A spiral side dish. September 11, 2009Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
Tags: recipes, side dishes
Silence Dogood here. First, two disclaimers: This really isn’t a post about cinnamon buns, no matter how it starts out. And second, being a Luddite, I don’t know how to operate a food processor or any other equipment that would be required to make this work. Having said this, however, I can’t help but think it’s a marvelous idea.
I happen to love cinnamon buns (Cinnabons are the exemplars) and the round cinnamon croissants that are spiraled and swirled with cinnamon filling. There’s just something about that rounded spiral shape and the contrast in color and texture that I find irresistible.
So today, as I was contemplating whether to make something new for supper or heat up some leftovers with a big tossed salad to go with them, inspiration struck. I happened to have some refried beans in the fridge. Now, my refried beans are thick and super-flavorful, with lots of onion and spices, including cinnamon and cloves, giving them an unforgettable edge. But sheesh, I was craving creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. Boom! Lightning happens.
What if, I thought, you could puree those refried beans or, say, a thick, spicy lentil dal or peppery creamed black-eyed peas or cooked-down black bean soup, then spiral them through a cinnamon-bun-shaped mound of mashed potatoes so you got spirals of contrasting color and flavor? Creamy and buttery, flavorful and spicy. You could use mashed Yukon Gold potatoes or whipped sweet potatoes for a different but delicious twist. Or how about creamed spinach or a curried carrot or broccoli rabe puree swirled through white or gold mashed potatoes, or an earthy beet puree swirled through whipped sweet potatoes? An incredible mushroom and leek puree swirled through any of the above?
Mercy. The mind boggles at all the delicious options. And of course, the base needn’t be potatoes. It could be polenta, grits, couscous, or arborio rice. It could be pretty much anything that could provide a creamy contrast to the more flavorful and colorful contrasting swirl. And of course that swirl could be pesto or pureed roasted red peppers or mushroom coulis or a brown butter-sage reduction or (for sweet potatoes) creme fraiche, marmalade, pureed spiced cranberries, or you name it.
I can see this now, served with roasted chicken or pork loin, with a salad of assertive greens like endive, radicchio, mustard greens, and kale. If you’re a vegetarian like me, I can see it served with an appropriate soup and a big salad.
Being a Luddite, I can’t process the beans and other ingredients to the smooth, lovely pastelike texture that would be ideal. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make a “rough version” by mashing the hell out of whatever it is and then see what I think. What do you think?
‘Til next time,