GINNA PARSONS: Side dishes complement smoked ribs

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

On Mother’s Day, my husband, Charlie, decided he wanted to prepare some baby-back ribs on his little smoker and invite his mom over for supper (ribs are one of her favorites). I was tasked with coming up with a couple of simple side dishes to go along with the meal.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a picnic-style meal that included potato salad and deviled eggs, so I didn’t want to make that again. But I knew I wanted a potato dish. After looking through some cookbooks and finding one cheese-heavy casserole after another, I finally opted to make a simple scalloped potato dish I found in Cooking Light magazine about 10 years ago.
I knew I also wanted something green on the table and that’s when I remembered my friend Monia’s green bean recipe. I’ve made this dish a couple of times before and both times, I had to call Monia and get the recipe. When I called her Sunday afternoon, I made sure to write it down so I’d have it the next time I need it.
These two side dishes are very versatile and go with anything – chicken, pork, steaks, even fish. Neither one takes much time to put together (Charlie used a a mandolin to slice the potatoes). When we made these on Sunday, I cooked the green beans at 350 degrees, covered, for 45 minutes, then turned the heat up to 425 degrees, uncovered the green beans and put the potatoes in the oven. After 15 minutes, I removed the green beans and left them on the top of the stove, covered, while the potatoes finished cooking.

Gratin Dauphinois
1 garlic clove, halved
Cooking spray
6 peeled red potatoes, sliced thin (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
Rub an 11×7-inch baking dish with cut sides of garlic halves; discard garlic. Coat dish with cooking spray. Arrange half of potatoes in dish, and drizzle with half of the butter. Sprinkle with half of salt and half of pepper, and top with half of cheese. Repeat the layers.
Bring milk to a boil over low heat in a small saucepan; pour over potato mixture. Bake for 40 minutes at 425 degrees or until tender. Serves 7.

Monia’s Green Beans
3 cans whole green beans, drained
1 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 onion, sliced in rings
2 to 3 slices bacon, chopped
Place green beans in a greased 9×13-inch casserole. Combine brown sugar, vinegar and dry mustard. Pour over green beans. Cover with sliced onions. Place chopped bacon on top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake another 30 minutes.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.