Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One dish two ways - for the Omnivegitarian couple

As a child, brussel sprouts were up there on the MOST HATED FOODS list along with innards, gizzards and chicken feet. Which is weird, because I was a pretty well behaved kid and generally liked most vegetables, with a particular fondness for cabbage. And sprouts are mini-cabbages.

Anyway, bizarrely, this winter seems to have been the rise of the brussel sprouts season, in both quantity and esteem. You've seen me roast them before, but when we were at NBs house for Christmas his mummy steamed some, and he loved those much more. One thing you should know about NB: he is of a household that doesn't particularly consume salt or... flavours. Ie oil and fried. He is also currently a vegetarian.

Here is the result: 2 dishes, zero extra work! And as a bonus, I will throw in a middle ground.

Steamed Brussel Sprouts

(You are probably noticing my thumb over the lens. Stellar photogs skills. It was too bright to see the screen!)

Ingredients: 1 bag of brussel sprouts, Water

Clean sprouts. This involves rinsing them, cutting off a little bit of the stem part and removing the outer leaves.

Bring one pot of water to boil (but not enough water to touch the bottom of the steamer part, because then it's boiling the vegetables), steam sprouts until they are tender and green. Easy peasy. I would say like 10 minutes? Watch out though, if you over steam those babies they will turn an unappetizing shade of gray-green.

Also, here's a tip for those who don't have a steamer: Use a metal sieve in a regular pot, cover.


One step up: Lightly season and mix with a small pat of butter until melted.

For the fatty:

Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts With Bacon

Ingredients: Pre-steamed brussel sprouts, a teaspoon of minced garlic, 2 streaks of bacon

Ohh yea, you heard me. Bacon. So while the sprouts are a-steaming, fry up two streaks of bacon. You may want more, or less, depending on how fatty your bacon is. Mine was some budget Vons bacon, and did you know that price of bacon is inversely proportionate to amount of fat per streak? When the bacon is crisp, remove and set aside. Sautee the garlic in the fat, then add the steamed brussel sprouts (you could cut them in half - may I recommend length-ways? - first), season - but go really light on the salt, and pan fry until they are slightly browned. Serve with the bacon crushed over the top.

One step down:

Use a tablespoon of butter instead of bacon fat, thus making dish vegetarian and slightly less sinful.

So. There you go. Reclaim the sprouts!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Red Pepper

TheBigBoss is away this week, so I finally have time to catch up on my reading / procrastinating. You are probably wondering how one can have to 'catch up' on procrastinating - trust me, it takes many years of experience to get to this level. Think of it like sleep debt... if I don't get my 8 hours in a day, I have to do 10 the next. Only not quite as many hours.

Anyway, let me share with you the incident of The Red Pepper.

Last weekend, NB and I took a little impromptu road trip southeast. I give only the direction because there is mostly nothing there, except eventually we got to the Salton Sea.

Day 1, Gas Stop 1, there was a fruit stand by the gas station . They have bags of 25 avocados for $5! 25! But the 25 are very small. They also have 10 large for $5. Still very cheap. We go for the 10, not thinking about how there is no way we could possibly finish 10 avocados in the time it takes for them to ripen, and especially not thinking about how being shut in a warm car does something chemically to speed up the ripening process. (Don't question me on that one, it's part of the 'food magic' that I can't explain along with ripening avocados with apples and bananas and leaving the seed in the guac to keep it from browning.)

Naturally, we arrive home the next day and they are perfect. The bestest, creamiest, smoothest, non-brown avocados we have ever eaten. True Californian Avocados.

By Monday we realize that eating 9 avocados in the 2-3 days following would probably not be possible. As it is a public holiday for some, NB, Dad and I have a dude day with a Star Wars marathon and doughnuts. We decide to make it an even Dudier day by making some guac. The NB is sent to the store to get the supplies.

He comes back with:

3 tomatoes

1 red pepper

1 block of tofu (for other purposes).

And says: I forgot the lime!

And I am like... and the cilantro. And everything else. And WHY did you buy a red pepper?

NB: You said! You said to buy a red pepper!

Me: I most certainly did not.

NB: You said pepper! You said red!

Me: *Confused* Maybe I meant black pepper? But we have black pepper... what else goes into guac?

NB: You also said mint but I didn't want to.

Me: Cilantro... tomato... onion! I SAID RED ONION! NOT RED PEPPER!

NB: Oh.

So the NB was sent back to Vons to pick up, ya know, ALL the ingredients except the tomato.

Maybe you had to be there. But that red pepper was the butt of many jokes for the rest of the week.


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