Category Archives: Vegetable Side Dishes

Sautéed Spinach


Mom was an improvisational cook, so the below measurements are just suggestions since she never put exactly the same amount of ingredients in each time. Because I never asked her for the recipe, these were the best estimates Dad and I could come up with.


  • Abundant supply of freshly washed spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Small amount of diced purple onions
  • 2 Tbsp. sun dried tomatoes
  • 4 black olives, sliced once in half
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • 2Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried cranberries (optional- Mom didn’t use these, but it’s a nice addition)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Pour olive oil into pan. Be careful to not overdo the olive oil, as it can make the spinach soggy.
  • Add garlic, then salt, pepper, onions, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, capers, and dried cranberries if you choose to use them.
  • Cook on medium to low heat for 3 mins., slowly stirring ingredients occasionally, moving them towards center of pan.
  • Add spinach and stir towards center of pan as before, but this time, do so briskly. Cook down to desired texture. If you need to add more spinach and it starts to get dry, add more olive oil, but only after spinach has cooked down all the way and it is certain that more oil is needed.
  • Take off heat and add feta cheese, allowing it to melt on top of spinach mixture and then stir in.

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Simple Green Beans

Aunt Anni

(Based on a recipe from Julia Child’s cookbook)

Aunt Anni gave me this recipe for Thanksgiving 2010 when I suddenly found myself in charge of holiday food preparations while I was in the middle of studying for finals and writing papers during my first semester of graduate school. Since I was short on time, I started calling all of my aunts asking for quick, easy recipes and these green beans fit the bill.


  • Green beans
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Butter and seasonings to taste


  • Bring a pot of water to a boil
  • Add a good amount of salt (~ 2-3 tsp. for a medium saucepan full of water)*
  • While the water is boiling, wash and trim the beans (Aunt Anni just chops about a quarter inch off both ends by the handful)!
  • Once the water is boiling, toss in the beans, bring water back to a boil, and cook the beans until they start to turn bright green (about 3-5 minutes for haricot vert and 4-5 minutes for regular beans).
  • Drain beans in a colander. Immediately turn on cold water and add a large handful of ice to the beans in the colander. Mix the ice around so that all the beans are cooled.**
  • Once the ice has melted, return the drained beans to their saucepan.
  • When you are ready to eat, reheat the beans with butter and seasonings (but watch the salt, since the water was so salty!) You can do this up to an hour ahead of time.

*Make sure you use a pot that is large enough for the beans to “swim” a bit. You don’t want them to be too crowded or else they won’t cook evenly.

** The ice gives the beans a pretty bright color and seals in the flavor.


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Garlic Tahini Greens

Auntie Jan


  • Big bunch of washed and chopped collards or kale (I strip the kale from the stalk and chop it separately)
  • 5-6 (or more) cloves of minced garlic
  • ~ 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ~ 3-4 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1-2 Tbsp. honey
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • “A dash plus another dash or two” of sesame oil


  • Steam veggies until just right.
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan, sauté garlic in vegetable oil.
  • Stir in over low heat:
    • Tahini, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil.
      • If mixture is too thick add more oil; if too thin, add more tahini.
      • Mixture should coat but not get claggy.
  • Mix gently with steamed veggies.

To serve:
Add pine nuts or slivered almonds. Toasted sesame seeds are yummy on top as well. Dash of fresh lemon is tasty too


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