Sides & Salads

April 2, 2018 - Ramp-Infused Olive Oil

Indisputable evidence that it is, indeed, April. You know it’s springtime in Appalachia when they’re selling ramps on the side of the road. If you don’t know what ramps are, they’re wild leeks native to the Appalachian Mountain region. West Virginia is the ramps capitol of the world. People dig them up in the rich,...
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September 8, 2016 - Homemade Ranch Style Beans

The kids were home for the long Labor Day weekend and I knew that Morgan had been longing for a certain something that is hard to find around here and yet a staple in every grocery store back in Texas (where she spent her early childhood and still visits). Ranch Style Beans. This is a...
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January 29, 2016 - Delicious Cauliflower Risotto

A real risotto is a rice dish cooked in a creamy broth that is developed by the constant stirring of the rice, which allows it to release starch. The most common type of rice used in risotto is arborio rice, which is a nice plump short-grained variety with a good amount of starch. But what...
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January 27, 2015 - Not Your Mama’s Tater Tots

I have a love-hate relationship with tater tots. What’s not to love about a fried bundle of shredded potato deliciousness? Except that all the tater tots I’ve ever had came frozen and seasoned with a sprinkle of cardboard flavoring. (Cardboard Season-All, find it in your grocer’s baking aisle!) For some reason, it never even occurred...
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February 19, 2014 - Real Good Rice Side Dish

I made this pie one time from an old handwritten recipe that was just titled Real Good Rhubarb Pie. This creamy rice recipe make me think of that. Like, if you were at a friend’s house and they served you this with supper, it’s so delicious, you’d demand the recipe, and you’d just write Real...
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February 17, 2014 - Homemade Potato Chips

Who doesn’t love potato chips? I could sit down and eat an entire bag, any day of the week, which might explain why I rarely buy potato chips. They’re so enticing. And snackable. But then potato chips go so well with sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc, so I buy some then I have to eat...
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September 12, 2013 - Perfect Scalloped Potatoes

I’ve always loved scalloped potatoes–they turn up often at potlucks, and yum, I go after them like the deviled eggs. However, when attempting to recreate the dish at home, I always had trouble. Until I stopped following the directions I found in every recipe for scalloped potatoes. Then it worked just perfectly! Now I make...
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October 31, 2011 - Frittering

When I was a kid, I had a thing for corn fritters. I was excited any time my mother was going to make corn fritters with dinner, and due to my unnatural fritter enthusiasm, making the corn fritters eventually became my job. So let that teach you a lesson! I’m just kidding. Corn fritters are...
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September 19, 2011 - Making Homemade Side & Seasoning Mixes

I get a lot of emails like this one: I’ve been using your Homemade Hamburger Helper recipes for about a year now. They are awesome. So easy, so cheap, and I know what’s in them. I’m getting ready to make another batch of mixes right now. My husband loves those Lipton or Knorr brand sidekicks....
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June 27, 2011 - It’s Summer and the Living is Squashy

I have yellow squash! Do you? We had our first squash of the season this weekend. I immediately thought, I want scalloped squash! I don’t know where I got that idea. I’ve never heard of scalloped squash. Go ahead, just trying searching the internet for scalloped squash. You get scallop squash, also known as patty...
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May 4, 2011 - Cooking with Grits

I had, hands down, the best grits I’ve ever tasted recently in South Carolina at a restaurant called Charleston Crab House. Fried oysters at Charleston Crab House–with awesome grits on the side. This photo doesn’t do these grits justice. These are the grits of the gods. And so, before leaving the restaurant, I tackled the...
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November 26, 2010 - Holiday Mashed Potatoes

This is not a recipe, because I don’t believe in mashed potato recipes. This is more of a conversation about mashed potatoes. Or perhaps an ode. After all, mashed potatoes are a beautiful thing and deserving of poetry. Odes, ballads, songs. Mashed potatoes are a staple of many meals around my house, but without a...
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November 24, 2010 - Caramelized Onions Au Gratin

Looking for one last-minute easy side dish to complete your holiday meal? This one presents special but comes together fast. I love onions, and got hooked on this side dish after seeing something like this on a cooking show. It was one of those competition cooking shows, so they didn’t give the recipe, but it...
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August 26, 2010 - Country-Style Green Beans

I hesitate to venture into the hot bed of controversy over what is the best way to cook up a mess of green beans in the country (what? you didn’t realize this was an issue? where have you been?), but it’s that time of year. Time for fresh green beans picked from the garden and...
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June 21, 2010 - Making Perfect Deviled Eggs

Nothing disappears faster off a potluck table than deviled eggs. In fact, some people go to potlucks just for the deviled eggs. (That would be me.) I’ve made deviled eggs numerous times, but have never been entirely happy with the result–because of my lack of expertise in hard-boiled eggs. Making perfect deviled eggs, of course,...
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May 16, 2010 - Homemade Long Grain & Wild Rice Mix

Homemade long grain and wild rice mix, cooked. Back when I posted about Homemade Hamburger Helper, I had some requests to look at boxed rice and pasta mixes, too. I’m here first with my homemade mix for long grain and wild rice, which is my very favorite of all the boxed rice mixes. (I’ll have...
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April 8, 2010 - Homemade Mayo, Mustard & Potato Salad

How did we go from winter to summer overnight? It’s been in the 80s here. The 80s! (The temps are supposed to drop off starting today, though. Hello, spring???) Cook-out weather makes me hungry for potato salad right away. Cold, creamy, cook-out-style potato salad with lots of celery and pickle relish. I can’t stand store-bought...
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November 10, 2009 - Old-Fashioned Cornbread Dressing

I grew up on this cornbread dressing. There was never a Thanksgiving without it, and leftovers were fought over as if it were pie. It’s the real, old-fashioned dressing. Dressing that knows it’s dressing. Nothing fancy, but delicious in a simplicity that trusts the basic flavor combination that is so home. Dressing is largely bread,...
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October 2, 2009 - A Pot of Beans

When I was growing up, we used to have a pot of pinto beans and cornbread on a regular basis. That was dinner–the whole dinner. Pinto beans and cornbread. And it’s one of the best dinners in the world. However, I’ve since discovered that some people find this meal plan bizarre not to mention completely...
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September 11, 2009 - How to Make Cream-Style Corn

I love cream-style corn! Making cream-style corn is one of those simple techniques that is mysterious if you don’t know how, so for those of you who never have, here it is. No more store-canned cream-style corn for you! (And use those corn husks! See how to dry corn husks at the bottom of this...
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August 7, 2009 - Corn Grilled in the Husk

Corn grilled right in the husk is my favorite summertime side. It’s so simple, it never occurred to me that everyone doesn’t know how to fix corn this way until recently when someone asked me how to do it. It’s easy to forget that the most basic techniques can be mysterious if you’ve never done...
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July 25, 2009 - Fresh Summer Corn Pudding

Summer means fresh, hot, buttery corn on the cob–and lots of it! This corn pudding is one of my favorite ways to use any leftover corn on the cob the next day, plus all the fresh peppers and onions we have at the same time. (It’s also good in the winter with fresh-frozen corn, or...
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July 20, 2009 - Fried Stuffed Squash Blossoms & Zucchini Fritters

I’ve got a double-header today for your squash and zucchini arsenal this summer–Fried Stuffed Squash Blossoms and Zucchini Fritters. Both recipes are easy, delicious, and different ways to use the sometimes overwhelming bounty bursting out of gardens this time of year. In fact, if you’ve got too much squash and zucchini and it’s threatening to...
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July 12, 2009 - Homemade Refried Beans

Open-faced Refried Bean Sandwiches. Refried beans are such a common convenience product in a can, it’s easy to forget how much better they are homemade. Homemade refried beans are cheaper than cheap and you get to make use of your fresh garden veggies, so they’re much more nutritious. This recipe makes approximately the same amount...
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November 15, 2008 - Scalloped Corn

I love corn, especially fresh corn on the cob, and even more especially the sweet peaches and cream corn at the farmers market in Charleston. I eat it all summer long and miss it so bad when it’s gone. But, I saved some over, off the cob, in the freezer and made the next best...
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October 27, 2008 - Fried Green Tomatoes, Freezing Herbs, and Overwintering the Garden

The garden gate stands open now, nothing much left to protect within. Peas, zucchini, squash, green beans, peppers, and tomatoes are like a long-ago dream. Our garden wasn’t particularly abundant, but it did serve us well enough since I didn’t have a pressure canner to preserve any massive surplus anyway. I’ve been gifted with a...
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July 28, 2008 - Summer Vegetable Pie

It’s that time of year. You know, when if you don’t have a garden of your own overflowing with squash and zucchini, somebody you know does and they’re dropping it off with you by the bagful. Or just setting it on your front porch and running. Not that there’s anything wrong with squash and zucchini....
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July 11, 2008 - New Red Potato Salad with Sour Cream & Dill

This red potato salad is one of my favorite chilled salads, perfect for summer, full of flavor and packed with my next favorite thing after bread–potatoes. Okay, chocolate is in there somewhere, too. And pie. And– Oh, forget it. I love food……. How to make New Red Potato Salad with Sour Cream & Dill: 2...
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