Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is it Brussel or Brussels Sprouts?

Every kid hates and despises brussel sprouts - its just a natural reaction.  "Eat your brussel sprouts" elicits repressed memories that people have buried for years.  Luckily, my mother neither fed or forced me to eat vegetables that I was fearful of (though she did make spam which I will probably never eat again).  This avoidance of the "bum rap" vegetables (broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, etc.) has led me to discover them with new eyes and cooking techniques.  Special thank you to dell'anima for having the most amazing brussel sprouts. Here's a recipe that I have had the joy of tinkering with the last couple of weeks (I'm not calling it the best recipe yet because I want to experiment with roasting them, but it will make the most finicky eater come back for more):


12oz-16oz - Brussel Sprouts
6 - Cloves of Garlic (sliced)
1/3 - Red Onion (chopped)
Olive Oil & Canola Oil
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Dried Bing Cherries (do not use Montmorency cherries) 
Red Wine Vinegar
Kosher Salt

1) Chop the end of the brussel sprouts off.
2) Peel and reserve 3-4 leaves from each brussel sprout and keep them off to the side.
3) Cut and quarter the brussel sprouts into 4 equal pieces.
3) In a skillet or saute pan, combine olive oil and canola oil equally over medium heat (if you put olive oil alone, it will get too smokey).
4) Put the brussel sprouts in the pan and let them carmelize.
5) Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Drizzle a splash of red wine vinegar.
6) Add the onions, garlic, cherris, and pecans and give everything a good stir.
7) When the brussel sprouts are starting to brown, drizzle honey over them, and add in the reserved leaves.
8) Cook them for an additional 2-3 minutes and enjoy.
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Artisanal Premium Cheese Class

I took their "Sexy Cheese & Sumptuous Wine" class and the last thing I felt was sexy or sumptuous.

I went straight to the class after work and I was paranoid that we weren't going to get a lot to eat/drink - I was completely wrong.  We were welcomed with a nice cheese spread (complete with fondue) and Cava (Spanish sparkling wine).  I was almost full heading into the class (instead of marbles, imagine a hungry hungry hippo going after different cheeses - that was me).

We were led into the class and my knees almost buckled. Each table setting had 7 cheeses and 4 full wine glasses (why didn't I pace myself!?).   The cheeses were:

- Humboldt Fog
- Ossau Iraty Pardou Arriou
- Edwin's Munster
- Uplands Pleasant Ridge
- Adelegger (***my favorite***)
- Prima Donna
- Bleu de Laqueuille

It was a vast variety of cheeses: goat milk, sheep milk, cow milk, soft, blue, hard, nutty tasting, etc.  Erin (our cheese instructor) retired from her corporate job and made her love of cheese into a new career.  She was very knowledgeable, had great handouts, and went through the history of cheese (and why it's so damn sexy).  But gets better!  They also had full glasses of the following wines:

- Verdejo / Viura Rueda
- Chenin Blanc
- Grenache / Cinsault / Tibourin
- Shiraz

We were supposed to try each cheese with each wine to decide which ones pair well together.  I played the pairing game for awhile, but your palette will be overloaded and your taste buds will go numb. Robert (our wine instructor) was equally knowledgeable and poured freely if you had space for more.  Good luck finishing everything and remember to pace yourself. 

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