The Big Book of Sides

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Big Book of Sides cover

I’m a big fan of Rick Rodgers’ cookbooks and have several on my Culinary Cellar shelves that I use often.  When I heard about his latest book about side dishes, I knew it would be decorated with my post-it notes within minutes of looking through it, and it was.  A book on side dishes makes perfect sense; after all what is a meal without side dishes?  What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, or cranberry sauce?  Or hamburgers without French fries?  Or a barbecue without coleslaw or baked beans?  Or for me, steak or a roast without mushrooms.

There are more than 45o recipes for sides dishes using vegetables, grains, salads, breads, and sauces, and ideas for easy after work dishes as well as feeding a crowd.  You will find family favorites, dinner party ideas, buffet recipes, holiday feasts, classic and retro recipes, and vegetarian options.  There are also helpful hints on how to stock your pantry, easy-to-follow techniques, menu ideas, and beautiful photos.

One item Rodgers enjoys cooking with is bourbon, most notably, Four Roses Bourbon.  It’s smooth and robust flavor pairs well with many dishes.  Rodgers has made some videos using the bourbon that I think you will enjoy and recipes that you can use for the holidays.  The first is for a cranberry sauce with bourbon and orange; the second is gravy made with bourbon; and the third is for a bacon, onion, and bourbon marmalade that you will want to put on everything!

Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Orange

Gravy with Bourbon

Bacon, Onion and Bourbon Marmalade

Four Roses Bourbon


Seeing the videos sparked an idea of my own for a side dish using the bourbon.  As I mentioned, I love having mushrooms with steak or a roast.  Instead of potatoes or rice, I decided to substitute a puff pastry shell for an elegant change of pace and fill it with mushrooms mixed with bourbon, sour cream, and parmesan.

Puff Pastry Mushrooms group

I would love for you to win this cookbook for the holidays!

Here is all you have to do to enter the drawing for this wonderful book:

Here’s what you will win:

The Big Book of Sides by Rick Rodgers

How to enter the giveaway:

1)  Leave me a comment here on the blog and tell me your favorite side dish or one you would like to learn to make.  That’s it!

2)  Winner is selected randomly using and is open to Continental USA only.  Enter now through this Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 9:00 pm CST.  Winner will be notified by Monday, December 22, 2014.

Good luck!

Congratulations to the winner of French Comfort Food, Shirley D.!

Please note:  We all know how busy everything is the closer we get to Christmas and New Year’s, so I will not be having any giveaways on the 22nd, or 29th, but will resume in the New Year on January 5th.  Well, unless I partied too hard and then it will be on the 12th…  Check back and see.  I will have lots of great books for 2015!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Bourbon Mushroom-Filled Puff Pastry Cups
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen Puff Pastry Shells
  • 1 pound baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅔ to ¾ cup sour cream*
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Four Roses Bourbon
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: watercress sprigs
  1. Prepare puff pastry shells according to package directions. While oven is preheating for shells, have all other ingredients on the counter and ready to go, as you must work quickly to keep everything hot. You can make the filling while the shells bake and keep it warm.
  2. Clean mushrooms, trim stems, and slice. Heat butter in saute pan over medium heat and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are browned.
  3. While mushrooms are cooking, stir together sour cream, Parmesan, bourbon, flour, salt, and pepper together in a small mixing bowl; set aside. When mushrooms have cooked, reduce heat to low and add sour cream mixture. Stir constantly until mixture is thickened and blended. *Note: start with the ⅔ cup sour cream, but since various brands of sour cream have different thicknesses, you might need to add a little more if it is too thick.
  4. When shells are done, and the middle part has been removed as directed on package, fill each shell immediately with the mushroom mixture, dividing evenly. Garnish with watercress sprigs. Serve while hot.






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19 Responses to The Big Book of Sides

  1. December 15, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    I really like food, so I have many favorite side-dishes. However, I think Potatoes Au Gratin probably tops the list!

    • December 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

      Am making roast pork, dumplings, and sauerkraut for Christmas dinner. My family requested it; I’m the only one that knows how to make my mom’s dumplings. Would like a simple vegetable side to go along with this heavy meal.

  2. December 15, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    My family loves when I make Au Gratin Potatoes. I love roasted vegetables with sea salt.

  3. December 15, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Always looking for side variations…

  4. December 15, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    For the winter season, a brussels sprouts recipe that uses balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, dried cranberries, walnuts and feta – simply delicious!

    Summer is more fresh tomatoes, corn, cucumber related…..

  5. December 15, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Kent Rathbun’s recipe for Bourbon Cream Corn is darn near perfection.

  6. December 15, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    My all time favorite side dish is a nice potato salad

  7. December 15, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Need new sides. Tired of baked potatoes and plain rice.

  8. December 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    One of my favorite sides is a nice salad. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  9. December 15, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    Pan fried potatoes. And you must use unrefined sunflower oil.

  10. December 16, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    My favorite side dish is anything with fresh green beans. I have a picky eater at home and need some new ideas to try.

  11. December 16, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    Favorite starchy side — mashed potatoes made with crème fraiche
    Favorite vegetable side — asparagus (roasted, steamed, with Hollandaise, any other way you can prepare it)

    The book looks interesting, and your mushroom dish looks delicious. I’m going to have to try that recipe.

  12. December 18, 2014 at 5:32 am #


  13. December 18, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Excellent book give away! We cooks are always looking for the perfect side dish to compliment and enhance the main dish. Looking for a new side dish for our lamb roast this Christmas!

  14. December 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Our staple side is Streusel Sweet Potatoes for this time of year. The topping has oatmeal in it along with the other items. It came from a Kraft promotional magazine that if you purchased 3 Kraft items you purchased this booklet for $.49 about 35 years ago!

    I would like the opportunity to win this book!

  15. December 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    We do a lot of roasted veggies ….just about every type. Also love artichokes … but mainly serve those to family as some friends have never eaten – and think the leaf by leaf dip bit is too much! They don’t know what awaits them on the bottom!

  16. December 19, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    My favorite side is a Greek style creamy spinach risotto. But I love trying new sides and if I won this book I would have over a years worth to try out. 🙂

  17. December 21, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I enjoy roasting veggies such as carrots, potatoes, green beans, onions, squash and Brussels sprouts.

  18. December 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    My favorite side dish is roasted corn with goat cheese. I need to practice more side dishes which seems to be my shortcoming. Your recipe looks incredible! Merry Christmas Debbie to you and your beautiful family. Wishing you all the best in 2016 and thank you for all you do for us and keeping our passion motivated!

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