Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

February 24th, 2012

Brussel sprouts, among other things, could be considered a universal barometer for developing an adult palette. Liking brussel sprouts, listening to NPR, doing crossword puzzles, reading better homes and gardens, constantly making nerdy puns… all of these things have crept up on me within the last year.  The little things seem to stand out more than any other milestones associated with adulthood (buying a house, getting a full-time job) because they aren’t always indicative of growing up. The newfound interest in light fixtures, interior design, enjoying waking up early, and actually knowing what a 401k is what can come with buying a place and getting a job that seem to carry more meaning than the milestone itself.

I really love all of these new aspects of growing up. It’s nice to feel like I’m moving forward. There are a few things that will never change:  I will never stop loving candy and cartoons. Ever. Farts are hilarious, Friendship bracelets are fun to make, and I will immediately zone out if you try to explain the stock market to me.  It’s still boring and I dont care.

Ingredients:

2 cups brussel sprouts
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup chopped cooked bacon or bacon bits
2-3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup shredded romano cheese
garlic salt

Directions:

1. Put brussel sprouts in a large pot filled with water and bring to a boil. cover and let them sit at medium-high heat for 20 minutes. After time has passed, take one out and cut it in half to test if it has softened.  When ready, drain brussel sprouts in the sink and let them cool. Once they are cool, cut the sprouts in halves or quarters, whatever you prefer.

2. Using a large pan (you’re going to add the brussel sprouts to this eventually so make sure it’s big enough!) melt 1 tbsp of butter at medium heat, then add onions. Let onions sautee for about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms. cook for another 5 minutes then add the remaining butter, brussel sprouts, and bacon.  Let cook for a few minutes while mixing so they are cooked evenly.

3. Bring down to low heat. Sprinkle cheese  and a few dashes of garlic salt and mix one more time. Serve!

Love Potion No. 9

February 14th, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day, boozebags!  Rather than making a heart-shaped sugary nightmare, alcohol seemed to be a universal celebratory vessel for singles and couples alike.  The potion is a two-parter: 9a and 9b. I didn’t want to choose between the two and I promise you they are equally effective in inspiring amorous feelings and goodwill towards your valentine, friends, humankind, and the cocktail itself.

Potion #9a: Orange Salted Caramel Margarita

3 oz tequila
3 oz orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
2 oz caramel syrup or sauce (NOT topping! It needs to be runny for it to mix)
1 oz triple sec
1 oz lime juice
salt and sugar

1. Rim margarita glasses by dipping them in some caramel sauce then into a 50-50 combo of salt and granulated sugar.

2. Combine above ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled half-way with ice, shake for 30 seconds. Pour into prepared glasses, or serve on the rocks.

Above are hand-painted glasses from my grandma.  Aren’t they beautiful?

The rim station

Extreme close-up!  I made the rookie mistake of buying caramel topping instead of syrup the first time I made these. So when done right, the drink is a slightly darker caramel color. Original recipe here

Potion #9b: Cranberry Mojitos

8 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
20 mint leaves
2 tbsp lime juice
Ice
4 oz. white rum (I used Bacardi Superior)
4-6 oz. soda water

1. Put cranberries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then lower the heat a bit to medium-low and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, before your berries start bursting. Remove from heat.

2.  Let berry mixture cool for about 10-15 minutes (I put my saucepan in the fridge out of impatience). Strain berries over a small bowl for your simple syrup.

3.  Put about 10 leaves of mint and a tablespoon of lime juice in each glass. With the back of a wooden spoon or the handle of an ice cream scoop, mash the mint up.

4. Put ice in each glass and pour 2 oz of the cranberry syrup and 2 oz rum. Top off each glass with soda water and sprinkle some fresh cranberries in for garnish.

Original recipe here

Bonus!

Just for fun, here are some Valentine-y things from around the web:

A do-it-yourself heart elbow patch found here.  Undeniably sweet but I’m not nearly crafty enough to do it.  It’s more up my roommate’s alley…. Lizzie, you wanna field this one?

A cardiogram heartbeat necklace. Neat!  Found here

Dog valentine

sticky coconut chicken

February 8th, 2012

Greetings from the International grocery aisle!

Ingredients

Chicken:
2-3 chicken breasts cut into strips
(for a more savory version: opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Glaze:
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Rice:
2 cups of uncooked white rice
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp coconut milk

Directions

1. For the coconut milk mix in the cellulose (the white stuff at the top of the can) before adding it to the marinade.  The cellulose is a thickening agent and it will help create a more uniform consistency your marinade. Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes for 3-4 hours.

*Remember to save the leftover coconut milk for the rice!!

2. Grill on barbecue OR stovetop in a large pan or skillet on medium heat until cooked all the way through

3. Follow box instructions for rice. Once it is ready, mix in butter and coconut milk. Cover and set aside.

4. While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.  But once it starts getting thick, immediately take it off the heat! It turns to molasses very quickly so be mindful after 5 minutes. Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice. Original recipe here

This is my island in the sun.  Heat wave!!