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.)