side dishes

Brussel Sprout Apple Salad


(photo courtesy of

I was so busy eating my roasted brussel sprouts and apple salad that I didn't get a photo. It was delicious and easy to assemble. The salad made a perfect side dish for our broiled salmon and boiled potatoes. Total preparation time was under 30 minutes.  

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Apples and Walnut Salad

1 lb brussel sprouts, washed and halved

1 whole Kiku, Fuji or Honey Crisp apple, cored and thinly sliced

1/4 cup walnut pieces, chopped

4 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 Tbs dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a foil lined baking sheet arrange brussel sprouts in a single layer and drizzle with 2 Tbs olive oil. Roast 20 minutes in the oven or until tender. Mix remaining olive oil, dijon mustard and seasoned rice wine vinegar in a bowl. Put roasted brussel sprouts, apples and walnuts in a bowl and add vinaigrette. Mix to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.  

Make Macaroni Pie Your Own


Every Caribbean mommy has a macaroni pie recipe.  It's made as many different ways as there are women to reinvent this recipe and make it their own.

The barebones version, the kind you can find in every New York roti shop, is a little more than a baked macaroni and cheese casserole, but when a Caribbean mommy starts burning, which here means cooking up some homestyle comfort food, stand back and take notes.

I got a Barbados version by way of St. Vincent from my wonderful friend, Andrea Jacobs, and made it my own.  Many if not most recipes call for egg, but I happened to be out of eggs when I made mine recently and discovered they were not necessarily an essential ingredient - good news to those with egg allergies.

If you're pressed for time, you can use packaged grated cheese with good results.

This is a great side dish for cookouts, potlucks and family gatherings.  I like to divide the dish into smaller foil containers so we can have one for now and another for later.  The  Macaroni Pie freezes well and can go straight from the freezer to the oven for reheating.


Southern-style Macaroni Pie

16 ounces short pasta (I prefer penne, but many like elbow or other shapes)

1 tablespoon chicken bouillon (Vegeta or Mrs. Dash works too)

8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 2cups) 

8 ounces mozzarella, grated (about 2 cups)

8 oz ricotta cheese

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

4 oz butter (one stick)

salt and pepper to taste

Grease a 2 quart baking dish. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Reserve one half cup of the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses to top the Macaroni pie.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt to the water and pour in the pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until al dente. The pasta should not be soft, but be a little firm to bite.

Drain pasta well in a colander, and then pour it back into the cooking pot. Add the bouillon, cheeses, half the stick of butter and half of the bread crumbs to the pasta.  

Salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine all of the ingredients well.

Pour the pasta mixture into the greased baking dish, top with remaining cheeses and bread crumbs. Bake in a preheated oven for about an hour, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the pie to rest for 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Note: If the top begins to brown too quickly, add a piece of foil over the top of the baking dish.


Chili-lime roasted corn with cheese

Every summer I look forward to sweet corn.  It's my favorite summer crop. There is just nothing better than an ear of roasted corn dusted with a pinch of sea salt and slathered in butter - unless it's Chili, lime and cheese roasted corn straight from the barbecue. 

Last week I was talking to a friend who was raving about Maiz asado con queso.  She'd had some of this delicious sweet, citrusy and spicy corn at dinner with a friend and couldn't get enough of it. 

I love this  roasted corn, ubiquitous at street fairs, but it's not somethng I'd make at home.  And it's not like it's a difficult dish.  It simply isn't a habit.

This is about to change. Here's a recipe you can try too. 

Chili-Lime Roasted Corn on the Cob

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • grated Cotija (or mozarella cheese)
  • 2 squares aluminum foil, big enough to wrap corn


This is best cooked on charcoal grill, but can be prepared in the oven (350 degrees F)

Squeeze the lime juice into a resealable plastic bag and add the oil, chili powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Seal and shake the bag thoroughly to mix. Set aside.

Place an ear of husked corn on top of each aluminum foil square. Turn up the ends of the foil to make a boat for the liquids. Poke a hole in a corner of the bag and squeeze an equal amount of marinade onto each ear, reserving a little marinade to squeeze on just before you eat.

Fully coat the ears and wrap them tightly in foil. Roast for 40 minutes, turning occasionally to cook evenly.

To serve, remove foil and fashion into holders. Drizzle with additional lime marinade and the grated cheese.