I made farfel with mushrooms for my husband for years because he had asked me to.  I wasn’t that excited about the side dish but it was delicious.  I decided to use shiitake and cremini mushrooms which added to the flavor.  Another tip was to boil the farfel in chicken broth.  My husband was happy, so that makes this another go-to side dish!


• 12 ounce (2 to 2-1/2 cups, depending on the size) farfel or egg barley, toasted
• 4 ounce (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 2 large (1 pound) yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
• 12 ounce (3/4 pound) mushrooms (button, shitake, or cremini) sliced or chopped
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
• 1 large egg (optional)
• 1/4 cup soup stock, chicken or vegetable (optional)
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)

• Bring a large pot of salted water (4 quarts water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt) to a boil.

• Add the toasted farfel and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse.

• In a large saucepan, heat the butter.

• Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.

• Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the mushrooms have given off most of their water and the mushrooms and onions are soft, about 30 minutes.

• Stir the farfel into the sautéed mushrooms and onions adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

• Bake the farfel, stir in the egg and soup broth (if using).

• Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish. You can store the farfel covered in the refrigerator at this point for up to 2 days.

• Before serving, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top browns and the farfel is heated through.



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My next favorite recipe was a wonderful and easy side dish.  I’m giving credit to my son Josh for saying you have to try the couscous and chicken recipe in the latest Bon Appetit.  He was raving about the flavors… and he was right.  This is one of my new favorite side dishes… again very easy to make and a perfect time of year to use fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs from your garden or neighborhood farmers market.


• 1 ½ cups Israeli couscous
• 1 small shallot, finely chopped
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
• 1 English hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and finely chopped
• 3 cups cherry tomatoes (I like to mix up the colors)
• 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tablespoon chopped mint
• Kosher salt & pepper to taste


• Cook couscous according to package, drain.

• Rinse with cold water and drain well.

• Whisk shallot, oil, and lemon juice in a large bowl.

• Add couscous cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, and mint… add more lemon juice to taste with salt & pepper.

Makes 6 servings.


NOTE: Rinsing the cooked couscous stops the cooking and prevents it from sticking together as it cools.

DO AHEAD: This recipe can be made ahead and stored for a day in the fridge, but add the herbs just before serving.



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(Initial recipe from Ina Garten with my own twist)


• 6 whole (12 split) Chicken Breasts, roasted with salt, pepper, and olive oil (Roasted for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into 1 inch pieces after cooled.)
• 2 cups of celery, chopped
• 2 cups of fennel, chopped
• ½ cup of currants (put into a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes, then drain)
• 5 tablespoons of chopped tarragon
• 1-1/3 cup of mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)
• 2 cups of grapes, sliced in half
• Salt & pepper to taste


• Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

• You can make one day ahead and put in the fridge.



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I have made many corn bread recipes and although I love corn bread I have never liked the way the bread falls apart.  This recipe has amazing taste and perfect consistency.  It is sweet and spicy, warm and buttery.  It makes a perfect side dish to anything… if you can keep your family from eating it all before dinner.  I have made this in mini muffin tins and regular muffin tins, but if you can find the pans that shape your bread into mini corn loaves it makes a great presentation. Again this recipe comes from Mitchell Rosenthal’s Cooking my way Back Home.  There are so many more recipes to try from this wonderful cookbook.


• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ⅔ cup sugar
• ½ cup cornmeal
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 ¼ cups whole milk
• 2 large eggs
• ⅓ cup canola oil
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely diced
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, mixed with 2 tablespoons honey



• Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or line the cups with paper liners.

• In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

• In a medium bowl, stir together the milk, eggs, oil, and butter until well blended.

• Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.

• Finally, add the chiles and mix again until well combined.

• Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 prepared muffin cups.

• Bake for about 20 minutes, or until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a corn bread comes out dry.

• When done, immediately brush the tops of the hot breads with the butter-honey mixture and then let rest in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes.

Serve hot.



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recipe: spicy red potato salad

August 3rd, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Side Dishes - (0 Comments)

I always keep a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the fridge.  So when I saw this recipe from Cooking my way Back Home, I knew it was a perfect compliment to the red potatoes I had just picked up at the farmers market.  Potato salad was a common side in the summer at my house, crunchy, creamy, and spicy.  Enjoy!



• 2 pounds small red potatoes

• 6 large eggs

• 1 cup mayonnaise

• ⅓ cup finely diced celery

• ⅓ cup finely diced red onion

• 1 bunch green onions (including tender green parts), thinly sliced

• 1 ½ tablespoons horseradish mustard

• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

• 1 tablespoon Town Hall Spice Mixture

• 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

• 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

• Salt and freshly ground pepper




• In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with salted water to cover by 2 inches, bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove from the heat, drain, and spread out in a single layer on a sheet pan to cool and dry.

• While the potatoes are cooking, you can hard-boil, peel, and chop the eggs into small pieces.

• In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, celery, red onion, green onions, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, spice mixture, Tabasco sauce, and vinegar and mix well.  Fold in the eggs and season with salt & pepper.

• When the potatoes are cool, quarter them lengthwise and place in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise mixture and stir to coat the potatoes evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve.




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recipe: quinoa salad

July 27th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Side Dishes - (0 Comments)

Quinoa is one of those super foods… and the best part is it’s delicious.  I like to mix it with bulgar, a wheat grain, and this time I added rosemary spiced walnuts and dried cranberries.  This can be a side dish or served over greens as a lunch salad.




• ½ cup of black or red quinoa

• ⅓ cup of bulgar grain #2

• 1 tbsp of olive oil

• 2 cups of low salt chicken broth

• ⅓ cup of walnuts, spiced with rosemary and thyme

• ⅓ cup of dried cranberries




• Saute quinoa and bulgar in oil for 1 minute.

• Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce till all liquid is gone.

• Stir in walnuts and cranberries and serve.  You can serve this hot or cold.



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This is so simple and delicious!  Take a whole head of cauliflower and slice rounds as flat as possible.  Some will fall off in small pieces, use this too as it all tastes good.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 400 degrees until cauliflower is crisp and slightly browned on edges (You should turn vegetables to cook evenly.).  When done add ¼ cup of freshly chopped chives, 1 tablespoon of chopped thyme, kosher salt to taste, and ½ cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese.  Put in oven for 2-3 minutes more and serve.  This is an excellent easy side dish.  Enjoy!



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recipe: smashed potatoes

July 2nd, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Side Dishes - (0 Comments)

I know this isn’t a new idea and many of us may cook a version of these luscious potatoes.  The basic recipe is as follows:


• 12 small red boiling potatoes
• Kosher salt
• Good olive oil
• Optional: Lemon, Parmesan, and/or fresh herbs


• Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

• Boil potatoes to cook then drain.

• Take two dishtowels and lay one down on counter placing cooked potatoes on towel separating them like mounds of cookie dough.

• Now place the other towel over the potatoes and using the flat base of your hand smash each potato.

• Transfer with a spatula the potatoes to the parchment lined sheet pan.

• Drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt.

• You can add fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, dill, or just leave them plain.

• Cook till the edges of the potatoes are crispy about 20-25 minutes.

• You can squeeze lemon juice or sprinkle with Parmesan, but I love them just plain, crispy with a dash of salt.



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recipe: squash blossoms

June 28th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Side Dishes - (0 Comments)

Another great day at the market and I had to pick up the beautiful yellow squash blossoms.  There are so many ways to enjoy the treat but I just love them in a beer batter fried in Canola oil.  You can stuff them with cheese and bake, or just roast with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.


• 1 bunch (12-14) squash blossoms
• 1 ¼ cups of flour
• 1 bottle of beer (your choice) add less beer if you want batter to be thicker
• Dash of chili powder, salt, and pepper
• Canola oil (¾ inch in frying pan



• Heat oil in frying pan.

• Mix flour and beer with spices.

• Coat blossoms and fry in oil.

• Place finished blossoms on paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

• To keep warm and crisp put on a sheet pan and keep warm in oven.


You may want to double this recipe as they disappear faster than you can make them!



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recipe: roasted mixed veggies

June 26th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Side Dishes - (0 Comments)

Roasting veggies with fresh herbs and olive oil is ways good!  We added feta cheese but you can add Parmesan.  This is a great way to enjoy summer veggies.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prepare veggies of your assortment, dress with oil, herbs, and cheese.  Then cook for approximately 20 minutes.



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