Monday, January 30, 2012

Savory Sides

Mandarin Yams Casserole
Scoop slow-roasted yams from their jackets to mingle with mandarin oranges, blackstrap molasses, and star anise. Whipped and piped into a granola-lined muffin tin, this mouthwatering finish to a roast turkey or ham dinner will have everyone singing odes to joy.

June Bug’s Mit Tahm Schmaltz Noodles

My mother has made homemade noodles for holidays and celebrations for many years. Prior to the mid-70s, mom usually made dumplings instead of noodles. Sometime around 1975, however, she started making homemade egg noodles. The noodles were thick and wide, and a handful filled your belly for hours. Boiled in chicken or turkey broth and served on a heaping platter, these noodles never lasted long enough for leftovers, no matter how large a pot she made.

Mom’s Spanish Rice

In the late 60s and early 70s, "ethnic" dishes rarely bore more than a passing resemblance to anything in the original country from which the dish supposedly came. Spanish rice is one such dish. Mom’s Spanish rice had white rice, tomato paste, and mangoes — the 1970s Midwest Ohio term for green bell peppers. Mom served her Spanish rice with meat loaf or sliced beef roast.

Freezer Kim Chee

It is nearly impossible to avoid germs when winter’s icy breath starts keeping everyone indoors. While most people respond to colds and flu by sanitizing every surface in the home, this does not help strengthen the immune system, ease the aches and pains or clear stuffy heads and chests. Kim chi, a spicy Korean dish made from cabbage, warms the body and helps clear your lungs and sinuses.

Garden Party Salad

With summer coming to a close, take any excuse to enjoy the sun and celebrate with friends. That abundant height-of-harvest-season produce was meant for sharing. Serve garden-party salads and make take away baskets of produce for family, friends, neighbors, and local charities. Set up some temporary tables and invite folks from nearby nursing homes,day labor sites or adult day programs to join you. You won’t regret it.

Bob Butler’s Classic Kidney Bean Salad

My father loved his kidney bean salad. Like all his other favorites, no mayo ever mingled with the dark-red perfection of the triple-drained kidney beans. Only the finest chopped, sweet gherkins and the freshest celery would do. The beans were firm but creamy, and the Miracle Whip, vinegar, and pickle juice became a light-pink dressing that made the dish a summer treat.

Tahiti Sunrise Chicken Salad

Pineapple, chicken, and cilantro combine in a piquant dish that will wake your taste buds. The bell peppers supply vitamin A and C while the red onion and chive flowers strengthen your immune system. With red and black pepper opening your airways to increase your oxygen flow to the brain, you are ready to tackle anything the day has in store.

Dad’s Deviled Eggs

Dad was very particular about his deviled eggs. No mayo for him, only Kraft Miracle Whip, and only apple cider vinegar, preferably Heinz. The eggs hard-boiled in a large stockpot, never fewer than three dozen at a time. Celery seed and paprika, along with horseradish mustard in generous amounts, gave Dad’s deviled eggs their distinct flavor.

Deviled Egg Salad

Traditionalists will enjoy the bite in this twist on classic egg salad. Use silken tofu and soy mayonnaise for a vegan version with plenty of heat and flavor. The hot sauce and horseradish keep this egg salad fresh longer, making it a perfect dish for potlucks and picnics.

1 dozen large eggs or 2 blocks silken tofu
Large stockpot
3-quart mixing bowl
1/2 cup mayonnaise or soy mayo
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 loaf Italian or pumpernickel bread
Mixed greens
Serving platter
1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Eggs that are at least 10 days old are easier to peel when hard-boiled.

Step One: Skip to Step Five if making vegan egg salad.
Step Two: Boil 1 dozen large eggs in a large stockpot for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to come back to room temperature. Drain the water.
Step Three: Cover the eggs with cold water and wait another five minutes. Peel the eggs by striking them on the table, then rolling them until the entire shell surface cracks.
Step Four: Pinch the shell at the blunt end of each egg and peel it away. Rinse each egg to ensure that all the clear membrane is removed.
Step Five: Chop the eggs or mash the silken tofu into a 3-quart mixing bowl. Add the regular or soy mayonnaise, pickle relish, celery seed, minced onion, horseradish sauce and hot sauce.
Step Six: Stir everything together until well-blended. Cut a loaf of Italian or pumpernickel bread in half lengthwise. Spoon egg salad onto the bottom half of the loaf. Put the other half of the loaf on top and slice the bread into 3-inch wide sandwiches. Insert a party toothpick in each sandwich to keep them from falling apart.
Step Seven: Cover a serving platter with a layer of mixed greens. Arrange the egg salad mini sandwiches on the tray. Scatter the cherry tomatoes between the egg salad sandwiches.
Keep the tray on a bed of ice when serving these sandwiches outdoors in warm weather.

How to Make a Lavash Sandwich

Lavash is both a soft and a cracker-crisp Armenian flatbread. It is baked in thin, oblong sheets in a tandoor oven. The soft version is used to make roll-ups, while the cracker-crisp version is usually served with dips such as hummus, made from chickpeas, and baba ganoush, made from eggplant and tahini, or sesame paste. Lavash roll-ups are sometimes served as appetizers at weddings and holiday dinners.


Quesadillas are a quick, easy-to-prepare meal with plenty of possible variations. When you cut them into four pieces each and arrange them on a serving platter, quesadillas make an excellent appetizer for potlucks, picnics or tailgate parties. Serve with sour cream and homemade salsa.

Toasted Cheddar Cheese on Pumpernickel Bread
When you want a hearty, sharp, flavorful sandwich for dipping into your favorite soup, break out your grandmother’s pumpernickel rye recipe and some sharp cheddar. Toasted cheese sandwiches travel well and the dense rye bread resists squashing.

Heart Healthy Tuna Pitas

Lowering cholesterol intake does not mean you have to eat flavorless, grassy-tasting tuna salad with no condiments. No need for eggs or mayonnaise with this tuna salad. The broccoli slaw adds vitamin C and A, while the tuna provides choline and vitamin D.

Tuna Salad with Naan and Spicy Thousand Island Dressing

Albacore tuna and na’an star with Thousand Island dressing for a South Pacific taste treat.

Ginger Leek Soup

Warm ginger soothes your throat and stomach while leeks and chicken help break up winter colds and soothe flu symptoms.

Black Bean Chipotle Soup

Make this rich, smoky soup with or without meat for a delicious, hearty meal on a fall or winter evening. It is the perfect appetizer before roast venison or beef, and will freeze well.

Fall Soups: Pumpkin and Sun-Dried Tomato

This yogurt-based, creamy soup will warm your hands and tease your taste buds. Serve with crusty loaves of home-baked pumpernickel or baguettes.

Pumpkin Soup

Serve this rich, pumpkin and squash soup piping hot in fall, with crusty French bread twists and rich, creamery butter or chill it and serve it over melon balls in cantaloupe bowls for a refreshing summer pick-me-up.

Making Beef Gelatin

Beef gelatin is reduced broth made from beef bones, vinegar and water after it congeals to room temperature or lower. Beef gelatin makes any beef dish more flavorful and adds vital minerals to your diet.

Sugar-Free Raspberry Jam

You can make your own sugar-free jams and jellies in less than an hour using fresh berries from your local farmer’s market or U-pick field.

Cucumber-Mint Raita

Raita is an Indian cucumber and yogurt sauce that is served with curries and other hot, spicy dishes. The smooth, creamy yogurt coats your tongue and throat. The curdled yogurt needs to drain for several days to make the soft, cream cheese base that will keep your raita thick.

Homemade Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa

Quesadillas and other Mexican and South American dishes taste better when you make your own salsa with fresh, roasted tomatoes and peppers. You control the heat by adding more jalapeno peppers for hotter salsa or substituting bell peppers for milder palates.

Plum-Ginger Sauce for Pork or Beef Tenderloin

Making your own plum sauce for pork or beef stir-fry allows you to control its sodium content. The plums, applesauce, and dates provide a sweet base for the tart orange juice, while ginger and red pepper provide just enough heat to please your palate.

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