Spike Your Side Dish

You might have noticed that Brian and I like to add a little splash of booze to some of our recipes from time to time, especially sweets like our Tipsy Blondies or the Bourbon-Apple Oatmeal Cookies. Recently, we tried to take our love of cocktails to a different dish—a side dish.

Bourbon-Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Bourbon-Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes by somethingwewhippedup.com

We served these Bourbon-Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes at brunch with some baked eggs, but the dish would work equally as well along side your dinner. It took less than 5 minutes to prep and then we were free to work on other things while the dish baked up. The end result is a roasted sweet potato that has an extra little touch of something that will make you smile as you eat it. And isn’t that what good food is all about?

Bourbon-Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 small), cut to a 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a medium bowl, add the sweet potatoes, olive oil, maple syrup, bourbon and cinnamon. Toss to coat and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and roast for 15 minutes, use a spatula to flip the sweet potatoes over, return to the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes more or until browned and cooked through.

SWWU Tip 1: It’s easy to double or triple this recipe and make enough for a crowd (or leftovers). 

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The Good Egg

Pancakes and stuffed french toast are typically our go-to dishes when guests are coming over for an early-morning meal. This past weekend we changed things up a bit and added a new dish to our repertoire, and I think it might make some pretty frequent appearances in our kitchen.

Baked Eggs with Crispy Shallots by somethingwewhippedup.com

Baked Eggs with Crispy Shallots by somethingwewhippedup.com

We paired baked eggs with kale, crispy shallots and fresh parmesan. They came together quickly and when paired with some home fries turned into a very satisfying and filling meal. The recipe below is for just one serving, but you can double it, triple it or more to meet your needs. We made three for our brunch. Rise and dine!

Baked Eggs with Kale and Crispy Shallots

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 medium shallot, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup (about 1/2 leaf) thinly sliced kale
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • flavored salt for finishing, if desired (we used Salt Cellar Wild Porcini Savory Salt)
  • toast, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat a small pan over medium-low. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and let melt. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes or until caramelized. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

2. Add the kale to the warm pan, and sauté over medium for 2 minutes or until wilted; remove from heat and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to a ramekin and top with the heavy cream. Place ramekin in a baking dish, transfer to oven and heat until butter is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove dish from oven and add kale to ramekin. Crack an egg over the top, add the crispy shallots and top with the parmesan and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Fill the baking dish with warm water until it comes half way up the side of the ramekin. Return dish to oven and cook for 13 to 15 minutes or until egg whites are set. Remove from oven and top with flavored salt if desired. Serve immediately with toast for dipping if desired.

SWWU Tip 1: Looks can be deceiving with this dish. If you want a runny yolk, check the egg at 13 minutes. The eggs will continue cooking in the warm ramekin, so err on the side of caution. 

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Flavor Starters

Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter

Flavor Starter Cube by somethingwewhippedup.com

What’s for dinner tonight? Or breakfast tomorrow for that matter? I’ve always got an answer in my back pocket when I’ve got a stash of flavor starter cubes in my freezer. My most recent batch came together after I found myself with an abundance of cilantro. Instead of letting it wilt away, I blended the leaves up with some garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice and olive oil and filled an ice cube tray with the mixture.

SWWU-Flavor-Starters-02

Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter Cubes (somethingwewhippedup.com)

The frozen cubes are a great way to get a quick meal started. Around our house, we use them most often to whip up a delicious batch of scrambled eggs that are anything but ordinary. Simply put the frozen cube in your skillet, heat and let melt. Once it’s melted, swish the herb and olive oil mixture around your pan and add eggs. Cook your eggs as you normally would and you’ll enjoy a refreshing flavor that goes way beyond just seasoning your pan with a bit of butter or oil.

SWWU-Flavor-Starters-03

Adding a frozen flavor starter cube to a skillet (somethingwewhippedup.com)

In addition to eggs, you can use flavor starter cubes to season a pan before searing chicken or cooking up some vegetables. I’ve even used one to add a little something extra to a classic grilled cheese.

Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter Cubes

Makes about 12

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 large bunch cilantro (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add the cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Blend until well combined, adding more olive oil if necessary to get a liquid consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Pour herb mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze then transfer cubes to a zip-top bag for extended storage.

SWWU Tip 1: I don’t always fill the each well of the ice cube tray to the top. Smaller cubes are great when you’re making something for one person. Experiment making your cubes different sizes and see what works well for you.

SWWU Tip 2: Have other herbs on hand? This recipe works equally as well if you substitute parsley, basil or more. The lime juice can be substituted with lemon juice or left out entirely.

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Butter Me Up

Homemade butter is one of those special indulgences that I rarely make. It’s always creamier and richer than store-bought butter and makes anything you put it on—from a piece of crusty bread to a stack of pancakes—taste so much more decadent. This past weekend I wanted a special topping for some sweet summer corn, but we were at the farm house and I didn’t quite have the time or patience to make a batch of homemade butter. I was however able to grab some fresh cilantro from the garden and combine it with a few other ingredients we had on hand to jazz up some plain, store-bought butter.

Cilantro-Lime Butter by somethingwewhippedup.com

Cilantro-Lime Butter by somethingwewhippedup.com

It took hardly any effort and the result was beyond delicious. It’s really quite amazing how so few ingredients can really transform a dish so much. We used the butter to top some grilled corn, but I also think it would be a great way to grease a pan before making eggs, to coat the outside of a grilled-cheese sandwich or to prepare fish with.

Cilantro-Lime Butter

Makes about 4 tablespoons

  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, cilantro, both salts and lime juice. Mix until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

2. To form into butter rounds: Lay out a small piece of plastic wrap on a work surface. Place the butter mixture in the middle and fold the edges of the plastic wrap over each other to form a cylinder. Gently roll the butter back and forth, like you would a rolling pin, to smooth and lengthen the log of butter. Once your butter has reached the desired size and is uniform in thickness, twist the ends of the plastic wrap closed. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm.

3. Once firm, remove butter from the plastic wrap and slice into thin rounds.

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Perfect Pasta Salad

A proper salad needs just the right balance of textures, flavors and colors. Sometimes this requires you to combine what seems like a million different ingredients, and other times you need just a few. Luckily, you only need a handful of classic ingredients to make the simple, flavor-filled pasta salad below.

Tortellini and String Bean Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

Tortellini and String Bean Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

The recipe I created makes enough for a crowd and is a great option to serve at a picnic or backyard barbecue. More often than not though, I have this dish on hand so I can take a tasty, refreshing lunch to the office. It travels well, tastes great chilled or at room temperature and it’s far from another boring salad or sandwich.

Tortellini and String Bean Salad

Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 pound string beans (I used a combination of green and yellow), ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 packages (about 13-ounces each) tortellini (I used tri-color cheese tortellini)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the string beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.

2. Bring the water back to a boil and add the tortellini. Cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey. Mix until well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine the string beans, tortellini and tomatoes. Add dressing and toss to coat. Let flavors develop for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

SWWU Tip: The tasty balsamic vinaigrette used for this dish also tastes great over greens or as a dressing for chicken. 

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