Vegetables and Sides

All posts in the Vegetables and Sides category

Mashed Potatoes with Jalapeno and Cheddar

Published January 7, 2014 by jenmatteson

Day 2 of mashed potato week!  Yesterday I shared a basic rich and creamy mashed potato recipe with a surprise ingredient – mayonnaise.  These jalapeno and cheddar mashed are very similar, just adding more flavor.

Mashed Potatoes with Jalapeno and Cheddar

The first time I made the rich and creamy mashed potatoes for my family’s Christmas dinner, I was at my parent’s house.  I brought a lot of ingredients and some equipment I knew they didn’t have.  On my list of the things to bring (in my mind) was my potato ricer.  Guess what I forgot?  My potato ricer.  Not that I don’t like a chunky mashed potato, but the very name of the recipe indicates that it wasn’t chunky.  I planned to just use their hand mixer, when I spotted their Ninja.  If you’ve never used one before, they are fantastic.  Not as pricey as a Vitamix, but it works wonders!  I fell in love with my parents’, and then Momma Marsha gifted me one last year.  It’s the best!  Anyway, I used their Ninja to blend the potatoes, and they turned out fantastic!

When I made the jalapeno and cheddar version of mashed potatoes, I used my Ninja again.  It’s so much easier than the potato ricer – my arm always gets tired when you’re doing large batches 😦  As you know, I’m not a cheese fanatic, so I didn’t try these, but they sound fantastic with the jalapeno and cheddar combination.  Of course, I had to use my official taste tester, the hubs, and he said they were good.  That’s as best of a description I can really give, because that’s all he said, but I’m guessing he really liked them as he’s taken them two days in a row for lunch.

Mashed Potatoes with Jalapeno and Cheddar

Mashed Potatoes with Jalapeno and Cheddar

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:

4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 lb shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 large seeded jalapeno, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil.  Add a generous amount of kosher salt and simmer over moderate heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain potatoes.

2. In the same saucepan, melt butter in milk over moderate heat.  Stir in white cheddar until melted.  Remove from heat and press the potatoes through a ricer into the saucepan and mix well.  Fold in the mayonnaise and jalapeno and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meatless Monday: Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Published January 6, 2014 by jenmatteson

This week is mashed potato week!  Not officially, just here on Becoming Pigzilla.  I really wanted to get these recipes out before the holidays, but we were really ‘potatoed-out’ after all the whipped sweet potatoes I shared before Thanksgiving.  But don’t worry, you don’t need to be celebrating a holiday, or even entertaining company to make any of these mashed potatoes.  They are each a little different and would be a fun addition to you weekday menu.

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

A few months ago, I was having a conversation with my grandmother about mashed potatoes.  She asked me if I had ever used mayonnaise in my potatoes, which I said, “absolutely not, that sounds weird.”  I don’t remember who she said did it, but I do remember her telling me they were fantastic.  After thinking about it, I supposed it couldn’t be all that bad, and it would add some rich creaminess to the potatoes.  Funny enough, the next week, I was loyally reading my Food and Wine magazine, and came across a series of mashed potato recipes made with mayonnaise.  If my grandmother and Food and Wine were telling me to use mayonnaise in mashed potatoes, then I must try it.

Turns out, they were both right.  I made these mashed potatoes for the Pigzilla family Christmas dinner, and everyone seemed to love them.  I especially thought they were so luxurious and velvety – they really live up to their name of “rich and creamy”.  I know it sounds weird, but just try it out. What I did was add a little mayonnaise at a time after all the other ingredients were mixed in.  Taste as you go, and you’ll be able to notice the difference.  Don’t go overboard with the mayonnaise though, otherwise the flavor will become too overpowering and the consistency can become kind of questionable.  These potatoes were the perfect vessel for a classic brown gravy.  They are also a fantastic base for two of the other mashed potato recipes I’m sharing this week, bacon and mustard mashed potatoes and cheddar jalapeno mashed potatoes.  Stay tuned!

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:

4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil.  Add a generous amount of kosher salt and simmer over moderate heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain potatoes.

2. In the same saucepan, melt butter in milk over moderate heat.  Remove from heat and press the potatoes through a ricer into the saucepan and mix well.  Fold in the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

Published January 4, 2014 by jenmatteson

I mentioned a few posts back that I lead a cooking-dinner party for a group of women a  few weeks ago.  I led the girls in cooking a meal, starting with these zucchini fritters.  I fell in love with these fritters the first time I test made them.  The ladies really liked them; so much so, they sorta forgot we had the rest of the meal to make and took a break to feast on these babies.

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

I even made these as an appetizer for my family’s Christmas dinner – and even my picky family, including my mom, liked them!  Not only are they good, but they are a great way to get your serving of vegetables in.  Plus, I have another way to use up the copious amounts zucchini that grows in my garden each summer.  YAY!

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

The fritters are simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and served along side a soy dipping sauce.  While I liked the soy dipping sauce, I thought they fritters were great on their own as well!  They are pretty hot when they come out of the pan, and cool off quickly, so I wouldn’t suggest these for a party, maybe a seated dinner would be best as they aren’t quite as good when they’re room temperature.

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the soy dipping sauce:
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 ½ tsp sugar
crushed red pepper

For the fritters:
3 ½ lb zucchini, grated
½ tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp cornstarch
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Make soy dipping sauce: Mix vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and red pepper in small bowl until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.

2. Make fritters: Place zucchini in colander set in the sink and toss with ½ tsp salt.  Let stand 10 minutes, and then wring zucchini dry in kitchen towel.  Place zucchini in large bowl and mix in egg, flour, chives and cornstarch; season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat.  Working in two batches, drop ¼ cupfuls of zucchini mixture into skillet, flattening slightly; cook until golden brown and crisp; about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer fritters to a paper-towel lined plate; season with salt.  Serve with soy dipping sauce.

DO AHEAD: Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead and kept warm in 200⁰ oven.

Harissa-Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Published October 24, 2013 by jenmatteson

This is my third and final whipped sweet potato recipe of the week.  And I have to say, I saved the best for last!

Harissa Whipped Sweet Potatoes

These whipped sweet potatoes are the same as the original, with the addition of harissa.  What’s harissa, you ask?  Great question.  Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce whose main ingredient is roasted red peppers, with Serrano peppers, and other hot peppers, depending on the region it’s from.  With the addition of some herbs and spices, like garlic, caraway, coriander seed and chili powder, this seemingly simple sauce has a deep complex taste (Harissa can be found at Whole Foods and other specialty stores – don’t count on finding at your local grocer, I couldn’t).  Paired with the sweetness from the potato, this is a match made in heaven.  Give it a whirl for a new take on sweet potatoes!

Harissa Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Harissa- Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

6 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened or melted
1/2 cup sour cream (plain non-fat Greek yogurt would be great)
1/4 cup harissa
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce sweet potato several times with a fork and bake on baking sheet for about one hour, until very tender.  Let cool slightly.

2. Peel sweet potatoes, chop roughly and transfer to food processor.  Add butter, sour cream and harissa and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger

Published October 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

Whipped sweet potatoes, take two.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger

This recipe is just a small tweak from yesterday’s basic whipped sweet potato.  The coconut cream keeps these potatoes rich and creamy, while the ginger adds a fresh pop!  I’m definitely a traditionalist when it comes to my Thanksgiving table, but sometimes I like to explore a little outside the box.  This would certainly be a fun way to surprise your family this season, but if they’re like mine and are suspicious of anything new or different, just make them any ol’ day of the week this fall.  These are so quick to whip up, and a great source of antioxidants and beta-carotene, why wouldn’t you?  Oh, and if you’re wondering what to do with all that leftover coconut cream, use this helpful tip!

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

6 lbs sweet potatoes (about 6 large)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened or melted
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut cream
1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated peeled ginger
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
unsweetened finely shredded coconut, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce the sweet potatoes several times with a fork.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until tender.  Let cool slightly.

2. Peel and roughly chop sweet potato, then transfer to food processor.  Add butter, coconut cream and ginger.  Puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and garnish with shredded coconut.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes and a Lesson on the Difference Between Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Published October 22, 2013 by jenmatteson

Have you ever wondered what the different between a sweet potato and a yam was?  Have you ever stood in the grocery store, staring at both, thinking, they look pretty much the same?  Well, technically, you’re right.  The USDA has perpetuated an error in labeling sweet potatoes “yams”.  In most cases, sweet potatoes are labeled with both terms, thus adding to the mass confusion.  There are two types of sweet potatoes, one with a creamy white flesh and golden skin, and the other with an orange flesh and copper skin, generally labeled as “yams” by the USDA.

The mis-label began in colonial times when Africans saw similarities in the sweet potatoes and their native yams.  The USDA decided to call them “yams” to differentiate the two varieties of sweet potatoes.

So, really, what is a yam?  Yams are native to Africa and Asia, as well as some other tropical regions.  They are starchy tubers that have a skin that is almost black and bark-like.  The flesh is white, purple or even reddish and they come in many varieties.  Yams are usually found in international markets, and somewhat unlikely that you’ll find them at your local grocer.  (Huffpost Taste)

There’s your lesson for the day, now let’s get down to the cooking!  Everyone loves mashed potatoes (don’t they?), but have you had mashed sweet potatoes?  Sweet potato fries and baked sweet potatoes are popping up all over in restaurants and kitchens across the country, and I think mashed (or whipped) sweet potatoes will be the next big thing!  In the latest Food and Wine, three different whipped sweet potato recipes were featured, and I couldn’t help but make them right away – just for you, just before the holiday season.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

This recipe was fantastic.  It’s rich and creamy, and very satisfying.  Using the food processor ensures there are absolutely no lumps, giving a smooth, velvety consistency.  Try it out on your Thanksgiving table this year!  Stay tuned in this week for two variations on this basic recipe!

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

6 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened or melted
1/2 cup sour cream (plain non-fat Greek yogurt would be great)
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce sweet potato several times with a fork and bake on baking sheet for about one hour, until very tender.  Let cool slightly.

2. Peel sweet potatoes, chop roughly and transfer to food processor.  Add butter and sour cream and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Meatless Monday: Sweet Potato Biscuits

Published October 21, 2013 by jenmatteson

I’m gearing up for the holiday season and trying to get some good recipes out for you to impress your family and friends this season.  This week’s focus will be on sweet potatoes.  Nothing says Thanksgiving, or even just fall, like sweet potatoes.  Many people aren’t really sure what to do with them, and many people think they don’t like them as they’ve only tried sweet potatoes in the form of pies.  I love sweet potatoes, but I’m not a huge fan of sweet potato pie – at least the ones I’ve tried in the past.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

But, there are many things to do with sweet potatoes, other than fries and pies.  I saw these biscuits in the latest Food and Wine and wanted to make them right away.  Seeing as though I had three mashed sweet potato recipes to try out, I figured, what’s one more?!

To me the biscuits don’t look quite as appetizing as a regular buttermilk biscuit, but they definitely taste just as good.  There is just a slight hint of sweetness hiding between the many flakey, buttery layers.  This would be a fun twist on your usual dinner rolls this Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes 24

Ingredients:

1 cup chilled sweet potato puree*
3/4 cup chilled buttermilk
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus 1 tbsp melted butter for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet potato puree and buttermilk.  In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into the flour until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs.  Stir in the sweet potato mixture until a soft dough forms (the dough will be very dry, but don’t worry, that’s how it should be).

3. Dump the dough out onto a work surface and form into a 1-inch thick round.  Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, stamp out as many biscuits as you can, reforming the remaining dough to stamp out more biscuits (or like me, free hand it with a paring knife).  Gently arrange biscuits on prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter and serve warm.

* To make the sweet potato puree, pierce a large sweet potato with a fork several times and microwave on high power for about 10 minutes or roast at 350 degrees for one hour, until tender.  Let the sweet potato cool slightly, peel, and puree in food processor.

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

Published June 11, 2013 by jenmatteson

I like parsnips, but I don’t recall ever eating them plain (they always seem to be in something) and I know for sure I’ve never cooked with them.  I saw this recipe on Food and Wine and thought I’d expand my horizons and my veggie arsenal. In case you’re wondering, parsnips are those huge white carrot looking vegetables with the waxy exterior.

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

My bestie was in town from Duluth, so we had planned to get together on Saturday night.  Nate offered to smoke us a chicken, so I was simply in charge of everything else.  It was quite nice!  We ended up having a little party as my friend’s mom, PJ, and our neighbor and her son came for dinner.  It was honestly a weird grouping of people, but we had the best time chatting and eating and ended up staying up until almost 3:00 AM!  That’s surely a sign of a good time!  Kristin brought the most delicious LIGHT raspberry lemonade cake.  It was fluffy, sweet and tart, and the best part is that there was only 130 calories in one serving.  Don’t mind the fact that I ate two pieces…

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

Seeing as though the group had grown from 3 to 6, I was little concerned about the parsnips as they aren’t necessarily a “main steam” vegetable, and entertaining a larger group of people gives you a higher chance of picky eaters. Thankfully for me, everyone was willing to give them a try, and actually seemed to like them.  PJ said she liked them more than sweet potato fries, and she said sweet potato fries were her favorite.  What a great compliment!  I served a mustard vinaigrette as a dipping sauce, and that really gave the parsnips a tangy bright flavor, but it wasn’t even necessary.  The vinaigrette was tastey though, and adapted quite a bit from the original recipe based on what ingredients I had on hand.  I still have some leftover and it’ll make a great salad dressing as well.  Overall, these were a delicious and fun way to get out of our everyday vegetable rut!

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 lbs parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/3 cup olive oil and parsnips.  Toss to coat evenly and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the parsnips on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast for 30 minutes, until caramelized.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together vinegars, Dijon, and sugar.  Drizzle in remaining 1/3 cup olive oil until vinaigrette reached desired consistency (you  might not need it all).  Stir in chopped parsley. Serve alongside roasted parsnips.

Grandma’s Coleslaw

Published April 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

When I was young, I didn’t like coleslaw.  Of course you think you don’t like a lot of things until you actually try them.  Well, when I finally did try it, it was my grandma’s coleslaw.  After that, I really didn’t like any coleslaw other than my grandma’s.  I suppose I’ll still eat it, but I definitely think that her coleslaw was the absolute best.  Unfortunately, she literally took her recipe to the grave with her.  No one in my family had it written down.  I remember making it with her several times, and her ordering me to do this and add that, but the last time we made it was probably over 10 years ago.  This is now the second time I’ve attempted it, and I think it definitely compares to hers (of course, hers is still the best 😉 ).

Grandma's Coleslaw

While it looks like a pretty regular coleslaw, actually kind of plain with just cabbage and mayonnaise, it’s so much more.  The secret is the grated onions in the sauce.  Do not skip this step.  Chopped onions simply will not do.  Also, Miracle Whip is necessary, not mayonnaise.  The result is a creamy, slightly sweet, crunchy fresh coleslaw, perfect as a side or even a topper on some good barbecue.  We paired this with Nate’s smoked ribs, as well as topped pulled pork sandwiches with it at our St. Patrick’s Day party. However you eat it, just remember to thank Grandma M while you’re enjoying. XOXO Grams!

Grandma's Coleslaw

Grandma’s Coleslaw

Source: Slightly adapted from Grandma M’s Original
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Miracle Whip
1/4 cup milk
3-4 tbsp sugar
1/2 onion, grated
salt and pepper
1/2 head cabbage,  sliced thin

Directions:

1. In in small bowl, combine Miracle Whip, milk and sugar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remember, this is grandma’s recipe, so you may need to adjust the amount of milk and sugar to get the right combination.  The dressing should be thick, but still pourable; consistency similar to yogurt.  Add grated onion.

2. Add 1/2 of the cabbage to a large bowl, and pour in a small amount of dressing.  Stir to combine and evenly coat the cabbage.  Add more cabbage and dressing a little at a time.  Be sure not to drench the cabbage, just lightly dress it.  Reserve any remaining dressing in an airtight container for up to one week.

Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayo Dipping Sauce

Published April 16, 2013 by jenmatteson

I love a good onion ring.  And I’m quite finicky about how I like them.  I don’t want them too crispy, but certainly not soggy or limp.  The outside needs to be salty with a good crunch, but the onion inside should be cooked all the way through, but still have a slight bite to it.  Furthermore, the breading must have some flavor, not just any old gooey batter or breading.  And last, I need a good dip with my onion rings.  I do not accept ketchup or marinara.  I like a spicy mayo to dip these golden rings into.

Onion Rings

That being said, I have had a hard time choosing an onion ring recipe to fulfill my 30 Before 30 item.  Last week, there was a new member on my What’s Cooking board, Courtney, so I headed over to her blog, Cook Like a Champion, to see what kind of cool stuff she had.  So many things looked amazing, but her Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings caught my eye right away.  The cayenne and thyme in the breading paired with the cornmeal sounded like a great fit for my onion ring ramifications!

Onion Rings

Turns out, they were awesome!  Not too heavy, the breading stuck to the onions, and just one large yellow onion was more than enough rings for 4 people.  Sadly, I had to keep them in the oven longer than 30 minutes (while we were waiting for Nate’s ribs to be done – post soon to come), so when I finally served them, they were cracker crumbly.  When I test made them earlier in the day, Nate basically tried to eat the entire plate in one handful after his first bit.  Even when I did get to serving them before dinner, they were gone like hot cakes.  I’ll have to make it up to my future parent’s-in-law for round two of onion rings.  Can that ever be a bad thing?  I served them with my chipotle mayo, which was the perfect dip for these rings.  A wonderful first taste of Cook Like a Champion.  Thanks Courtney!

Onion Rings

Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Source: Adapted from Cook Like a Champion
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 large yellow or spanish onion
2 cups buttermilk
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1-2 tsp hot sauce
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
4-6 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil

Directions:

1. Slice of the top and root end of the onion and carefully peel off the brown skin.  Slice into 1/2 – 3/4 inch slices, and separate into rings.

2. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and hot sauce.  Add onions to buttermilk and toss well to coat all onions.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, up to several hours.

3. In a shallow dish, combine flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, cayenne and thyme.  Whisk together so all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

4. Heat oil in large dutch oven or large pot to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, prepare baking sheet with foil.  One at a time, remove onions from the buttermilk, and dredge in flour/cornmeal mixture.  Completely coat outside and inside of ring and tap off any excess.  Place ring on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining onions.

5. Prepare another baking sheet with paper towels and place next to oil.  Once oil is heated to 350, drop in a few onion rings at a time, making sure not to crowd the pot.  Fry until rings are golden brown, flipping over every so often.  They should take about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt immediately.  If you are not serving these right away, place in oven at 200 degrees.  They should remain crisp for about 30 minutes.  I don’t suggest any longer because mine were cracker crisp and crumbly…just a little too crispy.  Serve with chipotle mayonnaise, or other desired dipping sauce.

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