Again, another simple, quick, and depending on the state of your pantry, reasonably cheap side dish. Farmer’s markets have lots of tender new potatoes for good prices this time of year, and if you live near a good Indian market (or, say, within a short train ride of Little India in Chicago), you can find ghee for reasonably cheap. From there, just add sea salt and pepper, and the sage to infuse the ghee with. 

Pan Roasted New Potatoes Browned with Sage Infused Ghee

  • 1 lb new potatoes (I believe these were red or fingerlings?)
  • 4 T ghee
  • ~20 fresh sage leaves, torn, if you have them – otherwise ~2 T dried sage
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add your potatoes in, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (I went with 15), until fork tender. Drain the potatoes. 

In a medium sized pan (original recipe recommends a cast iron pan, this works just fine with a normal pan if you don’t have one/don’t want to get it out), melt the ghee, adding the sage as it melts. Add the potatoes in a single layer once melted, and cook over medium, turning/stirring the potatoes every four to five minutes or so, until they’re browned on all sides (which should take around 20 minutes). 

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and then enjoy your crispy potatoes!

This is a great, simple recipe that also happens to be healthy and light on the effort. And since green beans are in season and in glut at the farmer’s market, this is also excessively cheap – all you should need is a lemon, butter, and sea salt and pepper besides the green beans. 

Lemon Butter Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb green beans, destemmed (I probably got closer to two lbs and doubled the recipe accordingly)
  • 1 T butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Take your green beans, and destem them. If they’re particularly long, halve or third them. Once destemmed, rinse the beans in a colander. 

Put your beans in a large pan, and add about an inch of water (it will likely just barely cover the beans). Cover the pan, and heat over medium high heat, allowing the water to just barely come to a boil. Steam/simmer the beans for three to five minutes, until bright green and just barely tender (see difference between pic 1 and 2). Remove the beans from heat, turn the burner off, and drain. 

Return the beans to the pan and the turned off burner, and add in the butter, sea salt, pepper, and a pinch of the lemon zest and juice. Toss to coat, and let the butter melt using the residual heat. Once melted, add the remaining zest and juice, taste, and add more sea salt and pepper depending on your taste.

Looking for something quick, and wonderfully cheesy and boozy at the same time? May I direct you to this lovely little splurge – melty brie, and a bit of prosecco jelly (courtesy of Eataly) smeared on top. The original recipe has a whole bunch of other stuff, but honestly, I just wanted something simple. This is amazing on those little brioche toasts that they have at Trader Joe’s, especially fresh out of the oven. 

Baked Brie with Prosecco Jelly

Ingredients

  • 1 wheel brie (6 to 8 oz)
  • .25 c prosecco jelly (also substitute champagne jelly; you can find this type of thing at Eataly, or the original recipe has a recipe for this if you’d like to try it)

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a baking dish with parchment paper, and cut the top of the wheel’s rind off while the oven’s preheating. Spoon the jelly over the top of the brie. Bake for ten minutes, until nice and melty, then spoon onto a brioche toast, and enjoy. 

Nancy Singleton Hachisu recently put out a new cookbook, Preserving the Japanese Way. Her previous cookbook was a favorite of mine, so I was excited to get my hands on this. It’s mainly themed on pickling and preserving, and this recipe came up right when I had a small fuckton of broccoli on hand, so I was eager to give this a try.

The resulting broccoli has a great flavor from being macreated in the soy sauce, dashi, and red pepper flakes, and the katsuoboshi adds a lovely savory flavor to it, too. I doubled the recipe because of the sheer amount of broccoli I had, but will include the original amounts below.

Broccoli in Soy Sauce with Red Pepper

Ingredients

  • 3 heads broccoli
  • 6 T dashi (recipe here)
  • 8 T soy sauce
  • red pepper flakes to taste (original recommends 3 dried red chiles, crumbled roughly)
  • 2 T katsuoboshi flakes (you can find these at your local Asian grocery)

Bring a mediumish pot of water to boil, and have a bowl of cold water waiting in the kitchen sink. While the water comes to a boil, cut your main stem from your broccoli heads and discard, and then cut up closer to where the florets start, so that it’ll break down into lots of nice sized florets. Cut the upper stems that are left over into similar sized pieces.

Drop your broccoli into the boiling water, and cook for three minutes. While the broccoli cooks, mix together the dashi, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in a medium sized bowl with a lid. Strain the broccoli from the boiling water, and then immediately put in the cold water. Run cold water from your tap over the broccoli until cooled, and then pat dry.

Once dried and cooled, toss the brocooli with the dashi/soy/red pepper mixture and then cover, Let macreate at room temperature for 30 minutes, then drain the mixture. If eating right away, sprinkle with the katsuoboshi and eat, but these can be stored for a few days in the fridge and still be good.

Nancy also recommends a version with yuzu or lemon peel at the end instead of the katsuoboshi, so I would recommend that if you can get your hand on it.

If you have a CSA this time of year, you are likely to have a small excess of a fuck of a lot of broccoli. I tend not to like my broccoli raw, so I’ve been looking for some interesting recipes with it, and I can say the two I’ve tried the last two days definitely didn’t disappoint. These recipes are simple, quick, cheap, and delicious to boot. Here? All you have to do is roast the broccoli, brown the butter, toss in the panko and garlic, and boom, you’ve got a great tasting side dish!

Roasted Broccoli with Brown Butter Toasted Panko

Ingredients

  • 2-3 heads of broccoli, stems cut and broken down into florets
  • 2 T olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 T butter
  • .5 c panko
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat your oven to 425. Take your broccoli florets, and spread them out on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper to taste. Roast for fifteen minutes, and check where they are at. If you feel like flipping them do so, otherwise, roast for another ten minutes, until the edges are golden brown, and the stems of the florets are fork tender. 

During that last ten minutes, heat your butter in a small pan over medium heat, and keep swirling once it’s melted, until you get a nice light brown color and it’s nice and nutty smelling. This usually takes about five minutes. Once you’ve got it at that sweet point, add in the panko and minced garlic, along with a little bit of sea salt and pepper, and toast until the panko is nice and just barely browned from the butter, about two to three minutes. 

Right about then, the broccoli should be done. Remove your broccoli to your serving dish or storage container, toss with the panko, and enjoy!

Spring is here, which means it’s asparagus and citrus season! Looking for something to combine those two things? Then look no further than this. You can pick up asparagus from the farmer’s market for super cheap, along with an orange and lemon for cheap, and with the juices they release while roasting, combined with the butter and olive oil here, and the end result is pure amazingness. Hell, you could also probably do this well on a grill. 

Citrus Butter Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed (original recipe recommends two bunches, may try it with 2 lbs next time)
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 1 blood orange, sliced thin (I used tarocco, because it was on sale, cara cara and clementines also work)
  • 4 T butter, split into 1 T pieces
  • 2 T olive oil
  • .5 c grated parmigiano-reggiano (or parmesan)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400. Take your lemon and orange slices, and asparagus, and lay it together on a foil-lined sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over it, and layer the butter slices on top of it, while sprinkling with the parmigiano-reggiano, sea salt, and pepper. 

Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until your asparagus is tender, and ever so slightly charred. And then, enjoy the citrusy asparagus goodness!

This recipe, just on general principle, is pretty fantastic. Roasted berries, brie, and a balsamic maple vinaigrette – can’t really go wrong there. However? Do this right when you’ve got strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries at the farmer’s market concurrently, and I’m pretty sure this will blow it all out of the water. (Also be sure that your berries are cooled when you mix the brie in, the triple cream I used ended up melting into the berries and juices. Not that I’m complaining.)

A brief side note: I find both quinoa and kale to be overused and overpriced, so unless they really add something to a meal, I usually tend to omit them. This is one of those cases in which I did. If you’d like this recipe with the original kale and quinoa, click the linked recipe below!

Roasted Berry and Brie Salad

Ingredients

  • assorted berries, in whatever quantity you’d like (used a combination of strawberries (hulled and halved), blackberries, and blueberries at a 2:.5:1 ratio)
  • olive oil
  • sugar (used brown sugar to 
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 oz brie (I used a triple cream, Delice de Bourgogne)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T whole grain mustard

Preheat your oven to 400, and line a baking tray or glass pan with foil. Take your berries, toss them with olive oil and sugar to coat, and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Put them in the pan, and roast for about ten minutes, until slightly softened. LET THEM COOL. Seriously, do this, or the brie will melt into the juices (which isn’t a bad thing, per se, but if you want the cheese to remain whole, let the berries cool.)

Once your berries are cooled enough, put them into your serving or storing container, and cut your 4 oz of brie into small chunks, and put it into the berries, tossing lightly to combine. 

To make your vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and a bit of fresh cracked sea salt and pepper, and whisk together to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, toss lightly again to coat, and then enjoy your ridiculously awesome summer dish!

Notes for future: keep brie separate until the last possible moment prior to serving, make in smaller quantities. 

Here’s a nice summer trick for you. Go down to your local farmers market. Right about now, there will be at least one stall that is selling shelled peas. Buy several pounds worth, and take them back home. Snack on at least a good chunk of them. And then? Take the rest, put them in a freezer safe bag, and toss them in the freezer. Congratulations. You now have frozen peas, and if you stock this right, you shouldn’t need to buy any for… call it at least a good few years. (I’ve got three pounds in the freezer after this recipe, all from last year or the year before.)

And since I’m growing mint this year, this is a ridiculously cheap recipe. All of this was either in the freezer, in the garden, or in the pantry. And the lemon and mint do amazing things to the peas. Try this, you won’t regret it.

Minty Pea Salad
Lasts two meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen peas (2 c)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • (original recipe recommends shallot, I skipped it)
  • juice of 1 lemon (about .25 c tops)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • dash sea salt and pepper (freshly cracked pepper if you can get it)
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh mint (I used peppermint from the garden)

Take your peas, rinse them with cool water to speed the thawing process, and let them rest in a dish to thaw. (This should take no more than a half hour. Drain off the extra moisture at the end. Pics 1 and 2 show the difference between beginning and end of thawing.)

While your peas thaw, whisk together your lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Zest a bit of the lemon into the dressing, but zest the rest into the peas towards the end of the thaw time. Take your mint, and tear it and put it into the peas. Toss together to combine. Then pour the vinaigrette over the minted zested peas and toss again to fully combine.

You can eat it right away or toss it in the fridge to let the flavors combine further; I chose the latter route. 

In terms of impulse decisions, this is one of my better ones. I had everything for this in my fridge except for potatoes when Deb first posted the recipe, and new potatoes showed up at the farmer’s market literally last weekend, so I decided to go for it. 

And man, this is amazing. The vinaigrette is lovely, bacon/potato/eggs is a well known good combo, and it turns out that adding blue cheese into the mix only improves things. In short, yaaaaaaaaas. Would probably be prettier in a non bento-sized container, but man, it still works. Do yourself a favor and do the thing.

Potatoes With Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette
Lasts 5 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs fingerling or other small potatoes (used new potatoes)
  • whatever amount of eggs you prefer (recipe recommends 4, I made a whole big batch the other night to use in combination with breakfast)
  • .5 lb thick cut bacon (get it from your farmer’s market if you can)
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • .5 t smooth Dijon mustard
  • crumbled blue cheese to taste

Take your potatoes, put them in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer your potatoes for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain them, and once they’re cool enough to handle, halve them. 

Meanwhile, chop up your bacon and cook it in a heavy skillet over medium heat, until it’s about ¾ths as done as you want it to be. When that happens, whisk in your red wine vinaigrette and dijon, and let simmer for ten seconds (see pic 3). As soon as that ten seconds passes, pour the bacon vinaigrette over the potatoes, add your blue cheese, and toss to coat. 

I recommend making the soft boiled eggs ahead. 

Bring a pot of water plus a good splash of white vinegar to a boil, add your eggs, boil for six minutes, and put into ice water.  Peel your eggs (if they’re cracked, it’s okay, that’ll make it easier) and store them. 

Right before serving, take a soft boiled egg, squeeze it gently so it opens in half and spills the yolk over your serving of potatoes and bacon, and then split the halves further to drizzle the last bit of yolk out, and toss the whites on the potatoes. And then, enjoy!

When I do veggies, I usually tend to roast them, as I feel it brings out their flavors better, and honestly, I usually don’t like them raw. Broccoli is one of those veggies that tastes amazing when you cook it just right, and I think I may have found a new favorite recipe using it, especially when it’ll inevitably show up at the farmer’s market in abundance (and cheap as shit because there’s a glut and people don’t typically buy it). 

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve got a lot of recipes with lemon juice showing up lately. I actually kind of have a small trick for that. I don’t own a juicer (and kind of think it’s a waste of time), but what I do have is a local grocery store that does fresh squeezed juices, and expands their typical orange juices to include lemon (and occasionally lime) in the summer. It’s cheap (usually $1 for 8 oz of juice), way less effort than juicing a ton of lemons yourself, and the fresh squeezed makes it taste even more delicious. 

Crispy Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic
Lasts 3 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh broccoli
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • finely grated lemon zest (from at least half a lemon)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice to finish

Preheat your oven to 425. Take a baking sheet, lay down some foil on it, and take half of your olive oil, and drizzle it on the foil, brushing it into the foil so that it’s evenly coated (see picture 3).

Take your broccoli, and slice through the stems as close as you can get to the bottom of the floret crown. The florets will naturally break into several large chunks, and you can break these down a little bit further to get a more manageable size like the first picture that you see above. Deb recommends peeling and cutting up the remaining stems, but I honestly wasn’t feeling in the mood to do that, so I skipped it. It is an option, though.

Mix together your remaining olive oil, red pepper flakes to taste, a bit of sea salt, your minced garlic, and lemon zest, and then toss with the florets to coat.  Spread the broccoli in a single layer in your prepared sheet, and then put it in the oven. Roast for twenty minutes, and then flip and move around the pieces with a spatula. Picture five is what your broccoli will look like after those first twenty minutes or so. I roasted mine for another ten minutes to get a good char on it, but not, say, burnt (see pic six). General rule is after that first twenty minutes check it every five minutes or so to see where it’s at. 

Before taking it out of the oven, take one of the smaller florets and taste it to be sure it’s to your liking. If it is, take it out of the oven, and then sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to your personal taste, and then enjoy the ridiculously good broccoli. (Or follow one of Deb’s riff suggestions; some of those sound real good.)