for those who are in or around sane

Monday, October 19

brussels sprout win

i've been fairing well with fresh food lately. i credit, in part, my roommate for gifting gourmet and bon appetite magazines to me last xmas. i tease myself by pouring over recipes and tips (and wine suggestions) over my regular cereal breakfast, making note of the issues i wish to further explore in my kitchen.

also in part, i credit the local farmer's markets. chicagoland has so many options for fresh, local food that it's hard to pick where to go on what day. my fave haunt is the lincoln park market. liz and i started going on a regular basis this past spring, and i continued week after week, using my bike and a large backpack to stuff full of the lovely in-season finds.

i discovered the deliciousness of fresh asparagus then radishes and green onions, mushrooms then tomatoes (purple ones!) and figs and potatoes... all the while, i kept a wary eye on my least favorites: kale, swiss chard, brussels sprouts (basically, anything green).

i previously wrote about conquering my fear of kale (with excellent success and to my great surprise). so, the next veggie i decided to tackle was brussels sprouts. hate 'em, love 'em, there is no in between. i dared myself to find a way to love them, so i tried two recipes from my favorite sites.

one was a simple saute in olive oil. it went alright, but the brussels sprout taste just didnt pop for me. it felt way too subtle, and i couldnt think of anything i wanted pair it with - eat or drink. fail #1.

the next was sauteed in butter with some chicken stock, cream and thyme. this one was much better. i still felt the same way about the green's actual taste, but the accompanying flavors helped it to be palatable. not something i'd serve to guests, though. fail #2.

the next round finds me after bikram with ravenous hunger and in total reliance of immediate ingredients. i have lots of boxed pasta and leftover brussels sprouts... what to do?

5 brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and cut into shreds
1/2 shallot cut into threads
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp cream
red pepper flakes to taste

melt butter in a pan on medium heat. add shallots and brussels sprouts, stir to mix. saute for a few min until shallots are soft. add stock and cream, stir to mix, cover pan and let simmer on low for 10 min or until brussels sprouts are softened. add red pepper flakes and stir. serve hot!

while this was all cooking, i put on a pot of water to boil for regular old mac & cheese. i took a good solid portion of the mac & cheese and topped it with the whole mess of brussels sprouts. it was embarrassingly good and i shall make it frequently! brussels sprout win!

Sunday, October 4


i had to shoot up a quick post about the meal i just made. i was aiming for something flavorful and easy to use for lunches this week. what i got was insanely yummy... i ate it too fast to take a good picture, but suffice to say, it was beautiful!

roasted acorn squash with lamb sausage & braised kale

1 acorn squash
1/2 lb kale, roughly chopped
1/2 large onion, minced
spiced lamb sausages, out of casings
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

preheat oven to 400.

split and scoop out the seeds in the squash and brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. place cut-sides down on an oiled baking sheet and bake for one hour.

in a pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. add onions and saute until golden brown. add kale and turn until wilted, adding a bit of salt. add about one tablespoon of water, turn down heat to medium-low and cover pot, simmering for about 20 min.

in pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. add sausages and break apart roughly to bite-sized pieces, til cooked through.

add sausages to finished kale, remove from heat.

let squash cool so you can peel off the skin. place a good scoop onto a plate and add another good scoop of the kale/sausage mixture. i'm thinking this would also be the time to add shredded manchego cheese, but i went straight for the fork...

i'm also pretty sure i could make this a whole lot prettier than a mess of stuff on a plate, but frankly, i just dont care when it tastes that good. mmm!!!

what i did on my sunday vacation

yes, i consider sundays vacation days. days when i wake up late (after a gratuitous 9 hours of delicious sleep), gather treats at the farmer's market and indulge in favorite american pastimes are definitely vacation days.

i *may* have overindulged... i watched the bears gloriously clobber the 2008 lions (yeah, for some reason they came back this week - oh well!) and at the same time was flipping channels between plays to monitor the white sox/tigers and pressing "refresh" on my computer keeping tabs on the twins last shot at AL division glory.

oh hell, it was fun. now i'm roasting an acorn squash so i can make a lovely sausage/squash/kale dish for lunches this week. oh yeah, and mad men tonite! and i didnt even have to take a day off work!