From Amanda: *sigh* I’m having surgery today. Ankle reconstruction that’s going to leave me in some form of a cast for the next 2 months. So, for a few weeks here (until I learn to balance on one leg for cooking) I’ll be having some of my culinarily talented friends guest posting. Up first is my amazing friend Alyssa who is one of the craftiest people I know. She’s one of those women who juggle work, 2 youngin’s, a husband in law school all while spending her free-time doing nice things for other people. She can paint like a pro (you should see her dinosaur paintings), she can sew anything into creation, she made my Aunt Janet a squirrel key chain for when she visits me, and she bakes some mean molasses cookies. One time she even made me this awesome disco outfit. She disgusts me. Also? Please bring me ice cream. That is all. Ouch.
Before I get started with the blog post I just want to take a minute to tell you that I think Amanda is about one of the NICEST people you will meet and when she asked if I would fill in for a post for her, I leapt at the chance! I mean, come on, she does super awesome things like make lunches for fat, bed ridden pregnant ladies and will also babysit your older kid when or if you ever go into labor. AWESOME.
Ok, now on to the post. I am a momma of two boys and I often find myself struggling to feed my 3 year old son, Steven. And I am not talking the “if you don’t eat this vegetable you’re grounded for a week” variety; I am talking something much more complicated. Steven loves bacon, vegetables, and hot dogs; in that order exactly. Bacon, no problem…hot dogs, no problem…vegetables, uh, well, that can be a problem. It’s not that my husband and I don’t love vegetables ourselves but there are only so many crowns of steamed broccoli or ears of grilled corn you can eat before you start to get a little bored.
I am constantly looking for, or trying to make up, interesting vegetable sides (usually a main course for Steven) to appease the family. One of our family “go to” vegetable recipes combines two of Steven’s favorite things; a vegetable and bacon. Brussel sprouts are one of those things that when you say it people usually either go running out of the room or scrunch up their nose in disgust. I am hoping that this blog post will convert you.
Brussel sprouts are delicious if they are cooked right, cooked wrong they can be bitter and something that you would, well, scrunch up your nose at. The key to good brussel sprouts is that you want to cook them until they are very tender. So to accomplish that I like to steam them for about 10 minutes prior to sautéing them.
While my brussel sprouts are sautéing I start the maple bacon and chop the red onion. I have a little trick for chopping onions that I just recently discovered (yes folks, I am slow). You cut the onion in half through the spindly root ends and top. Then, lay the onion flat on the cutting board, chop of the ends, and begin to slice horizontally across (same direction you just cut off the root end and top) to make thin slices. Next, cut going the opposite direction and TA DA you have easily diced an onion. I know; it is like MAGIC!
Once your bacon is cooked, set it aside on a paper towel to cool. Be sure to reserve at least 2 tablespoons of your bacon drippings in your pan to sauté your brussel sprouts with. Once your bacon is cool, coarsely chop.
Once your brussel sprouts have finished steaming you can clean them up by removing any unsightly leaves, cutting off the ends, and cutting them in half. In theory you could do this before steaming them but I have tried both methods and prefer to wait until they have cooked slightly.
In the same pan that you cooked your bacon in, combine your onion, brussel sprouts, and 1 Tablespoon butter; salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté the brussel sprouts on medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes or until they begin to caramelize slightly. Once caramelized, remove from heat and add chopped bacon.
Serve up with delicious grilled pork your child will not eat and a handful of black olives that you know he will devour.
If your family is anything like mine, the combination of delicious maple bacon and brussel sprouts will put a smile their face!
|Awesome Brussel Sprouts|
- 1 lb brussel sprouts
- 1 T butter
- 3 slices maple bacon, coarsely chopped (reserve 2 T bacon drippings in pan)
- 1/4 C. chopped red onion (approx half a medium onion)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Steam brussel sprouts for 10 minutes.
- While brussel sprouts are steaming, chop ¼ cup red onion and begin frying 3 slices of maple bacon in large skillet. When bacon is done, remove to paper towel to cool. Chop coarsely. Reserve 2 T bacon drippings in skillet.
- After brussel sprouts have completed steaming, remove any unsightly leaves, cut off end, and cut in half.
- In the skillet used to fry the bacon add onion, brussel sprouts, 1 T butter and salt and pepper to taste.
- Sauté brussel sprouts for 10 minutes or until they caramelize slightly.
- Remove brussel sprouts from heat and add chopped bacon.