Brussels Sprouts with Sausage and Cumin (Food and Wine, January 2015)

Brussels Sprouts with Sausage and Cumin

This dish doesn’t have a pretty face, but it has a beautiful soul

Soooooo sometimes I get on kicks, where I can’t get enough of eating the same thing over and over because it is just SO DELICIOUS. Like, every 10 years or so I go on a chicken tenders kick.  You might be thinking this means “oh, she ate chicken fingers a lot for a few months.” NO. Every night, every SINGLE night for two weeks, I would come home from work and soak chicken tenders in buttermilk then batter them and fry them and they were SO FREAKING GOOD. I have gone on two chicken finger/tender kicks in my life (one was at age eight and one was at age 21) and both of them ended the same way: I ordered them at a restaurant and they were greasy and soggy and terrible and then I was done.

I might be going on a sort of kick with this AMAZING dish, which I have now made once a week for three weeks and will probably make again this week. It’s so fast and delicious! This recipe is pan-caramelized brussels sprouts, crumbled spicy sausage, and Middle Eastern spices, and it’s AWESOME.

The recipe in the magazine says TWELVE MINUTES. So many other recipes say “Thirty minutes!” but then after thirty minutes you realize you’re still chopping vegetables and haven’t even gotten close to having the meat cooked all the way through. This is not like that at all. It really takes about 12 minutes, making this the most wonderful meal for a weeknight.

Here’s how you do it! The recipe doesn’t call for rice, but I really recommend serving this with brown rice for heft, since it’s a fairly light meal. So start your rice, then slice your brussels sprouts in half and clean up any brown leaves. Cook them in olive oil in a hot pan until golden, about four minutes.

Now we add sausage. I’ve both used homemade “sausage,” seasoned ground pork rolled into a sausage shape, and sweet Italian sausage. I preferred the homemade sausage, or spicy sausage. If you do buy it from the store, remove the casings before adding to the pan so it appropriately crumbles. All that’s left from here is to add the sausage, cumin, and oregano to the pan, let it cook, then add orange juice and a dash of honey.

Then you eat it, wish there was more, and make it again the very next week.

Brussel Sprouts with Sausage and Cumin

Pictured: the first time I made this. AND FAR FROM THE LAST.

Brussels Sprouts with Sausage and Cumin

(Food and Wine, January 2015)

Recipe by Ana Sortun

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 14 brussels sprouts (10 ounces), trimmed and halved
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 ounces sweet Italian sausage (2 links), casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring once, until golden, 4 minutes. Add the sausage, oregano and cumin. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are caramelized and tender and the sausage is cooked through, 3 minutes longer. Stir in the orange juice and honey to coat the sprouts. Transfer to plates and serve warm.

Farro Salad with Winter Fruits, Pistachios, and Ginger (Food and Wine)

Farro with winter fruit and pistachios

Glamorous Desk Lunch

Hello, welcome to the first weeks of 2015. This is the time when we can barely park at the gym (“I WAS HERE ALL DECEMBER, PEOPLE!” I complain, imagining my “comes all year” parking space of honor), when our Facebook feeds are flooded with detoxes and cleanses and apple cider vinegar shots, when we take all our leftover candy to work and try to pawn it off on our coworkers.

We have eaten, drank, and been merry and we are now filled with cheese and regret.

I have always had no luck following a cleanse. I tried the Bon Appetit’s food lover’s cleanse last year. I made a delicious steak with chimichurri and sweet potato fries. I cleansed for two days and somehow gained two pounds.

I tried the now defunct Whole Living Magazine Cleanse the year prior, abandoning dairy, wheat, peanuts, corn and everything tasty, pretty much. I lasted a little longer, two weeks, but someone brought cheese to my house and I have no willpower when it comes to cheese. It was delicious and I’m not sorry.

THIS YEAR I am admiring cleanses from afar while sipping coffee and looking at smoothie and salad recipes. I am, however, trying to bring lunches to work from home instead of jaunting to the downstairs cafe every day and spending $7 on an only decent Chicken Caesar wrap I can make at home for not $7.

This Farro Salad is a really nice compromise recipe, cleanse friendly and take to work friendly. It’s a vegan salad, with fruits and farro and stuff. It has good for you things like ginger and mint and citrus.

You can make it on Sunday, before the week starts and take it to work for three days. You can try to make it on a Tuesday night for the rest of the week. I did both, and my Sunday salad turned out much better because I measured everything and didn’t lazily just squeeze oranges and lemons into a bowl then try to fish out the seeds.

This salad is delightfully not-bland. The citrus zest and juice gives it a bright flavor, having both mint and cilantro give it a much-needed zip, the ginger gives it a spice, and the farro is delightfully chewy and nutty. If you do make this to take this to work, I recommend adding all the ingredients together except the cilantro and pistachios. Take them in separate baggies and sprinkle them on top when you go to eat the salad.

I recommend making this exactly as written, maybe adding different dried fruits or nuts if you must. You could easily swap out farro for quinoa if you wanted to make it gluten-free. All the herbs and seasonings are essential and should be fresh.

Farro Salad with Winter Fruit, Pistachios and Ginger

(Recipe by Annie Somerville, Food and Wine, January 2012)

Notes:

  • Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro is the perfect size for this recipe and saves you 15 minutes.
  • I’ve found that it keeps for three days, which is fine. You will not want to eat it for lunch any more than that, as good as it is.
  • I’ve left out the scallions each time, woops. I bet they’d be really tasty. You should add them.
  • I’ve ended up using 2 tablespoons of cilantro with each serving because I really love cilantro.

Ingredients:

  •  Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups farro (10 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried sour cherries
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the farro and simmer over moderate heat until al dente, about 35 minutes. Drain well, shaking off the excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, ginger and oil and whisk to blend. Season with salt.
  3. Add the warm farro to the dressing along with the raisins and cherries and toss well. Let stand until the farro is almost cool. Just before serving, fold in the scallions, pistachios, mint and cilantro and season with salt.

On New Year’s Resolutions

Last year I sat down and made new year’s resolutions, as one does. I had just read an article about the silliness of setting goals that are not quantifiable, so I avoided the usual “work hard at stuff” “lose weight” “be more like a dragon” resolutions that take over most lists. Instead, I ended up with a list of around 20 foods I wanted to make in 2014 and “go kayaking.” Although I don’t think this list resulted in self-actualization, it did lead to bagels, macarons, lemon tarts, two kinds of homemade ravioli, roasted chicken, a knife skills class, a six-layer cake, and a treacherous canoe trip around a lake in which the phrase “THIS IS WHY I BELONG INDOORS”  was uttered as we were almost swept out to sea. Since I am apparently entirely uninterested in setting non-food goals for myself, here are some foods I would like to make in 2015. Friends, this is your opportunity to invite yourselves over for dinner or dessert.

  1. CHEESECAKE. New York Style. In a springform pan. Perhaps in a waterbath, if I am brave.
  2. Lasagna, made all by myself. I’ve made it before but never on my own.
  3. This Lemon Crepe Cake. 
  4. Tiramisu
  5. Jalapeno Poppers, bacon wrapped, because I’ve never made or had them and I think I’d love them. Coming soon to a party near you.
  6. This Everything Bagel Spiced Cheese Ball
  7.  Tacos Al Pastor with the crispy cheese on one side like at Puesto (I just spent ten minutes reading through their menu and now I’m homesick for tacos)
  8. I want to make a croquembouche for no reason whatsoever

    Look at all that fine croquembouching

  9. Croissants
  10. Panna cotta because every season of Master Chef someone has to cook it and when I’m selected I do NOT want to be caught unprepared
  11. Lemon Meringue Pie
  12. I want this to be an even dozen, one a month, but I can’t think of anything else so TBD.

Any other suggestions? Anything that will change my life if I make it in 2015?