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Holiday Sides

Sunshine Sweet Potatoes
Yield 6 Servings


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup Florida honey
  • ¼ cup Florida orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated Florida orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Streusel topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped Florida pecans, toasted
  • ¼ cup margarine, melted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to form a streusel. Set aside.

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain sweet potatoes and cool. Preheat oven to 350°. Transfer sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Using a potato masher or a fork, mash sweet potatoes until smooth. In a small saucepan, combine honey, orange juice, orange zest, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to melt the honey. Remove from heat. Stir honey mixture into sweet potatoes. Spoon mixture into a 1-quart casserole and smooth down the top. Sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over the casserole. Bake until heated through, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Snowy Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake
Yield 6 Servings


  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound Florida broccoli florets
  • 1 pound Florida cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Florida rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Florida thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Low-fat milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Small dash of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika


In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower; cook just until slightly tender yet crisp. Drain broccoli and cauliflower, removing as much water as possible. Set liquid to side. Add milk to the vegetable liquid to measure a total of 2 1/2 cups. Pour vegetables into a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Season with the salt, pepper, herbs and nutmeg. Pour sauce over broccoli and cauliflower. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and paprika; sprinkle over vegetables. Bake at 450° for about 20 minutes, until casserole is bubbly.


Colorful Squash and Tomato Gratin
Yield 6 Servings


  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Florida basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 medium Florida yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 medium Florida zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 medium Florida tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • Olive oil for drizzling


Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish.  Evenly spread the garlic, shallots and basil in the bottom of the prepared dish. Season with salt and pepper. Angle the yellow squash, zucchini and tomatoes in upright alternating layers (like shingles on a roof), repeating until all the vegetables are used in the casserole. Sprinkle the top with the cheese, then the bread crumbs. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Orzo with Feta, Green Beans and Tomatoes
Yield 2 servings


  • 10 ounces haricots verts (thin French green beans) or green beans
  • 1 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
  • 1 cup crumbled feta (about 6 ounces)


Fill a 4-quart kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for beans and orzo.

Chop onion and mince garlic. Quarter and seed tomatoes. Cut quarters lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Trim beans and cut into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in oil over moderate heat until onion is softened. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until tomatoes are softened, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In boiling salted water blanch beans 1 minute. With a slotted spoon transfer beans to ice water to stop cooking. Drain beans well in a colander and pat dry. Add beans to tomato mixture and return water in kettle to a boil. Boil orzo until al dente and drain in colander. Add orzo to bean mixture with vinegar, parsley, feta, and salt and pepper to taste, tossing to combine well.

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