Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post-Sandy Dinner & the Beauty of Brussels Sprouts

So remember last post when I apologized for not writing in such a long time and how I promised that I would post more often and not neglect my blogger duties?

...well, that lasted about a day and a half.  First, I got a job.  Okay, fine, I got a third job, which I mean, I don't really need and you may think is crazy and completely unnecessary, but I couldn't turn it down!  Honestly.  And its completely different from my other two jobs, so its okay!  Second, Sandy.  As a New Jersey resident who lives on the Delaware River, that should be enough of an excuse.  But in case it's not, we were without power, water, or heat for six days.  So, as you can see, cooking and updating was kind of impossible.  Thankfully, Monday night, with the dark clouds of Sandra looming over my head, I cooked up a big pot of veg stew which kept us alive through the rough times. That and lots and lots of cocktails - we'll talk about the hot honey whiskey toddies in a later post.
But hallelujah! last night power was restored.  Along with my sanity (there's something about living in the dark and having to drive up to the park to fill up jugs with water from the fountain in order to flush your toilet that really wears away at your soul).  And so, to celebrate this wondrous occasion, I did what I always do - I cooked dinner.  I wanted something really autumnal, that highlighted the phenomenal produce of the season and that was warm and cozy.  I decided on a filet of salmon with orange and pomegranate seeds, roasted buttercup squash (looks like an acorn squash, tastes like a creamy delicious marriage of a chestnut and a sweet potato), and caramelized cranberry brussels sprouts.  

I love brussels sprouts.  Yeah, I said it.  I love brussels sprouts (though I kind of hate that they're brussels sprouts, not brussel sprouts.  It's like how the plural of cul-de-sac is culs-de-sac.  Its weird and unnatural and it bothers me and I've already gone on about this for way too long, so I'll stop).  Now I know they get a bad rap, but its only because people don't know how to do them right.  A few boiled sprouts ruined it for the rest of the really good, roasted, caramelized, delicious ones.  So put your previously conceived notions aside and try them again, the right way.

Caramelized Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
3 cups brussels sprouts, halved
½ cup fresh cranberries
drizzle of olive oil
1 tbs orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
2 tbs butter, soft
1 tbs honey

+ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
+ In a small bowl, toss sprouts and cranberries in salt and olive oil until well coated.  Transfer to a medium baking dish and sprinkle with zest.  
+ Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sprouts start to brown.  Pour orange juice over the sprouts, and stir well to de-glazing the pan.  Bake for another 20 minutes.
+ While the sprouts are cooking, mix butter and honey in a small dish.  As soon as the sprouts come out of the oven, drizzle with the honey butter (use as much or as little as you desire).  Serve warm as a side or, if you're like me, in a big bowl as a meal.