Side Dishes

Roasted Asparagus Gremolata

June 3, 2013
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Some recipes are are so brilliantly simple you want to slap yourself for not thinking of it first.

This is one of those recipes.

I’m fortunate to work with a few talented chefs from whom I gain inspiration every day. I’ve made classic gremolata for osso bucco dozens of times, and even used orange zest in lieu of lemon, for the gremolata garnish on a cannellini bean and beef soup. But it never occurred to me to add olive oil and turn it into a dressing for asparagus (d’oh!) until I tried it one day at work and I knew I had to make my own version. The punch of flavor from the gremolata takes ordinary asparagus from “nice” to “I want to put this on my head, it’s so good” as my friend Jessica likes to say.

Traditional gremolata is lemon zest, minced garlic …

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Roasted Vegetables with Pesto

March 21, 2013
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After my recent rant about pesto, I thought it only fair to share a new dish using home made pesto sauce. This recipe gets bonus point for being easy. It’s something you can throw in the oven to cook, then grill a piece of fish or chicken while it’s cooking and you have a meal in about half an hour.

These vegetables are something I’ve been making at least once a week for the past couple of months. To give credit where it is due, the dish was inspired by my mother, who offered up some vegetables out of her refrigerator before going out of town for a week. She suggested I roast the eggplant and tomatoes together with the mushrooms. I added a few other ingredients and served it during a weekend away with friends. Wouldn’t you know, it was a hit? The roasted mushrooms seemed to be …

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French Green Lentil, Brown Rice, Tomato and Feta Salad

January 7, 2013
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It’s that time of year again isn’t it? When we all start wondering why our jeans are just a little too tight, feeling that post-holiday letdown, and seeing the ads for gym memberships, weights and exercise outfits. Everyone is ready to get fit, get lean, and start eating healthy, myself included.

I learned a long time ago to stop buying those gym memberships (I know myself all too well) but I do know how to eat healthy when I want to. For me that includes lots of vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. A great start includes adding salads like this to the meal planning. They are tasty and filling and can do double duty as either a Meatless Monday main course, or side dish. For more salads like this check out a few other Simple Sunday Salad recipes.

If you’re not familiar with French green lentils you can read …

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Farro Risotto with Leeks and Butternut Squash

December 4, 2012
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I’m well aware that I’m more than a little whole grain obsessed. Whole grains are certainly good for you, and while I’m always trying to eat healthy, this dish is a little bit naughty, and a little bit nice, if you catch my meaning. It’s healthy in that it uses the whole grain, farro, instead of the typical arborio rice used in risotto, but it’s a little naughty because of the butter and cheese.

Farro, is the Italian term for one of a few different varieties of whole grain wheat. It’s similar to a wheat berry in taste and texture, but the farro I’ve purchased tends to have a more elongated grain than the hard red wheat berries I cooked into a salad recently. This dish is warm and hearty and perfect for a cold winter night as a side dish or as a vegetarian main (substitute water …

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Scarola alla Napoletana; Escarole and Spinach with Olives, Capers, Anchovy and Preserved Lemon

November 12, 2012
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Last year I visited Naples Italy for the first time. After a lengthy journey from Los Angeles, I met up with my mother at the Rome train station and together we took the high speed train to Naples.

I was so fried from the 24 hours of travel that I could barely think straight, let alone figure out where to have dinner. Normally I have a carefully curated list of restaurants in a neat little (self) printed booklet I make before every trip. This time I had too much drama in the days leading up to the trip and I never managed to finish my list. Nor could we access the internet for any research, so we wandered around the area, looking at menus, searching for something which appealed and wasn’t too touristy. Exhausted, all I wanted was a plate of pasta and a bed.

We came across the Antica

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Wheat Berry Salad with Corn, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Pesto Vinaigrette

September 23, 2012
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Here in Southern California, summer is not quite over. We’ve been pushing temperatures in the 90′s for the last two weeks and it certainly doesn’t inspire any cooking which requires slaving over a hot stove or even turning on the oven. That’s why I’m so enamored lately by cold salads which can do double duty. They can serve as a side dish or the main course later in the week (assuming you have leftovers!).

What is a wheat berry?

This is wheat in its whole grain form. According to Grain Mains wheat berries are one of the most common whole grains and appear in many forms; hard red wheat berries (hearty and firm in texture and flavor), soft white what berries (often used to grind into flour), whole grain farro, spelt berries, kamut, and whole grain bulgar (not the processed kind which removes the bran).

The book recommends pre-soaking the …

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