Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Simple Side Dish

Do you remember those first recipes you dabbled in when you were learning how to cook?

Good times, right?

My early-learning adventures in cooking began as a graduate student. At the time, I had never heard of cumin, I thought fat-free cheese was a perfectly acceptable substitute for the real deal, and I was unaware of the differences between margarine and real butter.

My first recipes included vegetarian chili, marinara sauce with spaghetti, and bean burritos. Once I learned to make these bad boys, they quickly became the three-meal rotation I cooked every week. Yep, every week. I've always been a creature of habit.

Also topping the list of "first foods" in my cooking journey was Carrot and Celery Amandine. Adam discovered it on Allrecipes.com (shortly after our discovery of the bean burrito recipe), and it quickly entered into the rotation. Soy sauce gives it a flavorful taste, and toasted almonds provide the crunch I need when I'm eating cooked vegetables.

Tonight, we returned to our early days of cooking and made Carrot and Celery Amandine to go with our leftover Tofu Sandwiches. Brings back memories :)

What were your first recipes when you began cooking?

Carrots and Celery Amandine
(courtesy of Allrecipes.com)

This simple side dish is the perfect accompaniment to a sandwich dinner.

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a dash of olive oil
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 - 1/4 cups chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped, toasted almonds
Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for one additional minute. Add the carrots, celery, water, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir to combine, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped almonds.


  1. I can't remember what I first learned to cook, but I have a feeling it was soup!

  2. When I first started cooking, I made many different variations of pasta and veggie patties for sandwiches. My, I've come a long way since then! (Thankfully!)

  3. Mmm, almonds make everything better!

    I can't remember, but know I used to only rely on recipes to cook and would follow them exactly for fear of messing up! Bean and cheese tacos are still a staple of my diet. :)

  4. My first food memory is baking a lemon cake with my mom when I was in kindergarten. I had no children to play with, and so I was always trying out adult things - clothes, food...

  5. One of the first things I made on my own was Snickerdoodle cookies :)

  6. Grilled cheese was the first thing I learned to cook! That came in handy way more often than I'm willing to admit.

  7. i first cooking/baking memory is making a christmas pie with my mom... yeah, good time.

  8. Simple tasty recipes like this one are my favorite ones to repeat. I love the addition of the almonds.

  9. Lovely recipe with a healthy nutritional makeup! There is nothing like vegetables and nuts. Thank you for sharing one of your first "recipes". I love the simplicity!

  10. First thing I ever made was (get this) Rachael Ray's inside-out bacon cheeseburgers. I was 18. I didn't even EAT ONE! I just made them and served them to friends! Don't know what got into me...oh wait yes I do - Food Network. :P

  11. hiiii, my first recipe was polenta, if i can say so tho no one had the courage to try it :)))

    I love simple and time saving recipes

    p.s. in my country amandine is a chocolate cake :d