Category Archives: Side Dish

Mother’s Day Menu Side Dish: Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta and Caramelized Onions

Happy hump day friends!  Boston is gray and chilly this morning, but I think we’re in for a nice weekend.  In New England they say if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it will change.  How true!  Weather.com might say gusty winds and a few showers, and then we’ll end up having a heat wave.  On the flip side, you might expect sunshine all day and be met with a snowstorm while walking out the door (sans coat, I might add 😉 ).  I’ve always envisioned New England meteorologists getting together right before a segment and flipping a coin…heads huh?  I guess that means I’ll say rain for today. 🙂

Back to last weekend’s Mother’s Day Menu…..the side dish!  For this dish I decided to go with Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta and Caramelized Onions; a recipe I originally saw in Williams-Sonoma: Dinner Parties.  I’ve always loved Brussels sprouts…boiled, roasted or baked…and I knew I love ‘em even more with some bacon, or in this case pancetta, added – yum!  I used the exact ingredients from the original recipe; however my measurements are a little different, so keep that in mind if you have the book at home.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ lb. cut of pancetta (you can have the butcher/deli master do this for you)
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Dice pancetta into ½ inch pieces and cook in a skillet over med-high heat, until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to dry/cool.  Do not throw out the pancetta fat!
  3. Quarter onion and sliced into thin strips.  Add ½ tablespoon butter to pancetta fat then add the onions.  Turn heat to low and cook uncovered for onions to caramelize.  This should take about 15-20 min.  Once caramelized, remove from heat.
  4. Cut Brussels sprouts in half length-wise.  Place in a bowl to coat with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar.  I recommend using good balsamic vinegar, as roasting concentrates the flavor.
  5. Spray nonstick cooking spray on a large baking sheet and lay Brussels sprouts out in a single layer.  Sprinkle S&P, but go lightly on the ‘S’; pancetta is very salty itself. 
  6. Roast in the oven for 20 min.
  7. Place the onions back on med heat and add the Brussels sprouts and pancetta.  Cook to heat through and combine flavors.  Serve warm.

Enjoy!

-Christina

Carrot & Black Bean Salad with Mint & Feta

Spring has most certainly sprung in Boston!  How fantastic is this warm weather?!?  I love being in the city during the spring, summer and fall….its the brutal winter that gets me every year – but that, my friends, has passed :).  With sunshine comes bountiful produce and fresh herbs – one of my favorite ingredients for warm weather cooking!

In perusing the blogosphere this week, I saw some great posts on growing your own herb garden.  Store bought herbs can be a little pricey and often go bad within the week, so growing your own is a great option.  Never fear city/apartment dwellers – it is easy peasy to grow your own small garden at home in a windowsill or on a patio/fire escape – check out ‘how-to’s’ from Organic City Girl and Our Best Bites to learn how.  I think this just may be the spring I plant my own :).

This carrot and black bean salad is one of my favorites; great flavors, light but filling and the perfect accompaniment to any spring/summer menu.  The mint really shines, giving the dish a wonderful freshness and the whole thing comes together in less than 10 min – you can’t beat it.

Could be perfect for a picnic date in Boston Common……just sayin’ 😉

Carrot & Black Bean Salad with Mint & Feta

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 ¼ cups canned black beans, rinsed
  • 2 med plum tomatoes, chopped (sliced cherry tomatoes work well too)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Leaves from 5 short stalks of mint (15-20 min leaves), sliced into ribbons
  • Juice of ½ fresh lemon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
  • S&P

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients – yep, it’s that easy :).

* Feel free to make this in advance and leave in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors further develop.

Enjoy!

-Christina

Any plans to enjoy the nice weather this weekend???