All posts in Side Dish

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe

Poor Brussels Sprouts. They get such a bad rap as being one of the most hated vegetables out there. I won’t deny it, until I started eating a 4-Hour Body / Paleo style of diet, I thought I hated them too. Then Mike made these, and he turned my perception of them around with this recipe for Caramelized Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts Recipe

A member of the cabbage family, these beautiful little morsels are quite delicious! (Maybe because we cook ours with bacon?) The key is to not overcook them, as that will bring out the strong flavor in them. Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates, which have a lot of health benefits, but also release lots of sulfur the longer they’re cooked. Take care when cooking your Brussels Sprouts and you will have a delicious dish that is full of nutrients and vitamins!

(Today’s random trivia: did you know the spelling is Brussels, not Brussel like I thought? I had no idea. I thought Mike had made a typo at first, so I had to look it up.)

Preparing to make Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts to be Caramelized

Cut down the Brussels Sprouts in to halves or quarters

Trim end of the sprouts and pull off tough/loose outer leaves, leaving a tight leaf ball with a bit of core to hold it together. Cut into halves or quarters, depending on if the sprouts are small or large.

Cut Brussels Sprouts

Rendering the Bacon for the Brussels Sprouts

Cut bacon into pieces, place in pan, and cook over medium heat until the fat has cooked out and the bacon is crispy and dark golden brown. Remove the crispy bits and put them in a bowl to the side.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts cooking in a pan

Turn the heat up to high and add the sprouts to the pan. Ideally, the cut side should be down – this will draw out the moisture in the sprouts and help them to caramelize better. Even heating will help make sure you don’t overcook them and draw out that sulfur flavor.

Leave them to cook for 2-3 minutes, then toss in the pan. Keep cooking, tossing occasionally, until they look well caramelized and become tender. (With larger sprouts, you might add a quarter cup of water to the hot pan to create some steam and help them get tender. Do this at the end.) Remove the sprouts from the pan to a bowl and set aside.

Brussels Sprouts set aside

Sauteing the Shallots for the Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

Add the minced shallots to the pan and sautée them for a minute or two. Add 2-3 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

Return the Brussels Sprouts to the pan along with the crispy bacon. Toss to combine it all together.

Tossing the Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Bacon Recipe

The next time you’re looking for a new vegetable to bring something to your dinner table, give these Brussels Sprouts a try. You may discover that you think they are delicious after all!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Yield: 3-4 Servings

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. brussels sprouts
  • 4-6 strips of bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 shallot
  • Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Trim end of sprouts and pull off tough/loose outer leaves, leaving a tight leaf ball with a bit of core to hold it together. Cut into halves or quarters, depending on if the sprouts are small or large.
  2. Render bacon in pan. (Cut bacon into pieces, place in pan, and cook over medium heat until the fat has cooked out and the bacon is crispy and dark golden brown.) Remove crispy bits to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Turn the heat up to high and add the sprouts to the pan. Ideally, the cut side should be down - this will draw out the moisture in the sprouts and caramelize better. Leave them to cook for 2-3 minutes, then toss in the pan. Keep cooking, tossing occasionally, until they look well caramelized and become tender. (With larger sprouts, you might add a quarter cup of water to the hot pan to create some steam and help them get tender. Do this at the end.) Remove the sprouts from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
  4. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of oil back to the pan and sautée the minced shallots for a minute or two. Add 2-3 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  5. Return the sprouts and bacon to the pan, toss to combine, and season to taste
http://spoonandknife.com/caramelized-brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-recipe/

Not-the-Cook’s Notes – Toasted Chickpeas

Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon and Sugar - the Cooks Notes

Great, I’m being made redundant on our blog. (Kidding!) Since Christine cooked the Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon & Sugar herself, here are my notes on other ideas on making them.

This does prove a point, however – Christine is a great cook, but for her it’s always been more of a means-to-an-end. I, on the other hand, love the process. It’s (usually) my zen time to unwind, and it’s a lot of fun. Hopefully, more of you reading this are finding it fun, too. Only a few things to add:

  • Two tablespoons of butter looks like a lot in the pan, but to get even browning, you do need that much. I have had these at restaurants where I guarantee they were deep-fried; we’re avoiding that here, but using one tablespoon of butter can yield in uneven browning. (Still tasty, but not as much.)
  • Rinse the beans and dry them. I’ve rolled them in paper towels before. If you don’t, the water starts to pop and sputter in the hot oil, spraying everywhere. It’s even cooler when the beans pop like popcorn and fly out of the pan. This is the one time I use a splatter screen with pride. (They don’t seem to sputter as bad when cooked with butter.)
  • Chickpeas are a blank canvas. Finish sweet like these, or savory with herbs, pepper, and garlic. Or go nuts and cook them in rendered bacon fat and finish with crispy bacon bits, thyme, and lemon juice. Or, rendered bacon fat / crispy bacon bits / maple syrup. Really, anything goes.

Have fun feeding someone! Be sure to read the recipe post on how Christine made the Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon & Sugar.

Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon & Sugar

Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon & Sugar

When I cut gluten, wheat, bread and all of that from my diet and started doing 4 Hour Body, the one thing I missed was being able to have toast with cinnamon & sugar on it. It was one of my “comfort foods” when I had heartburn, which is ironic now that I know that wheat was a big source of my heartburn. No wonder it didn’t work, but it definitely tasted good to me at the time!

One day I saw a recipe online somewhere that eventually inspired me to ask Mike if cinnamon & sugar on toasted chickpeas would work because it was one of the few cravings I was still dealing with – turns out it is delicious! Because I like savory mixed in with my sweet, we also add salt on them.

Depending on who you talk to, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are not Paleo-friendly. Since I eat them rarely and they do not upset my stomach, I have kept them in my diet. They are 4 Hour Body friendly.

Posts on this blog are normally cooked by Mike and photographed by me, but Mike was out of town for work recently, leaving me to fend for myself. I hate to cook normally and will do almost everything to avoid it, but the light was perfect one afternoon so I whipped these up just so I could photograph them!

Ingredients for Toasted Chickpeas

Organic Garbanzo Beans

Cooking with Mike has obviously rubbed off on me; before I prepped the garbanzo beans for cooking, I pulled everything out that I would need for making them.

Rinse and drain the garbanzo beans

Rinse your garbanzo beans well, and allow them to drain while you start to melt the butter.

Melting the butter for toasted chickpeas

I discovered while melting my butter that there is one down side to me being both the cook & the photographer. I stopped paying attention to my butter, and took it from melted to a little bit browned. Oops! It didn’t hurt anything though. I like to think it added to the flavor!

Browned butter by mistake

I have made this in the past with olive oil instead of butter, and I prefer the flavor of butter more. I discovered that it splatters less, and with the chickpeas well drained they did not try to pop themselves out of the pan on me.

Toasted chickpeas toasting in the butter

Garbanzo beans with cinnamon and sugar

Toasted Chickpeas

I let the chickpeas cook until they reached the golden brown that I was looking for – not too burnt, but nice and crisp. Most of the butter was gone from the pan by the time I reached that point.

I then placed the chickpeas in a bowl, and tossed them with cinnamon, sugar & salt to taste. I prefer to do this in a bowl and off of the heat so that the sugar does not burn in the pan in to little clumps of charred caramel. I made that mistake before, and it isn’t tasty!

Toasted chickpeas from spoon and knife

If you’re not a fan of cinnamon & sugar, you can also dress your toasted chickpeas up a variety of other ways. We have made them with garlic before, and I am sure there is a wide variety of flavors that you could come up with!

Be sure to also read Mike’s Cook’s Notes on Toasted Chickpeas, where he shares why they are made this way, and different flavor options you can use.

Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon & Sugar

Yield: 1-2 servings

Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon & Sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 can of organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed & drained
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain one can of organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chickpeas; toast until golden brown.
  3. Place chickpeas in a bowl, add cinnamon, sugar and salt to taste.

Notes

Can try with other seasonings instead of cinnamon & sugar. We have also made these using fresh garlic, sautéed in the butter before adding the chickpeas.

http://spoonandknife.com/toasted-chickpeas-with-cinnamon-sugar/

Cook’s Notes – Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette

Cook's Notes - Vermilion Snapper Meuniere gluten-free recipe

For today’s meal, we made our Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette recipe. You can see the photographs of the process and the recipes for both dishes in that post.

Vermilion Snapper Meunière

Meunière comes from the French word for “miller’s wife”, and generally refers to the technique of dredging something in flour, quickly frying it, and serving with a lemon, parsley, and butter sauce. It’s a classic preparation for fish, but it can equally be used for chicken, for example.

With apologies to millers everywhere, cooking gluten free means I needed another starch for the fish. Corn starch was the first thing at hand. I didn’t want to smother the fish, so I used a tea strainer to sift corn starch over the fish. That worked well enough; if I had to do it again, I would probably just put corn starch on a plate, dredge the fish, and be extra careful about knocking off the excess.

Preparation is key here. This cooks lightning quick from start to finish once the pan gets hot. You don’t need much – fish, butter, lemon, parsley, flour – but have it all laid out and ready to go. Chop the parsley. Cut the lemon in half. And so on. Don’t dredge the fish ahead of time (it’ll pull moisture out of the fish and get gummy), do that while the butter melts in the pan. Once the fish cooks, get the lemon juice in the pan quickly so the butter doesn’t burn. Bringing it to a boil and stirring helps emulsify the sauce. Basically, before the pan hits the heat, close your eyes and mentally walk through all the steps from start to finish. You don’t want to have to think about what to do next once this gets going.

Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette

That’s part of why the warm leek salad makes a great side – once the leeks sweat and cook through, it can just hang out over a low flame and keep warm. You don’t want to have two dishes that are complicated to finish coming together at the same time – it works in a restaurant where there are multiple cooks working in concert. At home, cooking solo? Don’t make the task harder than it needs to be.

Vinaigrette, in its essence, is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, by volume. You can vary that depending on whether you want more bite or less, or whether your vinegar or oil is particularly pungent, but that’s the basics. Often, vinaigrettes are made with a very neutral oil to not mask the flavors of a dish. But, in this case, with the rendered and reserved bacon fat available – why not put it to good use? Lemon juice brings a sweeter, milder acid to the dressing instead of vinegar, and dijon mustard is a sympathetic sharp flavor. Play with this depending on what else you are serving; for pork chops, for example, throw in chopped rosemary, or with chicken, thyme and tarragon.

Finding Good Local Suppliers

To close, I can’t stress how beautiful this vermilion snapper fish was. Finding good local suppliers and getting to know them are the surest way to stunningly awesome food. In this case, I trust PJ Stoops to tell me about the fish he has on offer and tips for preparation. Christine mentioned in the post that she doesn’t like fish, and that’s a bit of an understatement. I was amazed that she enjoyed this as well as she did; while I would like to say it’s because of my culinary prowess, the quality of the fish really made the difference.

Vermilion Snapper Meuniere with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette

Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette

Part of what makes food and cooking so wonderful is the community that surrounds it, and we are lucky to be in Houston and surrounded by some of the very best. Mike is pretty engaged with the food community of Houston over on Twitter. (You can find him at @CoffeeMike.) On a recent Saturday, Mike and PJ Stoops, one of Houston’s great treasures, got together at Revival Market, and Mike returned home with a Vermilion snapper.

Update: Be sure to read the Cook’s Notes: Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette for tips on how the recipe came together, tips on the preparation process, making the dish gluten free, why Mike selected the leeks as a side dish, and the importance of finding local suppliers.

Vermilion Snapper Meunière Recipe

Now might be a good time to point out that I don’t like fish. I don’t like the smell of fish. I don’t like that “fishy” flavor. When Mike wants to cook fish, he normally saves it for when I’m not at home. But that wouldn’t make for a very interesting Cooking with Mike project now, would it? Fortunately, the Vermilion Snapper wasn’t as “fishy” as some cuts can be. That gave me hope!

Ready to cook - everything we would need for the meal

Preparing the leeks for our side dish

Cooking down the bacon for the leeks

First Mike prepared the leeks and the bacon for our side dish. As he cut down the leeks, he cooked the bacon in our Le Creuset pot. He then removed the bacon and the fat, reserving them for use later, leaving just those little bits of bacon flavor behind. He added in the leeks to let them sweat and cook down.

Bacon flavoring for the leeks

Set the bacon aside to use later

Adding the leeks so they can sweat down

Smashing the lemons helps get the juice flowing

I had no idea before I met Mike that if you roll the lemons and “smash” them before cutting them, you will get the juice flowing and make it much easier to get out afterwards.

Next we moved on to making the lemon, bacon & mustard vinaigrette. Mike juiced the lemons by hand, catching the seeds with his other hand. He then added the mustard and as he blended it with the stick blender, he added the bacon fat reserved from cooking down the bacon earlier. This helped to emulsify it all together to be a delicious addition to the leeks.

Mike juicing the lemons and catching the seeds

lemon juice, mustard and bacon fat

Adding the bacon fat to the vinaigrette

Preparing the parsley for finishing the snapper

Preparing the Vermilion Snapper

Coating the Vermilion Snapper with cornstarch

As the butter melts down, Mike prepared the Vermilion Snapper. He seasoned the fish with kosher salt and pepper, and since I am gluten free, he then coated them in corn starch instead of flour.

In to the pan, corn starch side down, and then coating the other side with more corn starch.

Vermilion Snapper in the pan

Vermilion Snapper in the pan, coating with corn starch

Vermilion Snapper in the pan, glazing with the pan juices

Once you turn the fish over, glaze the fish with the butter sauce that is in the pan to keep it moist and well flavored.

Adding the bacon to the leeks

With the fish almost ready, Mike added the lemon mustard vinaigrette and the reserved bacon to the leeks. He then added lemon juice to the butter sauce in the fish pan to make a sauce to pour over the fish.

Adding lemon juice to make a pan sauce

Pan sauce cooking down

Adding the pan sauce to the Vermilion Snapper

The finished plate! The verdict? I might just be converted from not liking fish. I actually ate a whole filet! The buttery lemon flavor was perfect, and the leeks with bacon were the perfect complement to the fish. Just strong enough to support it, but not overwhelm it in flavor. Delicious!

Recipe: Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette

Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette

Yield: Serves 2

Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 2 snapper filets, cleaned and skin removed
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette:
  • One bunch of leeks, trimmed, quartered, sliced thin.
  • Four rashers of thick cut bacon (or six of regular bacon)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Juice of three lemons

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over high heat, melt the butter until foaming subsides and the butter just begins to brown.
  2. Dust the fish with cornstarch, and pat off any excess. Place fish in skillet and cook on the first side until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Flip the fish and cook until the other side is golden brown and the fish is cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove fish to warm plate. Return the pan to heat and squeeze lemon juice into butter. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve fish on warm plate, spoon brown butter/lemon sauce over, and sprinkle parsley over top.
  5. For the Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette:
  6. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, render the bacon until crispy and dark golden.
  7. Remove the bacon to a small bowl and reserve. Pour out most of the bacon fat into another small bowl and reserve, leaving just enough to coat the bottom of the pot.
  8. Put the pot back on the heat, turn up to medium-high, and add the leeks to the pot. Give a generous pinch or two of salt (a couple of teaspoons), stir well, and cover. Let that sweat for 5-6 minutes until the leeks have cooked down and are soft.
  9. Meanwhile, while the leeks cook, mix the lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. Whisk in the bacon fat slowly (well, whisk vigorously, slowly add the fat) to form the dressing. Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper.
  10. (Note - the vinaigrette can be made in a snap with a stick blender an a pint glass or other tall container just larger than the blender head. Blend the juice and mustard, then with the blender running, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream.)
  11. Remove the pot of leeks from the heat and stir, scraping up any stuck bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the bacon pieces back to the pot, pour over the vinaigrette, and stir to combine.

Notes

Be sure to read the Cook's Notes: Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette for tips on how the recipe came together, tips on the preparation process, making the dish gluten free, why Mike selected the leeks as a side dish, and the importance of finding local suppliers.

http://spoonandknife.com/vermilion-snapper-meuniere-with-leeks-in-bacon-vinaigrette/