Category Archives: Side Dish

Vegetable Parm

This dish is less about complexity and more about the aesthetics. It is one of the simplest dishes you can make since I used ready made tomato sauce but it looks beautiful when serving as a side dish for guests where each guest can get his/her separate stack. You can substitute the tomato sauce and instead make a gratin type of sauce or simply dress the cooked roasted vegetables with a yogurt, dill and garlic dressing. The secret is in slicing all the vegetables and mozzarella cheese into equally sized circles.

Ingredients: 1 large tomato sliced, 1 potato sliced, 1 red pepper sliced, 1 eggplant sliced (I had to use zucchini since my grocery store ran out of eggplants. Bummer), 1 large ball of mozzarella cheese sliced, 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to season, olive oil to drizzle the vegetables

Preheat oven to 350. Begin by arranging all the vegetables in a circle. Make sure to create a reoccurring pattern. I had the order of tomato, zucchini, pepper, mozzarella, potato but it really doesn’t matter as long as you follow one order throughout.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.

Pour the tomato sauce into the center and cover the vegetables with Parmesan cheese

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes soften. Serve hot.


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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetarian

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Even though it’s cold out and all we want to eat is bacon potato soup (at least that’s what I crave from January to April), there is nothing wrong if we remind ourselves of Spring months before it actually happens. I got this recipe from Ina Garten in Glamour’s October issue but I think it originally came from her new book, Barefoot Contessa, how easy is that? The combination of fresh herbs, lemon and fresh salmon is just amazing and reminds us that Spring might not be that far off.

Ingredients: 1 skinless and boneless salmon fillet, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup minced scallions (white and green parts), 1/2 cup minced fresh dill, 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley, 1/4 cup dry white wine, salt and pepper to season

Roasted Potatoes: 10-12 small sized potatoes, 1 tablespoon grilled seasoning, 1/2 tablespoon paprika and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Preheat oven to 425.

Place salmon in a glass dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over the salmon and let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine all of the herbs. Coat the salmon with the herb mixture on both sides.

Pour wine around the salmon

Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes or until it is almost cooked at the thickest part. The center will be firm with just a line of uncooked salmon just in the very center.

For a simple side of roasted potatoes, combine potatoes with the seasonings and olive oil.

Roast for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes become tender. Serve with the salmon.

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Filed under Fish, Main Course, Side Dish

Potato Gratin from the traveling frog

Since I was a baby, I have been referred to as the traveling frog. And without a doubt I have proven this nickname to be accurate with all the traveling that I have been fortunate to do. And again I have not been able to rest for much in Moscow. I am now in Dubai and thus again the lack of posts. I feel like this is becoming a problem. But in a few week’s time, I shall run out of all possible excuses…This is a recipe that I found in the November issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It can be served as both a side dish and a main course and is super easy to make.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 lb Baby Bello mushrooms diced, 2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1/8-inch slices, 1 cup Gruyere cheese grated, 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 garlic cloves minced, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Begin by adding mushrooms to a pan with oil. Add salt and pepper and saute until the liquid evaporates for 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Set aside and let stand at room temperature. Next preheat oven to 375 and pat the potato slices dry. Add whipped cream to a pot on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Add potatoes and bring to boil. Simmer covered for about 10 minutes and then simmer uncovered until cream reduces by half.

Transfer half the potato mixture to a buttered baking dish. Spread evenly and top with mushrooms.

Pour the remaining potato mixture. Cover with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes and then uncover and cook for another 20 minutes. Leave aside for 10 minutes and then serve.

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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetarian


I am one of the last people to jump on this new kale trend. Despite numerous recipes that have emerged over the past year, I have been hesitant to try cooking kale. But when I failed to find baby spinach in the grocery store last week, I decided to give it a shot. Not bad at all. Now I have a whole lot of other recipes that I want to try with kale.This recipe is adapted from Giada’s Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale recipe. I eliminated the whole green beans part and made Spicy Parmesan Kale.

Ingredients: 13 baby bello mushrooms cubed, 1 shallot cubed, 1/4 cup white wine, 1/2 lb kale stemmed and chopped, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 3 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, juice from 1/2 lemon, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Begin by warming olive olive in Dutch pan on medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until the shallot softens for about 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and pour in the wine.

Add kale and red pepper flakes

Cook until the kale wilts for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and top with Parmesan cheese. Mix together and serve warm

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Green Monster Side Dish

You all know my love for mashed potatoes. While I frequently enjoy mashed potatoes saturated with milk and cream cheese, you need to get your greens on the plate once in a while. Spinach, basil, mint, broccoli… all is fair game in this side dish. A prettier and brighter upgrade to regular mashed potatoes.

Ingredients: 5 small to medium sized potatoes peeled, 2 cups cooked broccoli, few bunches of fresh basil diced, 1/2 cup chicken stock, salt and pepper to season

Cut the potatoes up into halves. Add to a pot and fill with cold water. Cook on medium heat until the potatoes become soft. Drain the potatoes

Meanwhile add the broccoli to a blender

Use the chop mode to cut the broccoli into small pieces. Add to the drained potatoes. Pour in the chicken stock and add salt and pepper.

Add the chopped basil and mash the potatoes until the desired consistency

You can also add cooked diced spinach if you like. Enjoy!

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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetarian

Pea Obsession

A few months ago I looked into my friend Thalia’s freezer to find at least 10 bags of frozen peas. “What’s up with the peas?” I had to ask. “I like peas,” was the adorable panda answer. “10 bags?” I pushed. “I have this irrational fear that they are going to run out of peas one day,” Thalia admitted. A pea obsession, I concluded in my head.

I guess we all have foods that we can eat every moment of every day. While for me it is not peas, it is definitely cheese. I can eat any cheese (no matter how smelly, hard, soft, green it is) at any time of the day in unreasonable quantaties. But back to our green friends. When I saw this “chunky pea hummus” recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I came to the conclusion that this pea deliciousness is what Thalia would be if she was a food. I eliminated the scallions and pita bread from the recipe and opted for more of a pea side dish than dip.

Yesterday I went out with Thalia. “I ran out of peas!Can you believe it?!” Honestly I found it hard to. There were that many peas in that freezer! “I e-mailed my mum and asked her to buy me peas, peas and more peas. Enough peas to fill the entire car.” Maybe my obsession with cheese is not as strong as I though it was.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt

Begin by cooking the peas according to the instructions on the packet.

I simmered the peas in 1/4 cup of boiling water until the peas became tender. Mash them up a little bit leaving at least half of the peas whole.

In a small bowl, add yogurt, water, lemon juice and water

Add the spices

Whisk together until the sauce forms into one mixture

Mix the peas with the dressing and enjoy as a side dish or a dip.

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Filed under Appetizer, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Savory Tarts fit for any cocktail party

So I haven’t been updating my blog as often as I usually do. Sorry about that. With my birthday and the post birthday celebrations that have been taking place the entire week, I have hardly had time to do anything. For one of the dinners that I went to, I made 2 kinds of pastries. One for the vegetarians and one for the carnivores.

Cooking this I almost burnt my entire kitchen. Some goat cheese dropped to the oven floor and a fire started within. For people who know me, I panic really fast. Like really fast.  When I saw the fire start in the oven, I started running around screaming “FIRE!”. As the fire continued, I kept on yelling. Thank god boyfriend was with me in the apartment. Unlike me, who was still running around the apartment yelling fire a minute later, he calmly took a jug of water and extinguished the fire. Crisis averted, embarrassment is staying for good.

Note: The food still turned out good

Ingredients: 3 frozen puff pastry sheets (makes 12 big squares), 1 egg to use as egg wash

Goat Cheese and Tomato Pastries- 18 cherry tomatoes, 5 oz goat cheese, bunch of fresh arugula to go on each square, salt, pepper and olive oil to taste

Ham and Cheese Pastries- Block of gruyere cheese, 4 thin slices of ham, salt and pepper to season

Preheat oven to 400. Begin by thawing the pastry sheets. When softened, cut each sheet into 4 squares. Fold edges of pastry over to form a border for each square.

Brush the edges with a slightly beaten egg.

For the vegetarian pastries, cut each cherry tomato in half. Add a piece of goat cheese to every pastry square and top with tomato halves (I had around 6 halves on each square).

For the ham tarts, grate the gruyere cheese and add to a bowl. Thinly slice the ham and add to the bowl.

Add the ham filling to the puff pastry square making sure to not spill over the folded edges.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Cool the savory tarts and add arugula to the vegetarian pastries. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Enjoy and be careful not to burn the kitchen!

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Filed under Appetizer, Meat, Side Dish, Snacks, Vegetarian