Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal

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Choosing Sides includes 130 fabulous recipes for side dishes to complement any entr?e and complete meals for every occasion. 

?Here?s a cookbook you?ll pull from the shelf every time you ask yourself, ?What should I serve with this?? Tara Mataraza Desmond has written an inspired and creative cookbook dedicated entirely to side dishes. Accessorizing the main element of the meal, whether for a weeknight dinner, family get-together, or holiday feast, needs to be artful, nourishing, and practical. Choosing Sides...

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Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal

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Choosing Sides includes 130 fabulous recipes for side dishes to complement any entrée and complete meals for every occasion. 

“Here’s a cookbook you’ll pull from the shelf every time you ask yourself, ‘What should I serve with this?’ Tara Mataraza Desmond has written an inspired and creative cookbook dedicated entirely to side dishes. Accessorizing the main element of the meal, whether for a weeknight dinner, family get-together, or holiday feast, needs to be artful, nourishing, and practical. Choosing Sides brings excitement to every meal with these innovative and contemporary side dishes.”
––Diane Morgan, author of Roots: The Definitive Compendium

“This is an extraordinary collection, able to turn anyone who can roast a chicken or grill a lamb chop into a top chef. Nobody needs another recipe for meatloaf, but accompany your old standby with the likes of Smoked Gouda Grits and Red Grape and Bacon Salad (easy to throw together while the meatloaf is in the oven), and I guarantee your best friend’s other best friends will cringe with jealousy.”
––Andrew Schloss, author of Art of the Slow Cooker and Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More

“Oh, to be an entrée surrounded by Tara Mataraza Desmond’s flavorful, colorful, vibrant sides! In Choosing Sides, Tara offers a modern spin on the humble, oft-neglected accompaniment. Her Chorizo Chard; Blood Orange Wild Rice; and Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad are but three examples for how to turn supporting players into shining culinary stars. Tara can fill my plate any day.”
––Cheryl Sternman Rule, author of Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables
Choosing Sides, a cookbook devoted entirely to side dishes, honors the standards and offers fresh ideas for new favorites. It capitalizes on our obsession with accessorizing meals using quality ingredients in inspired, varied, and memorable recipes. Every recipe offers multiple entrée suggestions and helps cooks design an entire meal. Instead of tagging bland afterthoughts on your plate at the last minute, you can create exciting combinations.

The chapters offer a range of recipes for broad appeal, crossing cuisines, techniques, and complexity. You’ll find recipes for breakfast, intimate gatherings, picnics, holidays, and more. Coconut Cilantro Toasted Israeli Couscous, Pumpkin Cozy Rolls, Honey Balsamic Peaches and Burrata, and Sesame Braised Bok Choy are just a few. A helpful chart, organized by main entrée, gives you a quick look at what to serve with chicken, beef, fish, and the like. Choosing Sides is a singular source for answering the mealtime question, “What should I serve with this?”

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Side dishes, the crux of holiday dinners, are the subject of several great cookbooks, including Best American Side Dishes: A Best Recipe Classic and Fred Thompson's Fred Thompson's Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate. Here, food writer Desmond (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Easy Artisan Bread) takes a unique approach, providing both a variety of recipes and a convenient framework for selecting them. Readers who know what's for dinner can use the "Main-Course Pairings" chart to find instantly complementing sides, or they can rely upon the chapter titles and index to browse by occasion or ingredient. Each recipe lists pairings—for instance, Desmond recommends serving orecchiette verde alongside roasted salmon (recipe not included; she suggests googling). VERDICT This title makes it easy to spice up weeknight meals, holiday feasts, and potlucks.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781449427115
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 438,953
  • Product dimensions: 8.66 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Tara Mataraza Desmond writes about food, cooking, and nutritious eating. She has developed original recipes and contributed to media and corporations including Parents magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Specialty Publications, Clean Eating magazine, Whole Foods Market, and the Food Network Kitchens and television productions. She is the coauthor of Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet. Mataraza Desmond blogs at and stays social on Twitter and Facebook at @TaraMDesmond. For more information visit 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Vampire-Cove & Werewolf-Forest Rules and Etc.

    • Vampire-Cove •
    <br> Main Idea + We ate nestled by the beach, hiden deep in coastal rocks and cliff caves, protcte and safe...but... We are, as we call ourselves, vampires. No, we are not blood-thirsty lunitics out for fun sucking blood, ok fine, the Weres' we make an acception for. We, after all and taking our smug and sly personalities, started the War between us. Braken is the son of our founder of Vampires, John-Eston Bloodlust. John-Eston captured the Werewolf princess and brutally ki<_>lled her, then th Weres' ki<_>lled him! We seek out vengenge, we seek blood. The Weres' blood will tint our fangs for iternity!
    <p> • Location of Vampire-Cove • Results results 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11
    <p> • Rules •
    <br> 1.) Obey Braken, his voice, is OUR vouce
    <br> 2.) Defy Braken, you will be sentanced to death, or excil, to the Werewolves.
    <br> 3.) At the age of 13, you will be taught to fight against the Weres and use any powers you might obtain
    <br> 4.) Respect the warriors, for they could save your life
    <br> 5.) In battle, show no mercy. Make them suffer
    <br> 6.) No emotions in the presence of the enemy. Let them know we are their nightmares.
    <br> 7.) Only Braken can allow partnerships of opposet se<_>xes.
    <br> 8.) Do not leave the cove without Braken knowing
    <br> 9.) We WILL NOT accept you if you are nt strong enough
    <br> 10.) Count your blessings, for the Weres will not stop, md neither will we!
    <p> • Bio Location • 'vampire blood' all results. One bio per res please.
    <p> ••••••••••••••••
    <p> The Werewolf Forest
    <p> ••••••••••••••••
    <p> Main Idea + The vampires did this. They, He, ki<_>lled out kin, our future. Our hope. And they will pay. We are everywhwre, but our true home is deep in the Appalachian mountains and valleys. But the Vamps, stole Princess Ismana, torturing her and ki<_>lling her. We will get our vengense for wht they did to our princess, especially or leader, Linx. Linx's love was out dear princess, and he has never forgiven himself for what jappened. We will ki<_>ll the bloodline of John-Eston, if it runs down to our last breath.
    <p> • Location • results 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5
    <p> • Rules •
    <br> 1.) You WILL obey Linx, he is your leader
    <br> 2.) Ki<_>ll any vampire on site.
    <br> 3.) Respect. We may ne ki<_>llers of such but we did not loose manners
    <br> 4.) Be true to your ranking. If you are beta or delta, act like one
    <br> 5.) Do not hold back your inner wolfm let it shine.
    <br> 6.) Be perpared for amything. Stay on high alert at all times
    <p> • Bio • at 'the wolf within' all results
    <p> &starf Please, if you join, rp realisticly and activly! &starf

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    So, the idea behind this book is to offer up some side options a

    So, the idea behind this book is to offer up some side options a little more interesting than the standard old rice and potato choices. Utilizing interesting ingredients like couscous, chard, gouda and kumquats, this is not your usual fare for weeknight dinner!

    The book discusses how to choose your sides, touching on things like texture, balance, and seasonality, and even provides a chart of pairings for your choice of protein or entree, where you will find suggestions like Arugula with Sugar Cranberries and Pancetta or Baby Spinach with Oranges and Manchego for Chicken, and Butter Lettuce with Ribbons and Chives or Panfried Chapatis for Fish and Seafood.

    The chapters are then divided into sections like Brunches and Luncheons, Weeknight Dinners, and Warm-Weather Cookouts.

    I made a couple of the recipes the other night for a birthday dinner. I decided to go with the Strawberry Feta Salad, and the Charred Asparagus with Shaved Parmesan, as well as some Sweet and Savory Onions and Mushrooms.

    The salad was fresh and sweet, a simple mix of spring greens and arugula, some sliced strawberries and scallions, feta cheese and almonds. I served it drizzled with a store-bought Raspberry Vinaigrette. The asparagus turned out very tender, roasted in the oven, drizzled with fresh lemon juice and topped with Parmesan. And I loved the mushrooms and onions, which were simply sauteed up until they began to brown, with a splash of vinegar and brown sugar and salt and pepper tossed in. This gave them a sweet and tangy flavor that made a nice addition to our burgers (well, my veggie burger).

    My final word: This cookbook sets out to offer you more interesting and creative options for dinner, and it succeeds. It includes beautiful pictures and easy-to-follow recipes, and suggestions for entree accompaniments.The cookbook feels a little...stilted, I guess, or as if something is being held back. A little choppy. But overall I found it to be a success in what it is trying to accomplish. Well done!

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  • Posted September 11, 2013

    What's For Dinner Tonight? Title: Choosing Sides: From Holiday

    What's For Dinner Tonight?

    Title: Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Everyday,
    130 Delicious Recipes to Make The Meal
    Author: Tara Mataraza Desmond
    Publisher: Andrews McMeal Publishing, LLC
    Published: 7-10-2013
    Pages: 242
    ISBN: 978-1-4494-2711-5

    How many times have you known what your main course was to be but couldn't think of what to serve with it. Being just tired of the same old rice dish, creamed potatoes or glazed carrots. Now you have 130 tried and true tested recipes to choose from in one great cookbook. Everything from Brunches and Luncheons to those Holiday feast where you pull out all the stops. The author has the perfect word for the use of these recipes, they are to accessorize your main dish, the star of the show. Just as you use a scarf or a piece of jewelry to highlight an outfit, here you use your side dish to enhance the meal.

    This cookbook has gone even one step farther than most and listed its side dishes to go with the type of main course you are planning, whether it be beef, poultry, pork, lamb, pasta, chicken or even a full vegetarian meal. These are simple to follow but have complex taste. Even a beginner cook can navigate the cookbook and its recipes and come through with a meal that can fool your family or guest that you have a vast experience in the kitchen (this would include myself in this category. I am an avid recipe collector, but am not always up to some because they are to labor intensive or require expert skills which I can not seem to acquire. No matter how many cooking shows I watch or cookbooks I read.

    This cookbook is one I can use and not feel like I have to go to a remedial class to learn what they are talking about. You will enjoy preparing these dishes for an intimate twosome or for that next family reunion. Show up with one or two of these side dishes and take your bows for your culinary skills. Only you and your Choosing Sides Cookbook will know how simple they really were. Take one look through this surprising cookbook and you will be all but running to the check out to take it home and begin trying some of the recipes included. My favorites were the Golden Cauliflower with Herbed Breadcrumbs, Quick Pickled Red Onion Slaw and Baked Stuffed Mushrooms. Get a copy for yourself and pick your favorites today.

    I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange

    I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for a review. There's an allotted lending period and mine expired before I could test all the recipes that my family wanted to try but what I did try was either hit or miss - some recipes were great, while others weren't to our tastes.

    There's a ton of recipes here, so everyone should be able to find something they like. Each recipe comes with suggestions for pairings with other recipes included in the book but only select dishes are accompanied by a photo.

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