Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Wow! How time flies...I had several entries planned for Beast's Kitchen in the past week but somehow didn't get to any of them. In any case, this one is just in time for your holiday meal planning...
Even those who "hate" Brussels Sprouts will love these! And talk about easy...you really don't even have to know how to cook to make these :)
Start with 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, as local and organic as possible...rinse them and remove any loose outer leaves. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise, then toss in a bowl with 1-2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat and pour in 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Add Brussels Sprouts and cover. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is where your stove top temperature and the size of your pan will make a difference in the cooking time. You don't want the heat too high during this phase or the sprouts will brown too early. You also want a large enough pan that they are in one layer and not too crowded. When you can easily pierce with a fork, not mutilate, then remove the lid on the pan, raise the heat to med-medium-high and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes until the sprouts are caramelized, shaking the pan or stirring occasionally to ensure even caramelization on all sides. Once caramelized to your preference, remove from heat and sprinkle with 1/4 cup good quality parmesan or other sharp flavored hard cheese, such as gruyere. If you're not into cheese, instead add 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar during the last 5 minutes, allowing the vinegar to caramelize the sprouts. Both versions are exceptional, super easy, healthy and will convert any brussels sprout haters for life!
Enjoy--Lisa (and Beast, of course)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

As the snow flies the lettuce grows

Just as the snow has started falling my cold frame lettuce experiment is starting to look promising. I decided to try growing loose leaf lettuce in a cold frame this fall. I planted seeds at the beginning of October and have reseeded every two weeks. My goal is to have lettuce out of the cold frame through New Year's. If we get more, fantastic. If we get none, well, it really only cost the price of the seeds, so not too much lost, but it's looking promising right now, as you can see from the photos. We're about one week from our first baby greens-yum!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wood Fired Pizza, Good Friends and only 2 days Left Until the Elections

It was an unbelievably warm fall day...one that will probably go down in history...if tomorrow doesn't beat it, which it may---a record high is predicted. We gathered with good friends for wood fired pizza and enjoyed talk about everything from food to elections to getting old, but mostly we talked about food. I've baked a LOT of pizza, from scratch, both in my oven and on my grill, but I've never, until today, baked pizza in a wood fired oven. It's truly AMAZING...what takes 10 minutes in my oven and 5-7 minutes on my grill is done in just 2-3 minutes in a wood fired oven. And talk about crisp, bubbly perfection--yum! Thanks friends...let's not wait too long to do it again!
So now, after a long, drawn out Presidential campaign it's only 2 days from the elections, and I've got to admit that if I were one of the candidates I'd probably want to go to sleep until the inauguration in January, but I'd also be a bit let down after all these many months of pounding the pavement and stumping. That said, I'd NEVER run for public office---what are they--NUTS? They get paid very little, criticized constantly and have the toughest job imaginable--no thank you. That said, predictions are for record voter turn out and the longest voting lines in my lifetime. So, I think I'll bring some cold pizza and vote early tomorrow to avoid the election day crowds.
Until next time--enjoy the fall weather, soon it will be time for over the river and through the woods...