Monday Menus: Corn bread and Veggies

-Ginger Johnson

Here are a few recipes that I’ve been making a lot lately, and are great seasonal side dishes.

Corn Bread (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Sept/Oct 2002)

2 c flour

1 c fine-ground cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

3/4 c sugar

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 c sour cream

1/2 c milk

Butter-flavored shortening or vegetable oil

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon about 1/4 shortening or oil into a 12 inch cast iron skillet*, and place in the oven to heat.

2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk eggs in a second bowl until well combined, about 20 seconds. Add sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter. Add sour cream, then milk, and whisk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix gently until batter is just combined and evenly moistened.

3. Very carefully remove skillet from oven, and spoon batter into it. Return to oven, and bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

*Note: if you don’t have a 12 inch cast iron skillet, you can make muffins instead, using a standard muffin tin (12 cups) sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts (from smittenkitchen.com)

I have always hated Brussels sprouts. Yuck. As an adult, I really thought I should conquer this bias. I tried them braised with bacon. Still yuck. As an adult–and a vegetarian–I felt I should try again. When I found this recipe, I gave it a whirl, and BINGO! I found a way to think kindly of those little twerps. Serves 4 as a side dish

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don’t fit in one layer, don’t fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]

Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels. Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
A simple but delicious way to make cauliflower.
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/3 c parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a jelly-roll sheet or a large casserole dish.
2. Mix cauliflower, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onto baking pan and roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Sprinkle parmesan on top, and broil 3 to 5 minutes.

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