I promised recipes and other food related posts...and I've sorta, kinda upheld my promise. As in, I have been cooking a little bit more and even remembered to take pictures, but the blog posts just haven't quite magically appeared. Thus the sorta, kinda.
I'm back to doing the traveling thing and with traveling comes the regiment of eating out constantly. "Eating out every day...and having it paid for? That's great!" Almost. Unfortunately, eating out usually consists of the same 4 or 5 restaurants day in and day out. While I'd be content dining at some SF restaurants consistently, when the airport eatery employees know your order and the Starbucks barista knows more about your weekend than any of your friends, it suddenly feels a little old. Luckily, it's managed to give me a deeper appreciation of how much Bay Area restaurants are focused on local, seasonal ingredients and the abundance of those types of establishments.
And so, my Saturday mornings have been filled with visits to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market to ooh and aah over the fresh produce and completely over-buy for the couple of days that I'm in town. On those weekend days home, I wind up eating vegetarian just due to the overwhelming desire to consume as many fresh vegetables as humanely possible. Most recently, I've been indulging in this delicious brussel sprout recipe from 101 Cookbooks. It's quick, easy, and filling, giving me plenty of fresh vegetable satisfaction/nutrition and time to reconnect with friends in the few days that I'm home.
I like cooking these in my cast iron using a little bit of bacon fat, although I suppose that throws the vegetarian claim out the door. I keep both a spare package of bacon in the freezer as well as a jar of bacon fat in the fridge from previously cooking on hand almost all the time. Especially when I'm home at random intervals, it's an easy way to add flavor to an otherwise average dish. Usually, I use just enough bacon fat to cover the bottom of the cast iron to prevent sticking. If you're using regular bacon out of your fridge or freezer, you could cut up small pieces and cook before throwing in the brussel sprouts. Either way, this dish is hearty (and satisfying) enough to stand alone as a meal or an easy side dish.
When buying brussel sprouts, be sure to choose ones that are approximately the same size so they will cook evenly. Look for ones that are tightly closed, without raggedy leaves. After they are washed, you can also trim off the bottom. For one meal, I bought 1 1/2 big-ish handfuls - once cut in half and covered in cheese, it's much more filling than you'd think.
And for the brussel skeptics out there, because I know you are. I think you could roast just about anything, add some bacon, salt and pepper and it would be delicious. So, just that alone should make this worthy of trying. :)
Brussel SproutsChu these:
20-30 brussel sprouts - washed, trimmed and cut in halves
1 tsp bacon fat (or olive oil)
1/4 c grated cheese (parmesan, gruyere, romano, etc.)
Heat skillet over medium heat. Add bacon fat/oil. Place brussel sprout halves face down in pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes. When the bottoms are brown, turn up the heat. Flip brussel sprouts over and cook just long enough to brown the other side of the vegetables. Remove from pan and place into serving dish. Quickly, sprinkle cheese and allow to melt. Best served hot.
Golden Crusted Brussel Sprouts from 101 Cookbooks
Roasted Brussel Sprouts from My Husband Cooks
Balsamic Brussel Sprouts from Dena's Recipe Exchange
Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts from Dessert Candy