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Side Dishes

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 4 medium green (unripe) tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or clarified butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil, tarragon, or parsley or green chili
  • green chili mayonnaise (recipe to follow)
Slice tomatoes crosswise 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Press each piece into plate of cornmeal to coat both sides. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat until hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add tomatos, reduce the heat to medium and fry on both sides until golden. Remove to a plate, season with salt and pepper and serve with chopped herbs or green chili mayonnaise. Serve as a side dish in a sandwich or with pasta.

Green Chili Mayonnaise
Mix mayonnaise with a minced and seeded jalapeno pepper, an unseeded serano chili, or a large anaheim chili grilled, peeled, seeded and finely minced.

Cauliflower Gratin with Tomatoes and Feta
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 fresh tomatoes (peeled, seeded, diced) OR 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbl capers, rinsed
  • 1 lrg cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1/2 lemon, Juice of
  • 3 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Finely chopped parsley
Preheat the broiler and lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, and cinnamon, and cook until onion is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes; cook for 7 minutes more, then add the honey and capers and season with salt and pepper. Slide the mixture into the dish.

Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes. Set it on the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and add the feta. Place 5 to 6 inches under the broiler until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve. (If you are assembling the Gratin ahead of time, cover and bake it at 400 degrees until bubbling, about 20 minutes, then brown under the broiler.)

Spaetzle with Gruyere Cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 5 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, mix together the milk, egg yolks, and egg. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. With a wooden spoon, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture just until blended but still slightly lumpy.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Carefully hold a colander with large holes over the boiling water. Add about 1/2 cup of the batter to the colander and, with a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon, press the batter through the holes to drop into the simmering water. Repeat until all of the batter has been used.

Cook for 2 minutes, then drain thoroughly. Immediately transfer the spaetzle to the ice water, stirring until all of the ice has melted. Drain the spaetzle and transfer them to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Set aside. (You can prepare the recipe to this point up to a day ahead and refrigerate the spaetzle.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread the spaetzle evenly in the dish and dot with the butter pieces. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese and bake until the spaetzle are hot and the cheese is just melted, about 20 minutes.

As soon as you put the spaetzle in the oven, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. As soon as the spaetzle are ready, scatter the onions over them and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Melange of Vegetables
  • 2 small leeks
  • 1 large sweet red pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 3 carrots, trimmed and scraped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt to taste,
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh or canned chicken/Vegetable broth.
Trim off the stem end of the leeks. Rinse and drain. Cut the leek crosswise into 2-inch lengths. Cut the pieces lengthwise into very thin shreds. There should be about 3 cups.

Cut away and discard the core, stem, seeds and veins of the pepper. Cut the pepper into thin strips, about 2 inches in length. There should be about 1 1/2 cups.

Cut the onions in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut side down on a flat surface and cut into thin slices lengthwise. There should be about 1 1/2 cups.

Cut the carrots crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack the slices, a few at a time, and cut them into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Cut the strips in half. There should be about 2 cups.

Heat the oil and butter in a skillet and add the carrots and onions.

Cook, stirring, about 1 minute; then add the leeks. Stir to blend and cook about 1 minute. Add the pepper strips, salt and pepper and stir.

Add the broth. Cover closely and cook about 8 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.