Brussel Sprouts Are Having a Moment

I am not sure if anyone has noticed, but brussel sprouts have become the chic new addition to many restaurant menus. Long gone are the days of hiding these little guys in your napkin, because chefs are doing amazing things with them. I have seen them sauteed with crispy bacon, served warm with vinaigrette and sliced thin for a new spin on slaw. This next recipe is just that, a lovely slaw that incorporates just a few ingredients to make magic of what once was every one's least favorite vegetable. This slaw was sent to me by my friend Heidy, who came up with an adaptation after seeing this on a few menus in Chicago. It's easy and went perfectly with the giant (I mean gigantic) steaks my husband grilled up last night. The slaw is tart and refreshing, so it paired great with the rich meat. This can be used as a side with any meal and is best served chilled.

Endive & Brussel Sprout Slaw

make as much as you want!

Thinly sliced Belgium Endive (I used a mandolin to do this, but you can also just use a sharp knife)
Thinly sliced Brussel Sprouts
Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
Sliced Almonds
Olive Oil
Fresh Lemon juice
Thinly sliced Pepperoncini (optional, I added this to a couple of bites and it gave it a little spicy kick)

Combine all ingredients to taste and toss until coated evenly. Refrigerate before serving.



Sunday BBQ

The corn after coming off the grill

The biggest steaks ever!

The condiments on the table for everyone to dig into, queso fresco, BBQ sauce, limes and garlic butter

I had a crowd over on Sunday for a BBQ and used some recipes from Bobby Flay. He seems to know his stuff and these recipes were great. I did almost everything in advance and my husband picked up cowboy ribeyes the size of my head. No one went home hungry. First I will share a great grilled corn on the cob recipe that includes some toppings. It is amazing how you can take something that already tastes pretty great on its own and make it unforgettable with just a few ingredients. I served it with steaks and this great BBQ sauce. The sauce and rub for the meat has some serious heat! So if you are not into spicy, than leave out some of the chili powders and cayenne. You can use the sauce on whatever you would like to grill. I paired all this with a salad and it was yummy!

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Garlic Butter, Fresh Lime, and Queso Fresco
Epicurious 2004, by Bobby Flay
makes 4 to 6 servings

For the garlic butter:
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the corn:
8 ears corn, silks removed, but husks left on, soaked in cold water for at least 10 minutes
2 fresh limes, quartered
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or mild feta

Make the garlic butter: Combine the butter and garlic in a food processor or with a mixer until smooth. (To mix by hand, let the butter get very soft, then beat the garlic, finely minced, with a large wooden spoon.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 2 days. Bring to cool room temp before serving)

Make the Corn:
1. Heat your grill to high
2. Place the corn on the grill, close the grill hood, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until steamed through and hot but still crisp (test by carefully piercing with a knife). Unwrap the husks from the corn and immediately spread or brush with garlic butter.
3. Squeeze the limes on top and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Mesa Barbecue Sauce
Epicurious April 2010, by Bobby Flay
Makes 2 cups

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely diced
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons dark molasses
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (If you can't find, use regular chili powder)
1 tablespoon pasilla chili powder (If you can't find, just leave out)
1 tablespoon paprika

Heat the canola oil until almost smoking in a large saucepan over medium eat and sweat the onion and garlic until softened but not colored, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes. Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and puree (once slightly cooled). Pour into a medium bowl and let cool to room temp. May be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen.

Bobby's Dry-Rubbed Rib-Eye Steaks With Mesa BBQ Sauce
Epicurious April 2010, by Bobby Flay
Makes 8 servings

For the dry rub:
1/4 cup paprika
1 cup ancho chili powder (If you don't like heat, use 2 tablespoons, you can also use any chili powder you have)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the steaks:
8 rib-eye steaks (10 oz each)
1 cup dry rub
olive oil for brushing the steaks
2 cups Mesa BBQ sauce

For the dry rub: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Any extra will keep in a tightly covered glass jar for several months.

For the steaks: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high. Rub each steak on one side with the dry rub, brush with olive oil, and grill, rub side down, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and continue grilling 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare. Place on a large serving platter and serve with Mesa BBQ sauce.

Note: Cooking time will vary depending on how thick your steaks are. Ours were very thick and took 15 minutes total to cook to medium-medium well.



Breakfast for Dinner

If you are a Food Network fan, you probably have been sucked into many hours of Giada cooking wonderfully simple and delicious food. She has a knack for making anything look like a snap and beautiful. Not to mention she just seems to be the kind of person that you want to be friends with so she will invite you over for pasta, wine and a chocolate dessert. I saw her make this omelet the other day and decided breakfast for dinner sounded fantastic. This omelet is baked, so it is super easy. I paired it with an arugula salad with tomatoes and slivered almonds, dressed with lemon and olive oil. Even though she is Italian, this meal felt very French to me and I loved it.

Baked Gruyere and Sausage Omelet
Giada De Laurentiis, 2008
serves 4-6

Butter, for greasing baking sheet
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb mild turkey sausage, casings removed (use whatever sausage you would like!)
8 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups (4 oz) grated Gruyere cheese (use whatever cheese you love!)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8 by 8 inch baking dish.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool. (If you use a sausage with more fat content, drain the fat off after cooking)

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the red bell pepper, 1 cup of the cheese and 1/4 cup of the parsley. Stir in the onion mixture. Pour the batter unto the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut the baked omelet into wedges and sprinkle with the remaining parsley before serving.



Take Out Gone Healthy

Just like most people on earth, there is always a day (or two!) in my week where I want nothing but to bring home the biggest bag of greasy take out that I can get. Thai and Chinese are favorites, as well as the ole' stand-by pizza. When I do order Chinese, or any Asian take out, I always order some sort of noodles. I found this recipe in one of those cookbooks next to the checkout in the market. I have never bought one, but this one had a giant picture of spaghetti carbonara on it and said "Light & Healthy." I was sold. I have not tried the carbonara yet, but I did stumble upon a Pork Lo Mein recipe that looked amazing and was just over 500 calories a serving. That is about half the calories of take out! I was impressed and had to share, this could easily stand in for a take out meal for me and I love the guilt-free part. You can substitute pork for chicken, beef, shrimp or even tofu for the protein. I also added in some other veggies I had around.

Pork Lo Mein
Light & Healthy 2010
serves 4

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (in the Asian food section)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (in the Asian food section)
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder (in the spice aisle)
1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and sliced into thin strips, 1/4 inch thick and wide
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, can find by the BBQ sauce)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth or stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup Chinese rice cooking wine (in the Asian food section) or dry sherry
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into thirds
4 scallions, white parts sliced thin and green parts cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small head of napa cabbage, halved, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch strips (about 4 cups)
12 oz fresh Chinese egg noodles or 8 oz dried linguine
1 tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce (in the Asian food section)

1. Whisk the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and five spice powder together in a small bowl. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the mixture to a zip-lock bag and add the pork and liquid smoke (if using). Press out the air, seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

2. Whisk the broth and cornstarch into the remaining soy mixture and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon of the canola oil, garlic, and ginger together and set aside.

3. Boil a large pot of water on the stove and cook your noodles according to the package. Drain and rinse under cool water, rake slightly to avoid them sticking together.

4. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Carefully add half the pork in a single layer, breaking up any clumps. Cook without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and continue to cook until the pork is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add 2 tablespoons of the wine to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is reduced and the pork is well coated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer pork to clean bowl and repeat with 1 teaspoon more of canola oil, the remaining pork, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of wine. Remove from heat and wipe the skillet with a paper towel.

5. Return the skillet to high heat, add 1 teaspoon of canola oil and heat until just smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the scallion whites and greens and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl with pork.

6. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil and the cabbage to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. clear the center of the pan and add the garlic mixture. Cook, mashing the garlic mixture with the back of a spatula, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir garlic mixture into the cabbage.

7. Return the mushrooms and pork, along with any accumulated juices, to the skillet and stir to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.

8. Add the noodles and garlic-chili sauce and stir to combine. Serve.


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