Jane's Recipes

Salads and Sides

Side dishes have always been one of my specialties. I feel I can be my most creative playing with vegetables, grains and spices that are inspired by a range of cuisines. Side dishes, along with condiment dollops, add the zest to any meal. Pairing suggestions are offered with each recipe, but these dishes can stand on their own as a light meal and many as part of a great picnic feast.

Buttermilk Corn Muffins
Serve these muffins warm with my Southwest Pork Stew or Harvest Gumbo. The slightly crunchy texture from the polenta cornmeal adds interest. Leftovers (if you have any) are great rewarmed for breakfast. For truly fresh organic polenta, order from Anson Mills in South Carolina. In fact, all of their products are wonderful at ansonmill.com
Farfalle with Meyer lemon-arugula pesto and spring asparagus
Nothing says spring quite like asparagus. We are lucky to have a local farm 15 minutes from the winery with asparagus that has been cut that morning. The pesto in this pasta can be tossed with other vegetables as well, making it very versatile and a nice change from basil pesto. This recipe is for 2, but can easily be doubled.
Fresh Corn, Red Pepper and Zucchini Succotash
Just east of Sacramento on the way to our winery is the small farming plain of Sloughouse. There, at the Davis Ranch, is grown the best sweet corn, both yellow and white. Cut off the cob and sautéed with sweet peppers, garlic, zucchini and basil, this succotash is great next to grilled flank steak, guacamole, and warm tortillas.
Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille
When it's hot I move my cooking outdoors. This grilled version of ratatouille is fresh, lively and tastes like it just came from the summer garden. It is equally good as a side to grilled meats or on it's own over rice or pasta.
Harvest Grain and Winter Squash
Black rice, bulghur wheat, and butternut squash combine for a savory, holiday side dish that can be a served at room temperature or warmed slightly before serving.
Moroccan Carrot Salad
These beautiful carrots add crunch and spice to any meal. They are simple to make and keep well, so can be made a day ahead, something I want when I am making food for a gathering.
Pan-Roasted Artichoke Hearts and Chickpeas
This is what I call a "pantry hack". This happened a lot during locked-up-by-COVID days, where I was trying to use what I had on hand and not go to the store. So, standing with a can of artichoke hearts, I asked myself what I could do to make them less canned tasting and crispier. It was easy.
Spanish Rice Salad
I make rice salads for catering and family gatherings. They are gluten free, fresh and light and can be served at room temperature.I make many variations. This one I served for our Zinfandel Release Party alongside my Beef Barbacoa. The rice gets a nice color from the spices it is cooked with and the entire salad has vibrant summer color.
Summer Couscous Salad
This is a fast salad to make on a hot night when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. The ingredients all come from your refrigerator, garden and pantry and are very flexible. It is perfect as part of a composed plate with leftover grilled meats or simply pair with a big green salad and some sliced tomatoes.
Warm Green Lentil Salad
This versatile salad is great for lunch at room temperature on a bed of greens with some crumbled feta or goat cheese. For dinner, I love this salad warm with a beautiful piece of grilled King Salmon. For an outdoor BBQ, pair with grilled Merguez or Andouille sausages and some crusty bread. Jane will be serving this for the March event, Behind the Cellar Door, at all Amador wineries.