Here we go again! These brussels sprouts are one of the fabulous sides we enjoyed for thanksgiving dinner. The sprouts were sauteed in yummy bacon fat, deglazed with red wine vinegar, then tossed with homemade spiced walnuts, crispy bacon, and creamy danish bleu cheese. Unless you’re just not in to brussels sprouts, you are guaranteed to like this puppies!
T: it’s impressive that you can sit down and write a recipe a week after thanksgiving for something you made on thanksgiving. My memory is not so good. If I were trying to write something about what I did a week ago it would go like this… “uhhh… I did stuff.”
A: hehehe well ya see timmy… my trick is, i write down all the ingredients and amounts i use while i’m cooking, then, all i have to do is write the instruction part. that’s not too much for me to remember! most of it is on paper… just not saved on the compute.
T: that’s nice, but my name’s not timmy. Not that there’s anything wrong with the name timmy, it’s just not for me. that’s a badass idea to write the ingredients as you go, but it seems like that would be a real drag during an involved cook session.
A: well, if i were to write down the info directly after each step (and before the the next step) it would be an incredible pain in my ass. fortunately, at my ripe old age of 26, i still have enough short term memory left that i can remember what i’ve done for at least five minutes! serioulsy, maybe if i’ve had my ginko i could remember stuff for six minutes, maybe generally in five minutes i can find a decent time to jot some info down without ruining the meal!
T: that’s a more helpful tip than Rachael Ray telling you to carry the entire contents of your fridge over to the counter all at one time so you don’t waste precious time going back and forth and back and forth to the fridge. I mean, all those trips to the fridge can start to wear on a person.
A: i know, the three or four feet and two seconds it takes me to traverse our entire kitchen is a huge time killer! think of all the seconds i could save if i were more like good ol’ rach…
T: Probably dozens of seconds, over the course of a few months.
A: dozens of seconds i will never have back, t. NEVER. If i’d only listened to Rachael Ray….
T: yeah, and those dozens of seconds could add up to like 10 minutes in your lifetime… think about that… that’s just enough time to tell your loved ones goodbye.
A: damn man. this is just too deep for me. i think we need to lighten up the conversation some, hommie.
T: ok, maybe talking about the food that this post is about would be a good way to do that. Mmmmm… brussels sprouts… mmmmmmm… I don’t say “mmm” with that many m’s to just any pile of brussel sprouts. These were fantastic. If anybody thinks they don’t like brussels sprouts, they need to try, try again. And again until they get it.
A: i know! seriously… wtf, man. brussels sprouts are soooo kick ass. just the other day my own freaking sister told me she doesn’t like brussels sprouts! how can this be?!?! i think i may be adopted.
T: no, I think she was adopted. Maybe they found her left behind a dumpster.
A: perhaps even a dumpster filled with brussel sprouts! thus the aversion to them!
T: If there was ever a dumpster filled with brussel sprouts, that would be quite… odd. So, the question for your sister is, does she like cabbage?
A: that is the same thing i asked her! and she said, yes. i just don’t get it. things that make you go “hmm….”
T: things that make you go “what’s wrong with your sister?” Brussels sprouts are just lil’ wee cabbages. Unless you really screw em up (which I would do if I cooked them) they’re wonderful mini cabbage treats!
A: i totally agree… except with the part about you screwing them up! they are soooooo easy, you could totally rock the sprouts!
T: well, how would I avoid making the bitter like some people complain about?
A: frankly, i just don’t think they are bitter. my sister says that’s why she doesn’t like them, but i just don’t see anything bitter about them! just little bundles of mini-cabbage joy is all i see.
T: well now that we’ve proven beyond a reasonable doubt that brussel sprouts are awesome, I’d like to bring up the bleu cheese and bacon that was in these particular sprouts…
A: oh yes! and the delicious spiced nuts! this was definately a recipe inspired by one of the dishes my old mentor, bobby, used to make at harvest. i never did learn how to make his spiced nuts, but i think these really rocked for me.
T: Me too. I give them a 4.78/5. They were just so good. In fact, I ate quite a few of these before we sat down for dinner. And that was a good thing, and I would do it again. What’s your rating?
A: i totally have to agree with you on this. there seem to stick out as one of my favs from the dinner (although i imagine i’ll be saying that again in another t-day post). I give them a 4.666 they were wickedly good! okay, i just wanted to say that… i actually give them a 4.75/5. i don’t really know what i would do to improve these babies…
T: yeah, that would be hard to do. I guess maybe making more of them would help. That’s just an idea.
A: a good idea, at that! while we’re on the topic of brussels sprouts and cabbage, i just want to spill the beans about my sauerkraut endeavor. bobby and i have been emailing back and forth talking about ‘kraut recently (i swear i’m gonna email you soon b-ster). so today i bought the cabbage necessary… i also bought some brussels sprouts to add to the mix, so i think i’m gonna make some non-traditional kraut with green cabbage, sprouts, a jalapeno (for a kick), and some garlic. i’m stoked!
T: holy crap I’m stoked too! I can’t believe you’ve been hiding this from me. I mean, I knew you were going to make some kraut but I didn’t know you and Bobby were going back and forth about it. Hells yeah.
A: welll… not so much back and forth… maybe just back then forth once, maybe twice. it’s been mentioned more than a time or two. i just keep thinking about it! i’ve had rotten cabbage on the brain.
T: I’ve got it on my brain too… so, sauerkraut is rotten cabbage, eh. Is that going to stink up the apartment and make my life a living hell?
A: hells yeah! you’re going to be miserable for then next month-
T: nice. really nice, mandy. Well, at least you’re giving it to me straight.
A: no prob, t-gravy! (and just for the record, kraut is called “fermented” not rotten… i just like to say rotten)
T: hmmm.. is it really going to stink?
A: heheheh it’s going to smell like wonderful fermenting cabbage! it’s gonna be great!
T: i’m afraid.
1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2-3 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
4 thick slices bacon
2/3 cup spiced nuts, hand crumbled (recipe follows)
1 tbsp peanut oil (or other mild flavored vegetable oils)
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the bacon and cook until most of the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon and allow the bacon to drain on paper towels, set aside for later, and crumble once cool. Drain off all but one tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet, then add the peanut oil to the remaining bacon fat and turn the heat to medium/med-high. Once the skillet has had time to reheat, add the brussels sprouts and toss to coat with oil, then season with salt and pepper. Saute the brussels sprouts for about 10-15 minutes or until the sprouts are tender and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar, stirring and scrapping the botom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get up all those yummy caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Taste one of the sprouts to check the seasoning level, then adjust as necessary with salt and pepper - although remember you will be adding bacon and bleu cheese and thus more sodium. Add the crumbled bacon and spiced nuts to the pan and stir. Add the bleu cheese, then immediately remove the sprouts from the pan. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!
1 tbsp molassas
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all the dry spices. Stir in molassas, then add walnuts. Toss the mixture to coat the nuts. Spread the walnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 10 to 15 minutes until the nuts have toasted and the seasonings have caramelized. Halfway through baking stir the nuts for more even coloring. Remove from oven and allow nuts to cool before eating or using. Enjoy!