Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Solace by Brussels Sprouts

When times get tough and the West feels wild, I burrow into things that bring me comfort. Namely: cozy knits, beloved books, naps, and brussels sprouts.

I made these a few weeks ago and this seemed like the most inopportune time to share them with you, so that's exactly what I'm doing! Merry Christmas! Cookies are so 2013!

I know. You probably already have your Christmas dinner planned. (Do people have fancy Christmas dinners? Not these people.) Our unfancy food is planned, along with a low-key day spent with some of our very faves, but now I'm getting ahead of myself.

On the off-chance that you do have a fancy meal, and on the extra-off chance that you were assigned "Vegetable" for the meal, show up with these brussels and make them all believers. Just another, ordinary Christmas miracle.

I took a bunch of glamour shots of the dish, but our computer recently met an ungraceful end and in the aftermath, the only thing that appears to be lost forever is the salad. These are wonky phone pics, but you get the gist of it.

(Pssst: The gist is, "I need this attractive, highbrow salad in my life like Bradley Cooper needs an Oscar.")

Sidenote: When I type "salad", 9 times out of 10 I actually type "salsa". Read into this what you will.

Here's what you do.

Buy 2 bags of brussels, trim the ends off (and any weirdo leaves) then cut them in half.
Toss them into a microwave-safe bowl with a lid and a Tablespoon or two of water. Nuke for 4 minutes. (You want them to steam, not fully cook. Adjust accordingly.)
Drain well.

Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on high, then place each sprout carefully on the pan, cut-side down. This is important because you want the flat surface to caramelize and form a bit of a crust. I have a system for this, in which I place them in order, and by the time the last one is in the pan, the first one is done. (I also have a system in which my closet is organized by color, as a nod to the pseudo-type-A vibe of my youth. It sort of feels like cheating now that half my closet is blue pinstripes.) Be careful not to burn them! (I had to do 3 batches to get them all gorgeous and crispy.)

Next, mix the vinaigrette.
(If you only do 1 bag of sprouts, halve the amounts.)

4 T olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
1-2 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper
(These are approximate measurements because I sort of made it up as I went. It all depends on your taste. Add a bit, whisk together, add more of whatever you need.)

Whisk well, then pour over sprouts.
Add a handful of whole pecans, 1/2 cup currants (fancy!) and 1/4 cup or so of capers.
Toss to coat.

Serve warm or room temp.

You will not imagine the deliciousness of this salad. It has every flavor. In a good way.
Sweet, Acidic, Salty, Chewy, Crispy.

Is my mouth watering right now?
As sure as I'm sitting here in my LBD with bark mouth, it sure is.
If I had this in the fridge right now, I would go MOW IT DOWN.

Guys, all I'm saying is, Christmas is so freaking weird this year. I keep trying to make it un-weird, but we're all a little sad. And we don't know why. We're okay. We are. But our neighborhood is broken and our friends are broken and we're broken, along with our hearts, and we just need that tiny Baby.

I don't feel entirely out of line in saying it would help my psyche and my general well-being if one of you would love this salad along with me.

No pressure.
Kinda. Just a little.

Weirdly Yours Forever,

PS :: We have a Maddie & Sophie Winner!!
"I love what Natalie said above about baby powder. It gets me through the 3rd day after a shampoo. I have a lot of deep lines for a 44-year old, so I'd really love to fix that miraculously!"

Email me, Jillson Montdoozulu! (shannandmartin -- gmail.com)

(^ That's exactly the kind of nickname I would give you for no reason if you lived in my house. Just ask Tippy, Picken, or Nominator.)


  1. Hello Shannan-- Christmas hugs to you-- You don't know me, but I'm here reading every day. And I am totally making these Brussel sprouts!!! I have two bags of them in the fridge and family coming in for (yes!) a fancy Christmas lunch tomorrow. I promise to love them. What's not to love about Brussel sprouts with pecans and maple syrup!! thanks. Merry Christmas dear girl.

    1. Wooo hoooooo! Day MADE! Please report back. Merry Christmas, Rhonda!

  2. My Christmas is just a little bit sad this year too. Can't shake the 18yo son worry or the desire to be with someone even though I'm surrounded by plenty and love and light. Your blog is helping me through it. Truly. Thank you.

  3. Sorry to pile on, but I won't be eating Brussel sprouts today....or tomorrow. BUT, I will be loving on those around me! :-)

    Merry Christmas, dear lady....to you and subsequently your neighbors and all the others that are in your life!

  4. I have Brussels sprouts in my fridge for tonight and couldn't bear to just roast them again. Thanks for the idea--I will be implementing it today! Also, I won one of the last stitch fix outfits. I LOVE it and the way you inspire me to be brave and spend time at goodwill. And the handwritten card that came with the outfit made my day because it was a bad one. Don't ever stop writing!!! Merry weird Christmas! (Must be something in the air because we are also not our usual selves this year...)

  5. my christmas was humming along nicely until yesterday when my heart broke open a little more. its comforting to know we're not alone.

  6. I love Brussells sprouts! Next time I make them I will try this dressing on them. The only reason I won't be making them for Christmas dinner is because I really don't want to set foot in another store, even the grocery store, until next year. Merry Christmas, Shannan!

  7. I'm with you on the sad. No good reason; we're ok, too, mostly. But lots broken around us, and in us. I hear you. come Lord Jesus.

  8. Loving the recipe, echoing the sadness- and the realization that I can't pinpoint why- just know that I am. Maybe, just maybe, we are all outgrowing this ridiculous December madness and recognizing that all we really need is Jesus- every.single.moment!

    Christmas Blessings to you, your family, and all the lives you touch!

  9. We love Brussels. I just emailed this recipe to my husband (he's the cook in the family) to try. Christmas blessings to you and yours.

  10. It was your voice in my head that told me to buy brussel sprouts at the big grocery shop last week, from previous posts. When I pulled them out last night, I bravely typed into google "brussel sprouts recipe bacon" and came up with this recipe by Rachel Ray. The thing that got me was all the comments "this changed my thoughts on brussel sprouts forever!". http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-recipe.html#!

    So my husband heard I was making brussel sprouts and promptly asked me why I don't love him anymore, where to sign divorce papers and started packing a bag and making gagging / choking sounds (not quite that melodramatic but also not that far off!). I told him to trust me and bravely he did. I made this recipe, and also cooked some pasta, stirred through butter, parma cheese and some sourcream and then added the brussel sprouts with all the juices.. IT WAS A HIT!!!

    Later he even said something like "gee, today's been a good day. Cooked breakfast this morning and now you tried a new delicious recipe".. though later denied that he said delicious. ;) So yes, I will be trying this recipe next! Thanks for making me (and hubby) feel brave about brussel sprouts.

  11. You alone turned me on to brussel sprouts some time ago, now this new recipe - well, if I become addicted it's all on you : )

  12. Brussel sprouts are on our menu for Christmas Eve dinner. I'm just roasting them with other veggies, but I'll have to try this another time. (A trip to the store for the missing ingredients is not on my wish list for tomorrow.)

  13. i was already planning on Brussels Sprouts with bacon for our Christmas meal (we each picked a dish and that was mine!) but may have to scrounge around and see if i have the makings for your recipe above. I love me some brussels sprouts - and a closet organized by color (made me smile to find out you do that too!) Merry Christmas, Shannan!

  14. I am SOOOooooo making this dish!

  15. I could use some gourmet food in my life! I have too many picky eaters in my life so I resorted to making a boring veggie tray for Christmas day. The brussel sprouts look delicious!

  16. Brussel Sprouts are my favorite veggie these days! We even tried growing them in our garden...but the season wasn't quite long enough, and they were mini-sized! But so yummy! This recipe looks fabulous! I will give it a go this week sometime!
    Now about the sadness, I think this world is slowly giving a heave of sorrow for all the brokenness going on around us ...what with police shootings and children being abused etc...and with wars, and threats of wars on the horizon...I believe it is all a sign of the coming return of the KING! Come Lord Jesus, Come! We need your LIGHT and LIFE in this dark and dreary world. May God bless you and your family...your neighbors and friends with the Peace that surpasses all understanding...knowing that God has got this! We may not know WHAT tomorrow HOLDS...but WE KNOW WHO HOLDS TOMORROW! <3

  17. I love Brussels sprouts, but I've had a couple of dud recipes lately, so I'm looking forward to trying yours! And I took your advice on Bob Goff's book and gave two as Christmas gifts. Any other advice you want to give? Looks like you're the boss of me!


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