So, this is my first attempt at using the app to write these up. We’ll see how this goes!

It’s been a hell of a year so far. Besides the death of my dad and grandpa, I’ve also changed jobs, gotten a cat, and moved apartments. I also went to the doctor in the last few months, and was told that I need to up my green veg intake, and that brussels sprouts would be the best way to do that.

This was my first attempt at cooking them, and I have to say, these turned out really well. Definitely going to have to make it again. Need to find a cheaper place for halloumi though – the local Trader Joe’s is out, and Whole Foods is double the price for half the amount. (Chicago folks, any recs?)

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Halloumi

Lasts appx 3-4 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 T olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .25 c red wine vinegar
  • 8 oz halloumi, cubed

Heat a large pan over medium high, add the bacon, cook until it reaches your preferred level of doneness, remove the meat (but not the fat!) and set aside.

Add 2 T of the olive oil to the pan with the grease (and be careful of splattering fat during this process!!), and when the oil shimmers, add your halved sprouts, cut side down. Cook until charred around the edges (pic 3), and then cook another 8 to 10 mins until the sprouts are soft (pic 4). Then reduce the heat to medium and stir in the crushed red pepper and red wine vinegar (pic 5). Cook until the vinegar covers the sprouts (about 1-2 mins), then remove from the heat.

If your pan is still relatively clean like mine was, add the last T of olive oil, and when shimmering, add in the cubed halloumi and sear for about 3 mins a side, until golden on each side (pic 6).

Then, combine it all together and enjoy the resulting amazingness!!

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In terms of impulse decisions, this is one of my better ones. I had everything for this in my fridge except for potatoes when Deb first posted the recipe, and new potatoes showed up at the farmer’s market literally last weekend, so I decided to go for it. 

And man, this is amazing. The vinaigrette is lovely, bacon/potato/eggs is a well known good combo, and it turns out that adding blue cheese into the mix only improves things. In short, yaaaaaaaaas. Would probably be prettier in a non bento-sized container, but man, it still works. Do yourself a favor and do the thing.

Potatoes With Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette
Lasts 5 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs fingerling or other small potatoes (used new potatoes)
  • whatever amount of eggs you prefer (recipe recommends 4, I made a whole big batch the other night to use in combination with breakfast)
  • .5 lb thick cut bacon (get it from your farmer’s market if you can)
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • .5 t smooth Dijon mustard
  • crumbled blue cheese to taste

Take your potatoes, put them in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer your potatoes for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain them, and once they’re cool enough to handle, halve them. 

Meanwhile, chop up your bacon and cook it in a heavy skillet over medium heat, until it’s about ¾ths as done as you want it to be. When that happens, whisk in your red wine vinaigrette and dijon, and let simmer for ten seconds (see pic 3). As soon as that ten seconds passes, pour the bacon vinaigrette over the potatoes, add your blue cheese, and toss to coat. 

I recommend making the soft boiled eggs ahead. 

Bring a pot of water plus a good splash of white vinegar to a boil, add your eggs, boil for six minutes, and put into ice water.  Peel your eggs (if they’re cracked, it’s okay, that’ll make it easier) and store them. 

Right before serving, take a soft boiled egg, squeeze it gently so it opens in half and spills the yolk over your serving of potatoes and bacon, and then split the halves further to drizzle the last bit of yolk out, and toss the whites on the potatoes. And then, enjoy!

This is the first of many new recipes from one of my favorite new cookbooks, The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen. This is also the first recipe I’ve ever had to order cheese online for (no one around me sells caciocavallo). You may have to do that too, if you don’t have a good Italian store by you.  It’s similar to provolone, but made with a blend of cow and sheep’s milk, and has a sharp, salty taste to it.  Fried cheese on its own is wonderful, but the way this is made, it’s even better.

Fried Caciocavallo
Lasts five lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • .25 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lb Caciocavallo cheese, sliced about .75 in thick (see pic 1)
  • red wine vinegar
  • several sprigs fresh oregano
  • black pepper

Heat your olive oil over medium heat, and add the garlic cloves to the pan, frying until golden brown on each side (about one minute per side). Discard the garlic and keep it on the side. Turn the heat up to medium high, and add the cheese. Fry for about two to three minutes a side, until the edges start to gild. Once fried on both sides, splash red wine vinegar and sprinkle on the oregano sprigs and pepper.  Cook for one minute more, and remove from heat. Repeat until you’ve fried all your cheese.

This ham was one of the first recipes I ever made from Inn at the Crossroads, and man, even though the original recipe is vague as hell, it does not disappoint. It will take a bit of time to stud the ham, and the roasting will take a bit out of your day, but if you have this going at the same time as a crock pot recipe, it won’t seem like any time at all.  

Yes, the ham does come out black towards the end (but it’s only the skin, it’s not burnt, and the underside is only dark bc of it cooking in the juices), but trust me, it’s fantastic. (Random note: I have never covered my ham in foil when roasting, this will probably change the blackening of the skin.  And even then it doesn’t make it completely inedible.)

Ham with Cloves, Honey, and Dried Cherries
Lasts a really long time; I’m coming up on week 2 of eating this

Ingredients

  • 10 lb ham (mine was 12, bone-in)
  • cloves enough to stud your ham
  • .5 c apple cider
  • .5 c honey
  • .5 c red wine vinegar
  • 2 large handfuls of dried cherries

Mix your honey, red wine vinegar, and apple cider in a small pot over medium heat, stewing for ten minutes.  Preheat your oven to 325 (mine was at 300), or whatever your ham’s roasting instructions indicate.  While that stews, stud your ham with cloves, and place it in your roasting pan (I use a glass pan).  Pictures 2 and 3 are a good guide for how studded it should be.  After ten minutes, your ham should be studded, and your glaze will be ready; pour it over the ham.

My ham’s roasting instructions suggested fifteen to twenty minutes per pound at 325 to roast; as this was 12 pounds, I skewed towards four hours, though I probably could’ve gone for the three and a half and been fine. Either way, your ham will come with instructions; they will probably be similar to the previous instructions, but check them before you go with what I suggest. Baste your ham at least once or twice an hour with a brush, to keep everything moist.

Once the ham is done, remove it to either a serving platter or whatever you’ll be storing it in, and then add your cherries to the remaining juices. You’ll cook these juices down until the cherries plumpen and the sauce thickens a bit (which was about twenty five minutes at 300 for me).  Once the sauce is done, store it separately as a side.

And then feast like you’re in King’s Landing.  Just hopefully not at the Purple Wedding.