side dish recipe

Butternut Squash With a Pair of Sauces

by Anne Maxfield on October 22, 2015

Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash Rear EndAlthough the Accidental Locavore generally needs to be talked into the autumnal pumpkin/winter squash frenzy kicking and complaining (but not screaming), we were given a beautiful butternut squash from a friend’s garden, so I went cruising for something interesting to do with it and found this great recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It’s really simple and, depending on the size of your squash, feeds at least 4 as a side dish.

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil (divided use)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (or use the seeds from the squash)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, or labne
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sriracha (more or less to taste)
  • Salt & pepper

Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash for RoastingPreheat the oven to 425°. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, peel and cut into 1/2” wedges about 3” long. If you’re going to use the squash seeds, rinse them well and set aside to dry. Put the squash in a large bowl with the cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to coat the squash well. Put on two baking sheets and roast for 35-40 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.

For the cilantro sauce, put the cilantro (save a few sprigs to garnish) and garlic in a small food processor or mini-chopper. Pulse until chopped and then gradually add the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil until it makes a fine paste. Taste and add salt as needed.

Put the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 6-8 minutes, until they’re light and crispy. Remove and cool.

Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash With SaucesMix the yogurt and Sriracha together. To serve, lay the roasted squash on a large plate or platter, drizzle the yogurt mix and then add the cilantro sauce. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top and garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: This might make a squash believer out of me! It was really good, with the creamy spiciness of the yogurt making a great contrast to the sweetness of the roasted squash. The cilantro sauce gave it a nice fresh taste, too – all together a great combination! If you’re a butternut squash fan, you’ll love it, and even if you’re a non-believer like me, you’ll still love it! The two sauces can be made while the squash is roasting and I just took the squash from the roasting pan, plated it and tossed the pumpkin seeds in the oven. They’re probably the one thing you could lose from the recipe, or replace with toasted pine nuts if you wanted the crunch. I like the dish warm, but it’s probably good at room temperature too.Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash With Pork Chop



Duck Fat Smashed Potatoes

by Anne Maxfield on October 2, 2014

Accidental Locavore Mixed Smashed PotatoesOne of the joys of doing a slow-roasted (or any kind of) duck, is the added pleasure of all that duck fat! If, like the Accidental Locavore, you happen to have some residing in your fridge, potatoes are wonderful sautéed or fried in duck fat. Added bonus, it’s better for you than butter! So sautée away.  Serves 4 if you’re not too greedy!

  • 1-1/2 lb. small potatoes (such as fingerlings)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons duck fat
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan add the potatoes, salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a cutting board. With a spatula, meat pounder, or the bottom of a small skillet, press on each potato until the skin cracks and the potato is flattened to about ½” thick.

Accidental Locavore Potatoes in Duck FatHeat 4 tablespoons of the duck fat in a large skillet, over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of the potatoes and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of duck fat and the rest of the potatoes. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!


My verdict: OK, I’m prejudiced towards potatoes and duck fat, so you know these were good! A little garlic warmed with the duck fat might have been nice, as would a little chopped rosemary when they were done. I did them in a big frying pan, so skipped the oven step. If you do that, just be sure not to crowd the pan, or they won’t brown.

When you cook potatoes, you always want to start with cool water and let the potatoes and water heat together. It ensures that the potatoes cook through evenly. If you’re still wondering what to do with duck fat, spinach is great sautéed in it!




Zucchini With Mint and Pine Nuts

by Anne Maxfield on August 7, 2014

Accidental Locavore Sauteed ZucchiniYou know what it’s like in the summer — friends and neighbors looking to unload whatever bumper crops they have (and why is it never tomatoes?). One of the Accidental Locavore’s neighbors dropped off a bunch of cucumbers and a nice looking zucchini the other day and I thought it was time to pull out Deborah Madison’s beautiful Vegetable Literacy  and put it to use. This comes together quickly and is adapted from her book:

  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2″ coins
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mint and basil leaves, slivered for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the zucchini and sauté, flipping it, until both sides are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Mix the chopped garlic, mint, basil and capers together. Toast the pine nuts and set aside.

When the zucchini is cooked, remove from the heat, add the herb-garlic mix and the red wine vinegar and toss until everything is well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Finish with the pine nuts and slivered herbs, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: With garlic, mint, pine nuts and capers, what’s not to like? This was easy and delicious. The only problem? It doesn’t use enough zucchini! You could probably add some coarsely chopped black olives and/or sprinkle a little feta cheese on top. Melting a couple of anchovies in the oil before you add the zucchini could also give it that Mediterranean punch, and if your zucchini “coins” weren’t too large, tossing the whole thing into some linguini would give you a great meatless dinner!




Roasted Fennel

by Anne Maxfield on December 19, 2013

Accidental Locavore FennelFor someone who normally dislikes anise and licorice, the Accidental Locavore is a huge fan of fennel. When there was fresh fennel as part of the CSA , I grabbed a couple of heads, not really knowing what I would do with them. Since I was home alone with the last of Gabriel Rucker’s great rabbit sausage, I thought that something simple with the fennel would be a nice accompaniment. Easily multiplied, this fed one. Make a batch for a holiday side dish, it can just go in the oven unattended.

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced ¼” thick across the bulb
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (I used Maldon salt for this)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Accidental Locavore Roasted FennelPreheat the oven to 375°. Lightly grease an oven-proof dish with olive oil. Add the sliced fennel. Sprinkle with a little more olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the fennel is cooked through and soft.

My verdict:  Super easy and delicious! I added the Parmesan, but really didn’t need it because the fennel was so fresh and tasty. It was a nice combination with the rabbit sausage and lentils, making a great fall or winter dinner.