Brussels sprouts and capers! I can’t think of anything finer. I love both brussels sprouts and capers. This dish is the stuff my dreams are made of. Roasting the sprouts is essential. Roasting gives them a nuttiness and subtle caramelized flavor that is amazing when combined with the salty, crispy capers. The red pepper flakes are a nice background note. You can adjust your red pepper usage to your own taste. I like spice, so I went a little heavy with it. With so many other wonderful flavors it remained a nice accompaniment to the dish, not overpowering and hot.
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (adjust to your own heat preference)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 425F/220C. Toss brussels sprouts with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Place sprouts on rimmed baking sheet. Roast 15-20 minutes until crispy and golden.
While the sprouts are roasting, blot capers on a paper towel. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add capers and cook, stirring carefully (mixture will splatter), until capers start to open and are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chile flakes to pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer capers and garlic to a paper towel to drain.
Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with capers and a squeeze of lemon.
This salad wasn’t really planned out. I set about making lunch one day, but was in one of those moods where nothing really sounded good. After hemming and hawing for a bit, I ended up grabbing several random ingredients. Anything I saw that seemed appealing at the time got put on the counter. Not surprisingly these basic ingredients are some of my favorites. Feeling accomplished about picking out items for lunch, I then realized I still had to figure out what to do with them. This salad is what ended up happening. Nothing too fancy, but delicious and filling nevertheless.
I don’t like overly oily salad dressing, so I just mixed lemon juice into the lentils instead of making an actual dressing. And olive oil lemon dressing or a light vinaigrette could definitely be used on the lettuce or lentils if you like. If you are looking for something a little warmer for this time of year, the lentils could also be served warm with all the ingredients mixed in. If serving warm, I would leave out the lettuce and substitute a bed of sautéed spinach.
1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, or other seasonings (optional)
1/4 - 3/4 teaspoon salt
For the Salad:
1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 small red onion, diced
handful of kalamata olives, chopped
1 tomato, diced
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil (optional)
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
bacon or pancetta, cooked until crispy and crumbled
For the Lentils:
Wash Lentils in a strainer or colander. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks. Thoroughly rinse under running water. Then transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and pour in the broth/water. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.
Bring the broth/water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.
When lentils are done, remove from pot and allow to cool in a serving dish.
For the Salad:
While the lentils are cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Divide lettuce onto individual serving dishes.
When lentils are cooled, add onion, tomato and olives and top with lemon juice (and olive oil if using). Mix ingredients together. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle bacon over the top. Divide the lentils between the lettuce plates and serve.
This is the world’s most basic cranberry sauce. It is really more of a cranberry sauce base. You can do just about anything with it since it is just a ratio (1 cup water:1 cup sugar:4 cups cranberries). I generally add in substitute some orange juice instead of all water, but that’s just me. Throw in some nutmeg, maybe some orange zest and call it a day. I’ve heard of some folks adding chopped pecans or other fruit as well. Go wild.
Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring the water and orange juice to a boil water and stir in the sugar until it is dissolves. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. Stir in any and all optional ingredients you desire.
Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
So my Brussels sprout obsession is back in full swing again. They are everywhere and it is glorious. I have been doing a lot of roasting with Brussels sprouts and that’s all well and good, but sometimes I don’t have the patience to roast things. I have my favorite B. sprout salad that I make quite frequently, but I was in the mood to switch things up. This salad seemed like the perfect alternative.
I thought that the blue cheese and cranberries were the perfect combination of tangy and tart. They really worked well together. The only thing I wish I had added to this salad were some toasted walnuts. This is probably just because I’m so used to my favorite Brussels sprouts salad having toasted walnuts in it, but I really think the earthy, toasted flavor would have complemented and really balance out the rest of the salad.
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cleaned and shredded (should yield about 5 shredded cups)
4 ounces finely crumbled Gorgonzola
1 small red onion, halved and finely diced
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
For the Dressing
1 1/2 Tablespoons grainy dijon mustard
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise or greek yogurt (I used a combination)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, Gorgonzola, onion and cranberries. Drizzle with dressing. Toss to evenly distribute. Serve immediately or refrigerate 1 hour.
I have made this recipe at least once a week for the last month. I’m kind of obsessed with it. Roasted broccoli has quickly become my favorite side dish (sorry brussels sprouts). I love coming up with new combinations for serving roasted broccoli. This is definitely one of my favorites.
Capers are totally under utilized if you ask me. I add them into just about every dish possible. They add so much flavor. In this dish they really complemented the earthy taste of the roasted broccoli. If you were in a hurry, you could also use this sauce over steamed broccoli, but I really think roasting the broccoli brings much more flavor.
Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
When broccoli is almost done, in a small saucepan, whisk butter, mustard, and lemon juice over medium heat. Once butter has fully melted and mixture has emulsified, add capers. Pour sauce over the broccoli and serve.
I have been pretty obsessed with roasted broccoli for the last few months. I have been looking for as many different ways to prepare it as possible. This has become on of my favorites. I usually just use kalamatas with this dish, but I had a handful of green olives left, so I threw them in to use them up as well. They made a great addition. The red pepper flakes are totally optional, but I think they give a nice little edge to the dish. I also really like to throw pasta sauce over this to make a heartier side dish (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce is my favorite). It’s also quite good with pasta sauce and polenta to make a full meal.
It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the States, which means it’s unofficially summer! That means it’s now time for barbecues and flip-flops and margaritas and baseball. Barbecues require more than just a grill and some meat, side dishes are also necessary. I have to admit, I am very, very wary of other people’s foods at barbecues. Several summers ago I suffered the wrath of a mayonnaise-laden potato salad that had been sitting out too long. Needless to say, it was not an enjoyable experience. Ever since, I’ve be a fan of mayo-less options and refrigeration.
This potato salad has tons of flavor and no mayo, so it’s the perfect summer side in my dish. This is also a vegan dish. As a recovered former vegetarian, I always appreciated when there were tasty non-meant options at barbecues. I swear some people randomly add bacon to side dishes just to spite non-meat eaters. This potato salad should keep everybody happy. I searched and searched for a recipe that had the flavors I was in the mood for and came up flat, so I just threw together what sounded good in my head and hoped for the best. I like really strong and tangy flavors, so the combination of capers, vinegar and lemon juice was perfect to me. I also only used 3 tablespoons of oil, since olive oil isn’t my favorite flavor/texture. If you think the capers and vinegar might be overwhelming, slightly upping the amount of oil should help balance it out.
3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch green onions, finely chopeed
3-5 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons grainy dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 sprigs fresh dill, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher (or coarse) salt and pepper, to taste
Put the potatoes in a big pot with enough water to cover by 1-inch. Season with salt and bring the water to a boil. Cook just until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot, uncovered, with off the heat. Let them sit until almost room temperature. (Cooling them in the warm pot will get rid of any excess water in the potatoes, which is good for potato salad purposes.)
While the potatoes are cooling, combine all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Adjust flavors to taste.
When the potatoes are cool, add into the large bowl and toss lightly to coat with the dressing.
So, I have a billion bags of frozen peas in my freezer and by a billion, I mean 3, but they were taking up a lot of space and were starting to bug me. This is the perfect summertime recipe. There is no cooking or heat involved, which is definitely a plus on a super hot day. The ingredients might sound a little odd at first, but trust me, they work together perfectly. The sweetness of the peas definitely bring out the flavor of the feta and onions. It’s not too creamy either, which is usually a problem with a lot of summer salads. I used a scant 1/3 cup of greek yogurt and a tablespoon of mayonnaise and 5 Tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar. I really like vinegar, so I thought it was just the perfect amount.
Balsamic Pea Salad
1 (16 ounce) package frozen green peas
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup greek yogurt/mayonnaise/sour cream
3-5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I would recommend white balsamic vinegar if you can, regular is fine, it will make the color a little off looking)
black pepper to taste
Place peas in a colander, and run warm water over them until they are thawed. Drain and place in a large bowl.
Toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
In the bowl of peas, stir in onions, feta cheese, and greek yogurt/mayonnaise/sour cream. Mix in balsamic vinegar, and season with pepper. Cover, and refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.