Warm, Brussels Sprout Salad

20131205-123628.jpg

This salad wasn’t on my weekly menu, but I made it anyway. Those of you who are Brussels sprout haters will not understand, but I was completely craving these little cabbages. This is one of my favorite winter salads because it is packed full of flavor and served warm, which is comforting on a chilly evening. I am not sure where this recipe originated–I thought I dreamed it up, but it is everwhere, so I’m guessing I am not such a genius!

One note: use FRESH sprouts, not frozen. It makes all the difference in the world. We can get Brussels sprouts fresh at our farmers markets during the cooler months, but we also buy them still on the stalk at Trader Joes for about $2.99, making this a very economical as well as nourishing meal. If you can’t find fresh sprouts, you could substitute broccoli, and that would be tasty as well!

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad (serves 4)

  • 4 cups cooked grains (quinoa, barley, or rice)
  • 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, washed and cut in half, lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 strips local, pasture-raised smoked bacon
  • 1 cup new crop pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, zested and and juiced
  • Good quality balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher or sea salt and ground pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, gently stirring sprouts every 10 minutes.
  3. While sprouts are roasting, cook the bacon until crisp. Crumble bacon and set aside on paper towel to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan.
  4. Heat the pan over medium heat and add the sliced onions to the bacon fat and sauté for 20 minutes or so, until onions are caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When sprouts are roasted and browned on the edges, remove them from the oven.
  6. In a large bowl, gently toss the sprouts, onions, blue cheese, cranberries, crumbled bacon and pecans.
  7. Divide cooked grains among serving bowls and top with warm salad mix.
  8. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Pierogi with Crispy Broccoli and Brown Butter Sauce

20130510-124313.jpg

It is very cold here in central NC (in the mid-20s) and icy. And all my boeuf bourguignon is gone (dang). I’m craving carbs and comfort food, but I’m too busy during the week to make a big pasta production. So this week I experimented with cooking some locally made pierogi.

At last week’s farmers market, I visited the booth for Melina’s Pasta and found some delicious-sounding pierogi stuffed with blue cheese and bacon. I had never made pierogi before, but I was assured that it was easy. Boil like pasta and toast lightly in butter. I can do this.

You can use this basic recipe with any kind of pierogi or ravioli. If you live in central NC, find Melina’s Pasta–I HIGHLY recommend the blue cheese and bacon pierogi (how could that combination go wrong, I ask you?). It was a terrific blend of flavors–not too strong on the blue cheese.

Pierogi with Crispy Broccoli and Brown Butter Sauce (serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side)

  • 12 fresh or frozen pierogi
  • 2-3 cups finely chopped organic broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
  1. In a stock pot, heat water for pasta until boiling.
  2. Add pierogi to water and cook according to package directions (8 minutes for our frozen pierogi).
  3. When pierogi are almost done cooking, melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When foam subsides, add the finely chopped broccoli to the pan and cook.
  4. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the pierogi from the water and add to the saute pan. Cook pierogi on each side until lightly toasted and browned,about 1 minute per side.
  5. Remove pierogi and broccoli to a warmed bowl and top with chopped parsley.
  6. Serve immediately.
%d bloggers like this: