Browsing Tag

bacon

The best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl

I have always thought I would never do a “best” post. Until now. At the last restaurant I worked, this was one of the few dishes I didn’t dare to take off the menu…ever. It was a guest and staff favorite. It has been six years since then and this year I received multiple emails asking for the recipe. This recipe for the best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl is a keeper. It’s awesome as a side but perfectly amazing on it’s own as an entire meal.

The key to the absolute best flavor? Don’t fear the caramelization. Let the brussel sprout leaves fall off as you cut them and don’t throw them away. They are going to turn into crispy leaves with just a little bit of char. This is the gold!

Ingredients
2# brussel sprouts, washed, outer leaves removed if dirty and halved or quartered depending on how big they are
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
salt and pepper
1/4 lb. bacon, diced (optional)
¼ c. golden raisins
¼ c. raw almonds, sliced or chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. honey
1 T. dijon
1/4 c. fresh herbs, finely chopped (a mix of parsley and thyme is my favorite)
red pepper flake, optional

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
2. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Put brussels on one and cauliflower on the other. Drizzle both with olive oil and gently toss with your hands. season both with salt and pepper. Roast until they caramelize and are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30-45 minutes.
3. While the veggies are roasting make the vinaigrette. Put the bacon in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until crispy.
4. Take the pan off the heat. In a large bowl transfer the bacon and about 2 T. of bacon fat. (you can freeze the rest for use later). Whisk in olive oil, dijon, lemon juice, honey, golden raisins, almonds and fresh herbs.
5. When the veggies are done cooking add them to the bowl. Give them a good stir and check seasoning adjusting as needed.
6. Serve immediately.

Component in Action
-use as a filling for tacos.
-serve as a side for a big dinner like Thanksgiving or alongside a roasted chicken.
-top over a cooked grain like rice or quinoa

Christmas Kale

Happy New Year! I know, a perfectly belated time of year to share the recipe that I’ve affectionately named Christmas Kale, but as I considered renaming, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And then I thought, much like the days where I “accidentally” add the Carpenters Christmas Album to my playlist shuffle, this might be just the dish to add a bit of Christmas to meals throughout the year.

Chestnuts are such a seasonal ingredient, they are of course optional. You also can find them in many grocery stores cooked and peeled throughout the year in the bakery or canned section. In the fall you can find them fresh and in the shell, and roasting them yourself is an easier adventure than you might expect. Some heat, patience and a sprinkle of salt is pretty much all you need to enjoy one of fall’s most delicious, satisfying, and hand warming treats.

So why Christmas Kale? Because, and it’s really as simple as this…why not? In fact, the entire dish could be a reincarnation of your favorite Christmas song, only you can eat it. Bacon adds a smoky depth so maybe think of this as the candle studded wine bar with a baby grand tucked in a corner. The onion and garlic play their part as a stand up bass. They are a whisper in comparison to the bold sweetness of the dates and chestnuts. but are actually an invaluable savory anchor, grounding the entire dish. The coconut? Well, let’s just think of this as the melody and texture…here is a music equivalent of it’s perfection.

Ingredients
1/2 c. thick cut bacon (diced)
1 medium red onion (sliced or diced)
3 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 c. chestnuts (roasted, peeled and rough chopped)
1 c. dates (seeded and rough chopped)
1 can coconut milk or cream (unsweetened)
8 c. kale (washed and roughly cut into bite size pieces)
salt (to taste)
red pepper flakes (optional/to taste)

Method

1.) In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, cook bacon over low heat until caramelized and the fat has rendered. I love using a thick cut applewood smoked bacon.

2.) Increase heat to medium. Add red onion and cook until onions wilt and start to caramelize.

3.) Add garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly and making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

4.) Add the chestnuts and dates. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.) Deglaze the pan by pouring in the coconut milk (or cream) and scraping (releasing) all the caramelized bits of bacon, onion and garlic goodness off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. This ensures that all of this flavor makes it into the final dish and doesn’t get left behind for whoever is on dish duty.

6.) Bring coconut milk to a simmer. This is a great time to taste the sauce and season with salt and red pepper.

7.) Add the kale. Stir. Cover pot and cook until kale wilts and is tender (about five minutes).

8.) Give it a taste to check salt and pepper seasoning. Make any additions if needed. Enjoy!

Component in Action

  • replace kale with any other green veggie you want! (brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
  • use as a saucy side dish with spicy sausage or chicken or even pork chops
  • serve over a bed of quinoia or brown rice
  • leave out the bacon to make vegetarian and vegan friendly