These will act as a sealant to keep the kraut submerged in it’s liquid. Put a leaf on top of the kraut and press down til the liquid covers it.

Then put on the lid. That’s it!

Now, store the jars in a relatively cool place away from sunlight, NOT the fridge yet.

For the next 3-5 days, open the jar up once a day to let out the fermentation gas that will build up.

Otherwise you could have a 911 kraut emergency on your hands. After the 3-5 days, store the kraut in your fridge. And ENJOY!

Keep Spicin' It Up!

Steamed Artichokes

Artichokes can seem like a pretty adventurous proposition...and that is awesome! Because they are really super easy to cook.

You will look like a culinary rock star with mad skills

She doesn't have to know any different. Throw in some equally easy dipping sauces and date success is assured.

steamed-artichokes

What You'll Need:

How to Make It:

Thoroughly wash and drain the artichokes. Then, cut the tops and the stems of the artichokes off.

Top the artichokes with tons of chopped garlic.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze all the juice over artichokes.

Drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over artichokes.

Steam artichokes over simmering water or in a steamer till the leaves come off easily and the base of leaves are soft and tasty

For the Dipping sauce:

I recommend melted butter with garlic and lemon or ranch dressing with some hot sauce mixed in for kick. Explore whatever you want!

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

This one has a few more ingredients than I usually use in one easy dish, but it is completely easy to make. You literally put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir.

You can NOT screw this awesome dish up!

I recommend adding some grilled chicken, fish or steak on top to make it a great main dish, or keep it as is and do what you will. You can experiment with the amounts of all these ingredients to match your own personal taste.

quinoa-tabouli-salad

What You'll Need:

  • 1 cup of cooked Quinoa, let it cool (Here's how to cook it)

  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, seeded and chopped into very small chunks

  • 1/2 cup tomato, seeded and chopped into very small chunks

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped into very small chunks

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1/2 cup chopped mint

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

  • 1 teaspoon of

How to Make It:

Juice of a lemon and olive oil, mixed to make a vinaigrette (just whip together in a small separate bowl until it thickens).

Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix everything together in a bowl…. Done!

Told ya it was easy. Keep spicin' it up!

Beet and Sweet Potato Gratin

Mmmmm, cheesy tasty root veggie goodness! Impressive to the eyes and even more impressive in the tummy.

I used beets and sweet potatoes here, but you can use carrots, potatoes, turnips, any kind of root veggie you want.

sweet-potato-beet-gratin

 

What You'll Need:

  • Beets, sliced

  • Sweet potatoes, sliced

  • Onions, sliced

  • Garlic powder

  • Cheese (Swiss, Cheddar, Gouda, whatever you like)

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Paprika

sweet-potato-beet-gratin

How to Make It:

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice all the veggies very thin, I used a mandoline.

After you oil the baking dish (so veggies won’t stick) layer the beets, then sweet potato, then onion.

Add some garlic and salt and pepper.

Then add another layer of beet, potato, onion, and spices, repeat til you get almost to the top.

Top it off with your cheese, sprinkle with paprika, cover, and it’s ready for the oven.

Leave it in for about 45 minutes, then take off the cover, cook for another 10-15 mins. til browning on top.

Let it cool a bit, then slice it up and serve the tastiness!

Garlicky Potatos with Swiss Chard

Make this amazing side dish for any meat or fish dish for your date. As always, it's super easy.

What You'll Need:

  • Potatoes, chopped in 1 inch chunks

  • Swiss Chard (or other greens), chopped

  • Garlic, 4 cloves, chopped in thin slices (a la “Goodfellas”)

  • Olive Oil

  • Nutmeg powder (grated fresh is the best!)

  • Salt and

How to Make This:

Boil potatoes for about 7 minutes.

Heat sauté pan on med high heat.

Add oil.

Add garlic, sauté for a minute.

Add potatoes and sauté for 5 mins or so.

Add greens, sauté till wilted.

Sprinkle nutmeg, salt and pepper on top, serve it up!

Sautéed Asparagus and Tomatoes

Well it doesn’t get much easier than this!

sauteed-asparagus-and-tomatoes

What You'll Need:

  • Asparagus

  • Tomatoes, chopped (not from a can)

  • Garlic, chopped

  • Olive Oil

  • Salt and

How to Make It:

Heat oil in sauté pan.

Add asparagus, sauté til it starts to brown, stirring occasionally so it does not burn.

Add garlic and tomatoes.

Sauté til tomatoes break down and asparagus is cooked through.

Add salt and pepper and eat those bad boys!

Killer Beet Salad

Here's a delicious, super easy salad that will wow your date's tastebuds.

What You Need:

killer-beet-salad

Put your peeled and halved beets (with some olive oil drizzled on top, and salt and pepper) into an oven at 350 degrees til they are soft when a fork is pushed in easily.

Remove from oven, let cool.

Mix your beets, oranges, olives, onions, oil, and vinegar together, and serve!

Holy Guacamole!

Okay, of course this is one of the classic super easy recipes of all time. It’s also incredibly versatile and customizable to your taste buds!

Here’s my way….

  • 2 avocados (Ripe...This means they're a little squishy when you grab them)

  • 1 tomato chopped

  • 1/2 cup of onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic really finely chopped

  • Salt & pepper

  • Lemon juice

Here's How Ya Do it:

Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed by a simple, yet theatrical, hack/twist motion prying out the seed with your knife.

Dig out the meat and mash it with the garlic, cilantro, and some salt and pepper.

mashed-avocados

Once your preferred texture is achieved, add the onion, tomato, cilantro, and mix.Add lemon juice, more salt and pepper to your preferred taste and voila! You gots Guacamole!

how-to-make-guacamole

Serve with anything you like, I enjoy it with some Spicy Nacho Doritos from time to time.

guacamole-with-doritos

Infused Butters

Because who doesn't LOVE butter. Even Time Magazine came out saying butter is good for you. So why not infuse it with a little style? It’s really very easy to do this and it adds another level to so many of your dishes!

I know I know, it looks like a piece of candy. You can pop it right in your mouth if ya want, but I do not recommend it.

infused-butter-recipe

Here’s what you do:

Set a stick of butter out till it gets to room temperature and is nice and mushy. Then you stir it up to get rid of any lumps.

Now add whatever you want! In the above case, I added thyme. (It went perfectly on top of my Coq au Vin!)

Now wrap the butter up in some plastic wrap and twist the ends tight.

Then pop the butter back in the fridge to firm up.

When chilled, unwrap and cut little medallion pats and put it on top of whatever you like.

Try infusing your butter with sun dried tomatoes, spices, chopped olives, truffles, garlic...basically, have fun.

Keep spicin' it up!