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Category: Sides

Southern Cornbread

Makes one 8″ skillet of cornbread. Double this for a 10″ skillet.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon melted butter (or 4 tsp bacon drippings)
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 450°. Place 8″ cast iron skillet with oil & butter (or drippings) in heating oven.

If you use butter, you will need to keep a close eye on it or it will burn even with the oil tempering. You can also just add the butter to the skillet right when you take it out of the oven to put the batter in.

Measure 1/3 cup cornmeal into a medium bowl. Mix remaining 2/3 cup cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.

Pour boiling water all at once into the bowl with 1/3 cup cornmeal; stir to make a stiff mush. Whisk in the buttermilk gradually, breaking up lumps, until smooth. Whisk in the beaten egg.

When the oven is preheated and skillet very hot, stir dry ingredients into the mush mixture until just moistened. Carefully remove skillet from the oven. Pour hot butter/fat from the skillet into the batter and stir to incorporate, then quickly pour batter back into the heated skillet.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and instantly turn cornbread onto a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts or walnuts
3 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 lemon (zest and juice)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Thinly slice leaves of Brussels sprouts into a medium bowl with a mandolin (a food processor slicing blade works well too). Add nuts and grated cheese. Finely grate lemon rind into bowl; halve lemon, and squeeze juice into bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. You can make the salad up to 20 minutes in advance.

Carrot Fries

1 pound of whole carrots, scrubbed, but not peeled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon spicy seasoning blend (or make the spice blend recipe below)

Spice Blend:
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cumin
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon white pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut carrots into french fry-sized sticks (e.g., cut in half lengthwise, then quarter each half). Combine olive oil and spice mixture. Pour olive oil mixture over carrots and toss to thoroughly coat.

Spread carrots on a large baking sheet that is lined with parchment or greased. Roast carrots for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through. Thickness of carrots will determine doneness so check often to avoid burning

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 oz. pancetta, diced, with visible fat discarded
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, then lower to 400 while sprouts are actually roasting.

Trim off the sprout stem and remove any yellow outer leaves. Toss the halved sprouts with the other ingredients in a bowl until evenly coated.

Spread in a single layer on a large sheet pan (do not overcrowd). Reduce oven to 400 degrees and bake in the upper 1/3 rack, for 30-35 minutes. The exterior should be crisp, with edges browned, and the inside still tender. Toss/stir halfway through for more even browning.

Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips

Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Baked Chips
2-3 medium-large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup white or malt vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt

Preheat oven to 375. Scrub sweet potatoes and pat dry. Thinly slice sweet potatoes into round discs (with a mandolin is best). Place all of the potato discs in a large Ziploc bag. Add vinegar, close bag, and shake to coat the potato slices. Allow to rest at room temperature 10-15 minutes.

Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil and spray generously with cooking spray (or use a silicone baking mat). Drain the bag, and place all of the potato discs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with half of the salt and spray generously with cooking spray.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Use a thin spatula to flip the chips over, and sprinkle with remaining salt. Bake another 15-20 minutes until chips are crispy but not burned.

Sauteed Cabbage

1 head cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons UNSALTED butter (reduce kosher salt if using regular butter)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cabbage in half and, with the cut-side down, slice it as thinly as possible around the core, as though you were making coleslaw. Discard the core.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cabbage, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Season, to taste, and serve warm

Mojo de Ajo

4 large heads garlic
    or 10 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) peeled garlic cloves
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove (a fist against the side of a knife is what I do) to release the clove from its papery skin; if using already-peeled garlic, scoop the cloves into a heavy plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them slightly.

Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in an 8×8-inch baking pan (make sure all the garlic is submerged), slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes.

Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.

Using a potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree.  Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy some deliciousness. The mojo will last for up to three months as long as the garlic stays submerged under the oil.

Black Bean Salsa

2 (16 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed & drained (Goya Premium brand is best)
2 cups frozen yellow corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped, including the green tops
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (may substitute 1 tablespoon of dried)
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large lime, juiced
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a non-reactive bowl, place black beans, corn, red and green bell peppers, green onions, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes. Pour juice of lime over ingredients and mix gently.

In a small glass bowl, add red wine vinegar, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, salt & black pepper. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify dressing. Pour dressing over black bean and corn mixture and mix gently until dressing is well distributed. Cover and chill at least one hour.
Serve with corn chips or Tostitos.

Note: add tomatoes right before serving if the salad is marinated more than a couple of hours.

Kale Chips

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 bunch Kale (about 3 large handfuls), torn into 2-inch shreds
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Mix Salt, Paprika, and Garlic together in a small bowl. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems (discard stems) and tear leaves into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt, toss in a mixing bowl until well combined. Spread kale on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 12 to 15 minutes (tossing halfway through).

Sautéed Collards

1 bunch collard greens, torn into pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice, optional

Rinse collard greens and tear into small sections. Boil in lightly salted water until wilted (5-10 minutes). Drain in a colander and press with the back of a spoon to release excess moisture. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add greens and cook 1-2 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. As an option, you can add 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice.