Put in charge of the vegetable side dish this Christmas and really wanting to offer up something besides corn casserole or green beans? I feel you.Read More
The scent of pine and cinnamon floats about the room, I am reading A Christmas Carol by tree-light, presents are wrapped, and the old familiar feeling of Christmas hangs in the air.
It’s nearly Christmas and as I do every year, I find myself wondering what has happened to the many foregone hours, days, and weeks of December.
The family will soon be arriving, and the living room covered in shiny paper and curly ribbons, but there are still a few opportunities to work some kitchen magic.
Pears are to December what apples are to October, and it is time to take advantage of their sweet, juicy flesh. I love eating pears on their own, but there is something special about the combination of their understated sweetness paired with rich, savory flavors.
This salad begins in the best way imaginable - with bacon. Several rashers of thick, applewood bacon are cooked until crisp and then set aside, leaving a frying pan full of flavorful fat. This is how brussel sprouts are meant to be cooked.
The bacon fat will help our sprouts get brown and crispy. What do you mean this is not really a salad? It’s green and it has a dressing - it’s a salad. Stop complaining, you know you love it.
Once the sprouts are cooked through, the sweet, tangy, balsamic and honey dressing is added along with the sliced pears, bacon, and walnuts.
Just before serving, a heavy dose of grated parmesan is sprinkled.
Kale and beets can wait for January. This is the only salad I am interested in at the moment.
Take a few moments to read, write, or take a cozy, winter nap before the guests start arriving, and the cousins start quarreling. Merry Christmas.
Pear, Bacon, and Brussel Sprouts Salad
- 3 rashers applewood-smoked bacon, diced
- 8 ounces brussel sprouts
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 medium pears, cored and sliced thickly
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/4 cup parmesan
Place bacon in a large frying pan and fry over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the bacon is crisp. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to collect the bacon. Place on a paper towel and set aside.
Prepare the brussel sprouts by slicing the ends off each sprout with a paring knife. Peel away the outer leaves, and halve each sprout.
Place the brussel sprouts in the frying pan, along with the bacon grease and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook, over medium heat until the sprouts are deep brown and crisp on the edges and the centers are tender when pierced with a butter knife.
While the sprouts are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, honey balsamic vinegar, salt, and mustard. Whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the cooked brussel sprouts and add pears. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Toss in cooked bacon, walnuts, and parmesan. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
This past Thursday marked one week - seven short days, until the most food-centered holiday. I probably do not need to mention that Thanksgiving happens to be my favorite holiday, but it can also be one of the most precarious to prepare for.
If you are not the one doing the traveling, then you are most likely doing the hosting, which means that in between making eight dozen dinner rolls (why did you ever agree to that?), and baking multiple pies you also have to be ready to greet your beautiful relatives on the morning of Turkey day. Guess what? They’re hungry. They need breakfast, and a hearty one at that because, as past years have proved, your midday feast won’t actually be happening until 5pm.
This is not the time to dirty a bunch of dishes. You are going to do that in a couple hours, anyways. This is where you pull the quiche that you made the night before out of the fridge and into the oven. Quiche, coffee, you are set to impress.
The best thing about quiches is their ability to taste just as good reheated as they do fresh from the oven. The crust is simple and can be made up to two weeks in advance, then frozen until you are ready to use it.
Brussels sprouts are what sets this quiche apart. I used the cheese-grating attachment on my food processor to grate my sprouts. If you don’t have a food processor you can always use a hand grater.
Let’s get prepared so that the morning of Turkey Day we can sit down and have that extra cup of coffee.
Mushroom Bacon & Brussels Sprout Quiche
for the filling
- 4 strips (“rashers”) smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 large eggs
- 2/3 cup half and half
- olive oil
for the crust
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup ice water
for the crust
In the work bowl of your food processor combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut cold butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture - pulse until the texture of rough cornmeal. Add heavy cream and ice water until the dough just comes together.*
Turn out unto a floured surface and roll out into an 11-inch circle. Lay the crust into a pie pan and crimp the edges. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
*At this point you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
for the filling
In a medium skillet fry chopped bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon, leaving the grease in the pan. Cook the onions in hot bacon grease until translucent and add brussels sprouts. Cook the sprouts for 3-5 minutes or until they just begin to brown. Remove onions and sprouts from pan and reserve. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet and cook mushrooms until wilted.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, half and half, salt and pepper.
Place cooked mushrooms, brussels sprouts and onions into prepared pie crust. Pour egg mixture over vegetables.
Bake quiche for 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until fully set. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.* Enjoy!
*To reheat, place in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.