Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Move Over Cookies...

It's the most wonderful time oooof theee yeeeaaarrr! Amanda and I have made the trek to our hometown for Christmas with Mel and John, the stockings are hung, the tree is all lit up and shiny, and I've been filling my belly with sweet treats. Over the past couple days, John has been busy in the kitchen whipping up crazy concoctions like nutella-walnut-rum-piedough-cookie-roll-things...which I've been stuffing into my mouth like there's no tomorrow.

However, there is a tomorrow...and it's Christmas Eve! And with all these goodies around, believe me... I know it’s easy to avoid veggies during the Holidays. Especially when the most common, traditional Christmas vegetable is…(dun dun duuuunnnnn) the dreaded Brussels sprout .

I personally love Brussels sprouts, and I think they get a bad rap... However, I have seen a lot of people mistreat the mini cabbage-like gems of deliciousness with poor preparation, so it’s no wonder people fear it, bad mouth it, douse it with butter or cheese sauce to cover the flavor… or skip it altogether and head straight for the dessert table.

This year, instead of skimping on the veggies, make them the highlight of your holiday meal! My Brussels sprout recipes put the boring ol' over-boiled version to shame, and will convert even the biggest skeptics. Seriously, make these. Screw cookies and milk... I'm leaving santa a plate of Brussels sprouts and a pint of stout for Christmas!
Fresh and Fruity Brussels Sprout Salad

1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
1 Granny Smith Apple- diced
1 carrot- peeled and grated
1 cup toasted pecans
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
2 tablespoons shaved parmesan
Coarse ground salt and pepper

Cut off Brussels stems, halve sprouts, and separate each layer. Thinly slice the middles that won’t separate. In a bowl, Mix together sprouts, thinly diced apple, grated carrot, chopped toasted pecans, cranberries, and parmesan. Whisk together salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add dressing to salad and toss to coat.

Tangy Brussels Sprout Chips

1 pound Brussels sprouts- rinsed
1/2 lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse ground salt and pepper
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut stems off end of Brussels sprouts. Separate the outer leaves, until they will no longer pull away. Cut the remaining sprout centers in half. Put leaves in mixing bowl- (you can either add the sprout halves as well, or save those for another use). Drizzle in enough olive oil and juice of 1/2 a lemon to coat leaves. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder- to your liking. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast leaves until some of them are crispy (8-10 minutes). Remove crispy leaves (keep, but set aside in serving bowl), and roast remaining leaves until crispy. Continue until all leaves are crispy (but not burnt). Chips are delicious eaten straight out of the bowl as a snack (instead of nuts or potato chips), or serve them over the top of another dish, whole or crumbled (sprinkled over roasted potatoes, etc).

Caramelized Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels Sprouts- halved or quartered
1/2 red onion- diced fine
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small pat butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

In skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat- add onions. Sautee until onions are translucent, add garlic and Brussels, cut sides down. Once Brussels have just started to brown and caramelize, mix together wine, vinegar, and sugar- add to skillet. Turn down heat slightly, and simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add salt, pepper, cheese and toss, then remove from heat. Serve alone or tossed with pasta.
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