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!!

These are a lovely, quick, simple treat, especially with asparagus available cheap and in large amounts at the farmer’s market, and prosciutto available over at Trader Joe’s. It just requires the oven going up to 450, which, with how hot it got yesterday, wasn’t an option until later in the evening. However, the end result was absolutely worth it. 

Kevin also recommends dipping these in a soft boiled egg, which I can absolutely see improving this even more. I’ll give it a try later. 

Crispy Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 oz prosciutto, torn into strips

Preheat your oven to 450. While your oven heats, tear your prosciutto into thin strips (about three or so strips from a piece), and wrap each of these strips around an asparagus spear (see pic one). Wrap until you run out of asparagus or prosciutto, whichever comes first. Bake for about ten minutes, until the prosciutto is nice and crispy (see pic two), and then enjoy the savory greatness. 

Little bebe potatoes are just starting to come in at the farmer’s market, and with my abundance of lemon juice and severe lemon kick lately, this seemed like a great recipe to try out. It’s quick, simple, and results in some utterly fantastic, tender potatoes. 

Lemon Butter New Potatoes
Lasts appx 3 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • Appx 1 lb new potatoes (this was probably closer to a pound and a half, look at your local farmer’s market for these)
  • 1/3 c butter
  • 3 T lemon juice (fresh squeezed if you can get it)
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • dash pepper
  • pinch nutmeg

Wash your potatoes, and peel a strip around the center of them. Put them in a pot, pour enough water over them that they are covered, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for fifteen minutes.

About five minutes before your potatoes are done, in a separate small pot, melt your butter, and then mix in the lemon zest, salt, lemon juice, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove the butter sauce from heat. 

Drain your potatoes, put them in whatever you will be storing/serving them in, and then pour the butter sauce over them and toss to fully coat. And then, enjoy the tender lemony-buttery amazingness.

This. Is. Amazing. Brie on it’s own is always fantastic baked. Kahlua and brown sugar is a fantastic combination. Put these two together, and I’m pretty sure I transcended the mortal plane. You want to get someone in bed? This is your dish to make.

Kahlua Brown Sugar Baked Brie
Lasts 4 lunches as a dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 wheel brie (recipe suggested 19 oz, pretty sure this was closer to 8, I used President Brie, use whatever you can find close to home that you like)
  • 1 c Kahlua
  • 1 c dark brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350. Slice the rind off the top of the brie wheel almost completely, but leave it just barely attached (see pic 1 for best approximation) of this. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melty. Remove from the oven, and pull off the rind. 

While your cheese is baking, mix together your Kahlua and brown sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for ten to fifteen minutes (ideally timed to the cheese being in the oven), until you’ve got a nice, thick syrup.

Pour the Kahlua syrup over the melted brie, and then enjoy the mouthgasm. 

So, these right here? These are pretty damn amazing. The base recipe is a bit simple and plain, so I did end up adding some variations to this one. Balti seasoning, which is quickly becoming my favorite seasoning, was added into the meat, the meat itself was a blend of three separate ground meats, and I put a bit of dukkah on top. This recipe comes from Food through the Pages, an offshoot of the Inn at the Crossroads that sadly appears to be mostly abandoned (it hasn’t updated since April of this year). The food it’s inspired by is the meatrolls in Dragonriders of Pern, so there’s that fun little element, too.

Pernese Meatrolls
makes 16 rolls

  • 1 box pastry sheet, thawed (two sheets)
  • minimum 1 lb pork sausage (I used a combination of 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb pork sausage, and a bit over .5 lb of ground lamb)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • optional: balti seasoning for the meat, dukkah to top

Preheat your oven to 400. If using a mix of meats, combine your meat into one ball of meat, and mix in any seasoning you may be using (I used a good few shakes of the balti seasoning, and the aforementioned combination of meats). 

Unfold your thawed pastry sheet, and cut it in half vertically, followed by four to five cuts horizontally on each half, so that you have four to five strips. Take a chunk of the meat, and wrap the pastry sheet around it, so that you have a nice roll.  Use the beaten egg to seal it, and then brush more beaten egg over the top, and lay them on a lined baking sheet. If using a topping, like seeds or dukkah, sprinkle it over the beaten egg.

Bake for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until the tops are golden brown (see final picture) and they’ve puffed up a fair bit. They will be a bit greasy, so let them cool ten minutes before taking them off the baking sheet.  Some of the bottom may stick to the sheet on some of them; don’t worry about it, more than not will come off clean. 

And then, nom. And get ready to make your next batch, cause they won’t be nearly enough.

So, my friend paintboxsoapworks has been talking about this apple butter a lot recently this fall, and I finally got her to write the recipe down. Because, seriously, apple butter plus bourbon and a vanilla bean? World of yes, there. Right about the time she posted it over on her blog Butter and Eggs, one of the jam stalls at the farmer’s market offered a 6 or so pound bag of Cortland apples for $6, so the stars aligned pretty perfectly on the timing for this. And what I got out of this recipe is gonna last me a while – that’s one quart jar and two 10 oz jars on that final picture. 

The only alteration I will note on this recipe is that I did this entirely in my crockpot, as opposed to in the stove, and started the crockpot about halfway through peeling all the apples (which took about an hour total). 

Vanilla Bourbon Apple Butter
Makes at least 1 qt jar plus 2 10 oz jars apple butter

Ingredients

  • appx 5 lbs medium to large apples, peeled and chopped (I got a six pound bag of Cortlands)
  • .5 c water
  • .5 to 1 c dark brown sugar (I used 1 c, adjust based on your tastes)
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • ground nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • pinch salt
  • .25 to .5 c bourbon or whiskey (I used half a cup of Bulleit)

Combine all of your ingredients in a crockpot set to high, cover, and cook for approximately two and a half to three hours.  Stir fairly frequently; the apples are ready when you can take them and smush them against the side of the pot with a spoon. The difference between pictures 1 and 2 is after approximately two hours of cooking on high. 

Turn off the heat, remove your vanilla bean, and then take a stick blender (best gift I’ve ever gotten, seriously) and blend, until you get a silky sauce similar to picture 3. Give it a few extra passes, as there might be a chunk of apple or two that it misses. (If you don’t have one, a normal blender will probably work fine, but you’ll need to do it in batches, and it will be messier.)  

Turn your crockpot back on to low, and cook for another half hour. Do a quick taste test at this point, and determine if you’d like to add more lemon, sugar, or spices. Hayley reminds you that hot apple butter is going to taste sweeter/stronger than after you’ve chilled it, but that the spices will continue to bloom once it’s chilling in the fridge.

You’ll know the butter is done once you’ve got a thick sauce that stands up in peaks when you drop it back into the pot (see: picture 3 for the beginnings of that).  Do one last taste test, spoon into jars, and let cool before putting on the lids, and refrigerate/freeze as you so choose!  

I’ll be using this on this morning’s midmorning snack – apple cherry bread from the farmer’s market. 

Made this on a whim as I’ve been craving olives lately, and honestly, this recipe sounded pretty amazing to start with.  I added a few more spices, and upped both the Spanish and kalamata olive content as I wasn’t including black olives for this, and the way it turned out is utterly fantastic.

Roasted Olives
Lasts 4 to 5 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 10 oz pitted kalamata olives, drained
  • 10 oz garlic stuffed Spanish olives, drained
  • 7 large garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of thyme, marjoram, and oregano
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • .25 c olive oil
  • dash salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a small baking dish, and preheat your oven to 425 (mine was at 400).  Put your dish in, and roast at 400 for twenty minutes.  Let them cool, and then enjoy a nice snack!