Monday, December 22, 2014

Center - Sides!

The Headlines:


These are amazing Christmas sides.

Easy.

Delicious. 

Festive.



I love Christmas.  Who doesn't?  But I will say, in our house, Christmas is kind of the ugly step sister to Christmas Eve - in terms of our menu.  The reason is simple.  I concentrate so much on the Christmas Eve party.  All my focus is there.  So Christmas dinner kind of gets... lost.  I only have so much capacity in my brain.  Honestly, sometimes I just want to serve pizza.  One year we did.  Really.   It was the year we found out we were moving into a new house… like the week after Christmas.

But again, no matter what the year.. my menu on Christmas has to be simple.  But good.  Almost as if I slaved for hours but alas, I did not.

Last year, we made these 2 - out of this world - sides.  The first…Green beans with sun dried tomatoes!  Get it?  Red and green.  Love the festive-ness of that, right?   See, I always struggle with vegetables.  Sometimes it's hard to make them taste, well, good.  They're often the most overlooked and boring part of a meal.  Well not this time my friends.  I'm telling ya… you can NOT go wrong.  Even my Mother in Law loved these babies.  AND they only take like 10 minutes to do.  Saaaa-weeeet!


Here's what you'll need:

3 lbs of green beans
3 tblspns unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, "chopped"
1 1/2 tblspns fresh lemon zest
salt and pepper

Here's what you'll do:

Boil a large pot of lightly salted water over high heat.  When it reaches the full boil… add the green beans and cook for only 2 minutes.  While that's happening,  put ice and cold water in a large bowl.  After the 2 minutes, drain beans and put in the ice bath.  The beans will stop cooking that way.  In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté.  Couple minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook for another couple minutes.  Add beans, lemon zest, about 1 1/2 tspn's salt and 3/4 tspn pepper.  Cook until beans are warmed through.  5 minutes or so…  done.

Look at how beautiful there are.  The colors are stunning and so appropriate!  Plus, they have a yummy, surprising and zesty flavor.  Oh my gosh - it's like another  Christmas gift - but for your tongue!  One of the best veggie dishes you'll make.  It will not be boring - in fact prepare - it could assume center stage.   This side NEEDS some excellent meat by it in order not to over shine!

Then there's this… horseradish scalloped potatoes.  It goes really well with red meat and actually with the beans above.  And yes ladies and gentlemen… it too takes 10 minutes to prepare.  You're welcome.


Here's what you'll need:

3 lbs of potatoes - peeled and sliced
unsalted butter
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 tspn ground nutmeg
salt and pepper

Here's what you'll do:

Heat oven to 375.  Butter bottoms and sides of a shallow baking dish.  In a bowl, combine cream, horseradish,  about 1 1/2 tspns salt and 3/4 tspn pepper.  Add potatoes and coat with mixture.  Put it in the baking dish.  Cover dish with foil and bake for about 25-30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another hour or until top is golden and crispy looking.

We did steaks to accompany the sides.  The whole meal was excellent and super "Christmas-y"… but if turkey and stuffing is your thing on this holiday these could fit in to that scene too!