Archive: Side Dishes

The Duh Factor of Quinoa

I'm hardly new to quinoa, the ancient plant native to the Andes, but I have to admit, it had been a while. But over the weekend, Mister MA and I did a dinner date out on the town, and had the pleasure of sharing a bowl of toasted quinoa to partner with our fish entrees. (He claims it was his quinoa debutante dance.) Toasted quinoa. (Kim O'Donnel) It only took a few forkfuls to remember how much I love these nutty, fluffy seeds that pop open almost like tadpoles (a squiggly little comma emerges) when cooked. It's simple fare that cooks up as easily as a pot of rice, but unlike oats, millet or other gruel-style cereals, quinoa is more complex, both nutritionally and gastronomically. For thousands of years, the Incans have referred to quinoa as "gold" for its uber nutritional content. Not only is it high in protein (about...


By Kim ODonnel | July 8, 2008; 08:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Relishing the Idea of Homemade Chowchow

With the Fourth on the horizon, let us turn our attention to chowchow. If you're from the south or have canoodled with the Pennsylvania Dutch, you might know about chowchow, a type of sweet-n-sour relish made primarily from cabbage. But before we move on, let's define relish. Cabbage gets a fun makeover as chowchow. (Kim O'Donnel) Relish is a highly seasoned condiment made from pickled vegetables -- and sometimes fruit -- except when it's called a chutney. Just so everyone is on the same page, "to pickle" means to preserve food in a vinegar-based brine. In this country, 'pickle relish' means pickled cucumbers but if you travel to the West Indies, India or South Africa, you might hear the word achar instead. The word "chowchow" seems to have interesting, diverse origins as well. For starters, it sounds like chou, the French word for cabbage, and some historians claim that it...


By Kim ODonnel | July 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Baking Beans: What's Your Secret?

"Bring a side" is what our friend J told me when I insisted on bringing an edible contribution for his bon voyage cookout this weekend. After last week's slow-cooked smoked ribs, I've still got the barbecue theme on the brain and decided on a batch of baked beans. For years, I couldn't stand them because they were either too sweet, too mushy or too salt-porky. When I finally got my lips around beans that were smoky, tangy and kind of spicy (like a good ole campfire), that's when I knew I hit the flavor jackpot. Baked beans just out of the oven. (Kim O'Donnel) Baked beans is everyday, everyman's (and woman's) food, and somewhere along the line, we've all encountered them in one incarnation or another depending on where we grew up. If you're from upper New England or Canada, you might know them as maple syrupy sweet. Bostonians may...


By Kim ODonnel | May 27, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Mayo-Free World

If you're stuck in traffic at 2 o'clock this afternoon, turn on your radio, pretty please. I'll be feeding Sam Litzinger, my on-air pal on Washington Post Radio (107.7 FM, 1500 AM...or if you are computer-bound, This week, I've got a few painless side dishes suitable for weekend cookouts and all things grilled. I won't divulge all the tasty secrets, but one of the items on the menu is mayo-free potato salad, a concept that deserves far-better treatment than its goopy, mayonnaise-y counterpart. What is up with the mayo in the potato salad, people?...


By Kim ODonnel | June 2, 2006; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)


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