Okay, this week has been everywhere. Last Sunday, we were preparing for a hurricane–filling the bathtubs and all our pots with water, stocking up on candles and matches, eating all the perishables, hoarding non perishables, moving the cars away from the trees. We were lucky–nothing but a few branches down on our lot, and all the trees that fell in our neighborhood missed the houses.
I took the day inside as a free pass on nutrition. If you were following me on twitter, you would have seen that we made nachos. Later, there was lasagna and whiskey. I even ate an entire bag of prepackaged (gasp) kettle corn. I don’t even like kettle corn. Oh, and a pound of seedless grapes.
There’s something eerie about storms. Captain obvious, I know. But when you go outside just before a storm like that arrives, everything feels different. First of all, it was insanely windy. The Roomz almost got hit by a rogue trashcan when we went out to buy random items we thought might come in handy during a storm (Flonase and doughnut holes, it turns out). You can hear the wind coming for blocks before it gets to your house. Everything is suspended. Deadlines don’t matter, emails aren’t going out, no one is calling in sick. It’s like, in the middle of all that impending doom, you feel like you’re on the only real holiday you’ve ever had.
That’s only before it starts, though.
Then there was Halloween (which is also my birthday!). I’ll just say that Halloween gets a lot scarier when a hurricane is coming.
We might not have taken any damage from the storm, but this week was what you call a culinary dead zone in my neck of the woods. After the nachos, things kind of went downhill. I attempted this farro risotto, and if you have a “Kitchen Nightmares” category, that’s where this would go. I only used the farro because I thought it was brown rice until I started pouring it in the pot (no, no, my eyesight is fine). Farro takes double the time to cook, so by the time it was ready, my vegetables were, as the Roomz said, “cooked to within an inch of their lives.” Tell me how you really feel.
To add insult to injury, when you take a bite of farro risotto (with mushroom broth, fresh made, and totally wasted on this stuff), it drops straight to the pits of your stomach. It’s not a pleasant feeling.
THEN I tried to turn the stuff into fritters, and the different starch content made it just totally fail. One of these days, I’ll show you risotto fritters. Until then, forget this ever happened. Don’t look at me!
The only thing this week that I did make and am proud to show you is ANOTHER Brussels sprout recipe and a weeknight kale pasta. Now, don’t get me wrong–kale knocks my socks off, and Brussels sprouts are my favorite cabbage-like veggie, but I’m only thinking of you. How many
vegetarian super vegetarian, super green menu items can I serve you without starting a revolt? I guess I’ll have to risk it.
Besides, these sprouts are awesome! I wouldn’t feel right not sharing them with you, especially as the holidays are coming, you’ll probably need to come up with some creative side dishes for family gatherings (see how I put this Brussels sprout obsession off on you?). I used a ginger beer reduction to make them sweet and spicy, and walnuts made the texture so nice. In case you’ve never had it, ginger beer is a super gingery soda you can get at your local grocery store. On it’s own, it’s not for the faint of heart, but it mellows out in the dish.
Also, I got to use this bean stalk of sprouts I got at Trader Joe’s. Honestly, I didn’t know this was how they grew. I guess I thought they sprouted up out of the ground individually, like cabbages, but now I know that is just silly.
The sprouts make a great side dish to basically anything. I’m imagining them alongside a turkey or a ham over the holidays! More on kale to come. Till then, don’t give up in the kitchen–your luck always turns around.
Ginger Beer Reduction Brussels Sprouts & Walnuts
Serves 2-4 as a side dish, and could easily be doubled or tripled for a partayyy
1 T olive oil
½ lb baby Brussels sprouts, washed & halved, with outside leaves removed
¾ cup Ginger Beer (Don’t use ginger ale–just don’t! It’s different.)
¼ cup walnut halves, toasted and roughly chopped
½ cup water
Salt & Fresh-cracked Black Pepper1. Heat the butter and oil on medium-high. When the butter sizzles, throw in the sprouts and sear until they have little blackened bits. Only stir once to coat with butter, then a second time, after they have seared.
2. Still on medium-high heat, pour in ginger beer and reduce to a syrup, about 5 minutes.
3. Pour in water and reduce again.
4. Meanwhile, toast walnuts in a skillet over high heat, tossing frequently, especially if you are using an electric stove. Pour out onto cutting board and chop roughly.
5. Add to sprouts and stir to coat. Season with salt & pepper. Enjoy!