Corn with Thyme and a Little Garlic Butter

Corn with Thyme and Garlic Butter

There is nothing better than a great little side dish that adds just a hint of spice, and a bit of filling stuff without messing up that grand presentation you’ve got coming for the main dish. That’s where this little corn with thyme dish comes into play. I haven’t done a lot of side dishes here at Discovery Cooking, but this one, no matter how simple, is one you should always have around.

First off, the corn. When the late summer and early fall are on the line, good fresh corn right from the farmer’s market is definitely in order here. There is nothing quite like good fresh corn, and there is nothing quite like it. Trouble is, for most of us, that’s a pretty small window to hit. If your one of those lucky ones who have corn you’ve actually canned, that’s generally a good substitute. For the rest of us, high-quality frozen corn is often what we’re left with, but guess what? It’s often way better than some of the two and three-day old corn sold as fresh in the super markets. So there.

The second thing to remember is the thyme. If you can’t get fresh thyme, don’t even try this. The thyme is what gives this dish most of the flavor and there is nothing quite like that flavor.  Good news, if you’re growing some thyme in the backyard, but in most days, you can now get fresh thyme in most grocery stores. The main thing is to add the thyme a little bit at a time until you’ve got just the right amount, and that may vary from when and where you’ve got it.

Add in just a little garlic in the butter sauce and you’re on your way.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Twice Fried Fries with Bacon and Cheese

twice fried fries

How do you make a great french fry? I’m gonna guess, despite the simplicity in frying potatoes, that there are plenty of answers to that question, but I’m gonna offer up my best guess — it’s twice fried fries. I know, probably about half of you out there already knew that, and the rest are using frozen fries (I’ll come back to those) or good old, once fried fries.

If you’re just trying to figure out why twice fried fries works, there’s a great piece at Serious Eats, which explains it pretty well. But I happen to like a story told to me by a French colleague, in which a chef on a train was trying to make some potatoes, somehow lost power and then had to restart them. What he found was that the new potatoes were more interesting and far more crunchy, which became the eventual story for french fries, as well. 

And then there are frozen fries, many — or some of them, anyway — have already been fried even before you get them. At least the good ones do that. 

The recipe below is for my twice fried fries done with a nice hot cheddar cheese and a pile of bacon bits. In the best world, I could just live on these things year round. They are very good and a perfect example of why twice fried fries really does work. They are just gooey with tons of bacon bits. I love them.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Orzo and Rice Pilaf

orzo and rice pilaf

Here is a very good summer dish to help take care of those zucchini, which must now be about to take over your garden. It’s a simple orzo and rice pilaf, with lots of veggies and plenty of chicken broth (or vegetable broth), and with a finishing touch of zucchini at the end that just steams lightly and gives it a nice crunch.

I like the idea of using orzo with a rice pilaf, it make the whole dish a little more interesting and, I don’t know, adds a really nice pasta effect to the dish that smaller pasta just seems to miss. You can also make this a more or less vegetarian dish by using vegetable pasta. Personally, I use the chicken version because it adds a bit of (what I think is necessary) flavor, but if you had some really good vegetable sauce, by all means feel free to give it a try.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Zucchini with Thai Sauce

Zucchini with Thai Sauce

I enjoy a lovely — and no cook — recipe for summer sides, and this zucchini with Thai sauce is just perfect. You can make the sauce well ahead of time and the zucchini and red peppers can be made just a little before hand. You really can’t beat it, especially on a very hot summer day. 

First the zucchini. That part is really very easy, since all you need is one of those little mandolin or one of those rope-making appliances that turn the veggies into, well, ropes. Honestly, the one I have cost me all of $10, and you can use them for a whole lot of other veggies and fruits, too. 

The Thai sauce — I have no idea why I call it that, except that it has some peanuts and chili — is extremely easy to make as well, but combines a dab of peanut butter with a number of other ingredients. If you want to just call it a peanut sauce, that works OK with with me. I believe this may have come from an older Gourmet or maybe from some other source, but we’ve been making it here at Discovery Cooking for many years and by now, I suspect, it has enough modifications to make it our own.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Ditalini and Carrots

ditalini and carrots

I haven’t done much about side dishes here, and that’s something we’d like to change going forward. Ditalini and carrots is one of those terrific side dishes that you could, under the right circumstances, make into a damn fine meal, if you really wanted to do that. And while it’s not strictly a vegetarian meal, a bit of switching the broth could even convert this dish to vegetarian.

What I like about the dish is that it has plenty of flavor, especially if you can get some fresh carrots from the local farm market, for example. And the cheese and rosemary at the end really sends it over the top. On top of that, it actually looks really nice on a plate or in a bowl. It goes pretty well with just about anything, even meat with lots of sauce like a Saltimbocca or perhaps a little barbecue, or something similar.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Potato Salad on the Side!

potato salad

I know just about everyone here in the U.S. is headed off for a lovely holiday this weekend. And even those of us who occasionally like to hang out at home still might be looking for a little prep-ahead, do it now, and relax over the next few days. This recipe is for one of the better potato salad mixes I’ve ever encountered and it’s fairly simple to make. 

Like any good potato salad, this one relies on good potatoes, but it also includes a whole mess of eggs and a host of other wonderful things, including just a little tarragon, which gives it a light, tangy kind of exuberance that you might not find elsewhere. For my taste, I generally like a good baking potato, which gives the finished product a nice crunch.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Codfish Salad with Guacamole (Sous Vide)

codfish salad

Some day I’d love to see a book focused only on just simple salads. And this codfish salad could go right to the top of that list. As a general rule, in fact, I probably wouldn’t even post this dish here — but for the fact that it shows how even a very straightforward little sous vide can be a wonderful addition to a meal.

The guacamole is pretty simple, but feel free to add more — including a lot of spice if you like that. The salad, with or without a little light dressing is just about whatever you have available. 

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
%d bloggers like this: