Just like I enjoy the season changes, I also enjoy the produce changes. A tomato or peach in the middle of winter from the grocery store bears absolutely no resemblance to what we have been enjoying for the last month. When we received brussels sprouts last week I was quite excited to eat one of our standard fall dishes. When you read the next two recipes, you will realize that they aren’t the healthiest brussels sprouts recipes ever but the brussels sprouts are so delicious and we eat them so infrequently that I just don’t care. Both of my kids will eat brussels sprouts prepared this way versus roasted or steamed. To me the secret is cooking them slightly longer than you think you should cook them so that they are heading past golden brown but not all the way to burned. They are then carmelized perfection.
Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds brussls sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh maple syrup
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
.5 Tablespoons sliced fresh chives
Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in 2 batches and adding more oil between batches. cook brussels sprouts cut side down in a single layer in a skillet until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Season brussels sprouts with salt and pepper. Toss and cook until tender about 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining brussels sprouts. Remove skillet from heat. Add syrup, butter and herbs to pan. When the butter has melted, return brussels sprouts to pan and toss to coat.
Brussels Sprouts (recipe from Salt of the Earth in Fennville)
.5 pounds bacon
2 pounds brussels sprouts
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Lay slices of bacon in a cold skillet and cook over medium. When done set the bacon aside for another use. What you need is the bacon grease. In that hot bacon grease, cook the brussels sprouts cut side down for about 4 to 5 minutes or until just past golden brown. Season the brussels sprouts with seas salt. Toss and cook until tender, about 5 minutes more. Just before serving drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Don’t do this too early as it will gum up in the pan.
This was a find from several years ago when I received spaghetti squash in the weekly CSA distribution. I tried the just cook it and and serve it with spaghetti sauce method and that was not much of a hit in our house. So I had to find something else. My husband and I will gobble this down. If I omit the meat, my daughter will eat it, maybe not gobble but alas we have to start somewhere.
Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Filling (adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 3.75-4 pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Cut squash in half. Remove the seeds. Put on half cut side down in a microwaveable baking dish with about 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of dish. Cover and microwave for about 10 minutes or until tenderon high. Repeat with other half. Cool. Meanwhile, saute sausage, bell pepper, onion and garlic in heavy large skillet over medium high heat until sausage browns and veggies are tender, breaking up sausage with back of spoon, about 12 minutes. Mix in marinara.
Using fork, pull out squash strands from shells leaving shells intact. Mix squash into sausage mix. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into shells. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange squash halves on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 20 minutes.
I’m not sure where I found this recipe years ago but I love it because it is delicious, it uses almost any veggies that you have and it gets gobbled up around here by everyone. When I have parsnips, corn or green beans, they can easily be thrown in and other vegetables can be omitted. This recipe is quite forgiving. I often freeze some of it to enjoy later for dinner or in a kid’s lunch.
Beef and Barley Soup
1/4 cup butter
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup peeled turnip, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup chopped yams
1 cup chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
5 cups beef stock
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup pearl barley
1.5 Tablespoon thyme
1.5 Tablespoon oregano
1.5 pounds steak cut into .5″ pieces
1/4 cup parsley
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add vegetables. Saute 10 minutes. Add both stocks and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Add barley, thyme and oregano. Simmer until barley is tender stirring occasionally for about 35 minutes. This soup can be made ahead of time and chilled. Just return the soup to a simmer before you continue.
Add beef to soup. Simmer just until beef is cooked, about 10 minutes. Mix in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Around my house fajitas are always met with excitement. We always put bell peppers and onions in ours but really there you could put in squash or anything sauteed or roasted with the right seasoning and it will work. This recipe calls for chicken but you can do it with any kind of protein.
Juice of 4 limes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 large onions, halved and cut into thin slivers
2 large bell peppers cut into strips
Whatever toppings you like. For us that is guacamole, salsa, monterey jack, refried beans, sour cream,chopped tomatoes and cilantro.
Combine the lime juice, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper in a glass bowl. Mix well and add the chicken breasts. Cover and let marinade. Prepare the grill. In a small skillet, combine the onions and pepper strips and the marinade. Simmer at low heat for about 30 minutes. Grill the chicken breasts for about 8-10 minutes turning halfway through. Slice the chicken into strips about 1/2″ wide. Wrap tortillas in a damp clean dish towel and heat tortillas in microwave for about 30 seconds until warm and more pliable. Put out platters with chicken, tortillas and vegetables and all of your toppings.
This is a handy little recipe to make and throw in the freezer and save for later, just like pesto. And just like pesto, it can take so many things from sandwiches to dips to pasta from good to sublime. Enjoy!
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover baking sheet with foil. This is crucial or you will have a heckuva a mess later. Depending on the size of the tomato you are using, this step will be a little different. If you are using something roughly the size of a Roma, cut it in half and lay it on the cookie sheet cut side up. If the tomatoes are bigger cut them into slices that are about 3/4 – 1″ thick. Lay them on the cookie sheet. Don’t overlap tomatoes but you can get a lot on the pan. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and let the magic begin. Nothing happens for about 45 minutes and then they will slowly start to collapse. The last time I did this last week, I cooked them for about 3 hours. You want them to start to carmelize but not burn and that is a fine line once they really start to cook. Once they are done and have cooled. I pop them in a freezer safe container and save them for the winter when they will spice up just about anything.