Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad
Heat oven to 400°. Peel 4 medium sweet potatoes and cut into 1-in cubes.
Cut 1 large red onion into 1-in cubes. Put sweet potatoes and onions on a large
baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, toss to coat, and spread out in a single layer. Add salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until ready to mix with dressing. Slice 1 jalapeño or serrano chili into large chunks and place in a blender or food processor along with 1 clove garlic, ¼ cup lime juice,
1 cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, and a dash or two of salt and pepper.
Process until blended. Put vegetables in a large bowl with 2 cups canned black beans (rinsed and drained) and 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-in cubes. Toss with dressing and 1 cup chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can refrigerate this side for up to a day. Serves 4.
Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs
In a large, nonstick skillet, melt 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 2 small, diced shallots and 2 minced garlic cloves and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and ¾ teaspoon fresh rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 6 cups cooked spaghetti squash (discard the outer skin of the squash) and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley and ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of fresh ground nutmeg. Serves 4.
Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Fill a medium-sized pot about three-quarters full. Bring to a rapid boil and add a large pinch of salt. Add 1 pound trimmed green beans and cook for about 4 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Remove with a metal slotted spoon or strain in a colander. Immediately submerge in the ice water to shock the beans. This stops the cooking and helps them keep their bright green color. After they have cooled, remove the beans to a kitchen towel to drain. Heat a 12-in frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until melted and hot. Add 2 large diced shallots and turn the heat down to a medium-low. Let the shallots cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to take on color. This should take 8 minutes or longer. Add a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Do not allow the shallots to burn, but you want them to have a deep golden brown color. Add the green beans to the shallots and stir until the beans have an even coating of the butter/oil/shallots and are heated through. Add additional salt and pepper and serve. Serves 4.