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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Parmesan & Cranberries

Brussels sprouts raw and thinly sliced are delicious… who knew? Surprisingly very mild, the Brussels sprouts in this slaw-centric recipe are paired perfectly with some salty bacon, sweet dried cranberries and crunchy nuts. Mix and match what you have on hand – walnuts, feta, goat cheese, golden raisins or cherries – it all works.

Tip from my kitchen: Slicing little Brussels sprouts on a mandolin is dangerous work (I have 3 fingers to prove it). Opt for the slicer blade on your food processor – it’s quicker and safer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup (1/8 ounce) tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked crispy & crumbled
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or Craisins)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Holding each Brussels sprout by stem end, cut into very thin slices using a mandolin or the slicer blade in a food processor. Toss in a bowl to separate layers. Add pine nuts, bacon, cranberries and parmesan cheese.

To make the vinaigrette whisk mustard and vinegar together. Drizzle in olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Pour over salad and toss to combine.

Truffle Brie Macaroni & Cheese

I’m not a huge fan of the traditional comfort foods… mashed potatoes & gravy, pot roast and meatloaf are easy to resist. For me, comfort food is creamy lemon & pea risotto, beef bourguignon and cannelloni!

When my sweet friend (also fabulous baker & fierce soccer player), Marisa, was recovering from ACL surgery she requested comfort food. So I made what has to be the #1 Comfort Food: Macaroni & Cheese. I’ve since changed my mind about this favorite dish – add some truffle brie to macaroni and cheese and I’ll eat it. Happily.

If you can’t find the truffle brie substitute regular brie and add some truffle oil.

INGREDIENTS

For the breadcrumbs:

  • 1/2 loaf ciabatta bread (or any bread you have on hand)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the cheese & pasta:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 ounces Marscapone cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 1 pound grated Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 pound grated Monterrey Jack
  • 4 ounces Black Truffle Brie OR 4 ounces plain Brie + 3 T truffle oil
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta (or elbow)

DIRECTIONS

For the breadcrumbs: Cube your bread into medium size squares and put it in the food processor for a couple pulses. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tbsp oil in large skillet overt medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add bread crumbs to skillet an stir until crumbs are slightly toasted – about 5 minuets. Set aside.

For the cheese & pasta: Cook the pasta 2 minutes LESS than the al dente package directions. Please salt your water very well so the pasta has flavor. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan heat butter and olive oil until melted over medium high heat. Next, whisk your flour into the butter and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add cream and milk whisking in between to make sure there are no lumps. Bring mixture to a simmer and whisk until desired thickness (close to pancake batter). Remove from heat. Add grated cheese & marscapone and mix until melted. Season with salt & pepper. If using truffle oil – add this to the cheese mixture.

Stir in drained, cooked pasta to the cheese mixture. Transfer to a baking dish and top with sliced brie cheese & then sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Aioli

I couldn’t be happier that Laura Calder is on the Cooking Channel. Finally – a show that defies any preconceived ideas of fussy & pretentious French cooking.

On an unrelated note I am equally unhappy that Sandra Lee is STILL on Food Network.

French Food at Home is refreshing and carefree. Laura Calder is lovely. Her background music is even cute. She makes me want to buy a swing for my porch and fill glass carafes of stock and wine for my fridge. How pretty.

As are these beautiful artichokes she threw together. Perfect starter or snack for a lazy afternoon… which is how I enjoyed my Sunday (and wishing for a swing).

If you need direction on how to prepare an artichoke here’s a great video that breaks it down.

INGREDIENTS

For the aioli:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 head garlic, roasted*
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the artichokes:

  • 6 large Jerusalem artichokes or 12 baby artichokes (poivrade variety, which are the tiny ones)
  • 1 to 2 lemons
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

To make the aioli: Beat the yolk with the vinegar and mustard in a bowl. Whisk in the oil, drop by drop, to make a thick mayonnaise. Squeeze the garlic out of the roasted cloves into the mayonnaise and whisk smooth. Season the aioli with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, to taste.

To prepare the artichokes: Trim the artichokes, rubbing with lemon as you go, until you are down to the core with a bit of stem attached. Halve. While you’re trimming, bring a pot of water to the boil. Squeeze the juice of a lemon into it and salt it. Drop in the artichokes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, depending on the size. Drain, and pat dry. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and brown the artichokes on all sides. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Serve with the aioli.

* To roast a head of garlic, wrap in foil and bake for an hour at 350 degrees F.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Maple-Chipotle Glaze

I can’t imagine going back to regular corn after tasting this sweet and spicy combo. My dad has a fail proof microwave method (no dealing with pesky silks) and then I grill it afterwards to get the brown charred kernels.

I have to believe this would also be incredible slathered on salmon!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ears fresh corn (husks on for cooking)

DIRECTIONS

Bring first 5 ingredients to simmer in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until glaze is reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. (Glaze can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

This is my Dads quick microwave corn method – and it’s a huge success. Keep husks and silks on the corn. Cut the bottom and top off the corn. For each ear of corn, add 3 minutes to the total time. 6 ears of corn will cook a total of 18 minutes. Place corn in microwave and cook for 9 minutes. Turn corn over and cook another 9 minutes. (You can prepare the corn up to this point and wait to clean until ready to grill with the glaze). Remove the husks and silks.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush corn with some of glaze. Grill until lightly charred in spots, turning frequently. Transfer corn to platter. Brush corn with remaining glaze. Sprinkle generously with salt and serve.

Mufasa Corn

Mufasa was one BIG goat…. here is the story.

There is a sweet lady named Susanne who once lived near Tyler and had many goats. I see this sweet goat-raising lady a few times a year and a meal is always in the story. I seem to always bring a dish with goat cheese and like clockwork she politely declines to indulge in my creation. She came clean and explained the taste of goat cheese smells just like those stinky goats!

The last meal we shared I made what I was calling a “corn and tomato succotash”. She officially renamed the dish in honor of her biggest goat (who was quite popular with the ladies)… Mufasa.

It works… and it tastes incredible.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 ears sweet corn, cooked and kernels removed
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, diced medium
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Boil corn for 7 minutes. Cut kernels from ears of corn. You can also use a large bag of frozen corn. Be sure to defrost, drain and dry the kernels (try to get the water off so they will brown in the pan). Add corn and onion to skillet over medium heat with 1-2 T olive oil. Cook on medium high until the corn has slightly charred. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and add tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes just to warm through. Stir in goat cheese and cream. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cherry Tomato and Feta Tart

Recently I borrowed a friends State Fair of Texas cookbook full of winning recipes… one of which belongs to her husband. He is a proud blue ribbon winner for the best lasagna I’ve had in my entire life. This recipe book is full of innovative recipes and a tomato pie that called for bouillon caught my eye. What a strange ingredient! I can’t say it wouldn’t be just as delicious without the bouillon… but I believe it won her the blue ribbon.

It appears some things are just meant to be. I had cherry tomatoes that weren’t going to make it another week, basil that was developing brown spots, a disc of pie dough in the freezer and a nice hunk of feta leftover from last weeks Pistachio Crusted Chicken. It was delicious and would be perfect alongside Baked Shrimp Scampi for a simple and impressive make ahead dinner party menu!

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the inside:

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 5 large basil leaves, cut into long, thin strips
  • 1 Star garlic and herb bouillon cube, or chicken bouillon*
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pie crust recipe above or a store bought pie dough
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups Mozzarella, shredded

DIRECTIONS

For the crust: In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, flour and salt. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the mixture looks like finely grated cheese. Add half of the ice water and pulse again. The mixture should start to come together to form a rough ball; if it still seems dry add the remaining water and pulse until it has formed a rough ball. Remove the mixture from the food processor to a clean work surface and form it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This can be done a few days in advance.

Toss tomatoes, basil & green onions with the bouillon and olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and drain off any liquid that has developed from the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove dough from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before using to allow it to soften up a bit. Dust the dough and a work surface with flour. Roll out dough into a 10-inch tart shell and prick the bottom with a fork.

Spread 1/2 of the tomatoes into the bottom of the pie shell and top with 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat. Drizzle the top with a small amount of olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes on the middle oven rack.

*The STAR herb & garlic bouillon can be found at Jimmy’s Food Store for less than $2. I keep it on hand and use it when cooking rice and pasta. Chicken bouillon can also be used in this recipe.

Bok Choy with Shiitakes and Oyster Sauce

I can’t say enough about my friend Catherine… whom I adore. Not only is she the kindest person with the sweetest smile, she is not afraid to give anything a try in the kitchen. We had a girls night in to catch up, drink wine and cook some things on our “blog list”.

She brought Mark Bittman’s Bok Choy recipe and I did my mom’s Beef Stroganoff (recipe coming soon). As an appetizer we devoured brussel sprouts glazed in maple syrup with bacon and for dessert we munched on squares of dark chocolate. Life is good.

Recipe by Mark Bitten for The New York Times

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 pounds bok choy, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup commercial oyster sauce

 

DIRECTIONS

Soak shiitakes in one cup of very hot water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Trim mushrooms and chop. Separate leaves and stems of bok choy; cut stems into 2-inch lengths and slice leaves into ribbons.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. When oil is hot, add bok choy stems, garlic if you are using it, reconstituted mushrooms, and about 1/4 cup reserved mushroom water. Cook, stirring frequently, until stems are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil; sauté fresh shiitake mushrooms over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until they begin to brown and crisp on edges.

Into the large skillet or wok, add bok choy leaves and oyster sauce and toss vegetables gently to combine; continue cooking until greens wilt, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately, topped with crisp mushrooms.

Brussel Sprouts with Shallots, Bacon and Maple Syrup

This past weekend I took my beautiful friend, Jen from upstate NY, to one of my new favorite restaurants in Dallas: Neighborhood Services. I’ve dined at Neighborhood Services several times and am always impressed with the creativity of the chef & owner: Nick Badovinus.

I’m a lover of brussel sprouts IF they are roasted in the oven. I do not care for the boiled to death green balls of bitterness. These were so fabulous and the entire table raved about how delicious they were. So I set off to recreate them as best as possible and they are almost as tasty as Nicks.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 shallot, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup: Grade A Vermont preferred
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 2 strips thick cut bacon
  • brussel sprouts (as many as you want)

DIRECTIONS

Cut bacon into small dice – about 1/4 inch. Place in saute pan and cook over low heat. When crispy, drain bacon on paper towels set aside to cool. Keep bacon fat in saute pan for later.

Boil pot of water. Drop in whole brussel sprouts for 2 minutes. Remove from pot and place into bowl of ice water. Cut brussel sprouts in half, and spread onto flat baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and lightly salt. Place on high shelf in oven and broil for about 7- 10 minutes or until lightly blackened.

In the saute pan with the remaining bacon fat, add 1 tbsp. of butter and melt over over medium heat. When melted, saute shallot until tender. Add maple syrup, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar and stir until slightly thickened. Toss in brussel sprouts and toss until coated.

Serve topped with bacon.

Green Bean Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

A guy at work says it isn’t fair when Bobby Flay adds pancetta to his dishes on Iron Chef… in fact he says it’s cheating. Everything is better with pancetta.

I agree.

Green beans are so good for you… but gosh they can be boring. I’m not a huge fan of the green bean casserole with the styrofoam onions… and I wasn’t cooking Asian food or I had have gone the stir fry green bean hoison route… so I decided to try this combination.

I was really surprised how well this turned out and I couldn’t keep dipping into the bowl for more. I’ll be buying more green beans and preparing this all summer. There is no dairy so it would make a perfect BBQ side dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 – 1/4 inch thick slice pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add green beans and parboil for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a cold water bath and drain. Add to serving bowl.

Dice pancetta into small pieces and add to a COLD skillet with a little olive oil. heat the skillet over medium heat and cook pancetta until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

In the same pan as the pancetta, toast the walnuts over medium heat until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a small bowl to cool.

Add the onion, walnuts and pancetta to the beans and stir to combine.

In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss the dressing with the green beans and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.