Category Archives: Side Dishes

Recipes for Green Tomatoes

I was fortunate to have ripened tomatoes this year from an Early Girl tomato plant and a yellow pear tomato plant. Their fruits made their way into salads, sauces and soon a soup. But with a less-than-sun-filled summer, many people’s tomatoes weren’t as fortunate, and people in Kitsap are wondering what to do with all those green tomatoes.

The Rainy Day Gardening blog has instructions for ripening green tomatoes indoors.

The Diggin Food blog had some green tomato recipe suggestions from green tomato chutney to a green tomato sausage pie as well as links to other recipe resources.

And, of course, the Sun’s longtime food columnist Ann Vogel had some suggestions, which she wrote about in a 2006 column that I’ve reposted below (thank you Ann!). If you have green tomato recipes, please share them! I’ll pass them along to Ann as well as post them here.

Here’s that column:

Beat Jack Frost to those green tomatoes

What to do with those end-of-season green tomatoes?  A friend of reporter Chris Henry told her to try ripening hers by hanging the vines upside down.  Her garage now looks like a dying plant mausoleum and after five days, one of the tomatoes is starting to look a little pink.

Before frost hits, pluck those green tomatoes and turn them into a meal or dessert.

James Beard’s Green Tomato Pie

Use mature size tomatoes that are a week or so from turning red and ripening.

4 cups peeled, sliced green tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 1/4 [one and one-fourth] cups sugar, white or brown
4 to 6 tablespoons flour
1/4 [one-quarter] teaspoon salt
a pinch of either ground nutmeg or ginger to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
Pastry for double crust 9-inch pie

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place sliced tomatoes in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice or vinegar. In separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt and optional nutmeg or ginger. Fold flour mixture into tomato slices.

Roll half of pastry into about a 12-inch circle, big enough to fit a 9-inch pie plate with a little overhang. Line a pie plate with the pastry, trim the edge, and crimp. Turn the tomato mixture onto the pastry and dot the top with butter.

Moisten the rim of the pastry with a drop or two or water. Roll remaining half of pastry and place on top of pie. Trim excess and crimp the rim, pressing the edges to seal. Cut steam vents in the top and bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool on a rack.

Note: To prepare tomatoes, scald them in boiling water about 1 minute to loosen skins, then peel and core them. Slice about 1/4 inch thick.

Some people like this pie with a teaspoon of cinnamon added to it. You can substitute commercially prepared pie crust for the homemade crust.

Green Tomato Cake

2 1/4 [two and one-quarter] cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 [one-half] teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In mixing bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil or shortening, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; slowly beat into egg mixture. Blend well. Stir in pecans, raisins and tomatoes.  Pour into greased 9×13-inch pan. Top with coconut if desired. Bake for one hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 12.

Thanksgiving Recipe Contest Winner for Sweet Potato Souffle

Congratulations to Julie McCormick of Port Townsend, who won The Food Life’s little recipe contest. for her sweet potato souffle. I’ll highlight a couple more of the dessert-related recipes you shared later today and on Friday.

Here’s what Julie had to say about her recipe:

“I have been serving this with roast turkey for about 40 years, although it was originally intended to accompany a stuffed baked ham dish in the Great Dinners From Life (magazine) cookbook.

“I first made it when my then-husband and I belonged to a progressive dinner group in Ellensburg. The group of faculty wives who planned the menus picked a lot of meals from that book, which is probably very hard to find these days. I use a lot of its recipes and made a lot of things I’d never heard of before because of it. That book and Julia Child, who went on TV about that time, turned me into a bit of a foodie.

“Everyone who eats this dish loves it. It is not really sweet, but spicy, and it’s good with turkey gravy.

“It is not expected to puff up like a true souffle, so don’t be worried when it doesn’t.”

3 one-pound, two-ounce cans sweet potatoes (or the closest size you can find) or four pounds sweet potatoes, cooked
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon freshly graded lemon rind (I’ve always used dried rind from the spice section)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Drain sweet potatoes (or peel fresh ones). Mash potatoes, then beat, using low speed of electric mixer to make them as lump-free as possible. Beat in melted butter. Separate eggs and add yolks to sweet potato mixture. Beat until well blended. The longer you beat, the smoother the final result. Add sugar, milk, lemon rind, ginger and salt.

Beat egg whites separately until stiff but not dry and fold into potato mixture. Turn into buttered two-quart souffle dish or casserole. Bake for one hour. Serve immediately.

Corn on the Cob Was Made to be Grilled

Corn on the grill
Corn on the grill

It seems everyone has an opinion on what way is best to grill corn on the cob. Some boil it then grill it to get a little carmelizing charred effect. Some leave husks on. Others take it off, wrap it in foil or put it straight on the grill.

I fall firmly into the leave-husks on category, but with a little variation.

Here’s why:

It’s like nature made the vegetable to be cooked.The husks and silk not only protect those lovely little kernels from the fire, they also seal in the moisture, allowing it to steam in it’s own juices.

Husk off-ers argue that this also shields the corn from picking up any of the great smoky flavors you can get from grilling.

And here’s where the variation comes in: When I prepare the corn for grilling, I peel off all but a couple layers of husk from the corn, which allows some of the smokiness to filter in, but mostly protects the corn. I also trim the silk off the top and try to leave as much handle as I can on the end.

Once the corn is on over a medium-hot grill, I turn it every couple minutes until a charred imprint of the kernels starts to form on the husks. The husks will be burned, but the corn kernels should be safe and golden brown.

I’m not saying it’s the right way or the only way. Basting a naked cob in butter or a glaze can help keep the corn moist while it’s cooking.

One other thing to keep in mind about grilling corn is trying to get the freshest corn you can.

Since it’s grilling weather, I’ll put in a couple more grill-related posts, and I’d love to hear any of your grilling tips and recipes.

Next up for tomorrow is a recipe for a grilled fruit dessert.

Taming the Greens with a Garlicky Recipe


When I decided to join a CSA, I was prepared for what food bloggers and other folks said would be an onslaught of leafy greens in the spring, (and summer, and fall). I saw it as a challenge, an exercise for my budding creative culinary skills.

This winter, I bought loads of kale and a bunch of chard at the grocery store, looked up recipes on blogs and even came out with my own tomato, kale, garbanzo and sausage soup.

I saw this onslaught as an opportunity to get all the wonderful vitamins and good-for-you things greens provide, and envisaged a sudden turn to a healthy-eating lifestyle.

And then I got my first bunches of beet and mustard greens.

Actually, I didn’t even know what they were, and failed to ask before happily and proudly skipping away with my bagful of fresh goodies.

It seems that while I was contorting to pat myself on the back, I failed to look up what “greens” actually meant and in what variety they come.

But this is not a story of a food failure.

In fact, it’s more of a food rescue.

So with the first batch, I made salad. It was … interesting. Not that bad the first time around, but not regular, tender-lettuce salad. It got better the second and third days after I beefed it up with boiled eggs, bacon and other things that I’m sure negate all the good-for-you qualities fresh greens provide.

I used to laugh at my friends from the South (land o’ collard and many other kinds of greens) who regaled me with stories of things like fried lettuce. I’d just about be on the floor, “You FRY lettuce? You have got to be kidding,” I’d said. Yeah, it was mean.

But all this was in my head as I chopped up a heaping helping from my second batch.  I fried it in bacon grease then scrambled in some eggs and topped it all with crumbled bacon.

I will NEVER laugh at my Southern friends again.

It. Was. Good.

And then, on my third trip to pick up goods, a friendly farmer at Pheasant Fields FarmRed Barn Farm gave me some tips and the weekly newsletter included a great recipe of garlicky greens with Andouille and onions to my weekly newsletter. The recipe came courtesy of Shannon Harkness of , who says she acquired it from a Cook’s Country magazine.

I made the recipe from the newsletter with mustard greens and instead of cider vinegar, I used red wine vinegar (it’s what I had in the house) and keilbasa (because the grocery store was out of Andouille). I overcooked the greens a little bit, so they weren’t quite bright green, and they were a touch bitter, but not overwhelmingly so, just enough to make it interesting.

So, it seems, I’m coming to love the greens in a multitude of varieties. If any of you have additional greens recipes, please, please pass them on.

Garlicky Greens with Andouille and Onions
(From Cook’s Country magazine)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 ounces Andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into half-moon shapes (substitues include kielbasa or chorizo)
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds greens, chopped
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

Brown sausage: Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Cook sausage until well-browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add greens and vinegar, cover and cook until greens are wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high to evaporate the liquid, about two more minutes.

Celebrating Warm Weather with A Simple, Homemade Potato Salad


I made my first potato salad this weekend. You’d think with something so easy, I would have done it before, but those clear little plastic grocery store containers just seem so easy.

Well, with the spectacular sunshine this weekend, I made a go of it as a side dish with some burgers.

I read up a little on the basics and whipped together one of my own. I got a few tips from Barbara Lauternach’s “Potato Salad”, which reminded me that there really are hundreds of variations on a potato salad (her book as 50) that range from ones with vinaigrette-style dressings to things way fancier than I’m likely to put with a burger. I also searched around the Internet for various recipes and settled on making a basic version of my own, noting that most have some sort of vinegar, mayo and of course potatoes. I also made good use of fresh herbs growing in my garden.

Other folks add sugar and more crunchy items like relish, parsley and/or celery. I stuck with some very basic and quick ingredients, but did change it up a day later by adding a boiled egg, mustard and paprika to make it a more filling lunch.

I wrote down the basics of what I used below. What are some of your favorite additions? Or do you have a different basic recipe?

Continue reading

Simple Yet Satisfying Warm Weather Salad: Tabouleh

When I went looking for a side dish for kebabs, I thought of one of my favorite warm-weather salads, Tabouleh.

This Mediterranean salad is pretty satisfying yet fresh-tasting and it just happens to be both healthy (it uses whole grains, vitamins from fresh herbs). I could eat the stuff all day, by the spoonful. Other folks prefer it in a little more moderation as a dip for pita bread.

Recipe variations range from ones that run heavy on the hergs, such as you’ll often find in Middle Eastern restaurants to ones that treat the parsley and mint like coloring for the grain. Though it’s usually made with bulgar, variations on the grain also include barley, couscous, buckwheat (if you’re going for gluten-free), or rice. To give the dish a more exotic flavor, you can add cumin cinnamon and/or a touch of allspice. I’ve also seen variations that include tomatoes, apples cucumbers and other veggies.

I chose a basic recipe from a book through which I’ve recently been browsing, New York Times cooking guru Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food, listed below:


(from How to Cook Everything)
1/2 cup fine- to medium-grind bulgur
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust according to taste)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups roughly chopped parsley leaves
1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup shopped green onions

Soak bulgur in hot water to cover until tender, 15 to 30 minutse. Drain well, squeezing out as much water as possible. Toss with oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, add remaining ingredients and toss gently. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve.

Sometimes Quick and Simple Is Just Fine Too: Cornbread Casserole

I always make cornbread into muffins
I always make cornbread into muffins

I think I first had it at a work potluck, a piece of cornbread sweet and moist and full of enough corn to make it an actual side dish and not just something to butter.

I asked my good friend for the recipe, and lo and behold, it ended up being a ridiculously simple corn casserole recipe he got out of a magazine.

I’ve made my own sweet cornbread from scratch, and it’s not that hard. And some day I’ll make an all-local ingredient, fresh-milled corn meal and freshly creamed corn version, I’m sure. But when I need a quick side (or an occasional potluck dish), such as when I made beer batter crab fritters, it’s where I turn. Here’s how I make it, though unlike the original, I bake them into individual muffins.

Simple Cornbread Casserole

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1 can corn kernels, drained
1 can creamed corn

Follow the directions on the box. It’ll take about an extra 5 to 10 minutes to bake.

St. Patrick’s Day Dishes

As I’ve matured (but not that much), so have my St. Patrick’s day traditions. I’ve moved on from Guinness and Irish Car Bombs (yes politically incorrect, but oh-so tasty, unless you’re under 21, in which case they taste like crap) to Irish stews and Shepherd’s pies.

If you want to make your own corned beef, you should have started a week ago, according to a Bon Apetit recipe.

But there’s still time to whip something up for tomorrow. Local food writer Ann vogel offers up a recipe for Irish Soda Bread, which would be good either with a stew or just maybe a few slabs of Irish cheese (I’m partial to the Dubliner myself because it taste’s pretty good and I can find it at my local grocer).

I haven’t found an Irish stew recipe to stick with yet, but The Seattle Times had a promising lamb stew recipe on Saturday. I’m looking for something with a lot of thick, flavorful soup, preferably including stout. I want something I can eat it atop my other favorite Irish dish: Colcannon.

Colcannon is a mix of mashed potatoes, greens and other goodies. It’s apparently a dish made for Halloween, but I’m going to ignore that. here’s the recipe I’ve used a few times. I can’t remember where I originally got it, so apologies to the author.


1 pound cabbage, cored and sliced
1 pound potatoes, chopped, skin-on
1 leeks, sliced thin
1 cup whole milk
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup butter

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and keep warm.

Combine milk, half the butter, salt and pepper in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Add cabbage and leeks, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add potatoes to mix and mash. Add remaining butter, nutmeg and season to taste. Serve.

I’ve tried this with chives instead of leeks, which came out pretty good. I’ve also seen recipes where cooked bacon was chopped up and added to make it more of a main dish.

Whatever you’re making, hope it turns out well, and I’d love to hear about it. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Super Simple Side: Savory Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes I’m not a big fan of candied yams. I know, people love ’em, but I am just not one of those people.

But I wanted to incorporate a sweet side dish into one of my Thanksgiving meals, and I really do like sweet potatoes and yams, just not all mushed up and smothered with oozing marshmallow.

So I made roasted sweet potatoes instead that I baked while my turkey rested and prepped for its final performance on my dining room table (it was a tragedy, though some years a comedy).

Be warned: It does take about 20-30 minutes in the oven, but I managed to pull it off before the turkey got cold and also baked my rolls at the same time. It also tastes pretty good reheated, though no crunch, if you decide to make it the night ahead.

Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 large sweet potatoes (yams work, too)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh thyme or marjoram leaves
Optional: 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Slice sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds, toss in a bowl with thyme, salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 20-30 minutes, turning once.

That’s it.