Brassicas Bowls

When I make birthday dinners for friends I always aim for new recipes. I was flipping through a Bon Appetit and there was a recipe at the very beginning that was from a chef or that somebody had submitted. It just sounded great and was definitely up my friend’s alley based on ingredients — you can’t go wrong with stuff like hummus, kale, Brussels sprouts, avocado (a lot of green here) and more… It was Brassicas Bowl.

Ingredients
4 Servings

4 large eggs (I didn’t use these as I opted to serve the dish with pan seared tuna)
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
½ bunch curly kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup unsalted, roasted sunflower seeds, divided (great to grab them from salad bars if you don’t want a whole bunch)
½ cup hummus
1 avocado, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)

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Preparation

Cook eggs in a large saucepan of boiling water for 7 minutes (whites will be set and yolks still slightly soft). Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water and let sit until cool. Drain; peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 500°. Toss broccolini with 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Roast, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender and charred in spots, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Whisk shallot, vinegar, mustard, and remaining 4 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl (large bowl is key because of all the other ingredients you’re going to add — I had to change the bowl several times because of the volume of greens!) until emulsified; season with salt. Add kale and Brussels sprouts and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Massage kale until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add roasted broccolini and 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds; toss again.

Swipe some hummus along the inside of each bowl with a spoon. Divide salad among bowls and add an avocado wedge and 2 reserved egg halves to each. Top with chives, sesame seeds, and remaining sunflower seeds; sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

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This salad was delicious. So many flavors and very hearty. The tuna on top was great, so much more flavor than an egg! Will definitely be making this again. And it was enjoyed with a bubbly red (one of my favorite types of wines, and hard to find sometimes). It was the I Quercioli Dolce Reggiano Lambrusco DOC.  Some nice bubbles, not overly sweet and some nice fruit notes.

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Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette

Need a nice refreshing salad with these crazy hot summer temps?  There is a great one from the March issue of Food & Wine.  It’s Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette.  The brussels sprouts aren’t cooked so it’s a nice cold salad.  And it’s lactose free and gluten free.

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Ingredients

1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 pound brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
1 Pink Lady apple—halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1 serrano chile—stemmed, seeded and very thinly sliced (I didn’t use this)
1/2 cup chopped mint
Black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Directions

In a small skillet, toast the white sesame seeds over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and let cool. Add the lemon zest and juice, then add the vinegar, garlic and honey and puree until a chunky paste forms, about 1 minute. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil and puree until nearly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the vinaigrette into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Add the brussels sprouts, apple, shallot, chile and mint to the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Garnish with black sesame seeds, if using, and serve right away.

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It was so nice and crunchy with the sprouts and the apples, and so nice and cold.  Perfect with the crazy hot temps!

Brussels Sprouts Turned Chips

I love kale chips so it’s fun to find recipes that parallel them.  I was going through some sites recently and found a similar one for Brussels Sprouts chips.  Those little round green veggies taste great to begin with so why not try them in another form?

Ingredients:

-2 cups of Brussels sprout leaves (outer leaves from 2 pounds of sprouts)
-2 tablespoons of melted ghee (I used olive olive)
-Kosher salt to taste (threw some pepper in there, too)
-Lemon zest (optional)

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Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350°F
-Mix the leaves, ghee, and salt together in a large bowl
-Line two large baking trays with parchment. Divide the leaves evenly in a single layer on each tray.
-Bake each tray for 8-10 minutes or until crispy and brown around the edges.
-Microplane some lemon zest over the chips (optional)

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My deep thoughts on these; they took WAY too much work.  You have to peel all these sprouts.  My friend and I must have stood there for well over 20 minutes doing this.  I felt like we were picking crabs.  We tried various methods for this — quick tear, cutting the bottom to see if leaves would fall.  No method seemed super efficient.

The taste was great.  Crisp, flavorful.  So, if I need to kill time, will totally make them again.  Otherwise, will stick to kale chips.

Cauliflower Meets Immersion Blender

Another new magazine…  This time it’s a recent issue of Food & Wine and a recipe that caught my attention was Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese.  I read through it and it does call for dairy but it can so easily be eliminated.  It’s an accent (and really just unnecessary extra calories). The recipe is another great vegetarian (I used veggie stock because it’s what I had on hard), lactose free (you can nix the cheese, too, if needed, though goat cheese is good for most lactards) and gluten free one.

Ingredients

One 2 1/2-pound head of cauliflower, cored (went for a bag of frozen stuff, did 2-12oz bags)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth (used veggie stock — great option for the vegetarian version)
3 thyme sprigs tied in a bundle, plus 1 teaspoon chopped leaves (used dried)
8 brussels sprouts (6 ounces), trimmed and separated into leaves (back to the freezer…so much easier)
4 ounces cold fresh goat cheese, crumbled (I actually used feta because I needed it for the next night, tasted great)
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1/4 cup heavy cream (nixed this so I could eat it)

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Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°. On a work surface, cut one-fourth of the cauliflower into 1/2-inch florets. Coarsely chop the remaining cauliflower.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the leek, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the potato and the chopped cauliflower, then add the wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half, 4 minutes. Add the stock and the thyme bundle and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the thyme bundle (since I used dried stuff, it stayed in there).
Meanwhile, at either end of a large rimmed baking sheet, separately toss the cauliflower florets and brussels sprout leaves each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring each halfway through, until lightly browned and tender. In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese with the chives and chopped thyme.
In a blender (I used the much handier immersion blender), puree the soup in 2 batches until very smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream (did do this). Rewarm over moderate heat, adding water if the soup seems too thick; season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the roasted brussels sprout leaves and cauliflower florets. Sprinkle the herbed goat cheese on top and serve hot.

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Delicious soup!  The flavors all came together and worked so well.  Totally worth trying.

Make Ahead

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Silver

So I actually went to see that movie about the guy who made all those computers that aren’t PCs.  No, I don’t own one.  It was interesting, though the end was a bit odd…could we not have brought us forward another decade+.

Ok, onto food…since the movie let out around 9:30, one must eat!  There has been such a change in downtown Bethesda in the last several years and even more so in the past 6 months.  So, new restaurants are popping up all over.  My friend and I checked out Silver.  I was unaware until that night that it is the posh version of Silver Diner.

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We almost had to wait for a table at 9:30pm — it has to be good.  The interior design of this place is quite nice. The chairs alone have some leather that we couldn’t quite identify.  I almost felt under dressed!  The drink menu is extensive and some of the shakes — I almost thought they could curdle with the contents coming against each other.  Dang, sometimes I wish I could have one!

After way too much surveying of the menu (because I couldn’t decide) I opted for two appetizers, Crispy Brussels Sprouts that were cinnamon chipotle spiced, with apricots, cranberries, pecans, ranch (nixed that) and Wild Caught Scallops with lemon garlic sauce, wilted spinach, feta, cilantro.

This food was amazing.  I had to finish every single Brussels sprout on the plate.

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And all the flavors of coming together on the perfectly cooked scallops…just take me to heaven now.

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This place will be worth checking out for other meals.

 

 

Sugo

Revisited a restaurant recently that I hadn’t been to for a few years — Sugo in Potomac, MD (a suburb of DC), an Italian Osteria and Pizzeria.

IMG_2995[1]The best thing this place has to offer is their Sangria, and they also have other phenomenal dishes.

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After browsing the menu for awhile decided on the Brussels sprouts to start with, served with crispy pancetta & caper aioli sherry vinaigrette. The Brussels sprouts were so perfectly crisp.  And, I don’t like aioli, but let me tell you, there wasn’t quite enough in the bowl.  I don’t know what they put in there besides what the menu states…

IMG_3003[1]Next I ordered the squid.  Or properly said, charred octopus with potato, ‏ capers and pickled radish.  Let me tell you, there was so much seafood on that plate, it was awesome!  And, so perfectly cooked, just moist when you bite into it with amazing flavor.

IMG_3004[1]Great place to check out if you need something new.

Veggie Hybrid

You can rarely say no to samples when you to into grocery stores!  So, when doing my weekly shopping at Trader Joe’s the other day they had these green leafy things out to lure you in.  Hmmm…let’s investigate.  They mentioned the name, sounded safe, took the bite, SOLD!  They were sampling Kale Sprouts.

IMG_2214It’s essentially a hybrid between delicious kale and amazing Brussels sprouts…how can you go wrong?  You’re getting great taste and all the (insert loads of info) health benefits in one bite!  The official rundown on them per the package:

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When pulled out of the bag, so cute!

IMG_2215Based on how they cooked them in the store (and tips on the back of the bag), I sauteed/steamed them.  I also added garlic, of course.  So, just put a bit of oil a pan, added garlic, tossed the kale sprouts in there for a bit, added some water then covered the pan and waited about 3 minutes.  Then just sprinkled some lemon juice over top and some S&P.  Voila!  Delicious little ‘things’ — don’t know what else to call them.  Give them a try if you see them in your local TJ’s.

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Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad (Coles de Bruselas)

I was flipping through a recent copy of Shape magazine that my friend brought over because she saw a bunch of recipes that she figured I’d like. They did have several and this is the first one I’ve tried. A lot of oil and butter for Shape magazine and since I’m lactose intolerant I nixed the butter and I feel like a lot of the oil isn’t needed. I also left out the feta. The dish was very nice and provided great leftovers! I enjoyed it both hot and cold. You just can’t go wrong with Brussels sprouts.

 

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad (Coles de Bruselas)

(note, I can’t find it on the site, but It was in the September or October version of the magazine (I’m thinking September))

Serves 6

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 15-25 minutes

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter (didn’t use it — I’m lactose intolerant)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (didn’t use nearly that much — no need for it!)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved though stem
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp sherry vinegar (or whatever you have handy — I used tarragon vinegar — I wasn’t buying a new bottle for that small amount)
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4-6 shallots)
1 1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 bunch fresh thyme, leaves removed from stem and chopped
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canned chick peas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 orange, zested and flesh cut into segments
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 oz Feta, crumbled (optional)

 

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Directions

1-First, I didn’t feel like chopping like chopping the shallots the night I made this, so I broke out the mini-prep! Have some fun with kitchen toys!!!

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2-In large saute pan over low heat, melt butter into oil (I used a bit of oil and also sprayed the pan). Place Brussels sprouts in the pan, cut side down (that didn’t last too long). Turn the heat to medium-high. Cook until sprouts are brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer sprouts to a large bowl and season with 1/2 tsp of the salt.

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3-In a medium bowl, mix remaining salt, vinegar, shallots, mustard, thyme, honey, and olive oil. Pour into the saute pan and bring to a simmer. Add beans and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

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4-Add orange zest and segments, red onion and pepper to the sprouts. Pour the hot vinaigrette-bean mixture on top of the sprouts and mix well to combine. Top with feta, if desired.

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This was very good and I would definitely recommend making it!

 

 

No Recipe Green Sunday Dinner

Last night I wanted to make a pre-St. Patrick’s Day dinner, color-wise.  I had done an Irish brunch so needed something lighter but wanted a green theme.  I assessed what I had in my kitchen and off I went.

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Started with some green olives to nibble on while prepping.  Then went for some scallops with ginger, garlic and green onions, some Brussels sprouts (with pistachios) and arugula with grapefruit.

The key to the taste of this was some sesame oil!

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Put some of that in a pan then added the green onions, garlic and ginger.  My kitchen smelled SO good.

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Then, I purposely used a big pan to (1) save time and (2) get some of those amazing, drool inducing flavors/tastes into both the scallops and Brussels sprouts.

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Wanted to add some (more) tang to my arugula salad so added some grapefruit.

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While all this was happening, had some kale chips going — just tore some kale, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and baked at 400 for 10 minutes.  I put the kale on a rack so I don’t have to flip it.

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Opened up a red from Italy that I’d had for awhile to serve with dinner — amazing!  Osel Ruche.

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Final product all around was AMAZING.  Plenty of green on the plate — green kale, green arugula, green Brussels sprouts, green pistachios (tossed with them), green onions, green olives for apps.  Love just throwing stuff together!

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Christmas Dinner

Last night we enjoyed quite a nice dinner of surf and turf, and of course some of great sides.  The menu included salt-cake rib roast, salt-cake snapper, grilled Brussels Sprouts, popovers and Pinot Noir.

For the rib roast, cooking time was a few hours so that was planned well in advance.  The ‘cake’ surrounds the roast and then it sits on the grill to cook to perfection.  When done, you get to crack, break, peel it off.

IMG_2508The fish was one I’ve made several times the past couple months and that shared the oven with the popovers.  We think it might have affected the popping of the popovers because they were pretty much just mounds of bread-like things.

For the Brussels Sprouts, we used an Alton Brown recipe.  You microwave the sprouts for about 3 minutes then toss them in dry mustard, paprika, garlic, salt and olive oil.

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You skewer them then put them on the grill for 10 minutes, turning once.

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IMG_2515Final product of everything —

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We enjoyed Pinots from Chile and (Sonoma County) CA with dinner, as well.  The Chilean wine was Apaltagua and the CA one was Banshee.  Both very nice pairings to match the surf and turf.

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