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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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Green Chile Peach Preserves – Small Batch

Green chile peach preserves are made with fresh peaches, roasted chile, and no pectin. A delicious jar of sweet and spicy. | mjskitchen.com

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Fresh peaches and roasted New Mexico chile – what a great combination!!!  This simple little recipe for Green Chile Peach Preserves yields a jar of sweet and spicy goodness, chunks of sweet peaches with bites of spicy chile.  These preserves are made using the same method as all of my quick & easy, no pectin jams.  The only difference is that I chop the peaches rather than chopping and smashing them. If you want jam – then just smash the peaches after you chop them, mince the chile, and cook as directed in the recipe.

Green Chile Peach Preserves can be added to marinades, used as a sauce for grilled or roasted meats, scooped on top of baked brie, spread on hot biscuits, muffins or toast, or one of my favorites – spread on top of a toasted muffin with cream cheese.  Then, of course there is the option of just eating it right out of the jar.  Hope you enjoy!

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Smoky Apricot Barbecue Sauce

A spicy and smoky apricot barbecue sauce. Great with smoked ham, pork and chicken. #apricot #sauce #BBQ @mjskitchen

Does barbecue sauce really need ketchup or tomatoes to be called a barbecue sauce?  If so, then I’m breaking the rules with this Smoky Apricot Barbecue Sauce.  This sauce has most everything that one would find in a BBQ sauce, except for a tomato or tomato based product.  The tomato is replaced with apricot, but other common BBQ ingredients – vinegar, mustard and a bunch of chile powders – remain, turning sweet apricots into a smoky and spicy sauce for topping BBQ sandwiches and basting for a variety of meats and possibly vegetables.

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Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce

Spicy Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce - Use a dash or two for any dish that needs a bit of spice | mjskitchen.com

 

Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce is a great little sauce for when you just need a dash or two to spice up eggs, soup, or a bowl of beans.  Normally, you might grab a bottle of Tabasco or Sriracha. However, with a few ounces of HOT dried chile pods like de arbol chiles, you can make your own hot sauce.  This Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce yields the heat and a unique flavor one wants in a hot sauce, but doesn’t require days or weeks of fermentation. With a little bit of effort and a small amount of time over a three day period, you can create a very spicy hot sauce with the natural smokiness of the de arbol chile.

Excerpt of comment from reader:

“Magnificent recipe and magnificent result. . . The taste was extraordinary, and better than any sauce I have previously made and better than any store bought sauce I purchased in the past…”  (You can read the full comment below.)

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Easy DIY Gifts for Your Family and Friends

An assortment of ideas for DIY gifts from infused oils to vinegars from mjskitchen.com @mjskitchen

Who doesn’t want to receive a little love in a homemade gift?  I know I do!

Here are some of my favorite DIY gifts to share my love with family and friends.  They are all easy to make and versatile in their use.  No kitchen should be without them!

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The Easiest Turkey-Chicken Stock You’ll Ever Make

An easy method of making turkey-chicken stock with minimal effort and very little waste #stock #turkey #chicken #broth @mjskitchen

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How to make a pot of turkey-chicken stock is something that many of us learned from our mothers. My mother taught me that you never, never, never throw out the carcass or any of the inedible parts of poultry before you cook them down into a tasty stock.  All in all making stock is a very simple process and yields a stock so much better than anything you can purchase.

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Easy Spiced Pickled Chile Peppers and Onions

A quick and easy pickled chile peppers and onions with a hint of anise | mjskitchen.com

 

Each year I try to plant a few different types of chiles, but this year I only managed to plant one type – the Santa Fe Grande chile pepper. Just two plants have been quite prolific and are still producing.  With my first big batch, I made a quart of these pickled peppers which I make every year.  Last week I had picked enough to do even more pickling.  Instead of using the same recipe, I changed it up a bit and made these Pickled Chile Peppers and Onions as well as fresh chilli in olive oil that I found over at With a Glass.  These recipes yielded two completely different flavors and both were excellent.

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