Recently in Side Dishes and Appetizers Category

My Mom's Coleslaw


My mom makes the best coleslaw in the world. It's really yummy, and it's incredibly easy and very cheap. It's so cheap and easy, in fact, that I always felt it was somehow WRONG to use the same recipe myself. I would try to doctor it up, make it more complicated, less Depression-era thrifty. I would add extra vegetables--grated carrot, diced green onion, red cabbage, etc--and use fancy mayonnaise. But it never tasted as good as the way my mom makes it, and finally I just surrendered to the magic that is her three-ingredient recipe for coleslaw.

Here it is:

Sunday's Yummy Salad


Sunday afternoon I had lunch with a couple of friends, and one thing on the menu was a salad I found really delightful. It contained

one can black beans, drained (reserve some of the liquid)
one can sweet corn, drained
about a fourth of a red onion, finely chopped
a couple of tomatoes, cut into large wedges (which I appreciated because then I could pick them out easily--as I explained in the preamble to my guacamole recipe, I don't like raw tomatoes)
an avocado, cut into small chunks
the juice of one lime
a teaspoon of taco seasoning, stirred into a few tablespoons of the liquid from the beans, to form a dressing

it did not contain cilantro, because my friend forgot to buy some, but she said it's better with cilantro.

When I make this myself, I will of course leave out the tomatoes. Instead, I will add olives (maybe I'll experiment with different kinds), and I'll also see what happens if I add just a LITTLE garlic. Generally I like A LOT of garlic, but I think it would overpower and ruin this salad.

And if you know of any other similarly easy and refreshing salads, I'd be grateful for a link or two. I think I've been too narrow in my approach to salads--I tend to go for things with lettuce in them. While I don't intend to renounce lettuce, I think I'd like to have a larger variety in both my culinary repertoire and my dietary rotation.

Worth the Bother Green Beans


I'm not one of these people who loves to cook. I like it just fine, and I've reached a point where I'm able to please my own palate most of the time, which is good because the place where I currently live is something of a culinary wasteland. But for me, the real pleasure afforded by cooking occurs at the table after the fact, not at the stove while you're doing it.

I rarely cook something that requires a lot of planning or preparation. There are really only two situations in which I do: if I'm feeding guests, or if I am making huge batches of some elaborate meal or dish which I can then freeze in individual servings, so that later, I can just microwave it and have a meal ready. I don't want more than 20 minutes to elapse from the moment when I decide I'm hungry enough to make a meal, and the point at which I sit down to eat it. I also don't want to wash too many dishes afterwards.

By those standards, this recipe for green beans should be something I don't make--and truth be told, I rarely make it. It's not that it's hard; it just takes a lot of time to cut up all the beans, and it involves dirtying a lot of dishes. But it's so good that I go ahead and do it anyway from time to time.

I will say that these beans are really good left over and chilled--if you can make enough to have them left over. When I make them for guests, there are never any leftovers--and when I make them for myself, well, I still manage to eat a lot of them.

Avocados Again


I love avocados. I love them just about every way I've tried them. I love them in guacamole and milkshakes. I love them in this very easy appetizer a woman from Japan once served me:

Slice an avocado into thin but not-too-thin segments. Fan out on a plate. Douse in soy sauce, then sprinkle liberally with freshly ground pepper. Provide toothpicks for spearing.

I also love them in sandwiches. When I lived in Iowa City, home of the marvelous New Pioneer Co-op (which was only one of the many reasons it was much easier to be an almost-vegetarian there than in NW PA), I liked ordering the vegan Rock & Roll Avocado Tofuwich (scroll down to find this sandwich). I tried recreating this sandwich myself, and made an acceptable substitute. And then I just started making avocado sandwiches.

Currently my favorite sandwich is this:

Avocado and Jam Sandwich

two slices wheat bread
raspberry jam
one half of an avocado
white cheese of your choice; I used swiss for a long time but currently prefer a nice sharp cheddar

Spread the raspberry jam on one slice of bread. If you want to melt the cheese, put it on the other slice. (I melt the cheddar but didn't melt the swiss, mostly because the swiss came in big slices but the cheddar I buy comes in little wedges and the slices fall off the bread unless I melt them.) Mash or slice the avocado up and spread over the cheese if melted or on the other slice of bread if it's not melted. Sprinkle cinnamon liberally on the avocado. Smash both sides together and eat.

The flavors are all fairly strong but they blend together well. It's really good. I think I'll make one right now.

Holy Guacamole


For me to endorse a Mexican restaurant, it has to supply the following:

--Decent homemade chips and salsa, provided free as appetizers
--Savory red enchilada sauce, complex enough that you can taste something besides chili powder
--Spicy red chili made of cubed or shredded (not ground) beef and thoroughly free of filler like beans
--Real cheese, not any kind of processed cheese food or cheese sauce
--Tacos of shredded roast beef that aren't too greasy
--Yummy guacamole

Lots of people think guacamole is really easy to make--and it is. But it's also really easy to screw up, and the main way people screw it up is by adding stuff that shouldn't be in guacamole in the first place.

The primary offending ingredient is sour cream, which people usually add because they are either ill-informed or cheap. Sour cream goes WITH guacamole, not IN it. The proper way to eat a chimichanga, for instance, is WITH guacamole AND sour cream, not WITH guacamole CONTAINING sour cream.

I make pretty damn good guacamole, and as it has been a while since I've posted a recipe, I thought I'd share it my guacamole recipe here.

Ultra Easy Artichoke Dip


Sometimes at a restaurant someone will order artichoke dip as an appetizer, and say something when it arrives like, "You gotta try this! It's really good!"

The dip is often not bad, but it's not anything like this recipe, which I got a decade ago or so, in grad school, from a friend. She got it from her mother, who found it in a cookbook called something like One-Step Delicious Dishes Using Processed Foods, with most of the ingredients being, well, pre-processed in some way or another. In this case, the ingredients were:

one large can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
one half cup mayonnaise
one half cup grated parmesan cheese
one teaspoon pre-minced garlic
coarse ground pepper to taste


OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.12

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Side Dishes and Appetizers category.

Recipes, Sweet But Not Chocolate is the previous category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.