Category Archives: Sides

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

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Next week marks the start of the Jewish year, Rosh Hashanah. Apples are a traditional part of the holiday because they represent a sweet start to the year (especially when dipped in honey) and hark back to the Garden of Eden. Kugels, which are a baked pudding or casserole, are a traditional Jewish food as well. In my family, we enjoy potato kugel at least one night of Rosh Hashanah. So when I was brainstorming for this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge, where I had to come up with a recipe melding apples and basil, I decided to put a twist on my typical potato kugel with the addition of apples and basil.

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

This kugel recipe was my grandmother’s, though when she typed it out (as she did with many of her recipes…clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…) she attributed it to Margaret’s niece. So, Margaret’s niece, if you’re reading this, thanks for the great recipe. We enjoy it every year!

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

I used to grate potatoes and onions by hand, but really, there’s no need to work that hard…or add a hint of blood to the dish. This time I used my Cuisinart food processor with the grating blade and saved a ton of time! I highly recommend using the food processor for the grating step if you have one available.

Swapping out a potato for an apple makes this kugel, which can be on the heavier side, a bit lighter in taste. The basil adds a unexpected burst of freshness as well. Try this kugel as a side dish for your holiday dinner, or any meal. L’Shana Tova (have a good year)!

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

Yield: 12 servings

nonstick cooking spray

3 large russet potatoes

2 medium apples (I used gala)

1 onion

3 large eggs

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lightly packed basil chiffonade (basil sliced into thin strips)


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat an 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Grate peeled potatoes, peeled and cored apples, and the onion into a bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the potato mixture, along with the flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and basil.

3. Place in the baking dish and bake for at least 1 hour or until light brown and crisp.




Garlic Edamame

Have you ever gone to an Asian restaurant and enjoyed steamed edamame (soy beans) as an appetizer? They’re generally served still in pods and are delicious when lightly salted and a healthier alternative to fried eggrolls and such. It’s easy to get the same effect at home, just boil the edamame pods for about 10 minutes, lightly sprinkle with salt and that’s it. Use your teeth to get the individual edamames out from the pods. I’m not sure if the pods are really edible but they impart a lovely salted flavor when eaten like this. Edamame also make a tasty appetizer or side dish when entertaining. Serve them family style, and make sure to have extra empty bowls for people to deposit their empty edamame pods. You can even serve them alongside your chips and salsa and wings for game day.

Garlic Edamame

In exploring my Hawaiian cookbooks, I came across this recipe for Garlic Edamame and immediately knew it would be on my menu for the week. I love edamame and I really really love garlic and needed a side for the Pineapple Curry Stir Fry meal. So Garlic Edamame it was.

The soy beans are cooked in pods in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes as I described above, then drained. In the meantime, I prepared a compound butter, which is just butter with other added ingredients to provide extra flavor. I used a stick of butter and combined it with a healthy dose of garlic, some minced shallot, a touch of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, some lemon juice, and a pinch of dried parsley. If your butter is at room temperature it will be easier to combine. Use your hands to get all the flavors melded, if you need to…that’s what I had to do since my butter was a little cold and the paddle attachment for my mixer was in the sink.

Then I melted the compound butter in a large wok over medium heat, and added olive oil and even more garlic, sauteeing the garlic until it began to brown slightly. I tossed the cooked soy beans into the lovely garlicky sauce and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Despite the quantity of garlic in this recipe, it wasn’t overwhelming at all. My husband, who does not favor garlic quite as much as I do (sorry, honey) enjoyed them with me, but you can definitely cut back on the garlic a bit if you’re not a fan. Try edamame for a game day snack, an appetizer at your next dinner party, or as a side with dinner and take it to a new level with Garlic Edamame. Make sure to share it with someone you love.

Garlic Edamame


Garlic Edamame (adapted from Star Advertiser By Request 2)

2 pounds frozen soy beans (edamame) in pods

salt, for the boiling water

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

8-9 cloves garlic, minced, divided (can reduce amount if desired)

1 teaspoon minced shallot

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste

pinch of dried parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Boil the edamame pods in well-salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain.

2. Prepare the compound butter by combining the butter, 1 tablespoon of the minced garlic, shallot, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of parsley in a bowl until the butter is slightly softened and all the ingredients are mixed evenly.

3. Melt the butter in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the remaining minced garlic and saute until the garlic starts to lightly brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the edamame. Toss to coat with the butter sauce. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.


Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

Baking is my first love in the kitchen. I really do enjoy cooking now, but originally it was out of necessity that I learned to cook since I couldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) eat cookies for dinner every night. So to be honest I was a bit disappointed when my husband was assigned to bring salad for his work holiday potluck. I usually use those types of events to bake a special treat and it generally goes over really well. But my husband didn’t want to make a big deal of it so I decided to use the opportunity to try a new salad recipe. I flipped through some of my favorite cookbooks for ideas and happened upon a recipe for rice salad. Now of course I’ve heard of pasta salad before but rice salad was new to me. It seemed perfect for this type of event though, something that can be made in advance, easily transported, and served at room temperature. So I decided to give it a shot. And I’m glad I did. This dish is a great last minute side dish for your holiday meal. The red from the cranberries and hints of green from the green onions and cilantro give it a festive appearance and the flavors are unusual but delightful, with a sweet and savory combination of ginger, coriander, and a little cayenne pepper for heat.

Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

Reading through the original recipe, I wasn’t so sure what to expect, since frankly, the recommended ingredients sounded a bit odd in combination. But somehow it works. The other thing I learned from this recipe was how to make a creamy and flavorful vinaigrette dressing in my food processor, which opens up a whole new world of unique salads. I’m sure I’ll come back to that technique in the future.

Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

Some notes:

-I used a rice cooker to prepare the basmati rice but you can make rice on the stove as well.

-Toast almonds by cooking them in a small skillet over medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Watch them closely because there’s a fine line between toasted and burned and it’s really easy to cross that line.

Rice Salad

Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds (adapted from How to Cook Everything)

Yield: 6 servings

4 cups cooked basmati rice

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 shallot

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


1. In a large bowl, combine the rice, cranberries, almonds, and green onion.

2. Prepare the vinaigrette by combining the olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper in a mini food processor or blender and process until it appears creamy. Then add the peeled roughly chopped shallot and process until fine. Taste the dressing to adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Pour the vinaigrette over the rice mixture.

3. Add the coriander, ginger, and cayenne, along with additional salt and pepper to taste, and fluff the rice to separate the grains and combine all the ingredients. Stir in the cilantro.

4. Serve at room temperature. This can be refrigerated for a day but should be brought back to room temperature before serving.


Red Curry Peanut Noodles

Mmmmmm…peanut butter. It is really good on everything! So clearly peanut noodles are amazing, I mean, pasta plus peanut butter…what could be bad? I found this recipe in the 2009 Food & Wine Cookbook and was intrigued by the addition of red curry paste to classic peanut noodles. After making it, I was pleased to see that it worked really well. The curry paste added a little bit of spice to this dish but with the amount I used, I wouldn’t really call this a spicy meal. If spice is your thing, you might want to add more curry paste, crushed red pepper, or Sriracha to spice it up. I added shredded chicken to the noodles to make this more of a meal than a side. Using a supermarket rotisserie chicken saved time and made this a quick weeknight dinner, which I really needed, since I had to use the time I saved that night to make Peppermint Blondies for my son’s teacher. If you prefer to make a vegetarian dish, tofu would work well instead of chicken, or just enjoy the peanut noodles on their own. They’re supposed to be served cold but I love them hot as well!

Red Curry Peanut Noodles


Red Curry Peanut Noodles (adapted from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2009)

Yield: 4 servings

3/4 pound spaghetti (I used a mixture of whole wheat and regular)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon red curry paste

1/3 cup lower sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, divided

kosher salt, to taste

1 cup shredded chicken

2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced

1 cup matchstick carrots

1/3 cup coarsely chopped salted roasted peanuts


1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Once it is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions, until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water.

2. In a food processor (a 2 cup mini food processor is large enough), pulse together the peanut butter, lime juice, red curry paste, broth, and 1/4 cup cilantro until pureed. Season with salt, to taste.

3. In a large bowl, add the drained and rinsed spaghetti to the chicken, onions, and carrots. Mix in the sauce and toss to combine.

4. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves and the chopped peanuts.


Potato Latkes

When I was a little kid I used to count how many latkes, or potato pancakes, I could eat over the 8 days of Hanukkah; between school and various parties and home my annual latke count was pretty high! Now I don’t have the desire (or cholesterol) to indulge in quite so many latkes each year so the ones I do eat really need to be worth it. These latkes are my favorites by far, my Grandma Belle’s recipe. I can’t remember a Hanukkah yet where these weren’t part of the celebration at some point over the 8 days. I don’t know that there’s anything particularly unique about this recipe, but sometimes things are a tradition for a reason, right? No need to modify anything about these in my opinion. The only thing I’ve changed from Grandma’s recipe is I don’t grate the potatoes and onions by hand anymore. I used to, thinking it was sacrilege not to, but really, there’s nothing in the bible about skinned knuckles being part of the holiday, plus I really don’t have the time. Grating the potatoes in the food processor changes the appearance of the latkes a bit but there’s no difference in flavor. Enjoy with applesauce or sour cream.

Potato Latkes

And a side note, if you’ve never made latkes before…after you make the latkes, you’ll get to enjoy the smell of Hanukkah for several days as the fried latke scent permeates your home. It’s not Hanukkah without it though!

Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes

Yield: about 15 latkes

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus more for frying

1 small onion

4 medium potatoes

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

applesauce or sour cream for topping

The Recipe

1. In a large bowl beat together the eggs and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

2. In a food processor, grate the onion and add to the bowl with the eggs. Then peel the potatoes and grate them in the food processor. Both the onion and potatoes can be grated by hand if no food processor is available. Drain the potatoes thoroughly; squeezing as much liquid out as possible will result in crispy latkes. Add the drained potatoes to the egg mixture.

3. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

4. Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Test the oil to see if it is hot enough by putting a small amount of the batter in; if the oil sizzles it is ready. Spoon heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and flatten slightly. Cook until golden on one side, then flip and cook until golden on the other side.

5. Place on a paper towel to soak up any extra oil. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Cashew Naan Stuffing

We went to an Indian festival this weekend and tasted some delicious food, which got me thinking about naan, and with Thanksgiving oh so close on the horizon, naan reminded me of the amazing Cashew Naan Stuffing I made last Turkey Day. Since I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year, I decided to bring this yummy stuffing (ok, technically dressing since I’m not stuffing anything…except my face) to our dinner table a week before the big day.

I broke up 2 packages of store bought naan (which was 4 pieces, about 18 ounces total) into small pieces. Feel free to use restaurant naan too, we just don’t have an Indian place that close to us yet (one is coming soon I hear). It totaled about 8 cups. To that I added ground black pepper, some salt, and 4 sliced scallions.

In my wok I melted 2 sticks of margarine over medium heat (butter is fine too, I was just aiming for dairy-free here) and sautéed a chopped onion until lightly brown. To that I added a cup of cashews. The original recipe called for whole raw cashews–I’ll be honest I forgot to get them so I ended up picking out the cashews from a can of mixed nuts. I just reduced the salt elsewhere. I cooked the cashews until lightly browned then turned off the heat.

I added the naan mixture, plus half a cup of chopped fresh cilantro, half a cup of low-sodium chicken broth (can use vegetable broth if aiming for a vegetarian meal), and the juice of a lime to the wok and stirred it all together.

I poured the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish and baked, covered with aluminum foil, at 350F for 20 minutes. Then I removed the foil and baked for another 20 minutes until the top was lightly browned.

It was just as good as I had remembered from last year. Bonus–it’s kid friendly too, just avoid the cashews if serving a toddler (choking hazard). Maybe some of you will add this unique and tasty twist on stuffing to your Thanksgiving menu. If you do, please let let me know!

Cashew Naan Stuffing


Cashew Naan Stuffing (adapted from Rachael Ray magazine)

Serves 6-8

4 rounds of naan (about 8 cups, 18+ ounces)

4 thinly sliced green onions

1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper (or to taste)

2 sticks margarine or butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup whole raw cashews

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon lime juice

The Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Break up the naan into small pieces and place into a bowl with the sliced green onions, salt, and pepper.

3. In a wok or nonstick skillet melt the margarine over medium heat then add the onion and cook until softened. Add the cashews and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently.

4. Add the naan mixture, chicken broth, cilantro, and lime juice to the wok and stir until well combine. Transfer to a 9×13-inch baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until lightly browned on top.


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