Tara Mataraza Desmond

Tara Mataraza Desmond is the author of Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Recipes to Make the Meal. She cooks and writes for work and life with 3 small children afoot in Philadelphia, PA. Read and eat more on Crumbs On My Keyboard.
Pan-Seared Butternut Squash with Balsamic & Parmigiano Shards
Beneath the sweet banality of butternut, there is its alter ego: a deep earthiness that can only be coaxed out by pushing the squash around a little. No boiling, or braising, or baking will find it. A wide pan and searing dry heat, though, swaps the facets of butternut’s personality from sugary-soft to full-bodied and a little bit savory — the perfect accompaniment to a crisp-skinned roasted chicken.
Aug 11, 2023
Apple Cabbage Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
When the dimmer seasons turn you inward toward big pots of braising things or simmering batches of slow-cooker meals, match those recipes with a sturdy side dish that won’t cower behind their homey hardiness. Chili, for example, with its robust kick and bulky beany, meaty sauciness would use a “mixed greens salad” as a footrest, stomping out the side’s subtlety.
Jul 25, 2023
Side Dish Recipe for Burgers: Slow-Cooked Cider Beans
Side dishes are accompaniments that should complement a main dish, make it better, and accentuate its positives. Plunking down an afterthought on the table next to the pièce de résistance is like telling your date to a black tie affair that it’s ok to wear underwear. Some sides are quick and easy like this spicy kale. Others turn a usual suspect on its side, as in the case of this butternut squash.
May 2, 2019
Side Dish Recipe for Pork Chops: Goat Cheese and Chive Grits
Grits don’t need me to wax poetic about them. People already do that. A lot. Chefs dress them up real pretty and escort them ’round the dining room with heritage pigs and heirloom whatever-the-garden-trends and call them a revelation in a way I reckon makes seasoned Southern cooks roll their eyes and scoff a little. Haven’t they been saying so all along? Grits have history the furthest thing from fancy, but from then til haute cuisine, they sure do make a meal.
Oct 29, 2013
Side Dish Recipe for Pizza: Fiery Kale with Garlic and Olive Oil
While talking food with a friend recently, he drew a definitive line in the sand when he said, “I’m pretty sure I’m not having the same love affair with kale that everyone else seems to be having.” I sensed that he hasn’t spent enough time with kale, under the right circumstances, or in the best company.
Sep 30, 2013