Wednesday, November 28, 2012

shaved brussel sprout salad

Ok. I know I just shared a brussel sprout recipe with you last week. But this one is completely different, I swear. This is the sort of every-night-of-the-week recipe. Plus brussel sprouts are uber good for you.

I could (and have) eaten this salad with my hands. Don't ever make it ahead of time and leave it on your counter while preparing other dishes. You will finish this salad off as your own private appetizer. (I speak from experience). It's rather addicting.

shaved brussel sprout salad

2 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed, cleaned, and cut into thin strips
1/2 cup roasted and salted shelled pistachios
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
A healthy dash of salt and pepper

Whisk parmesan, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Toss with brussel sprouts and pistachios. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

caramel apple cheesecake bars

Want some insight into my life at this very moment? I am sitting at my desk in leggings, thick socks, a thermal, and a beanie. It is cold.

You know it's cold when your husband runs the trash out in the morning and comes back in and nonchalantly mentions it's snowing outside. 

This Californian has no idea what's coming at her in the next few months of Chicago winter.

I should have something warm to give you. Perhaps a bread pudding or even a warm chocolate cake. 

But, no, I have chilled cheesecake bars. Hold on, hold on. These bars are insane. Soul-warming good. Josh fixed them up for Thanksgiving dinner, and we could not get enough. I think I caught all members of our house picking at the leftovers directly from the fridge this weekend. I'm not even embarrassed.

Make them this Holiday season. It's a refreshing break from sugar cookies. 

The apple topping is tossed in cinnamon and nutmeg and makes your house smell lovely and Holiday-ish. You will thank me. 

The recipe calls for caramel topping. You can totally buy it from the store. I whipped up a quick batch of Smitten Kitchen's homemade salted caramel sauce. I think it added a little somethin' somethin' to the bars. Just a tip.

caramel apple cheesecake bars
recipe from Miss Paula Dean

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bow, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or a fork) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Combine all streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar with an electric mixture until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

Stir together apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Let cool approximately 30 minutes. Drizzle with caramel topping. Let bars set for an hour in the fridge. Cut and serve.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanksgiving cocktails

With any family holiday, a bit of imbibing is necessary. I pulled together a few options that caught my eye over on the Pinterest boards. Whether you're looking for one to serve alongside appetizers, desserts, or even with dinner, look no further

Monday, November 19, 2012

balsamic brussel sprouts

Things have been wild around here. Just unreal. And by this, I mean totally non-stop, busy busy, on-to-the-next-thing on a list of 100 things.

That sort of wild.

But things are happening. Exciting things. Things I can't talk about just yet. But happy and fulfilling and all together just plain good things.

Something else good and wild? These brussel sprouts.

I adore Thanksgiving. I plan for it and and develop menus and scratch out those menus and rewrite menus. I just started brainstorming Thanksgiving yesterday. (I told you it's been wild). So I just know there are some of you out there without any clue of what to make for a side dish.

Make. This.

Roasted brussel sprouts + balsamic glaze + dried cranberries = candy. It's addicting really.

I learned the deep, dark secret to keeping brussel sprouts from getting bitter. It's rather straight forward, really. Don't let them get involved with water.

Now, if you're like me, and feel morally obligated to rinse fruit and vegetables, I just made sure to thoroughly dry the sprouts with a paper towel. And they were wonderful. Simply fantastic.

I made this for a pre-Thanksgiving potluck. I roasted up the sprouts in the afternoon and then wrapped them up once they cooled down. Josh (see I told you I would give you credit!) made the balsamic glaze. Right before we left, we reheated the sprouts in the oven (covered with foil) at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. I tossed them with the glaze and stirred through the cranberries. And we were on our way.

brussel sprouts with balsamic and cranberries
recipe from The Pioneer Woman

3 lbs brussel sprouts
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dried cranberries.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim and clean brussel sprouts. Half the sprouts and rinse them in a colander.  Pat them thoroughly dry with paper towels. Toss sprouts with oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place in a large baking dish and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tender and browning. Stir sprouts every 10-15 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Mix balsamic vinegar and sugar and heat in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium until the mixtures reduces in half, approximately 15 minutes.

Stir sprouts with balsamic glaze and cranberries.