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Non-Traditional Sides for Your Holiday Table

Non-traditional sides, starters and desserts for your holiday table from MJ's Kitchen. @mjskitchen

 

We’re going a little non-traditional this year for the holidays, forgoing the turkey and sweet potatoes, and even the cranberry sauce.  So just in case you too are looking for something different this year, here are a few non-traditional sides for your holiday table – from my kitchen to yours.

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Olive Brine Pickled Vegetables

An assortment of vegetables pickled in olive brine #pickled #vegetables @mjskitchen

Making Olive Brine Pickled Vegetables is an extremely easy pickling process that allows you to repurpose olive brine after all of the olives have been eaten, as well as to deal with little pieces of fresh vegetables that haven’t been used.  All you need to do is to cut the  vegetables into small, bite size pieces, place in a jar and cover with olive brine.  Refrigerate for a couple of days and you have an awesome, healthy little snack.  If you want the vegetables to have a spicy kick, add a couple of sliced hot chile peppers.

As you can see, there is nothing to this process.  In the recipe, I’ve listed the vegetables shown in the pictures, and in the Kitchen Notes you’ll find other vegetables you could use.  And if you buy Costco size jars of olives like we do, you’ll always have olive brine.

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Collection of Cucumber Recipes

A collection of cucumber recipes from MJ's Kitchen - vinegars, soups, salads and more. #cucumber #recipes @mjskitchen

Whether you’re growing them or buying them, cucumbers are cheap and plentiful right now, and there are so many ways to incorporate them into your meals. Here are some of my favorite cucumber recipes from MJ’s Kitchen that feature the mighty cucumber.

 

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Three Onion Green Chile Soup – Served Cold

Stay cool with this cold Three Onion Green Chile Soup topped with toasted pinon, herbs and sour cream. #greenchile | mjskitchen.com

Green chile season is quickly approaching.  Picking should start within the next couple of weeks, so what better time to begin introducing some new green chile recipes. Last year I started with this Baked Blooming Onion with Hatch Chile, so in keeping with the onion and green chile theme, here is a Cold, Three Onion Green Chile Soup.

Cold soups help us get through the long hot summer, so they are a favorite meal this time of year.  This three onion green chile soup is a tasty cold soup with a richness created from the use of three different types of onion and a little spice from roasted green chile.  For a bit of sweetness and crunch, this soup is topped with a dollop of sour cream and toasted pinons (pine nuts).  Serve with a simple grilled cheese of cheddar and bacon bits or your favorite for a complete meal.

For links to more chilled soups, a couple grilled cheese sandwiches, and a list of New Mexico fresh green chile suppliers, check out the links at this end of the post.

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Arugula, Fresh Peas and Orange Salad

A simple salad with arugula, fresh peas, and orange #salad #arugula #sweetpea @mjskitchen.com

This simple spring salad with arugula, fresh peas and orange was inspired by Anne’s Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette over at A Salad for All Season.  Anne recommended using the vinaigrette over a plate of greens or a side vegetable, so why not both in a salad.  The flavors in the vinaigrette are a nice complement to this light salad with arugula, fresh peas, and orange topped with toasted sunflower seeds.  (Yes, I forgot the sunflower seeds for the photos. Whoops!)

Its flavors and textures make this salad a nice side for just about any meal.  We’ve had it with lamb chops, spicy smoked short ribs, and a Fennel-spiced Ham and Mushroom Pasta. It was a great complement for each of these entrees.

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Ideas for Your Cinco de Mayo Party

Spicy Cinco de Mayo recipes for your Cinco de Mayo Party #cincodemayo #chile #mexican @mjskitchen

 

Still working on your menu for Cinco de Mayo?  Hopefully, this list of Cinco de Mayo recipes will tempt you to add a couple more dishes.  The spiciness and the flavors in these recipes will have your guests dancing in the kitchen.

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Fried Green Tomato Tacos

Fried green tomato tacos with cabbage slaw, pickled peppers, and remoulade sauce #tacos #vegetarian @mjskitchen

 

Recently Bobby and I did a road trip through the coastal southern U.S. heading down to the Louisiana coast and ending up on St. George Island, Florida.  As always we ate only at local restaurants and as expected, Bobby always found the best of the best.  For lunch one day we stopped at a little place in Pascagoula, Mississippi, called Jack’s by the Tracks – “a Southern-Sushi-Juke-Joint-Fish-Taqueria-Neighborhood-Pub-Deli”. After pursuing the diverse menu, we both settled in on the tacos.  Bobby got the Shrimp Tacos and I went for the Veggie Taco with bacon. 🙂  The veggie tacos were fried green tomato tacos that were superb! Right then and there I knew I would have to give them a try at home.  And luckily…

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Blooming Onion with Hatch Chile and Cheese

A healthier version of the blooming onion - Baked blooming onion with New Mexico chile and cheese | mjskitchen.com

 

Blooming onions are normally all about the fried crispy batter and the dipping sauces. This baked blooming onion is all about the onion and the chile. The following recipe turns a normal sweet onion into a sweet and spicy blooming onion.  Just top an onion “bloom” with a generous amount of Hatch chile, bake, top with some cheese and bake again.  The result – a tender sweet onion infused with the flavor and spiciness of roasted chile and finished off with gooey cheese.

Serve as a side dish or over rice for a vegetarian meal.

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Roasted Chile Cheese

Roasted chile cheese is a mix of roasted New Mexico chile, 3 cheeses, lime, and a few other ingredients. Makes a spicy party dip or filling for a grilled cheese. mjskitchen.com

 

Roasted Chile Cheese is a twist on the traditional pimento cheese.  However, instead of roasted pimento peppers, roasted chile cheese is a mix of roasted New Mexico red and/or green chile, three cheeses, green olives, and a bit of this and a bit of that.  It has no mayonnaise or salad dressing as a pimento cheese might have making it a pure celebration of the marriage of roasted chile and cheese.  It’s sweet.  It’s spicy.  And it’s darn good!!!

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