THE BEST GLAZE IN THE WORLD! (Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glaze)

** This keeps really well in the fridge, FYI **

Your ingredients:  2 cups balsamic, 1/2 cup brown sugar

Your tools:  small pot, whisk, spoon

Your ratio:  4:1 balsamic to sugar

How to do it:  Take your pot and add the 2 cups of balsamic and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Place pot over stove (between medium high and high heat).  Bring to boil, whisking the entire time.  Drop to a simmer and keep stirring regularly until it begins to stick to a spoon.  This will thicken as it cools, so remove from heat before it’s overly thick.

Where to use it:  Roasted veggies, steak (with goat cheese), salmon – and a ton of other uses.

 

What about those B Sproutzzzzz

First of all, they are called brussels sprouts, not brussel sprouts.  And most people dislike them, I think because they taste bad when you overcook them.  So, take great care in cooking them and enjoy these mini cabbages because they can be very delicious!!

There are several ways to cook these bad boys and I’ll share a few ways I like to cook them here.

Method 1 – Braise

Grab your cast iron and get it really, really hot.  Add peanut oil (or your fav high temp oil) and get them nice and seared.  You can cut them in half or not, but the point here is to get them slightly charred.

Turn down the heat and add some chicken or veggie broth, just enough to cover them. Throw some thyme in there.  We want the heat just high enough to boil off the broth. A little on the bottom is okay, but you want most of the liquid gone.  When the liquid is cooked off, the sprouts are perfectly cooked, just a tad of crunch especially if you just halve them instead of slicing/dicing them.  Don’t forget the pepper!  

Method 2 – Roast

Halve, cover in olive oil, salt and pepper and then cook them in the oven until the outer leaves start getting crispy.

Options:

  • add red pepper flakes or paprika
  • add bacon
  • add blue or goat cheese crumble
  • add balsamic/brown sugar glaze
  • add maple syrup
  • add chopped nuts
  • add a little red or white wine vinegar at the end
  • add garlic
  • add honey/sriracha and put back in over for 5 mins

Method 3 – Breakfast Hash (for brunch!)

First:  Roast some sweet potatoes

Then,
In one skillet:  cook some bacon in some olive oil.  add shredded brussels sprouts once bacon is crispy.  add cubed, roasted sweet potatoes once the sprouts have crisped up a bit.  add cubed Granny Smith Apples, just till they soften a bit.  serve with fried eggs on top.

Method 4 – Carefully steam

Ingredients:  fresh in-season brussel sprouts (if available), cleaned and halved; diced medium onion; few good sized knobs of butter; 1/4 cup chicken stock (homemade is better); couple finely diced pieces of bacon; 2 cloves garlic (minced); 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

How to:  Cook 2 finely diced pieces of bacon at medium heat, remove when suitably cooked for your taste. Leave the bacon fat… Add the knobs of butter and diced onions. Cook until the onions start to brown. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Throw in brussels sprouts and let them get some color on the cut side (about 5 minutes, let them caramelize). Pour in 1/4 cup chicken stock, and cover the pot to steam the sprouts (about 10 minutes depending on size). Place in casserole dish, top with bacon and grated parmesan cheese.

Method 5 – Thanksgiving Hash

Ingredients:  2 slices bacon; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 1 shallot, sliced; 2 cups chopped pumpkin (or butternut squash); 1 pound brussels sprouts, ends chopped and outer leaves removed, sliced; salt and pepper; 2 cups chopped apples; 1/2 cup dried cranberries; 1 tablespoon chopped sage; 1 1/2 tablespoons Nakano balsamic blend seasoned rice vinegar

How to:  Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 2 slices of bacon in the skillet and cook until crispy, set aside leaving grease in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the bacon grease and add the shallot to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute. Add the brussels sprouts and pumpkin, season with salt and pepper, stir and let cook for 7-10 minutes until softened and starting to brown on the bottom. Toss and cook another 3 minutes. Add the 2 cups chopped apples, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and tablespoon sage, mix and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat off, add the 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar and toss to combine. Crumble the cooked bacon on top and serve.

** Also, Trader Joes has brussels sprouts on the stalk right now!  Go get em!!

Recipes From Italy: Crostata


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From Italy: Crostata
This is the Crostata I learned how to make in Italy from my grand-uncle Federico. It's important to get all of the ingredients together, in proper portions, to make the assembly very easy. You can use any kind of fruit, but for this recipe, we used apricots.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings
slices
Ingredients
For the Crust
For the Marmalade
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings
slices
Ingredients
For the Crust
For the Marmalade
Instructions
For the Marmalade
  1. The day before, prepare the marmalade. Over high heat, bring the water, sugar, and fruit to boil. Keeping uncovered, lower the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 2-2.5 hours. Add water if necessary. After two and a half hours, use an immersion blender to blend the fruit into a jelly consistency. After 3 hours, start checking the consistency by laying the back of a spoon on top and lifting to watch the speed of the drip. Fast drip = not ready. Slow drip = ready. Turn off the heat when ready.
  2. After it's done, place in a mason jar. Rub grappa around the opening of the jar, close with top and turn upside down to cool.
For the Crust
  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees.
  2. Using your hands, mix the butter and the sugar/salt.
  3. Zest one small lemon.
  4. Add the eggs and mix.
  5. Add the flour and mix, careful not to overmix.
  6. When dough stays together, place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  7. Using a pie pan or oven-safe dish, lined with wax paper, create a crust bottom using the chilled dough.
  8. Bake for approx 15 mins.
  9. Remove from oven. Roll out pieces of dough to create the outside crust, approximately 1 inch thick.
  10. Pour marmalade into the center of the pie, so that it completely covers the whole circle. If any portion appears clear, add marmalade so the color is uniform.
  11. Roll out 1/2 in pieces of dough of various lengths, about 1 inch apart, parallel to each other, to cover the pie.
  12. Roll out 1/2 in pieces of dough of various lengths, about 1 inch apart perpendicular to the lines you made previously - creating a lattice effect.
  13. If desired, you can brush one egg over the crust and dough.
  14. Place completed pie in the over for approximately 15 minutes, until crust is cooked and slightly golden color.
Recipe Notes

Enjoy!  Here is the finished product!  I will further edit the video as well as make an accompanying video to show the create of the marmalade!

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My new morning drink

On a recent trip to see M and R, they told me about a new addition to their morning routine…  this drink.

It’s a mix of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey and some spices.  You can mix it up as you see fit, but those are the main ingredients.  I am following their advice and adding this to my morning and I’ll let you know how it goes.  It’s really super easy to throw together and you can use hot water to dilute the taste if it’s too much for you.

This morning, I did this:

  • AVC – a couple of tablespoons
  • Honey – a good honey-bear squeeze
  • 1 Lemon
  • Turmeric, Cayenne, Ginger, Cinnamon spices
  • Hot water to taste

That’s it!  It’s actually pretty good and really good for the body.  A lot of people use it as a detox.  More to come, happy Friday everyone!

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Yeah, you want to start your day off right? Throw these babies on the skillet and get your day going!!
Course Breakfast
Servings
sandwiches
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Servings
sandwiches
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Step 1: In a medium bowl beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper until blended. Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs begin to set, gently pull them across the pan with a spatula, forming large curds. Continue cooking while pulling and folding the eggs until thickened no and visible liquid egg remains. Remove from the pan, set aside. Clean out the skillet.
  2. Step 2: Heat the skillet to medium heat. Spread the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter evenly on one side of each slice of bread. Place 2 slices in the skillet butter side down. Top each with 1 slice of cheese, scrambled eggs, bacon, and an additional slice of cheese. Cover with the remaining bread slices, butter side up.
  3. Step 3: Cook sandwiches over medium heat, until browned on the bottom. Once they are browned on the bottom flip them over and cook until browned on the other side and the cheese has melted.
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Dan Dan Noodles!

Dan Dan noodles is my current favorite frugal meal. (Someone will correct my inauthentic American Dan Dan, but here it goes)

Make the cheapest spaghetti / egg noodles you can find. Get a quarter cup of the boiling noodle water and add a enough peanut butter and soy sauce to make a thin sauce. Top off the noodles with chopped peanuts and minced garlic. It warms the soul and the peanut fats will keep you full longer than spaghetti sauce.

Carlotta’s “To Die For” Meatballs

Here, as it is now common thing, it is raining a lot and so I may take a hint from your request and prepare myself a good dish of meatballs with the heating on at home.

Consider at least 4 meatballs per person.

 

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Carlotta's "To Die For" Meatballs
Once you have become a master in the meatballs making and you wish to cook them for yourself, another variable is to follow as above and prepare a light tomato sauce where you can stir for a while the fried meatballs. They are delicious.
Cuisine Italian
Servings
persons
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
persons
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put the stale bread in a cup of milk for half hour approx, then squeeze the bread and add it to the ground meat together with all the other ingredients (chop garlic thinly). Mix well and let it stay for a while to savour.
  2. Form some balls, not too big (ping pong ball), and roll them in breadcrumbs.
  3. In a heavy pan, pour as much frying oil as it fits, put it on the flame and bring it to a frying (high) temperature. Drop the meatballs in and roll them until a brown crust is all around.
  4. Drain and put in a dish with absorbent kitchen paper.
  5. Serve them still warm.
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