Prosciutto-Wrapped Broccolini

Prosciutto-Wrapped Broccolini

*Photo Updated July 2012*

Inspiration: Broccolini sauteed in butter is currently one of our favorite simple side dishes and one of our favorite vegetables. If you haven’t had broccolini before, I really recommend that you give it a try. It’s really its own food – much sweeter than broccoli, not bitter at all like broccoli rabe can be – really just a very flavorful, crisp vegetable. With that in mind, how could adding prosciutto be a bad thing?

What we Loved: I think that I’m going to have a hard time not wrapping my vegetables in prosciutto after this. We took a crisp, buttery side dish and added a rich, salty ham to it. What’s not to love? Plus, the added prosciutto bumps up the elegance of the dish just a little bit, and the recipe couldn’t be easier.

Helpful Hints: I originally had the idea to throw this on the grill, but things got hectic so we just used a saute pan. When you add these to the heat, though, the prosciutto almost shrink-wraps itself to the broccolini, so I really think that it would work well in any application without falling apart. Grilling would be wonderful! Also, I’m not going to say that putting some Parmesan beneath that prosciutto would be a bad idea.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Broccolini
Source: Original Recipe

1 package broccolini (ours had 12 stalks)
4 thin slices prosciutto
Kosher salt
Black pepper

1. Place the broccolini in a saute pan, and add approximately 1 inch of water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes.

2. Drain the water from the pan. Remove the broccolini from the pan, and place it on a cutting board. Bundle three stalks together, wrapping a piece of prosciutto tightly around the bundle. Repeat with the remaining broccolini.

2. Add a good pat of butter to the saute pan over medium low heat. Place the broccolini bundles in the pan, seasoning with salt and pepper. Flip after about 2 minutes, when the prosciutto is slightly browned. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes more.

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Guacamole Salad

Inspiration: With it being mid- to high-90s here for a while now (I love it!), we’ve been making a lot of fresh salads and salsas (as evidenced by my last few posts). My guacamole recipe is one of our very favorite recipes, so I thought we’d try it out in salad form.

What we Loved: This recipe has the exact same ingredients as my guacamole, only it’s prepared differently. We loved it! The flavor is very much the same, and it works really well as a summer side dish rather than an appetizer, snack, or topping, as guacamole is typically served. I can’t argue with a great new way to enjoy the flavors of guacamole!

Helpful Hints: As I like to recommend with my guacamole, be generous with the salt and the garlic. It really makes the dish!

Guacamole Salad
Source: Original Recipe

1 large avocado, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped
2-3 slices Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
A handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 garlic clove (or to taste), minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Juice from 1/2 small lime

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Cover and refrigerate until cold before serving.

Southwestern Summer Squash Salad

Southwestern Summer Squash Salad

*Photos Updated May 2012*

Inspiration: I tend to go the easy route with side dishes. I spend a lot of time choosing new and more difficult recipes for main courses, so often times, I’ll just throw some of our favorite vegetables alongside or make a couple of standby vegetable side dishes that we love. So when the mood strikes me to be more adventurous with a side dish, I run with it!

What we Loved: I absolutely adored this recipe. It’s light and fresh for summer, it’s full of crisp vegetables, and it has the perfect Southwestern flavors. I particularly loved the taste of the smoky cumin and the tart lime juice, which I really thought were the flavors that took this dish over the top. Combined with spicy jalapenos, tangy tomatoes, and fresh cilantro, there was really a burst of flavor in every bite.  Brandon likened this recipe to a salsa with squash, and I think that’s a great description.

Helpful Hints: Be generous with the cumin and the lime juice. As I mentioned above, I really think that those flavors are what make the dish so great. Also, I think that this recipe would be perfect for a vegetarian main course with a nice glass of white wine or a margarita.

Southwestern Summer Squash Salad
Source: Williams Sonoma

I adapted this recipe to serve two, and it was actually still too much for us. Here’s the recipe as I made it, which I would say easily serves four.

Extra virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 small yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 thick slice red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small jalapeno, minced
Ground cumin, to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
Kosher salt, to taste
Juice from 1 small lime
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Heat a pat of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and squash, and saute for 1 minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and salt. Cook until the squashes are tender but still a bit crisp, about 3-5 more minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the lime juice and a handful of chopped cilantro before serving.

Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo Salad

Inspiration: We were having a Mexican potluck at work, so I decided to bring a salad. I walked into the store to pick up some tomatoes, and a huge display of heirloom cherry tomatoes sat there staring at me. They were just too pretty to pass up!

What we Loved: I made an extra salad for B and I to have with dinner, and since we both love pico de gallo of any sort, we really enjoyed this little spin on the traditional recipe. We’ve actually never had heirloom tomatoes like this before, so we both had fun trying the different colors and enjoying the different flavors. We loved how each one tasted a little different! Some were sweeter than others, some were a little more tart, some were a little more savory. And the cilantro, peppers, onions, and lime juice really gave this salad a fresh Mexican twist. I served this alongside some chicken burgers topped with muenster and avocado for a light and summery meal that we both really enjoyed.

Helpful Hints: This salad would have been easier to eat if the tomatoes had been sliced in half, but since I was making this the night before a potluck, I was hoping to extend the shelf life of the salad and left the tomatoes whole. If you’re eating the salad right away, I might suggest slicing them. B also suggested keeping the tomatoes whole but using big chunks of onions and peppers rather than mincing them so small, which I also think is a great idea. That way, it would be more like a chunky vegetable salad.

Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo Salad
Source: Original Recipe

The ingredient amounts really aren’t specific here, so I’ll just list what I used. Use as much or as little of everything as you’d like.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes
Hot peppers (I used one jalapeno and one anaheim)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Lime juice

1. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl. Chop the cilantro, onions, and peppers, and add them to the bowl.

2. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lime juice over top, and stir everything to combine.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Inspiration: Continuing with our St. Patrick’s Day celebration, I made our yearly corned beef and cabbage on Sunday, and this year I decided to roast my vegetables instead of cooking them in the broth from the corned beef. I roast vegetables a lot, but for some reason the thought of roasting cabbage never occurred to me until I saw this post on Meet me in the Kitchen. What a great idea! I really loved the thought of having a little bit of a different spin on our corned beef and cabbage meal. B and I made it a date with our Irish-American supper, a couple of bottles of Guinness, and a Sunday night movie. I love this holiday :)

What we Loved: In my opinion, roasted vegetables are always better than steamed vegetables, so I knew that I would enjoy this. Roasting just adds a great depth of flavor that isn’t there otherwise. This cabbage was so nice and tender, with great, crispy charred spots and that wonderful browned, roasted flavor. I roasted some carrots alongside the cabbage, too, and they were nice and brown with a wonderful sweet flavor. Before serving, I spooned some of the broth from the corned beef atop the vegetables, and it added another great layer of light, savory flavor. I really enjoyed this and have a feeling that I’ll revisit this recipe. Nothing can beat those crispy browned charred spots!

Helpful Hints: My carrots browned up beautifully, but I would have liked them to be a bit more tender. If you’re roasting both cabbage and carrots, I would suggest parboiling the carrots for a few minutes first to soften them up.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges
Source: Meet me in the Kitchen, originally from Martha Stewart Living

I cut the recipe in half, using only half a head of cabbage for just the two of us. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

1 head cabbage
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Cut the head of cabbage in half through the core. Keeping the core intact, cut one of the halves into four wedges.  Reserve the second half for a later use.

2. Place the wedges on a baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

3. Roast at 450 for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Zucchini Saute with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Inspiration: I have a few vegetable side dish recipes that I always seem to come back to. Mashed cauliflower is a new favorite, and I love these sauteed brussels sprouts. But my favorite vegetable side dish, by far, is this zucchini saute with almonds and Parmesan. I could eat it everyday, and it’s one of the few recipes that I make again and again. I thought that the basic idea of the recipe would lend itself to a lot of variations, and this variation seemed like a great compliment to the salmon with pesto sauce that I was serving for supper.

What we Loved: While I still stand by the zucchini saute with almonds and Parmesan as my favorite, this recipe was pretty great, too. You can add goat cheese to anything and I’ll love it, so the goat cheese was of course my favorite part of the dish. I just love the creaminess and how it compliments the crispness of the zucchini so well. I also adored the buttery, toasted taste of the pinenuts with the rest of the flavors. I love how simple this side dish is to prepare, and it would go well with so many main courses.

Helpful Hints: This is such a simple recipe that my only advice is to try the almond and Parmesan combination, too!

Zucchini Saute with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
Source: Inspired from Zucchini Saute with Almonds and Parmesan, originally from Kitchenography

1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into thin strips (approximately 10-12) and then cut horizontally into matchsticks
1/8 cup pine nuts
1-2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

1. In a small sauce pan, add the pine nuts and turn the heat to medium low. Toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring the pinenuts often to make sure that they aren’t burning. Remove the pine nuts from the heat when they are golden brown.

2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan. Add the zucchini to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until the zucchini starts to soften, only a few minutes.

3. Mix the pine nuts into the zucchini, and then plate the zucchini and pine nuts topped with the goat cheese crumbles.

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower

Inspiration: I’ve seen the idea of mashed cauliflower floating around for a long time now, but for some reason I never thought to try it myself until last week when I was looking for a vegetable side dish. I was skeptical, but I was so curious that I had to give it a try.

What we Loved: What didn’t we love about this? I was completely shocked with how much this cauliflower tasted like mashed potatoes. The texture of my mashed cauliflower was a bit lighter and less dense than potatoes (almost a little bit soupier?), but with a pat of butter on top and some salt and pepper, the flavor is really outstanding! It really compares well with the flavor of mashed potatoes. And cauliflower is so ridiculously healthy for you. Considering the fact that we’ve had this side dish three times already, I think it gets a thumbs up from both of us (and especially from me, since mashed potatoes with plenty of butter and salt has always been a favorite treat of mine).  And if you’re interested, check out this awesome study regarding vegetables and fats that B recently shared with me.

Helpful Hints: Try this dish out a few times to get it just the way that you like it. The first time that I tried this, I only used a potato masher to mash the cauliflower, and the texture was completely wrong for me. It was almost too much like the texture of rice. I was really disappointed, and almost decided that I really didn’t like mashed cauliflower. But I tried it again, this time throwing the cauliflower into the food processor, and I ended up with awesome results.  Next time, I think I’m going to try Greek yogurt instead of milk for a bit of a thicker texture, which I would prefer. So if the texture doesn’t come out how you like it the first time, keep trying different methods! My recipe below is pretty vague for this reason. You can vary what you add to the cauliflower to adjust the creaminess, and you can process for varying lengths of times to get a lumpy vs. smooth texture.

Mashed Cauliflower

Source: Taken from bits and pieces of information seen around the internet and from my knowledge of making mashed potatoes

1 head of cauliflower, removed from the stem and cut into pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
Skim milk (or you could use any other kind of milk, cream, sour cream, or yogurt – which I think might work best for a thicker result)
Add-ins, if desired, such as cheeses, cream cheese, or chives

1. Add the cauliflower to a  pot, and then add enough water to just barely cover the cauliflower.

2. Bring to a boil, and then cook until the cauliflower is softened, approximately 7-8 minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower to a food processor. Add just a bit of milk (the cauliflower will provide some water, so you don’t need much) or sour cream/yogurt, and season with salt and pepper. Puree until the cauliflower is the texture that you prefer.

4. If you are using any add-ins, add them to the food processor, and pulse a few times to incorporate.

5. Serve the mashed cauliflower plain, with butter and S&P, or with gravy.