Brussels Sprout Salad with Candied Hazelnuts and Lemon Vinaigrette

This is a very simple salad but the flavor combination is out-of -this-world, delicious.  If you haven’t had something like this before you will be very surprised at how well these few ingredients go together.

Salad

Benefits of Brussels sprouts: they extremely good for you; filling, moderately high in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol and they are also a good source of Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.

  • 8 oz  raw Brussels sprouts, shredded

Candied Hazelnuts

  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, peeled, shelled
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water

Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Brussels Sprouts

1. Wash the brussels sprouts and cut the stems off, remove any loose or dirty leaves.

2. Using the slicing blade of your food processor, carefully shred the brussels sprouts.  If you do not have a food processor, this can also be done by by hand. Getting the ribbon effect is key, so however you prefer to do it!  Be sure to remove any white cores you find.

4. Set aside in a bowl in the refrigerator.

Candied Hazelnuts

1. On low-med heat, roast hazelnuts in a medium saute pan.  Toss them around periodically, their paper like shells will begin to come off. After about 15 minutes of roasting, let cool.  The remaining shells should flake off. Set aside. America’s Test Kitchen @TestKitchen suggests, transferring hazelnuts to a dish towel. Wrap them completely, twist the towel to seal. Then rub together to scrape off skin.

2. Cook sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides with a wet brush to prevent crystals from forming. Let boil until syrup turns light amber, about 5 minutes; remove from heat.

3. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your counter. When the sugar is amber in color, toss the hazelnuts in the sauce pan, swirl around for 3 seconds and pour the extremely HOT mixture onto the parchment paper.

4. Let cool for 5 minutes.

5. Break apart into large piece and toss into a sturdy ziplock bag.  Knock around the bag on the counter top, this will separate the candied nuts.

Vinaigrette

1. Whisk ingredients in a medium size bowl, adjust salt/pepper/sugar to taste.  Should be on the tart side.

To assemble:

Mix in a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts with vinaigrette, top with candied hazelnuts and serve! You will be surprised at the flavor combination, tart, sweet, crunchy…yum!

Brussels sprouts salad with Thai beef and spicy peanut noodles

I hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading…x-G

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Smoked Salmon Crisps

Photo © Quentin Bacon

Need a great, no bake, party app idea?  Take one from me and Thomas Keller, this will be a hit.  I often have people tell me they “hate cooking” “don’t know how” or  “f*%k it up every time”  well then, this ones for you.   Follow these steps to an easy, frustration free, party hors d’oeuvre.

Go the store and buy:

  • 4 oz  sliced smoked salmon
  • 1 large shallot
  • Sesame and seaweed crackers
  • 1 lemon
  • chives
  • 4 oz of crème fraîche or if you can’t find it, sour cream will do just fine.

To assemble:

1. Dice the smoked salmon and place in a medium-sized bowl.

2. Mince the shallot,  add to the bowl.

3. Mince 1 tbsp of chives, add to the bowl

4. Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

5. Add a few pinches of white pepper, if you have it (no need to buy, just to add)

6. Give it a quick toss.

7. Lay out the sesame-seaweed crackers on a platter, top each cracker with a tablespoon of the salmon. Dollop with a small amount of crème fraîche and garnish with a 1″ piece of chive.  Serve right away.

My finished product; a bit rushed on presentation, but the flavor was all there!

Let me know how it turns out! I hope you enjoy…

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s, The French Laundry Cookbook

Pumpkin Seed Brussels Sprouts

I know what you’re thinking. Gross! brussels sprouts, really?   At one time or another most of us can remember the horrible greenish-yellow hue of the lunch room, a cattle call line reaching all the way across the school gym, the wafting smell of beefy, humid, hot lunch, and the inevitable scary lunch lady slopping food onto our trays, right?? Welllllll maybe this was just my middle school experience. Nevertheless 6th grade ‘hot lunch’ was where I first encountered brussels sprouts; boiled to a tasteless mush and smelling like an old person’s sheets. Yuck, are you kidding me?  I thought to myself, I guess this is what $2 for a “balanced” lunch in 1994 gets ya.  

Fast forward 17 years, (wow that just made me feel old) and think about how far food has come.   A-longgggg-frickin-way, so much so I am not even sure it’s legal to boil brussels sprouts, except for maybe in prison. Okay, that’s not true, but I hope Whitey Bulger is slurpin’ up some SOS and nasty, boiled, B sprouts. Well good thing you’re reading this and not in the clink, cause I have just the recipe for you!  It’s a life changer, and if you have had a fierce aversion to brussels sprouts before, PLEASE take my word for it and give this vegetable a shot.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved or quartered and remove the loose leaves.
  • 5 large shallots, sliced 1/4″ thick (sliced too thin and they just burn into strings)
  • 1 large pumpkin, seeds removed, separated from pulp and washed.   Set pumpkin aside for later use.
  • as needed, olive oil 
  • as needed, kosher Salt
  • as needed, cracked pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F
  2. Carve the pumpkin top off and scoop out the seeds into a colander.  Wash the seeds and strain the pulp from them.  Soak seeds in a bowl of room temp water while you work and dig out the rest of the seeds.  Gentle pat the seeds try place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Once the seeds are dried and laid out, drizzle with olive oil to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper generously.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  You may have to shuffle the seeds around periodically during cooking.
  5. ** keep a close eye, these puppies can go from slightly browned to burnt within a few minutes!**
  6. Once the seeds are browned and finished, let them cool for 10 minutes and then set aside in a bowl.
  7. *turn up the oven to 350*F
  8. Wash, trim and half the brussels sprouts
  9. In a large bowl toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sliced shallots, 1 tsp of crushed black pepper, and 1 tsp of kosher salt.
  10. Spread out over a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes in the oven until browned.  Half way through roasting toss them around on the sheet.
  11. When they are finished roasting, serve immediately on a platter and sprinkle the top with the oven roasted pumpkin seeds.

This is a crunchy, healthy, way to enjoy the true flavors of fall with a new take on brussels sprouts. It is easy to make and very delicious.  You will never look at this hated vegetable the same way again! Give it a shot when you are carving your pumpkins this week and let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading! xo-G

Comfort food, low-cal and super easy: Chicken Enchiladas

photo c/o myrecipes.com

Who doesn’t love Mexican food? Especially easy, tasty, low-calorie Mexican food.  My mom’s been making this dish for quite sometime and it’s a favorite comfort food of mine.  However I’ve taken her recipe and found a few tricks to make it even more low-cal, protein packed and full of flavor.

Here’s what you will need to get started.

  • 9×13 baking dish
  • 2 large Chicken Breasts
  • 10 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach (thaw, drain all water) + a couple handfuls of raw spinach
  • 4 Scallions, diced. (save some for the top of the dish)
  • 4 tbsp Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained (optional)
  • ½ cup Plain Fat Free Yogurt
  • 8 oz low-fat Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • ½ Tbs Salt
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 cup of onion, sauteed(do not heavily brown, this will change the white sauce color)
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced and added to onion saute
  • 1 can of Green Chiles, drained (you pick your heat!)
  • 1.5 cup of Colby Jack Cheese or Queso Fresco (again, your choice)
  • 2 pkg flour tortillas (6-8 count each)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F

2. Season the chicken with S&P. Sauté, let rest and cool, then pull apart (shred).

3. Combine all sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Taste to season (might need more salt or cumin depending…)

4. In your 9 x 13 dish add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom.  Filling one tortilla at a time, gently add a dollop of sauce, chicken and a few pinches of cheese, roll then layer side by side in the pan. repeat, repeat, repeat.  Disperse the remainder of the sauce on top of the enchiladas cover every inch*. Sprinkle with scallions and add cheese.

Note*covering the entire dish will prevent burning, drying or, or unpleasant, rock hard, tortilla sections.

Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes

Easy, peasy!  Serve with Mexican rice and margaritas for best results.

Ole!