Category Archives: Side Dish

Sweet Onion Latkes with Chive Sour Cream



I leave you this weekend with a tasty treat to try out. Sweet Vidalia onions are shredded, battered, and fried before they are served piping hot with a side of chive sour cream. The recipe is remarkable easy, and little ones might enjoy helping out. Enjoy!



  • 1 medium large sweet onion

  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • lots of fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

  • 1 large egg, well beaten

  • olive oil for frying

  • chive sour cream

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 cup snipped chives

  • 1 Tbsp horseradish cream


  1. Set oven to 325F (for keeping the latkes warm, if necessary)

  2. Mix sour cream, chives, and horseradish together and process in a small food processor. Set aside.

  3. Peel the onion and slice it into 1/8 inch slices with a mandoline. Then cut the slices into quarters, so you have small shreds. Roll the onions in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. You may need to do this again with a fresh towel if they are very wet.

  4. Put the onions into a mixing bowl and add the flour, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Add the egg and mix well with a fork until everything is well combined.

  5. Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat on medium to medium high heat until hot.

  6. Drop the latke mixture into the pan by the tablespoonful, and flatten out slightly with the back of the spoon. Cook for about 2 minutes per side until crisp and golden. Remove to a paper towel to drain. You can keep the latkes warm in the oven while you finish the rest of the batch.

  7. Serve hot with the sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.

~ ~

Grilled Avocado Halves with Cumin-Spiced Quinoa and Black Bean Salad



Ingredients (Grilled Avocados):

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Ingredients (Salad):

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper (or substitute cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup raw corn kernels (from about 1 ear)
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked black beans (or 1 can beans, rinsed)
  • 10 to 15 basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish


  1. Lightly oil your grill or grill pan and set over medium heat.
  2. Rinse the quinoa through a fine sieve for about a minute. Place quinoa in a medium sized pot with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Cover the quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Brush the avocados lightly with olive oil and drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Place the avocados, cut side down, on the grill. Allow them to cook for 5 minutes, or until they have nice grill marks. Remove them from heat and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. To a large mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa, cucumber, pepper, corn, black beans, basil, and cilantro. Dress the salad and toss gently. Season to taste.
  6. Fill each avocado half till it’s brimming over with a cup of quinoa salad. Serve, garnished with extra cilantro if desired.

~ ~

Hoppin’ John


24 HOPPIN’ JOHN (Yield: 6 Servings)


1 cup dried black-eyed peas or field peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 smoked hog jowl, or 1/4 pound (3 strips) thick-cut smoked bacon
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
5 or 6 peeled whole tomatoes, or half a 28-ounce can, drained (optional)
1 ½ cups uncooked rice


  1. Wash the peas in a strainer, and soak them for 4 hours in ample fresh water. When ready, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a 4-quart pot, and brown the hog jowl on both sides. (If using bacon, omit the olive oil, and simply render the fat in the pot for 5 minutes.) Add onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 6 cups water, black pepper, red pepper and salt, and bring to a boil.
  2. Let mixture boil 10 minutes, and then add peas. Maintain a low boil, uncovered, until peas are nearly tender (25 minutes for black-eyed peas, 30 minutes for field peas). In a bowl, lightly crush tomatoes, and add to pot. Add rice to pot, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off flame, and allow hoppin’ John to steam in pot, lid on, for 5 minutes. If using hog jowl, remove from pot, and shred meat. Fluff hoppin’ John, and add shredded pork. Serve.

~ ~

30-Minute Portobello Mushroom Stir-Fry



Add more ginger for brightness, lime juice for acidity, tamari for saltiness, red pepper flake for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness.


Ingredients (Sauce/Marinade):

2 cloves garlic, minced (~1 T. or 6 g)
2 tsp minced ginger
3-4 T. (45-60 ml) maple syrup (or agave nectar or coconut sugar)
1/2 t. red pepper flake (more or less to taste)
3-4 T. tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free || more or less to taste)
1 T. (15 ml) sesame oil (toasted or untoasted)
3 T. (45 ml) lime juice
1 T. (15 ml) water

Ingredients (Stir-Fry):

2 portobello mushrooms (~20 g each)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (120 g)
1 cup chopped broccolini (91 g)
optional: 1 cup chopped green onion (100 g)91 g)

4 cups (632 g) cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice
1 tsp sesame seeds


  1. Cook rice (or cauliflower rice) if serving with stir-fry.
  2. Next, wipe portobello mushrooms clean with a slightly damp towel (do not immerse in water or they will get soggy) and slice into thin strips (see photo).
  3. Prepare marinade by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed.
  4. Add portobello mushrooms to a large shallow dish, such as a 9×13-inch baking pan, and top with marinade. Gently stir/toss to combine. Set aside to marinate for 10-12 minutes while you prep your vegetables. Toss occasionally to evenly coat.
  5. Chop vegetables as set aside. Once portobellos marinated, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a bit of sesame oil. Then add only as many portobellos will fit comfortably in the pan (see photo), and sauté for 2-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and slightly seared. You may have to do this in two batches depending on the size of your pan.
  6. Set portobellos aside and loosely cover to keep warm. Then add red pepper and broccolini to the pan and increase heat to medium-high. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the green onion (optional) and any remaining portobello marinade and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Then remove from heat and serve immediately. Cooking the vegetables for a short time on very high heat will give them a nice sear and prevent them from getting soggy.
  8. Enjoy as is or with chili garlic sauce, sesame seeds, or a garnish of chopped green onion. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or the stovetop

~ ~

Potato and Bacon Bake



For those of you who have sworn off cheese in 2017 — Look Away. This dish is jam packed with everything that is decadent and fattening. This recipe calls for a full pound of bacon, cheddar cheese and potatoes. The potatoes are parboiled to reduce the amount of time required to finish in the oven. While the potatoes are cooking, you can get started on the delicious bacon and onion mixture. I held off in adding the garlic until the bacon was partially cooked. There is nothing that will ruin a dish faster than burned garlic. The sauce is a basic Mornay sauce — beginning with a roux, adding milk and then shredded cheddar. (This sauce would also be perfect for macaroni and cheese.) You end up with layers of potatoes topped with bacon, onion and garlic bathed in a golden cheese sauce. A half cup of cheddar is sprinkled over the top before it is placed in the oven for 45 minutes. Allow the dish to rest for 15 minutes prior to serving so that it has a time to set up. Top each serving with freshly chopped green onion and . . . Voila!! An upgraded version of scalloped potatoes that will be perfect with just about everything.



  • 3 lbs potatoes, peeled and halved (the short way)
  • 1 lb bacon, diced
  • 2.5 cups medium brown onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped


  1. Parboil potatoes: Boil the potatoes partially (about 10 minutes) so the time they have to cook in the oven will be reduced. Drain water and let cool.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, sauté the diced bacon, onion and garlic until the bacon is browned and the onions soft. Remove bacon and onion into a bowl, but do not get rid of the grease in the pan.
  3. When the potatoes have sufficiently cooled, carefully slice them into disks.
  4. In the same pan used for cooking bacon and onion, melt butter. Mix in flour and salt, stirring constantly to avoid burning the flour. As soon as the flour is mixed in, begin pouring in the milk, still stirring. Continue to cook until slightly thick, then add 2 cups of cheese and pepper, stirring until melted. Remove from heat.
  5. Spoon and spread some sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Make a single layer of potato. Sprinkle 1/2 of the bacon and onion mixture, then pour over half of the sauce. Then make a second layer of potato followed by the remaining bacon and onion mixture followed by more sauce. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
  6. Place the dish into an oven preheated to 350° F (175° C) and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is bubbling and golden. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Top with chopped green onion. Salt and pepper to taste.

~ ~

New Orleans Carnival Red Beans and Rice


4It’s almost Mardi Gras time and what better way to celebrate than with some red beans and rice. You know the drill — soak the beans overnight, rinse, cover with water and boil for an hour or so. For this recipe we decided to use the bone from our Christmas ham instead of a ham hock to add some flavor and a little more meat content. The mix really comes to life when you add the andouille sausage, vegetables, and seasonings. Once this has been allowed to simmer for another hour the ham hock (or bone) is removed and the meat is finely diced and added back to the pot. Prepare this in advance and allow the flavors to develop overnight. Serve over rice and top with sliced green onions. And . . . don’t forget the hot sauce!



  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1 cup small red beans
  • 2 qt. cold water
  • 1 meaty country ham hock (3/4-1 lb.)
  • 1/2 lb. andouille or other spicy smoked sausage
  • 2 c. fresh green peppers, chopped
  • 2 c. fresh celery with leaves, chopped
  • 2 c. fresh onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t. salt or savory saltless spices
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 t. fresh thyme
  • cooked long grain rice


  1. Sort through and thoroughly wash beans. Soak beans four hours or over night in water to cover by 2 inches.
  2. Drain and rinse beans well. Place them in a large pot (6 qt. capacity) along with the 2 quarts of water and ham hock, Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Quarter the sausage lengthwise and slice into 1/4″ pieces. Add the sausage, green peppers, celery, onions, garlic, and seasonings to the beans. For best flavor, prepare vegetables and garlic just before adding them to the beans. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for an additional 1 hour. Add more water, if necessary.
  4. Remove bay leaves and ham hock onto a clean cutting board. Locate and discard all bones and fat. Dice meat fine and return to beans. For best flavor, refrigerate over night, you may serve it the same day.
  5. To serve, place 1/2-1 cup cooked long grain rice or cajun rice in serving bowls and top with our heated New Orleans Red Beans mixture. Garnish with chopped onions and plenty of hot sauce.

~ ~

Brazilian Grilled Pineapple


16Here is another recipe from “Cooking with Christopher”. We sliced up some fresh pineapple into wedges and tossed them with brown sugar and cinnamon before placing them on the grill. Just a few minutes on each side and they are ready for the table. An easy but delicious addition to any meal.



  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 pineapple – peeled, cored, and cut into 6 wedges


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Whisk brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Pour sugar mixture into a large resealable plastic bag. Place pineapple wedges in bag and shake to coat each wedge.
  3. Grill pineapple wedges on the preheated grill until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

~ ~