Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Sides for the Health Conscious

The holidays are tough with dishes full of heavy cream, butter, bread (mmm yummy bread) and all those things that the healthier set tries to limit or avoid.  What's a hungry holiday go-er to do?  How about cmoe prepared with your own tasty treats? Here are two of my favorites.

Brussel Sprouts with Tasso Ham and Smoked Cashews
1/2 lb Tasso Ham
1/2 Cup Smoked Cashews
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
1lb Brussel Sprouts, shredded
1 Tbsp Peach Balsalmic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced

1. Cut fatty portion of tasso ham off, saute in large skillet to render fat; once it has cooked down add brussel sprouts and garlic and saute until sprouts begin to caramelize.
2. Add chicken stock and cook until sprouts are tender.
3. Once tender turn off heat, add vinegar and cashews.

Yes, tasso ham is a cured meat, defintiely not something you should have as an everyday food but in a side dish on occasion it's mighty tasty!   If you have a holiday ham this would be a great leftover ham recipe, just some of the tasty bits that are on/near the bone would be delicious if you don't have access to or can't get ahold of tasso.

Fancy Mashed Cauliflower
1 Large Head Cauliflower
1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp White Cheddar
1 Tbsp Vegan Butter
1 Tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Cut cauliflower into florets and steam until very tender.
2. Put cauliflower and butter in blender (or use a hand blender) and puree until desired texture.  I prefer it to have some texture and not be 100% smooth.
3. Mix in shredded cheddar, rosemary and seasoning.

Similar to the tasso ham which is a special occasion food, the cheese in this dish isn't strictly's definitely a cheat but for the holidays I feel ok making that addition.  If you don't then that's ok, you might want to add a little chicken broth/stock (very small amount) to your puree to add a little more flavor.

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