Thursday, April 30, 2009

All Kidding Aside - here are the sides!

Oh I just crack me up. Get it? Okay, maybe it's just me. 

As luck would have it I have contracted an ear infection just in time for my Women's Wine Weekend (notice there is no H in wine). And I can't even whine about it because no whining is in the WWW bylaws. Oh bother. I am on antibiotics and motrin and will soldier on, but curses to these allergies of mine - every spring it seems....

I'm making two side dishes with the beef tenderloin on Saturday night. Crisp New Potatoes with herbs and roasted sticky carrots. I'm also going to make an herb butter for the hot ciabatta rolls I'll be serving with dinner. So, all kidding aside, here are the sides:

Crisp New Potatoes: (serves 4)

One small bag (about 1 pound) small creamery new potatoes (you can also use baby red skinned or fingerlings)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary OR thyme, stripped and chopped.
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Kosher or Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Wash and pierce potatoes. Starting with COLD, salted water, cook for about 10 minutes until just soft enough to pierce (we're going to cook them some more - so don't cook them all the way).
Drain, let dry naturally.
Melt butter in large saute pan. Add oil and heat to medium high. Add potatoes. Salt & Pepper to taste. Cook potatoes until they begin to crisp and brown, turning to brown all sides. Add rosemary (or thyme) stir one more minute. Place on platter, drizzle oil/butter combo over and sprinkle handful of fresh parsley over. 

Roasted Sticky Carrots: (serves 4)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

16 carrots (about 2 pounds) select thin, rather than big carrots. If more than 1/2 inch in diameter, split in half.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, stripped and chopped
2 tablespoons honey

Peel carrots, wash and dry.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in oven proof casserole or rimmed cookie sheet. Add oil. Add carrots and roll around to coat. Sprinkle with ginger and thyme. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes until soft and slightly carmelized. Roll carrots about halfway through. When easily pierced with a fork, drizzle carrots with 2 tablespoons honey. Roast for 5 more minutes. 

These carrots go great with pork, beef and chicken and kids LOVE them! 

Herb Butter:

There is no end to the variations of herbed butters you can make. Always, always, start with unsalted butter, it has a more pure taste and you can always add salt to your liking!  

I make my butter and keep it in a little butter jar in my fridge.  You an also roll it into a log in plastic wrap and then slice it. It keeps for as long as, well, butter - but don't plan on having it around long, it just won't last. 

Try these:

Zest of one lemon, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley. Great with fish and chicken
Herbs de Provence - perfect with meat dishes
thyme and sea salt - chicken, fish
rosemary and sea salt - chicken, fish, beef, lamb
honey - on toast with tea

Use your imagine. Any herb or flavor you are using in your cooking you can mirror in the butter. What a nice surprise for your family; warm bread from the oven and a lightly flavored butter to spread on it. Put it on the table before dinner to give them a little taste of what's to come. 

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