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Friday, October 12, 2012

[Two Make-Ahead Side Dishes] Great items for a holiday dinner

There are a few side dishes I have to(?) have at holiday luncheon table:
Roasted root vegetables, German red cabbage casserole, and Green beans salad with watercress.
And I must complete the meal with a homemade pumpkin pie.
Unfortunately(?), I have only one nomal size oven.
And it doesn't bother me except for three days a year: Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
And when I need to get the the holiday lunch ready at 1 p.m., I have to start cooking really early.
(As I can't have a big meal at dinner, I prefer a big lunch to a feast in the evening)
Last year, I figured out which side dishes could be made ahead.
Since then I make a few dishes the day before the big holiday lunch!
That's how my holiday morning became more relaxing, or less hectic. :)
I'll show you what and how you can make two of my favorite side dishes ahead of time:
1. Green beans salad with crispy shallots & watercress
2. Roasted root vegetables.
Here go the recipes:
First, Green beans salad with crispy shallot & watercress
(Adapted from MarthaStewart Living)
This salad can be made really quick, only if fried shallots are ready.
That's why I make crispy shallots and blanch green beans the night before I need.
You can also make dressing ahead as well.
Then, the only thing to do before setting the table is to coat dressing over watercress and arrange the ingredients on a plate.

  1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/3 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower
 3-4 shallots
 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
 1 bunch watercress (8 ounces), tough stems removed
1. Slice shallots thinly crosswise into rings
2. In a small bowl, toss shallots with flour.
3. In a small saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium-low.
Fry shallots in oil until golden and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes.
4. Transfer shallots to paper towels, and season generously with salt.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water, and place a colander inside bowl.
Cook green beans in boiling water until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer to colander to stop cooking. Cool green beans completely in ice bath, then transfer to lined baking sheet; pat dry. (If you are making it ahead, transfer to a container with a airtight lid, after this step)
6. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil to combine; season dressing with salt and pepper.
9. Place watercress on a serving platter, and drizzle with half the dressing. Top with green beans and remaining dressing.
Serve sprinkled with fried shallots.
Easy, eh? :)
Second,  Roasted Root Veggies
 I like all the vegetables: carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
However, my favorite is parsnip by far. This year, I roasted carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnip. Once cooked, parsnip is sweet and slightly spicy, which is addictive.
All the root vegetables are good to be roasted together since roasting time is almost same.
As I said above, you can roast veggies a day before, not more than a day.  :)
Here goes the recipe:
(You can add more as you wish)
4 carrots
4-6 parsnips
2 sweet potatoes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (230 degrees Celcius)
2. Peel and halve the carrots lengthwise and crosswise
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into wedges
Peel and halve lengthwise and crosswise. Halve the thick parts once again.
3. Put all the cut veggies in a big bowl and toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the vegetables on two baking sheets.
5. Roast about 30-35 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Rotate the sheets halfway through.
6. (Optional) Once cooled, Refrigerate the roasted veggies up to one day.
Reheat on baking sheets in an oven at 350 degrees (180 degrees celcius) for 10 minutes.
I love both side dishes.
Green bean salad refreshes calory-packed meal,
and roast root vegetables are healtier choice of side dishes.
Roasted Root Vegetables
& Green Bean Salad with Watercress


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