Brussels Sprout Salad with Smoked Gouda, Pecans, and Dried Cherries

Brussels Sprout Salad with Smoked Gouda, Pecans, and Dried Cherries

A normal thanksgiving a day recipe for us is Crispy Brussels Sprouts but this year Lyn showed me a recipe that looked pretty good and was receive well at the table.

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved, slice the sprouts as thin as possible. I used the food processor to slice the sprouts to speed things up
  • 3 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries

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How

Whisk lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until incorporated. Toss Brussels sprouts with vinaigrette, and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  Fold in Gouda, pecans, and cherries. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Related

Crispy Brussels Sprouts (Stevesacooking.com)

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Caramelized Acorn Squash Salad with Crispy Shallots.

Caramelized Acorn Squash Salad with Crispy Shallots.

The first time I had something similar to this they served with herb goat cheese on a bed of arugula. We had on hand crumbled feta, cut up oranges, pumpkin seeds, served on a bed of mixed greens. In fact it was at Stonewall Kitchen cooking class and they made a salad very similar this is my adaptation using what we had on hand. Here is a good site to read about varieties of winter squash. There were 2 of us and this made one fine meal, I even skipped dessert that night which for some reason this last year I have become a dessert person so strange to me.

acorn-squash

I apologize I was so into cooking that I forgot to take a picture in the pan while cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Acorn squash or any thin skinned winter squash – the thin skin allows you to eat it when cooked.
  • ¼- ½  cup hard apple cider – could use regular cider
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

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How:

Cut off the ends of the squash and scoop out the seed

Cut into ½ inch think rings.

Combine the sugar, salt, pepper and butter in a large bowl. Add the squash and coat.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and place the squash in a single layer. Add apple cider to pan. Allow squash to cook and apple cider to reduce until squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While pan roasting, turn the squash with a spatula to be sure it browns evenly.

Things I might try next time –

  • I think next time I might melt the combination making it easier to coat the squash.
  • My pan was a little too small so I ended up using half rings to fit.
  • Cooking in batches to retain the circles
  • I might try roasting and flipping a few times next time

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Hard Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup hard apple cider
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice (about ½ orange)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (used our 18 year old)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

How

Bring cider, juice and honey to a boil in a small saucepan.

Cook 10 minutes or until reduced to about 2 tablespoons.

Pour into a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add shallots, vinegar, Dijon salt and pepper stir with a whisk. Gradually add the olive oil stirring constantly with a whisk. Set aside.

Crispy Shallots

Ingredients

  • 1-2 shallots shaved into rings, used our new mandolin
  • I cup rice flour – gluten free which browns more quickly
  • Canal oil as needed.

How

Heat canola oil in a small sauté pan. Toss shallots in rice flour, shaking off excess. Fry rings until crispy and lightly golden. Remove from oil and season with salt. Drain on paper towel. To be honest the first batch burnt, the second was not quite crispy enough, and the next batch was perfect. Sound like a familiar story to you? I used the 2nd and third batch tossed the first. Learned you got to watch them cause they turn real quick.

Caramelized Acorn Squash Salad with Crispy Shallots.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

For my birthday my wife gave us a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen which was great had a really good time which started with Pina Coladas on the beach but those are both another story for another time.

This post is about my love of Balsamic Vinegar.

Hanging with the chef

Hanging with the chef

A few years back we discovered eighteen year old balsamic vinegar at LeRoux Kitchen in Portland Maine. You can drink this stuff it’s just so good. They are online but also have stores at Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Portsmouth, NH so where Stonewall Kitchen is in York Maine we decided to stay just a few minutes away in Portsmouth NH on the river. Portsmouth has a nice walking downtown with small shops and a lot of restaurants it has the feel of a college town with a touch of tourism to me.

View from the room PortsmouthNorthChurch_lg Portsmouth Downtown

Anyway, armed with our 5 empty bottles we clinked our way to the store and had them refilled. All set for a few months now. Which brings me to the point of this post Vinaigrette dressings they can be simple or complicated but once you get in the habit of making your own fresh you will not go back to the off the shelf bottle. Ok maybe in a pinch.

I mostly wing it but here are a few that I have made or tried. Oh before I forget they are not just for salads so experiment and see. Let me know some of your favorites.

How: They all prepare similarly so

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Nice little gadget!

Nice little gadget! I snuffed at first.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Note: With a good quality balsamic you may not need to add a sweetener that depends on your tooth as the saying goes.

My version of someone’s house dressing

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard – Trader Joe’s add a kick
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced finely if you like a stronger garlic flavor
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Another twist

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced if you like a stronger garlic flavor

Yet another twist

  • 1/4 cup red wine (any variety)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fruit jam or 2 teaspoons jelly
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Options:

  • Try a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Add some grated cheese
  • Chopped cilantro or mint or oregano or…..

 Maple vinaigrette dressing (Cooks.com)

  • 2 oz balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz malt vinegar
  • 2 oz rice vinegar
  • 1 clove fresh chopped garlic
  • 3 teaspoons stone ground mustard
  • 9 oz olive oil
  • 4 oz maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cilantro

How:

Add garlic and vinegars together and let sit overnight to infuse flavors. Strain. (Garlic pieces may be left in for stronger garlic taste.)

Blend oil, vinegars and mustard until mixture is well emulsified. Stir in maple syrup. Add cilantro, pepper and oregano (to taste). Stir and shake well prior to serving.

May substitute vinegar favorites, berry syrups for maple and substitute or add favorite spices to taste. Oil/vinegar ratio may also be adjusted to taste.

 Basil Vinaigrette (simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 shallot, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup roughly chopped basil leaves

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil

How:

1 Place the salt, sugar, mustard, shallot and basil in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Scrape the sides of the blender down with a spatula. Add the vinegar and pulse again.

2 Turn the blender on low and take off the cap in the center of the blender’s lid. Slowly pour in the olive oil. It may sputter a little out of the open cap, so hold you hand over it to minimize splashing.

3 When the olive oil is incorporated, turn off the blender and scrape the sides down one more time. Cover and purée everything for 1-2 minutes.

Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.

Oils|Vinegars Subcategory images

White and Dark balsamic Vinegar

I was told at the class that the difference is the dark is cooked but here is another opinion that backs that up …to say it’s just the color is a little too simple…balsamic vinegar is made from white grapes and are fermented over decades…they take some out after a year and cook it under pressure to maintain its clearness, and that is the white balsamic….the other as I said is left to ferment for years and that’s the dark. Me again..I should add that now a days the grocery stores have a way to speed up the process

I believe with the good stuff that each year stated the vinegar is processed in another barrel.

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About Balsamic Vinegar here is an interesting article

Because balsamic vinegar is one of olive oil’s natural companions, we thought it might be useful to discuss in some detail this complex product, especially since prices can fluctuate even more wildly than olive oil (between a $3.00 pint and a $50.00 ounce).

The highest art of vinegar (aceto in Italian) making in Italy is known as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (ABT).  Sadly, the reputation of this exceptional product has been bastardized by low-grade products bearing the same name and which only ever so faintly resemble the real thing.  There are, however, two bits of good news.  First, it is quite simple to recognize a ‘real’ ABT.  It will be always be sold in one of two distinct bottle types (the difference being that of the two competing DOC’s, Modena and Reggio Emilia, both strictly controlled by respective ‘Consorzios’1). Second, you do not always need the best balsamico for every dish and, in fact, that might be ill-advised even if you could afford it. Read more

Deionion Branch Dip

Deionion Branch Dip

Makes 3 cups.Why this recipe works:

A good roasted onion and bacon dip recipe starts with a good technique for roasting the onions. We developed a roasted onions recipe that met three criteria. To get a tender and moist interior, we roasted them cut side down on a pan rubbed with a small amount of oil. Halving the onions also gave us a pleasing presentation, with the onions reasonably intact. Finally, we wanted a good amount of surface caramelization in our roasted onions recipe. We noticed that during cooking the outer rings of the onions rose off the pan and so caramelized less than the inner rings. The remedy was to cut two small X’s at the top of each onion half; these slits allow steam to escape during cooking and helped to limit the tendency of the outer rings to lift up and off the pan.

With its fresh ingredients, this dip tastes like an uptown version of the old standby made with powdered onion soup mix. Serve with chips, pita bread slices, carrots sticks or just stick your fingers in when no one is looking.

Ingredients

Roasted Onions

  • 6 medium yellow onions halved crosswise, root and stem ends X’d twice (see illustration below)
  •  1 Tbsp. olive oil

Dip

  • 6 – 8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and drained, crumbled
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 ¼ tsps. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsps. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsps. celery seed
  • 3 Tbsps. chopped fresh chives
  • ½ tsps. table salt
  • Ground black pepper

How

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil; rub foil with oil. Place onions cut side down on baking sheet. Roast until dark brown around bottom edge and tender when pierced with thin skewer or knife tip, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to rack; let onions rest for 5 minutes before lifting off pan with metal spatula. Let onions cool then peel and chop fine.

2. Mix all ingredients (including onions) in medium bowl. Serve immediately or chill.

If you want spice it up with cayenne powder or some red pepper flakes

X’ing Onions

Cutting two small X’s near the end of the onion allows moisture to escape during cooking. This helps keep the rings level as they cook.

Original recipe is from Cooks illustrated 1997

Potato, Canadian bacon, and Spinach Frittata

Eggs for dinner are great and I don’t mean scrambled you got to make a meal of it something that will fill you up. We had been running around all day first time in about 2 weeks that we could spend time on us and we got home from restocking our wine cellar, actually it’s a shelf. I looked at Lyn and she looked at me and she said do you think you could make something like this as she fluttered her eyes, I’m just a sucker for those eyes. I took a look, thought about what I had on hand and soon after we had Potato, Canadian bacon, and Spinach Frittata

Took about 15 minutes prep time and 15 minutes cooking.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil split 2 for cooking 1 for dressing
  • 2 small russet potatoes (about 3/4 pound), peeled and thinly sliced
  • The whites and some greens of 6-8 scullions sliced thin
  • 9 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • About 10-ounce frozen chopped spinach (you could thaw and drain of excess water but I did not I was hungry)
  • 4 ounces white Cheddar, grated ( about 1 cup)
  • 6 -8 slices of Canadian bacon cut in quarters or eights.

 Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (6 cups)

How

Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large oven proof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and scallions and cook, tossing occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the spinach, Cheddar, and ham. (Make sure you break up the spinach so no chunks)

Add the egg mixture to the skillet, shake the pan to settle, and transfer the skillet to oven. Cook until the eggs are set, 12 to 15 minutes.

While that is cooking make your vinaigrette in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the lettuce and toss to coat. Serve with the frittata. If you want to make it spicy try Trader Joe’s Dijon mustard makes Chinese mustard seem mild.

       whoops forgot to take picture in pan