Tag Archives: Side Dish

Fennel with White Beans and Tomato

This started out as a fish main dish, but after tasting it, we decided to just have it as a vegetable dish. Side or main? Who knows.
Make 4 servings
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olive oil

fennel bulb

1 medium onion

½ cup white wine

4 roma tomatoes (or other varieties)

3-4 cloves of garlic

chili flakes

saffron threads

pastis (Pernod, Ricard, etc.)

1 cup of stock (fish, chicken, vegetable) or bean-cooking liquid

1½ cups cooked white beans



Cut into wedges

  • 1 fennel bulb

In a large frying pan, heat

  • 2 glugs olive oil

Fry fennel until golden. Lower heat and add

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ¾ tsp salt

and cook until tender. Add more oil if needed and add

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced

Cook briefly, add

  • ½ cup white wine

Bring briefly to boil and add

  • 4 Roma or an equivalent volume of other tomatoes, cored and diced
  • chili flakes, to tast
  • pinch saffron threads
  • splash of pastis
  • 1 cup fish, chicken or vegetable stock (see note, below)
  • 1½ cups beans

Let simmer together until tomatoes are cooked down. (In the original recipe, you’d add fish at this point and just cook until the fish is cooked through.) Taste for salt and pepper.

Note: You can use the bean cooking liquid instead of the stock if you prefer.

Adapted from a recipe in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.


We're addicted to these and always order them whenever we go out for Greek food. Now we make them at home, too.
Makes 6 cups cooked beans
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2 cups dried large lima beans

2 small onions

2 carrots

½ cup olive oil

2 small garlic cloves

¾ pound vine ripened tomatoes

hot red pepper flakes

½ cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves

Pick through

  • 2 cups picked over dried large lima beans

removing any foreign objects (rocks) you find. Place them in a 3-quart saucepan, cover them with plenty of water and soak them overnight, at least 5 hours. Drain off the water and add fresh water to cover them by at least two inches, add 

  • 2-3 tsp salt

and bring to a boil. Skim the froth off the top, and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until tender, checking at least a few beans to be sure they are uniformly cooked. It will take about 30 minutes, maybe longer for older beans. Drain them in a colander.

In pan, cook over moderately low heat

  • 2 small onions, chopped fine
  • 2 carrots, chopped fine
  • ½ cup olive oil

Peel, seed and chop fine

  • ¾ pound fresh tomatoes (in winter, I use canned tomatoes)

When carrots are tender, add in chopped tomatoes and

  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced

Continue cooking until garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and season with

  • salt
  • hot red pepper flakes

to taste. Remove from heat and let cool. Stewed beans may be made three days ahead and chilled, covered. Their flavor improves during this time. Bring beans to room temperature.


  • ½ cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves

dry them and chop finely. Stir parsley into beans before serving.

Adapted from The Best of Gourmet, 1997 Edition

Dal Masala

Delicious, creamy and comforting.
Makes 4 servings, depending on portion size
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1 cup black lentils

½ cup kidney beans

1 medium onion

2 medium tomatoes

a 1-inch piece of ginger

4-5 garlic cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds or ½ tsp cumin powder

½ tsp red chili powder

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala

2 TBL butter

2 TBL cream (optional)

cilantro (for garnish)


Soak all day or overnight

1 cup black lentils
½ cup kidney beans

Drain the beans and place in pressure cooker. Mince the following

1 medium onion
2 medium tomatoes
a 1-inch piece of ginger
4-5 garlic cloves

and add to pressure cooker along with

4 cups water
1 tsp cumin seeds or ½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp red chili powder
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
2 TBL butter
2 TBL cream (optional)

Cook in instant pot 15 minutes on high pressure. Wait 5 minutes and release steam. Check if both lentils and beans are soft enough to mash with a spoon. If not done, cook with pressure for 5 more minutes, adding water if needed. Release pressure, add

1 tsp salt

Cook for 10-15 minutes more to get them to the consistency you want and adjusting salt to taste.

If desired, add

2 TBL cream

garnish with

cilantro leaves

Inspired by vegrecipesofindia.com.


A yummy grain alternative.

In a large saucepan heat

  • 3 TBL oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

and cook until the seeds pop, about 2-3 minutes (or use)

  • 3 TBL mustard oil (ATTN the diluted mustard oil that’s ready to use)


  • ½ cup chopped shallots
  • 3 hot green chilies (stemmed, seeded and chopped)
  • 3 tsp minced fresh ginger

Saute for another 3-4 minutes. Add

  • ¼ cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 12 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ cups cream of wheat

Raise heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly so it does not form lumps. Lower heat and cover until fully cooked, another 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let rest, covered. Fluff with fork, sprinkle with lemon juice  and serve.

Multi-Grain Stuffing

My mother would often make this, not fully cooking the grain, and use it to stuff the Thanksgiving turkey. The excess would sit around the turkey in the roasting pan. At other times, she’d cook it as I do, in a skillet cooking to completion, and serve it as a side dish.

The day before you plan to make the stuffing, pick over

  • ½ cup barley

and soak it overnight in water.

Start heating some 2 quarts of water, almost to a boil. You will use this to cook the grain. Meanwhile, finely mince

  • 1 very large onion or 3 of the medium-sized onions often sold in bulk
Also finely mince, keeping separate from the onion
  • ½ pound peeled carrots
  • 3 ribs of celery

In an electric frying pan or large skillet, heat

  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add the onions and cook until soft. After 5 minutes add the carrots and celery.

Meanwhile, in a smaller skillet over medium heat, add

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup uncooked orzo

Stir from time to time and continue to cook until most of the orzo have reached the color of chestnuts, a very dark brown. Don’t worry, it won’t taste burnt, and don’t wimp out and just have them lightly browned.

This batch has a way to go… it needs to be much darker.

When the vegetables have softened, add the drained barley, the cooked orzo and

  • 2 cups of mixed grains (See the note at the end of the recipe.)

Use caution with the next step as ATTN the water will splatter as you begin to add it to the pan. Add:

  • 1 TBL mushroom soup base or some dried bouillon
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 6+ cups of hot water.

Reduce to a simmer and cover. Every 5-10 minutes check on the water level and the consistency of the grains. If it’s dry and the grains aren’t fully cooked, add water. When it’s done and the grains are easily chewed check the seasoning. Serve right away or let cool and reheat later. This makes about 10-12 cups depending on the grains you use. For a very large crowd at Thanksgiving I generally double this recipe.

NOTE: Typically I’ve used ⅔ brown rice, ⅓ cup bulgur wheat, ⅓ cup whole buckwheat (kasha), ⅓ cup millet and ⅓ quinoa. You should feel free to experiment with the grains. What I’ve learned is that white rice cooks a little more quickly than some of the others, so I prefer brown rice. Kasha has a strong flavor some people don’t like, although I prefer to toast the kasha in a skillet briefly after I finish frying the orzo; this enhances the flavor. I believe that using bulgur wheat causes the dish to be a little softer. I’m still playing around with this to refine the grain mixture.

Potato Kugel for a Crowd

Peel 8 pounds of russet potatoes and keep under water until you are ready to use them. You can peel them the night before with no ill effect.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and quarter 4 large onions. Place onions, 2 at a time in of the food processor or leave running until it’s a fine puree. Repeat with other onions. Using fine shredding disc (I did mine with the KitchenAid mixer attachment), process all the potatoes into a strainer sitting in a large mixing bowl. Press the potatoes with your hands to release any extra water; dump the potato water into a small bowl and reserve.

Beat 10 eggs in the same large mixing bowl. Add in potatoes, pureed onions, 2 TBL vegetable oil, 2 TBL kosher or sea salt, freshly ground black pepper (1+ TBL) and about a cup of matzo meal. Carefully pour off the water from the small bowl and recover the potato starch from the bottom: add that to the mixture as well. Mix thoroughly.

Place in large oiled baking dish (low, flat: I have a large oval dish that’s a bit bigger than 13×9 inches) and bake until golden on top. It will cook 60 minutes.

Kasha Fusillichkas

Okay, it’s supposed to be made with bow-tie pasta (and then it’s called Kasha Varnichkas), but I’m not so traditional. This makes a lot, so you might want to cut it in half. Just use the white of the egg if you do.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Mix together 1 beaten egg and a cup of medium granulation kasha. Saute in oil or butter in a hot skillet — be sure you have a lid for it. Cook to dry out egg, breaking up kasha so it’s in separate granules. Sprinkle with salt. Pour in 2 cups of hot water or stock; it will spatter. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook fusilli (1 pound). Drain pasta when done and mix with cooked kasha and gravy from Gedempte Chicken, or something else that’s tasty. Serve hot.

Creamy Polenta

Mix ½ cup corn meal, 2 cups cold water and ½ tsp salt in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over a high heat. Cover pan when it begins to boil  and reduce heat to lowest possible temperature. It will need to cook for 5-8 minutes more. Stir in 1-2 TBL butter.


  • If you mix the corn meal with cold water it won’t develop any lumps… especially if you stir constantly until it boils. I’m not sure why the cold water trick isn’t widely published.
  • I prefer the consistency from Quaker Corn Meal, but you should find a granulation you like.