Archive for ‘Sides’

September 11, 2013

End of Season Corn & Bacon Sauté

corn and bacon saute

Last week a fellow mom said that if she serves another ear of corn or a tomato to her family, they will boycott her dinner table. You could easily reach corn and tomato overload at this point in the season. We eat tomatoes with almost every meal and corn hits our table a couple of times a week. How to pass a farm stand and not stop, I’ll never know. Come the freezing dark months of winter, I’d regret not having taken advantage of all this fresh delicious produce.

If you’re organized (which I’m not), and think in advance (which I don’t), you can easily freeze fresh produce. Doing that might not leave you as sad as the rest of us in January. Even with the best of intentions, I can’t seem to get my act together to freeze anything. Other than ice cream and frozen peas, what goes into our freezer never seems to come out. Alas, we do without the summer’s bounty when the snow starts to fall and I focus on root vegetables. Who doesn’t love some roasted butternut squash?

With corn still at the farm stands and a few slices of smoky thick cut bacon on hand, I made this side dish sauté. Who came up with that brilliant thought everything’s better with bacon? If you prefer to go meat-free, just leave it out.

corn and bacon saute

INGREDIENTS

  • A little olive oil
  • 4 slices thick cut smoky bacon, diced
  • 1 large shallot, small dice
  • 1 bell pepper – color of choice, just not green, diced
  • 3 scallions, sliced (set aside a tbsp of the dark green slices)
  • 4 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob (see tip below)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and pepper

corn and bacon saute

If I recall correctly, it was Rachel Ray that I saw on TV cutting the corn off the cob this way. Genius!  Just place a small bowl upside down inside a larger bowl. Steady the ear of corn on top of the small bowl’s base and cut the kernels off. They fall right into the bowl and not all over your counters. When you’re done, just carefully insert the tip of your knife under the small bowl to get it out. Voila! No chasing corn all over your kitchen.

corn and bacon saute

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and bacon to the pan, stir occasionally until it crisps up. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and place it on a paper towel lined plate, set aside. Pour off all but one tbsp of the bacon fat. Truth be told, I put mine in a container and have it in the refrigerator. Never know when you can use a little bacon fat in the future.

Add the diced shallot and peppers to the pan, sauté until they begin to soften. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the corn, tomato, scallion and fresh thyme. Stir to combine and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the corn is tender.  Add in the crispy bacon to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Give a final stir and garnish with the scallion greens.

Corn and bacon saute

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May 8, 2013

Grilled Potato & Goat Cheese Napoleon

Grilled Potato & Goat Cheese Napolean

We’ve had a number of beautiful spring days over the past week, and it motivated me to clean our outdoor grill. I’m fortunate to have an indoor grill in my range-top, allowing me to grill year-round. However, I’m limited to lean meats and vegetables inside. Big meat causes big smoke, not pleasant. I know you grill masters out there don’t think twice about BBQ’ing in the snow. Not me, I wait until spring. So after giving the BBQ a good scrub, I dusted off some of my favorite grilling cookbooks and decided to leaf through this book from Bobby Flay to find a new side dish.

Bobby Flay's Grill It!

Bobby’s recipes are always flavorful and exciting. Lots of fresh herbs and char make for a good meal. His recipes can seem complicated at times. Many sauces and relishes, using blenders and food processors… but I say attack these recipes with enthusiasm and determination. Everything I’ve made of Bobby’s has proven well worth the extra dishes and time. Nothing complicated with these potatoes, just lots of steps needed to get them on the dinner table. Now that I made them once, the next time they will seem much less laborious. And I should emphasize I will definitely be making this again. These are some kick ass potatoes that I promise everyone will flip over.

Grilled Potato & Goat Cheese Napolean

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 large red potatoes, scrubbed under cold water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic dressing
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus a little to brush on the potatoes
  • Kosher salt & pepper (for the dressing & potatoes)
  • About 6oz plain goat cheese (a small package), thinly sliced
  • Fresh chives, chopped

Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until fork tender, but still a bit firm. Timing will depend on the size of your potatoes. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.

Place the vinegar, garlic, mustard, basil and olive oil in a food processor to make the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Set your grill to medium-high heat. Slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices. You can discard the end slices. Brush each side of the potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully grill the potatoes until slightly charred and golden, about 3-4 minutes per side. Bobby said 2 minutes per side, it took a bit longer for mine. Keep a close eye on them.

Remove the potatoes from the grill onto a sheet pan. To make the Napoleons, stack the potato slices and the sliced goat cheese. My stacks included three potatoes slices and 2 cheese layers (see pictures). Place the stacks back on the sheet pan or onto an oven safe platter. Place in the preheated oven for just a couple of minutes until the cheese is soft and melty.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little dressing over each stack and a sprinkle of chopped chives. Voila! Seriously the best potatoes I’ve had in a long time.

Enjoy!

* Keep your goat cheese log in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. To make even slices without crumbling the cheese, use unflavored, unwaxed dental floss. It slices the cheese perfectly. 

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