Momofuku Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi Puree and Bacon

Here’s another super backlogged recipe from a dinner I made celebrating college graduation for one of my cousins last year.  I’ve enjoyed a few of David Chang’s recipes, and have had only one restaurant experience at his Noodle Bar in Toronto…where I got a wicked case of food poisoning.  Still, I love Korean food …and brussels …and bacon, so this recipe sounded promising.

Momofuku Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi Puree and Bacon
Momofuku Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi Puree and Bacon

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and outer leaves removed and discarded
  • 1/4 lb smoky bacon, cut into 1-to-1 1/2-inch-long pieces
  • 2 Tunsalted butter
  • 1 C Napa cabbage kimchi, pureed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup julienned carrots (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F. Split the brussels sprouts in half through the core and set aside.

  2. Place bacon in a wide, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.  NOTE: If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, just pan fry and then transfer everything to a baking pan when it’s time to put everything in the oven.

  3. Drain most of the fat from skillet and add brussels sprouts, cut side-down. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until sprouts begin to sizzle. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until sprouts are deep brown in color, about 8 minutes. Shake skillet to redistribute sprouts, and continue roasting until bright green and tender, 10 to 15 minutes more.

  4. Return skillet to stovetop and turn heat to medium. Stir in butter and bacon; season with salt and pepper. Toss sprouts to coat.

  5. Divide kimchi among 4 shallow bowls, using the back of a spoon to spread out kimchi so it covers the bottom of each bowl. Divide brussels sprouts evenly among bowls, arranging on top of kimchi. Garnish with carrots and serve.

I wasn’t sure how adventurous my cousin would be with the kimchi, so I put the puree on the side.  These were DELICIOUS with and without the kimchi puree.  If kimchi isn’t your thing, I’d still recommend this recipe without it.  The brussels had a really great texture to them.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Radicchio Salad

So much for keeping up monthly posts!

Here is a healthy recipe post to break up the streak of heavy meal posts.  I saw a recipe for a shaved brussels sprouts salad in an issue of Womens Health a few months ago, and it reminded me of the La Grande Orange Cafe version that I love so much. I had to try it! Here is the recipe as adapted from my favorite magazine:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 oz brussels sprouts (about 20), ends trimmed, tough outer leaves removed
  • 1/2 head radicchio, cored and cut in half
  • 1/2 Fuji apple, cored and julienned
  • 1 oz toasted Marcona almonds, sliced (I forgot to add them when I took the photo below)
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan or manchego cheese

VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T water
  • 2 T sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 1 T finely minced shallot
  • 2 t honey
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
 DIRECTIONS:
  1. Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until well blended.
  2. Using a mandolin or food processor with a slicing disk, shave the sprouts and radicchio.
  3. Toss the sprouts and radicchio with the apple and dressing until evenly coated. Divide among plates, and top each with almonds and cheese.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Radicchio Salad
Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Radicchio Salad

Hopefully the lighting in your kitchen won’t leave that awful yellow-green tinge on your food the way it does in the above photo!  I swear it looks much tastier in person.

Also, note that the dressing recipe makes WAY more than you need for the salad, but that’s okay because it’s delicious as leftovers.  Just store it in the fridge and give it a good whisk when you’re ready to use it again.  Brussels are so good raw or cooked, but raw is best when shaved or peeled…pain as it may be to prep them that way.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Chicken Sausage and Brussels Sprouts (Dinner à la Trader Joe’s)

I love Trader Joe’s.  I have lived walking distance from aforementioned lover ever since I finished college.  It’s the perfect place for people who don’t have time to cook, don’t know how to cook, and/or don’t want to cook. They have lovely niche items, as well as your every day staples – all at great prices.  There are a handful of items that I now purchase exclusively from Trader Joe’s not just due to their great prices and bountiful array of healthy options, but also because I’ve found that the TJ brand just tastes better than competitive brands (i.e., sun-dried tomatoes, butternut squash ravioli, beets, dark chocolate, almond butter, etc.).

Nothing hurts my soul more than a market-meanderer.  Those people set up camp in the aisles with no purpose other than to double the time my trip to the store is supposed to take.  They walk right in front of me and then stop to add nothing to their cart, staring longingly at the cheese puffs. I can be pretty patient with situations like these, but after waiting longer than what’s fair, I always intercede the wretched chicken stock-blocker with an “Excuse me, can I get by?  PS – don’t buy the cheese puffs. You are fat.” Okay, maybe that last part is just what goes through my head.

One mistake you never want to make is to go to a grocery store before you’ve eaten dinner without a list or idea of what you want to eat. You’ll end up buying way too much stuff and be one of those aisle-cloggers I so detest. I did exactly this last week (sans aisle-clogging), and decided to try to make my hoard somehow work.

I wanted to make something with the TJ butternut squash triangoli (super low in fat and calories for what it is, btw) and brussels sprouts. But what?  I ‘ve paired bacon with brussels sprouts many a time, so I decided to try it with chicken sausage. However, chicken sausage generally isn’t as sweet as bacon and I didn’t want to get something as sweet as a chicken apple sausage which would compete with the sweetness of the triangoli.  Being obsessed with the California sun-dried tomatoes from Trader Joe’s as it is, I got a package of those and then went with the sun-dried tomato chicken sausage.

Ingredients - all from TJ's
Ingredients – all from TJ’s

Cooking the brussels sprouts in the chicken sausage grease (I know – it sounds so gross) gave the otherwise pretty bitter brussels some great flavor.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Onions, and Garlic
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Onions, and Garlic

Here’s my original “recipe”.

Ingredients:

1 package Trader Joe’s Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Sausage, sliced
3 cloves garlic*, minced
1 small Vidalia (sweet) onion*, diced
1 bag of Trader Joe’s brussels sprouts (16-oz), halved
1 tbsp Trader Giotto’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
Handful of Trader Joe’s California Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Julienne Cut
1 package Trader Giotto’s Butternut Squash Triangoli, cooked
Grated parmesan cheese* (optional)

*also purchased from Trader Joe’s

Directions:

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat.  Slice and cook sausage til brown. Transfer sausage to a plate covered wtih a paper towel, without losing any of the drippings.  There won’t be very much as it is.
  2. Heat olive oil in the same skillet, and cook the  onion and garlic until the onions become soft, scraping up the bits of the sausage drippings that have now browned. Add about 4-6 turns of the Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning.
  3. Add brussels sprouts and cook until slightly softened but crunchy, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. While the brussels sprouts are cooking, prepare the triangoli according to package directions.
  5. Toss everything together, add some the sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  6. EAT.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Chicken Sausage and Brussels Sprouts
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Chicken Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

I like dishes that combine sweet and salty, so this might be a bit off the beaten path but I’ve really enjoyed it. Hopefully you can too!

P.S. This post is not sponsored by Trader Joe’s.  I just love them.

Meatloaf “Cupcakes” with Mashed Potato “Frosting”

During the month of Leslie‘s birthday dinners, my multi-talented culinary musician friend Jason and I decided to collaborate on a home-cooked meal for everyone’s favorite munchkin.  The email chain with Leslie, Jason, Shirley, and I procured us an abundant menu of comfort food.  I picked Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting – a savory dish for a change.

Who Loves Mashed Potatoes?

For the mashed potato “frosting”, I used the recipe from SkinnyTaste.com’s meatloaf cupcake recipe.

MMM Pureed Yukon Potatoes

However, since we were already eating so heartily, I didn’t use SkinnyTaste’s meatloaf recipe.  I defaulted to my favorite Turkey and Quinoa Meatball recipe, since it pretty seamlessly incorporates quinoa and lots of veggies.

Meatloaf Cupcake “Batter”

For the potatoes, Jason did all the prep while I took forever trying to “de-leaf” the sprigs of thyme (un-de-leafable!).  The thyme added some great flavor to the potatoes as well as some color to the otherwise very beige finished product.  We pureed the potatoes in a food processor to ensure a smooth creamy finish when piping.  Yes, I piped the potatoes onto the cupcake.

“Frosting” the Cooked Meatloaf

Jason pretty much owned the roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, and even made a balsamic reduction with brown sugar drizzle to offset the saltiness of the dish.

Jason’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Drizzled With a Balsamic Reduction

Leslie, being the ever-gracious host she is, refused to let us do all the cooking and made yummy almond-crusted tilapia filets and phyllo and prosciutto-wrapped roasted asparagus.  However, Leslie’s eyes started to tear while she was chopping onions, so Tri MacGyver’d an “eye shield” for her.

Tri’s Makeshift Anti-Onion Eye Shield

Jason found a basic creme brulee recipe endorsed by Alton Brown on FoodNetwork.com, so we went with that.  After making this, I was really surprised that a lot of people didn’t know what a vanilla bean looks like and that the pulp of a vanilla bean is what is used in recipes.

De-Beaning a Vanilla Bean!

Leslie suggested adding sliced strawberries to the recipe for some extra pizzazz and color.  Solid recommendation!

Time to Torch!

Everything was set for Leslie’s birthday dinner finale!

Birthday Dinner Party!

Here’s what my first plate (admittedly, of several) looked like!

Phyllo and Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, Almond Crusted Tilapia, Brussels Sprouts, and Meatloaf Cupcakes

It ended up being my first culinary collabo, and I would say it was a success!  The first of hopefully many to come – and sooner than you think!