We typically celebrate with our closest couple friends, a big spread of appetizers, and good wine. What more could a person ask for? And because you can’t take the country out of the girl, we’ll probably light a bunch of *^%# on fire. Outside the city limits, of course. Because no adult wants to start their 2014 with a firework citation shaming.
And in keeping with tradition, I’ll promptly swear off booze and carbs on New Year’s Day.
But until then? Carbs.
One of my contributions to the big New Year’s Eve munchies buffet is Loaded Hasselback Potato Bites – a one-bite (two if you’re on a first date… no… still just one ) miniature of the full-sized version.
And they couldn’t be any easier to make. Hasselback half a bag of tiny yukon potatoes. Bake. Slather in Private Selection Roasted Garlic & Herb butter. Sprinkle with your favorite baked potato toppings.
Try to resist the sweet siren song of the leftover buttery bites calling from the kitchen.
There’ll be plenty of time to shun carbs later.
Loaded Hasselback Potato Bites
Miniature hasselback potatoes loaded with your favorite baked potato toppings.
1 lb tiny yukon potatoes
Roasted Garlic & Herb Butter
Light sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced green onions
Preheat oven to 400.
Line a baking pan with foil.
Using a paring knife, make several cuts about 2/3 of the way through each potato and place the potatoes on the baking sheet.
Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Bake for ~20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Slather with copious amounts of Roasted Garlic & Herb Butter.
Let cool 10 minutes and then top with your favorite loaded baked potato toppings.
Let me tell you about the Thanksgiving Side Dish That Wasn’t.
No matter how many times you’ve hosted or cooked for 279 people at your house for a party or a holiday dinner, you aren’t immune from forgetting something. Realizing that the bag of ice you bought is now nothing more than a puddle underneath the shopping cart in the HEB parking lot is always my favorite.
Or the 2 boxes of cream cheese that slipped out of the bag and under the passenger seat when you had to slam on your brakes to avoid fusing your car with the car of a clueless driver because – SERIOUSLY, THE WET STUFF IS RAIN AND IT DOES SOMETIMES FALL FROM THE SKY IN TEXAS.
This year, that something was the cauliflower.
It was going to be slow-roasted in the oven until the bottoms caramelized and the very tips of the florets turned brown and crunchy. It was going to be tossed in a straight-from-heaven browned butter cooked with fresh sage – ’tis the Season, SAGE IN EVERYTHING! – and thin strips of prosciutto. It was going to be topped with some fresh grated Parmesan before passed around the table.
And every bite topped with those crispy bits of sage leaves and prosciutto was going to be met with oohs and aahs and mmms and rmgphrmnhgphs.
Instead, the cauliflower was left in the barren vegetable drawer in the fridge. Which worked out fabulously because when we got back from Thanksgiving #2 in northeast Texas, it was the only food left in the house.
The Thanksgiving Side Dish That Wasn’t turned into The More For Us Sunday Dinner.
Roasted Cauliflower with Sage Brown Butter & Prosciutto
Toss roasted, caramelized cauliflower with browned butter flavored with fresh sage and prosciutto for a quick but impressive veggie side dish.
2 heads cauliflower, cut into small florets
4 Tbsp butter
4 sage leaves, thinly sliced
4 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Preheat oven to 400.
Lightly grease 2 large baking pans with olive oil and divide the cauliflower between pans, spreading out into a single layer (or just bake half at a time, if you're short a baking sheet).
Lightly brush or spray with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes, until nicely browned.
In a small sauce pan, heat the butter over medium heat until it begins to brown.
Scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, add the sage leaves and prosciutto.
The mixture will bubble up - swirl, remove from heat, and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the cauliflower to a large serving platter - or onto a single baking sheet - and drizzle with the sage butter. Toss to coat.
Season with additional salt and pepper and serve topped with grated parmesan.
Menu planning is one of my favorite and least-favorite times of the week. I have plenty of great ideas for main dishes but I tend to cycle through the same few vegetable sides over and over. Lately, it has been roasted broccoli and roasted asparagus.
I could eat roasted asparagus and broccoli every other night of the week and never get tired of it. And The Little adores “green sticks” and “baby trees”… even though she requires “white sauce” (ranch dressing) along side them both for dipping.
But hey. At least it’s not ketchup?
The other 1/3 of our household – not so overly crazy about roasted asparagus, ranch dressing or not. But since I had it on the menu three times this week, I decided to fancy it up with a little bacon.
Because If I’ve learned anything over the years about trying to make something green more appealing to picky eaters, it’s that bacon is usually the first – and only – step that you have to take. Last night’s roasted asparagus with bacon vinaigrette was no different.
And it’s a pretty easy dish to throw together, albeit in a bit of organized chaos. While the asparagus is roasting in the oven (right along side your main dish), chop the shallot and fry the bacon for the vinaigrette. By the time the asparagus is done, so is the dressing. And by the time I finished the side and chopped a quick green salad and shoved the entire contents of my “leftover bowl” cabinet back into the cabinet (do kids ever grow out of that stage?), the main dish was ready.
Organized chaos. It’s a delicious thing.
And so is bacon.
Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette
Roasted asparagus dressed up with a warm bacon vinaigrette.
For the asparagus:
1 1/2-2 lbs asparagus, woody ends trimmed
For the vinaigrette:
3 slices bacon, diced
3/4 cup chopped shallot (~1 1/2 medium shallots)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 400 (or if you're baking a main dish alongside, whatever that recipe requires and then adjust the cooking time for the asparagus).
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Drizzle the asparagus with just a little olive oil - just enough to keep it from sticking to the foil - and bake on the lined baking sheet for ~15 minutes (thinner stalks a few minutes shorter, extra thick stalks longer).
Over medium-high heat, fry the chopped bacon to a crisp in a medium pan.
Transfer bacon pieces with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving behind as much fat in the pan as possible.
Reduce heat to medium and saute the shallots until softened, 3-5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the white wine vinegar, stirring and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the mustard and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
If the dressing seems a little strong, add another teaspoon of olive oil. (I personally like the sharpness but you might want to tone it down with the extra olive oil.)
Pour dressing and bacon over asparagus, lightly toss, and serve.
If you're planning to have leftovers, reserve some of the cooked bacon to top just before serving, otherwise, it loses it's crispness.
Yields: 6-8 servings
Vinaigrette adapted from The New Way to Cook Light