Recipes: Side Dish

Curry Noodles

A bed of steamy curry noodles and vegetables that is a nice change from plain rice. Serve it with your favorite Asian dish…I suggest our Orange Chicken recipe! 

Ingredients

2 teaspoons cornstarch 
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce 
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
6 cups hot water
6.75 ounces Maifun uncooked rice sticks (rice-flour noodles)
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons dry sherry
juice from 1 lime
1 cup napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, julienned
4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
soy sauce and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions

In a bowl, completely cover rice sticks with hot water and let stand 10 minutes. Drain well, and snip with scissors to around 5 inches in length.

Combine broth and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a large bowl. Add sherry, lime juice, and remaining soy sauce. Add rice sticks, cabbage, carrots, ginger, curry, and garlic. Toss well.

Spread the noodle mixture in the prepared pan. Cover with sheets of foil. Completely seal bottom and top foil edges together so steam cannot escape.

Bake at 450° for 20 minutes.

Cut open center with a knife, peeling back foil. Be careful to avoid rising steam.

Sprinkle with minced cilantro. Serve with soy sauce and red pepper flakes to taste.

Pairing Suggestions:

Of course an Asian dish pairs perfectly with an Asian inspired novel. The intense Out by Natsuo Kirino and the wacky Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami seem the perfect accompaniment to a noodle dish. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri is a mix of short stories based in Thailand and India. Lady and the Panda by Vicki Croke and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien serve it up nicely for nonfiction lovers.


Orange Chicken

Orange juice, zest, and marmalade bring the taste of this Asian dish up a notch. This version is healthier than the deep-fried option at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Ingredients

2/3 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup carrots, julienned
15 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a small bowl, combine orange juice concentrate, 4 tablespoons oil, soy sauce, and garlic. Pour half the sauce over chicken and marinate for 2-3 hours. Refrigerate remaining marinade.

Discard marinade from chicken. In a large skillet, sauté chicken in 1 tablespoon oil until lightly browned and cooked through. Add onions to saucepan; sauté until tender.

Pour in reserved marinade. Add marmalade, juices, honey, and peels. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and add carrots. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes; stirring frequently.

Add mandarin oranges and red pepper flakes. Heat for a minute. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pairing Suggestions:

A dish with a combination of sweet and sour pair makes a great union with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.


Chopped Salad with Green Goddess(like) Dressing

Green Goddess dressing with chopped salad

A flavorful salad from our member Michele. This healthier version of a green goddess dressing won’t leave your guests feeling guilty if they go back for more!

Green Goddess Dressing

  • ½ jalapeño pepper (I left the ribs and seeds - it was spicy and delicious)
  • ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup packed cilantro
  • 2 scallions

Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1-2 cups pea shoots
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup almonds, crushed or chopped
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks 

Instructions:

  1. Puree all the dressing ingredients together, adding the cilantro last and stopping when the texture feels right to you. I went for little green flecks of cilantro and scallion throughout.
  2. Toss the salad ingredients together with dressing; serve immediately.

Notes: If you don’t have agave nectar on hand, just replace with honey. Diced chicken is a nice addition if you want to make it more like a meal. For my family with nut allergies, we replaced the almonds with Calbee Snapea Crisps.

Pairing Suggestion:

Green Goddess dressing was originally created in the 1920s. But we remember the dressing as a popular 1970s table staple when Seven Seas bottled their version of this classic. Perfect choice when you need to be a little groovy for a book based in the 70s. Our favorites include Cruddy by Lynda Barry, Just Kids by Patti Smith, and Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.


Pasta Caprese

Amy served this dish as a cold pasta salad by rinsing the noodles in cold water. This recipe is actually from Mary Heitkemper, a creative artist and small batch baker in Tosa. It was featured in one of her newsletters, Art Garage. Follow Mary on Pinterest!

Ingredients

3/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 lb. Roma or plum tomatoes chopped

1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese in 1/2" cubes (I used the pre-packaged balls because I am lazy)

1 lb. pasta of your choice

Directions

In a large bowl, combine first 7 ingredients. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and toss with tomato mixture, allowing mozzarella to melt slightly. Serve warm with fresh grated parmesan.

Pairing Suggestion:

This fresh Italian pasta salad would go perfect with our current October book selection, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.


Greek Couscous Salad

Couscous

This fresh salad from Susie is adapted from a Paula Deen recipe. It was a hit dish at her spring-inspired book club hosted in April.

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked couscous

1 1/2 cup water

1t. extra virgin olive oil

1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered 

3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

4 oz. crumbled feta

Dressing:

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

2 T. lemon juice

salt and pepper

Directions
Boil the water and oil. Pour in the couscous, cover and turn off the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Flake with a fork and let cool.  

Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with dressing.


Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup

Soup served at book club? Absolutely! Heather knows how to serve it up rich and healthy. This recipe is adapted from LEAH977’s Butternut and Acorn Squash soup on Allrecipes.com. Even more special, her squash was home-grown and hand-picked!

Ingredients
1 butternut squash, halved and seeded

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

1 quart vegetable stock

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 (8 ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

ground cinnamon to taste (optional)

fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Bake 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Scoop the pulp from the skins. Discard skins.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion until tender.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend the squash pulp, onion, broth, brown sugar, cream cheese, pepper, and cinnamon until smooth. This may be done in several batches.
  4. Transfer the soup to a pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Garnish with parsley, and serve warm.

Serves 8

Pairing Suggestions:

Fresh and flavorful, this soup hides its healthy ingredients behind a velvety and decadent disguise. Slurp this pinkies up while discussing The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff.


Springtime Frittata

We are lucky to have expert nutritionist, local food enthusiast, and outstanding cook, Lisa Kingery, as part of our book club. Cries demanding recipes from Lisa are always abundant whenever she hosts an evening.

Ingredients
8 eggs
4 oz. bacon, finely chopped
5 cups chopped fresh spinach—about 8 oz.
1 lb. new potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks—about 3 cups
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Olive oil if the pan needs more oil


Directions

  1. Wash and chop new potatoes leaving skins on. In a covered  glass dish, microwave them on high for 7 minutes.  Remove from the microwave but keep them covered for another 5 minutes. Test the texture to be sure the potatoes are tender. Alternatively, you may steam them for about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, salt, pepper and cheese in a large bowl.
  3. In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until crisp.
  4. Next add the spinach to the same pan; cook until barely wilted. Next toss in the cooked potatoes, green onions (and olive oil if necessary). Pour over egg mixture and stir with a rubber spatula evenly distributing the ingredients.
  5. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat until the egg sets on the bottom and begins to set on top. Place under a broiler on low for 4 minutes until brown or flip into another heated skillet. Cut into wedges and serve hot or cold.

Serves 6

Pairing Suggestions:

This comforting and classic frittata is healthy enough to leave the guilt behind when you come back for more. This dish is the perfect accompaniment with I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff, and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.