Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

When I was growing up, there were always TV shows were kids were like, “Ugh, Brussels sprouts! Why are you trying to kill me Mom?!”

I can’t recall if my mother ever made us Brussels sprouts, but I’m sure if she ever did I protested it. I’m sure I explained to her that t.v. had taught me that this was an evil green vegetable and was probably Jolly Green Giant’s mortal enemy.

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He’s probably just a double agent, right?

As I got older and more open, refining my taste for vegetables, I discovered that not only did I not hate Brussels sprouts, but that I freakin love them.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, this love of Brussels sprouts is not as passionate and as deep as my love for spice and cheese, but every once in awhile that green eyed beauty of a vegetable gives me a little wink and I can’t help myself. It’s an on and off again torrid affair, I’m telling you.

My first encounter with Brussels was when I was working at a pizza place that had seasonal menus and pizzas with toppings from local farmers. Every time we changed the menu, we had a special meeting where we would test out the food so we could give the proper recommendations to customers. That’s when I was introduced to Brussells sprouts and bacon pizza.

Yes, you read that right.

I know it sounds weird, but it was amazing.

We also had a side dish of Brussel sprouts sautéed in garlic with this slightly peppery ranch dressing that was to die for. Sometimes for my lunch meal, I’d get that and a side of meatballs.

Best perk working there was the food, let me tell ya.

If you reside in LA, that place is called Pitfire Pizza and you should definitely check it out.

Anyway, thanks to Pitfire, I developed a love for Brussels sprouts and this meal below, from Portlandia is similar to Pitfire’s Brussels sprouts and bacon pizza. It’s got bacon, Brussels sprouts, and it’s heavenly.

What you’ll need

  • 1/2 cup of hazelnuts
  • 1 pound of medium-sized Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces of thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar

The first step is my favorite step. Pre-heating the oven to 350. If it was 400, it’d be my second favorite step.

Next step is to spread the hazelnuts on a pan and toast them for about 12 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when the shells are cracking a bit. Allow them to cool after the toasting and then rub them with a towel to peel off the shell skin completely. After this step, you will chop them into itty bitty bits.

Next, you will coat your sprouts with oil, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss this mixture until they are evenly glazed.

Meanwhile, place a skillet on your stove top and set that sucker to some high heat. Once the skillet is hotter than a Texas summer, place the sprouts in the skillet with the cut side down. After about 5 minutes, the sprouts should be sufficiently browned and flipped over. Once flipped, cover and cook until they are crisp, yet tender. This should take about 3 minutes.

Remove the sprouts from the pan and replace with bacon. Scale back to a California summer heat setting (medium in case you don’t know) and cook for about 5 minutes.

The shallots are the next item to add to the pan. Cook those puppies while stirring for another 5 minutes.

We are now ready to tag back-in the Brussels sprouts. Toss and combine a couple of times and then add the vinegar. Cook the vinegar until it just about evaporates and then add the nuts and serve right away!

Or…..

You can add an egg, over easy or over medium, however you prefer on top. I did and I highly recommend it.

It’ll probably come to no surprise that I loved this recipe. As I mentioned, bacon and Brussels sprouts pair nicely together. They are both crisp and crunchy but in different ways that compliment each other.

The hazelnuts give it even more texture and add a bit of a salty taste which settles in nicely with the vinegar.

Then there’s the egg. You can’t go wrong with an egg in a skillet dish. At least for me anyway.

Since I’m plugging LA restaurants, I might as well add that this recipe is almost exactly like a breakfast item at The Brite Spot in Echo Park. It’s called the Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Hash and it is to die for!

The major difference is that this dish has potatoes. It’s basically a high end version of Denny’s breakfast skillets. I’m telling you, it’s a simple dish, but there is something they are doing that I can’t figure out and I need to, sorely.

For now, I am more than content with this recipe from Portlandia. 

How could anyone ever hate you Brussels sprouts?

 

 

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Rosh Hashanah Cabbage Soup

This Rosh Hashanah soup comes from The Scent of Orange Blossoms. It’s a hearty and comforting soup traditionally served during Rosh Hashanah, but I think it’s probably okay to eat it other days of the year.

If I’m wrong, by all means speak your peace.

What you need

  • 1 small to medium green cabbage
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 10 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish

The first step is to slice your cabbage. To do so, cut it in half, remove the core and slice into thin strips.

Cut all of your other ingredients now and then combine everything on the list, minus the cilantro. It’s garnish, people, not an ingredient.

Bring this concoction to a boil. When foam begins to appear, skim this off.

Have you ever wondered why recipes constantly ask to skim off foam. I mean, what did foam ever do to a soup. A lot, apparently. I looked it up.

The foam causes a greenhouse effect on your soup, which is a no-no to the cooking process because simmering is important in soup cooking. Otherwise you get overcooked soup and then people start debating about whether or not global warming is a real thing.

It’s just bad, so get rid of it.

Once you’ve gotten rid of the foam, minimize the heat to medium so the soup can simmer. Cover and cook for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Basically, we want to cook until the meat is tender.

When the meat is tender, you are ready to serve and garnish with cilantro.

As you might have observed, this soup is effortless and straightforward to make. It’s also delicious. This dish ranks high on my list of meals to make again for those reasons. Sure, I like gourmet food, but if it’s labor intensive, I don’t want to make it all the time. What American who works over 8 hours a day and never gets month off vacations in August has time for that?

I’m jealous. I should move to Europe.

 

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Skimming that foam!

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Mediterranean Beef Stew