REMAKE: California Pizza Kitchen’s Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Salad

23 Jun

I was on an adventure to the mall the other day.  I say adventure because I literally never go to the mall.  I actually am not one for shopping.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the final outcome of shopping, but not the actual process.   I made a stop at California Pizza Kitchen because of all the food options available at the mall,  it seemed like the best one.  My being directly outside the entrance  also weighed heavily in my decision to dine there.  I ordered the half portion of the Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Salad.  It was exactly what I felt like eating and it was good; for a salad from a major chain.  I have a problem dining out at most establishments like this because I know I can make anything on the menu and make it better, for even less money.  This is where the inspiration came to duplicate this salad in my own home for a dinner date with my mom.  With the summer heat being obnoxiously present, nothing is better than a light and satisfying meal.

 

 

 

 

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what you’ll need for the salad:

2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, diced
1 avocado
2 beets, diced
1 carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 dates, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons almonds, chopped or slivered
Salt

Here is what you’ll need for the chicken:

4 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon chili powder

 

Here’s what you’ll need for the dressing:

1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

 

 

Preheat oven to 425º.

Place the peeled and diced sweet potatoes in a large pan with olive oil and salt.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until softened.  I like to remove the sweet potato before it gets too soft, that way it still has a slight bite to it and holds up well in the salad.  Boil the bite-sized beets until they are cooked through.  Chop the remaining ingredients, making everything small enough to get all the flavors into one bite.  Place all the ingredients for the salad portion into a bowl.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and liberally rub the Moroccan spice mix onto the chicken.  Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  I used thinly-sliced chicken breasts so it only took about 3-4 minutes on each side until they were cooked through.  Remove the chicken onto a clean plate and allow it to rest while preparing the dressing.

In a bowl or food processor, combine the grated garlic, honey and vinegar and either whisk it together, or pulse with the food processor.  Slowly stream in the olive oil to allow the dressing to emulsify and come together.  Dress the salad and season with salt.  Chop the chicken breast and serve over the salad.

 

Why I like my version better:

For one, the chicken is a better quality and tastes fresh, not as though it was cooked ahead of time and refrigerated for hours.  My dressing is slightly sweet to compliment the flavors of the salad but does not come with an artificial aftertaste; the one that comes only when you know a dressing is loaded with sugar.  It cost me a fraction to recreate this recipe for two people.   For someone who is pressed for time, it is so easy to do and it tasted way better than the big-name restaurant version.  Most importantly, it was made with love and love tastes good.

 

 

 

 

DSC01849

 

 

 

 

♥   Xristina Marie

Xristina Miros ©2014

REMAKE: Panera Bread Egg Souffle

12 May

 

Egg Souffle

 

 

I went to lunch the other day at Panera Bread with a couple of my girl friends.  When one of my friends ordered a mini egg soufflé, it was so adorable and intriguing, I had to go home and make one.  Now, I never actually tasted the soufflé, I only looked at it long enough to get a basic idea of how to go about making one myself.  I love recreating recipes from major establishments and making them even more delicious and more importantly, healthier.  This was the perfect dish to add to my Mother’s Day brunch menu.

 

Here is what you will need:

5 eggs
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 yellow onion, caramelized then chopped
4 artichoke hearts, chopped
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and strained
1 ounce feta cheese
Salt
Pepper
1 tablespoon water
1 box of puff pastry, thawed

 

 

I caramelized the onions the night before to save some time.  The recipe is as follows:

1 large yellow onion, sliced in discs
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and season with salt.  Once the onions are soft, about 5 minutes, add the sugar.  Cook the onions for about 30 minutes, constantly scraping the brown bits from the pan.

 

Preheat the oven to 375º.

Chop the caramelized onions, artichokes and spinach and add them to a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 of the eggs and the heavy cream.  Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper.  Add the eggs to the vegetables.  Add the feta cheese crumbles and beat everything together with a fork.  Roll out the puff pastry large enough to fit an 8 inch tart pan with enough for the edges to hang over.  I used a tart pan with a removable bottom to make it easier to transfer the soufflé onto a plate.  Place the puff pastry into the tart pan keeping the edges hanging over the sides.  Pour in the egg mixture and fold the edges over top of the egg.  Brush the puff pastry with an egg wash made with the remaining egg; one egg beaten with about one tablespoon of water.  Bake the soufflé on top of a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.  Serve the soufflé while it is hot.

* If you would like to create mini soufflés, follow the recipe exactly as is.  The only difference would be that the puff pastry would be cut to fit the mini tart pans.

 

Along with the soufflé, I threw together the perfect breakfast drink.  I put equal amounts of mango and peach nectar into a pitcher with some club soda.  It is so simple but so delicious and refreshing.  You could always replace the club soda with champagne for a more exciting version of a mimosa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Souffle

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day ♥

 

 

 

Xristina Miros ©2014

How to make Falafel

28 Apr

 

Falafel

 

 

 

Falafel was always intimidating to me.  Not for any specific reason except that I never had much experience with it.  I am the type of cook who can make basically anything once I have eaten it.  It helps me figure out the flavors used, the cooking methods and techniques and also the textures needed to replicate the dish.  Making falafel was no different.  After acquiring some basic falafel knowledge, I decided to try it out one night and was surprised at how shockingly simple it is to make; not to mention, how perfect they turned out.

 

 

First thing is first.  You MUST use dried chick peas.  
I don’t care how many recipes tell you it is acceptable to use canned 
chick peas in a pinch.  The canned chick peas will never give 
you the right texture or consistency.
I am all for the canned beans in a variation of recipes 
but this is not one of them.  

Now that we got that all straightened out, here is what you will need:

8 ounces dried chick peas; half of a 1 pound bag ( 8 ounces will make about 12 falafel)

1 small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt

The only thing you really need to do for this recipe is soak the chick peas ahead of time.  Soaking the chick peas overnight helps them plump up and slightly soften to achieve the perfect texture for falafel.  Besides soaking the chick peas, the rest of the recipe is literally just throwing the ingredients in a food processor.  Slowly pulse the food processor until the falafel starts to come together but not enough to turn the mixture into hummus.  You want it to be a sandy consistency that will hold together.

 

Falafel

This is what the falafel mix should look like. Notice there are still some slightly chunky pieces of chick pea. That is what gives the falafel such a great texture.

 

 

 

The only thing left to do is form small balls from the falafel mix and fry them in vegetable oil.  Any oil that has a high smoke point and neutral flavor will work.  It does not take much time to fry.  You just want them to cook enough to get a nice brown crust on all sides.  Drain them out onto a paper towel and season with salt.

 

 

 

Falafel

 

Falafel

 

 

I served the falafel with a warm pita and tahini sauce.  The tahini sauce is so simple to make…

1/2 cup tahini paste
The juice of 2 lemons
Salt to taste

Blend the ingredients in a food processor or whisk together by hand.

 

Falafel

 

Falafel with pita, tahini sauce and a tomato and cucumber salad.

Falafel with pita, tahini sauce and a tomato and cucumber salad.

 

 

 

Happy Cooking,

The Refined Palate

 

 

Xristina Miros ©2014

Dairy-free Chicken Pot Pie

24 Mar

 

 

Chicken Pot Pie

 

 

I have been doing the dairy-free thing lately due to my daughter’s needs; no milk, no butter, no cheese.  There have been plenty of times when I want to eat certain things but I have to come up with simple alternatives to cut out or replace the dairy factor.  I have eaten chicken pot pie maybe 3 times in my entire life but for some unexplainable reason, I really felt the urge to make me some chicken pot pie.  I figured I already had all of the ingredients on hand and this dish would be a great way to use them.  This is the recipe I came up with.

 

Chicken pot pie:

4 chicken breasts, on the bone
3 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup peas
1 potato, cut in small cubes
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups almond milk
1 egg, for egg wash
Salt
Pepper

 

 

Pot pie crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup coconut oil
8 tablespoons cold water

♦  Add flour and salt to a bowl.
♦  Mix in the coconut oil.  I used a potato masher but a fork would work well also.
♦  Add in the water and mix everything together until it forms a ball.  Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

 

1. Preheat oven to 400º.
2. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
3. Allow the chicken to cool. Remove the chicken from the bone, remove the skin and cut the chicken into bite-size chunks.
4. In a large pot heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Season the vegetables with salt. Once the vegetables are soft, whisk in the flour and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes just until the flour starts to slightly brown. This will cook off that raw flour flavor.
5. Whisk the almond milk into the pot. Bring the heat up to a light boil and then reduce to a simmer. The roux you created with the olive oil and flour will allow the filling to thicken.
6. Add the thyme, potatoes, chicken and lastly, add the peas.

 

Chicken Pot Pie
7. Turn off the heat and transfer the pot pie filling into a large casserole dish.
8. To roll out the pie crust, flour your surface and start to roll from the center outward. Roll until the crust is about 1/4 inch thick.
9. To easily transfer your crust, roll it around the rolling-pin and carefully unroll it out on top of the casserole dish.

 

Chicken Pot Pie
10. Use the egg wash as a glue to help the crust stick to the sides of the dish. Brush the top of the crust with the egg and make small slits on top of the crust to allow any air to escape while cooking.
11. Cook the pot pie for 60 minutes, covering it with foil for the first 30 minutes to make sure the crust does not burn. Allow it to cook uncovered for the remaining 30 minutes to brown the crust.

 

 

 

Chicken Pot Pie

 

 

 

With love always, 

The Refined Palate

 

Shake It Up

17 Mar

 

 

Milkshake

 

 

Making “milkshakes” has been my new favorite thing to do.  These shakes take about 3 minutes to make so when you are pressed for time they are perfect.  The ingredients are entirely interchangeable, just pick what you like and blend.  This particular shake has peanut butter and cocoa powder in it.  I make this when I feel like having a little something sweet and it really is a great alternative to other sugar-filled options.

 

What you’ll need:

Blender
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon natural raw honey

Place all the ingredients in the blender and puree until completely smooth.

 

Other delicious combinations include:

Bananas & peanut butter
Bananas & cocoa powder
Strawberries & cocoa powder

 

*  If you are using ripe bananas, omit the honey.  The ripe bananas are naturally sweet enough on their own.

*   You can also make one with 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of honey as a great alternative to chocolate milk.  This is a great after-school pick-me-up for kids.

*  Any fresh fruit can be used to make a smoothie.  Just take out the cocoa powder and peanut butter from the ingredient list and replace with the fruit of your choice.  Papaya is one of my favorites.

 

Milkshake

 

 

 

 

Love Always, 

The Refined Palate

Xristina Miros ©2014

Coconut Crusted Chicken

3 Mar

Coconut Crusted Chicken with a Pineapple & Thyme Reduction
served with
Jalapeño & Cilantro Couscous

Coconut Chicken

I had two of my best girlfriends over for dinner the other night and I wanted to make them something special.  On my trip to the grocery store, I didn’t really have any particular ideas in mind.  It was one of those trips to the store where I find myself browsing the aisles looking for inspiration.  I was in the health food aisle when I came across a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes and I just knew that was the starting point of a great recipe.  This is what I came up with for a night in with the girls.

Coconut crusted chicken:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Egg wash, 1 egg beaten with a splash of water
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

DSC01538

Coconut Crusted Chicken

♥  Preheat oven to 400°.
♥  Get two plates, one for the flour and one for the coconut flakes.  Season both with salt.
♥  Make the egg wash in a bowl.  Season with salt.
♥  Season the chicken on both sides with salt.
♥  Place the chicken into the flour first and then transfer it to the egg wash making sure to coat the whole surface.  Place the chicken into the coconut flakes directly from the egg wash.  Transfer the coated chicken to a clean plate or cutting board and repeat the process until all the chicken has been coated.
***  The previous step can be done ahead of time.  Place the crusted chicken in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.

♥  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan.  Brown the chicken on both sides to form a nice crust.  The temperature should not be too high because the coconut will burn.
♥  Place the browned chicken in the oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes.

Pineapple-thyme reduction:

12 ounces pineapple juice, 2 small cans
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt

♥  Add pineapple juice to a hot sauté pan.
♥  Add the minced garlic and thyme and allow it to reduce.
♥  Season with salt and serve.

***  I added the thyme because it adds a nice earthy flavor to balance out the sweetness of the pineapple juice.  Thyme also has natural citrus notes which go nicely with this recipe.

Jalapeño & cilantro couscous:

Couscous, follow the cooking instructions
Coconut milk, use in place of water in the couscous
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt
Pepper

♥  Cook the couscous according to the instructions, using the coconut milk instead of any broth or water.
♥  After cooking, add the raw jalapeño and cilantro.  Season the couscous with salt and pepper.
***  The jalapeño will not make the couscous spicy as long as all the seeds and white ribs have been removed.  My friend’s 3 year old son ate it.

The idea behind this recipe was to add a little bit of tropical sunshine to those of us stuck in the cold winter months.  It is something that is so easy to make, especially being that most of it can be done ahead of time and couscous literally takes 5 minutes to cook.  Try it with some butterflied jumbo shrimp and switch out the couscous for basmati rice for a simple change.  You can also add a fruit salsa if you want to freshen things up.  This recipe is simply a base.  Use your creativity to come up with something special.

The Refined Palate

Xristina Miros ©2014

“Day 2 Dish”

24 Feb

 

Chimichurri Lamb Chops

 

 

 

After my previous recipe, I had a healthy portion of chimichurri left over in the refrigerator.  I always try to  use leftovers in a new way so I decided to use the chimichurri as a marinade this time around.  I happened to have some lamb rib chops in the freezer ready to defrost, but you could literally use anything.   The chimichurri already has the makings for a great marinade which means I didn’t have to do anything and I still got a delicious meal from it; the ideal situation.  I chose to make zucchini and string beans as an accompaniment to the lamb but again, you could use anything you have in the house.  The idea of this meal is to keep it simple with things that are already on hand.

 

What you’ll need:

Leftover chimichurri sauce
Lamb rib chops, or anything you fancy
Your choice of side

My sides:

2 large zucchinis
1/2 pound string beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt
Pepper

Lamb Rib Chops

Lamb Rib Chops

 

Place the lamb in a pan and add the chimichurri

Place the lamb in a pan and add the chimichurri

 

♦  Preheat oven to 400°.

♦  After allowing the meat to marinade for at least 30 minutes, pat them dry of the chimichurri and season with salt.  Drying the lamb from the marinade will help the lamb get a nice brown crust which wouldn’t be possible with too much moisture.

♦  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan.  Add the lamb chops and sear them on both sides.

♦  Once the lamb is nicely browned, place them in the oven to cook them through.  About 5 additional minutes for medium temperature.

♦  Blanche the string beans; boil them in salted water for about 4 minutes and transfer them directly into ice water to stop the cooking process.  This will leave you with bright green string beans that still have a slight crunch.  Toss the string beans with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the thinly sliced raw onion.  Done.

♦  Sauté the zucchini in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and allow it to slightly brown before adding the garlic.  Once the garlic is added, turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.  Also done.

 

Chimichurri Chops

 

 

Chimichurri Lamb Chops

 

 

Love Always 

The Refined Palate

 

Xristina Miros ©2014

Not your average rice & beans

20 Feb

Rice and Beans

I love rice and beans.  Rice and beans are one of my favorite go-to dishes because they are so simple to make.  Making rice and beans is a great way to feed an entire family and it is the perfect example of how to stretch a dollar.  I especially love dealing with rice and beans when I don’t feel like doing much in terms of cooking.  Having a newborn at home, I am always looking for ways to save time.  These are both things that don’t need a lot of prep work and once they are on the stove working, you can let them do their thing until they are cooked.  There really isn’t much to it but as always, I like to put my own spin on things.

Lentils with Yellow Rice

For the lentils:

16 ounce bag of lentils
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cups water
Salt
Black pepper

1.   Sort out the lentils to make sure there are no pebbles or rocks.
2.  Place the lentils and bay leaf in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
3.  In a separate sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, red pepper
and garlic.  Once the vegetables are soft, add the tomato paste and cook for
an additional 2 minutes.  Transfer the vegetables into the same pot as the
lentils.
4.  Add the oregano and allow everything to cook together on medium-low heat until the lentils are
cooked through and some of the liquid has evaporated.
5.  Season with salt and pepper and add the white wine vinegar.

* * * Whenever working with beans of any kind, wait until the end to season with salt.  Adding the salt in the beginning will disrupt the cooking process and not allow the beans to fully soften.

*  Use any leftover beans the next day by adding them to scrambled eggs and potatoes.  It’s a true breakfast of champions.

For the rice:

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 small yellow onion, diced (you can use some of the onion you already chopped for the lentils; cut it once, use it twice)
1 teaspoon annatto seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

1.  Heat the olive oil over low heat.  Add the annatto seeds and allow them to just
come to a bubble.  This will flavor and color the oil used to make yellow rice.
Be careful not to overheat the olive oil.  This will cause the seeds to burn and
the oil to turn green.
2.  Sauté the onions in the annatto oil until slightly softened.
3.  Add the brown rice to the onions and oil and let the rice toast for about 1
minute before adding the water.
4.  Add the water and allow it to come to a boil and season with salt.  Reduce the
heat to low and cover the pot until the rice is fully cooked.

I served my rice and lentils with a seared skirt steak and chimichurri.  You can find the recipe for both of these in one of my past posts Meat Eaters Anonymous.

Rice and Lentils

x o x  The Refined Palate

Xristina Miros ©2014

Roasted Chicken Roulade

14 Feb

rou·lade

ro͞oˈläd/
noun 
1.  a dish cooked or served in the form of a roll, typically made from a flat piece of meat, fish, or sponge cake, spread with a soft filling and rolled up into a spiral.
2.  the word roulade originates from the French word “rouler” meaning “to roll”.

Chicken Roulade

So it all started on another one of my missions to use my mother’s fleet of farmers market vegetables.  The beets were up.  They were next in line and I figured I could do something fairly quickly with them.  Beets are another one of those things I probably should have kicked and screamed about when I was a child but I was always delighted to have them at the table.  Beets are fairly sweet and nothing goes better with sweet than salty.  As a Greek, nothing is more perfect for that salty aspect than feta cheese.  In my opinion, beets and feta cheese go naturally together.  I wanted to use the entire beet including the greens so I thought I could do a play on a spinach pie filling with the beet greens acting as the spinach, duh!

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts; butterflied and pounded thin
6 beets; peeled and detached from greens
1 small red onion; diced and sautéed
8 ounces of feta
2 tablespoons milk
Salt
Pepper

Prune & Balsamic Glaze (optional):

1/4 cup dried prunes; chopped
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of water from boiling the beets

Why eat beets?

Besides the fact that they are perfectly sweet and delicious, they are extremely nutritious.  If you are not usually one for the beets, maybe these interesting facts can sway your opinion.

♦  Beets cleanse the body.  They purify the blood and can prevent various forms of cancer.

♦  Beets help your mental health.  Beets contain betaine which is used to treat depression.  Beets also lower your blood pressure.

♦  Beets were around long before viagra.  The Romans were one of the first to use beets medicinally as an aphrodisiac.

♦  Beets are loaded with many vitamins and minerals.  Fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, B & C, folic acid and beta-carotene are just a few.  Beets are especially beneficial to pregnant woman as the vitamin B and iron are supporters of new growth cells and as we all know folic acid is extremely beneficial during pregnancy.

Preheat oven to 350°.

1.  Boil a large pot of water

2.  Clean your beets by peeling the skins and separating the green tops from the bulb.

3.   Salt the boiling water and quickly blanche the beet greens.  After 2-3 minutes, place the beet greens in a bowl of ice water to shock them and stop the cooking process.  In the same water, add the beets and boil until fork tender.  Save the beet water for the balsamic reduction.  (I usually like to roast my beets but I was pressed for time and this was much faster.  If you would like to roast your beets, keep the skins on and add them to a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 400° for about 25 minutes or until soft.  Peel the beets after they have cooled.)

4.  You can either slice the beets into discs or cut them into cubes, whichever you prefer, and dress them with extra virgin olive oil.

5.   Transfer your beet greens to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

6.  Add the feta cheese to a bowl and mix with the milk to form a smooth consistency.

7.  Add the sautéed red onion and beet greens to the feta cheese mixture.

8.  Season the filling with salt and pepper.

9.  Butterfly your chicken breast and pound it flat until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Season the breast on both sides with salt.

10.  Place a generous portion on the one end of the chicken and gently roll it closed.  Fasten the closing with two toothpicks to keep everything neatly closed.

11.  In a hot sauté pan, heat olive oil and brown the rolled chicken breasts on all sides.  You want to get nice coloring on the outside of your chicken to build the flavors even more.

12.  Once the chicken is browned on all sides, transfer to the preheated oven to finish the cooking process.  About 15 additional minutes.

13.  Remove the chicken from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before removing the toothpicks and slicing it.

Roasted Chicken Roulade

For the sauce:

1.  Add the balsamic vinegar to a smoking hot pan.

2.  Allow it to boil then bring the heat down to a simmer and allow the vinegar to reduce by half.

3.  Add the dried prunes and leftover water from boiling the beets.  This water has a lot of flavor and is a great way to tie the beets into the sauce.

4.  Season the reduction with salt and spoon over top of the sliced chicken.

* The reduction should be a thick almost syrupy consistency.

Serve the chicken on top of the dressed beets and enjoy!

DSC01486

The Refined Palate ♥
Xristina Miros ©2014

Balsamic Glazed Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

13 Jan

Brussel Sprouts

My mom always buys a bunch of vegetables from the local farmers market and I am forced to figure out what to do with them all because whether I like it or not, I have been named my family’s personal chef.  Pretty great gig huh?  Well, considering I work for free, it’s a good thing I love doing it.  My mom used to make brussel sprouts all the time when I was a kid.  It’s another one of those weird things that children are supposed to loathe…not this child.  I loved brussel sprouts then and I love them now.  Brussel sprouts are great because they are so versatile.  Just put a little imagination into it and you can come up with something really special.

Ingredients:

1 pound brussel sprouts
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

Clean the brussel sprouts by removing any of the yellow outer leaves and cutting off the stems.  Slice each brussel sprout in half.  Cutting the brussel sprouts in half gives them more surface area to help them brown.  Remember, brown food is good food.  On the stove top, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan.  Add the brussel sprouts to the hot oil.   Just let the brussel sprouts sit and let the pan do the work.   They will form a nice crisp.  Once the brussel sprouts have a nice color to them, add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn off the heat immediately and transfer the pan to the oven to finish the cooking process.  Allow the brussel sprouts to cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve.  These are just so good and so simple to make.  They almost have a candied feeling to them from the caramelization of both the brussel sprouts and onions.  The slight crispy bite paired with the acidic sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and red onions are a perfect match in food heaven.

 

Xristina Miros 2014©

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