Recipes Revisited….

When I decided to stop pursuing being a chef, my relationship with food changed.  For a short time in early 2011, I hated cooking, being the kitchen or even going to the grocery store.  I think I may have been suffering from “culinary PTSD” but fortunately, this phase soon passed and I rediscovered the zen of being in the kitchen.

As we close out the year, I thought it would be nice to share the recipes that rekindled my love of being in the kitchen.  None is too difficult, matter of fact one requires no cooking, but they all represent things I love to make, eat and share with friends…..

Arugula Pesto

Vanilla Bean  Frozen Custard

Turkey Curry

Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Galette

Portuguese Fish Stew

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Coconut Cupcakes

Caldo Verde Soup

Braised Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Parmesan 

Blueberry Muffins

Balinese Tea

Shepherd’s Pie

While I love all my recipes, you all made it pretty clear that you loved my recipe for chewy sugar cookies most.  Guess y’all have a sweet tooth…..

Chewy Sugar Cookies

So did you try any of these recipes?  If so, how did they turn out for you?  I would love to know!

ps:  Today is The Partner’s birthday……I will be making at least one of these recipes for him tonight!

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Recipe: Brussels Sprouts With Bacon & Parmesan Cheese

I have never been a fly by the seat of my pants cook.  I can improvise to a degree but I am still fairly structured in my approach to cooking.  I tend to vary one or two ingredients in a recipe to morph it into something new.  However, I have a family member April who is a whiz in the kitchen and plays fast and loose when it comes to her culinary approach.

A little of this…..a pinch of that…..and alot of bacon tend to be her guiding principles and so far they have yet to fail her.  April was kind enough to forward  me her take on brussels sprouts.  Personally, I have never met a brussels sprout that I didn’t like; shaved in a salad with a citrus vinaigrette , oven roasted and paired with chicken or in this case, pan seared and then braised with garlic, chicken stock and bacon.

April used one of  Giada De Laurentiis’s recipes as her inspiration and then ran with it from there.  Pair this recipe with couscous and you move it from side dish to main dish for a quick and easy dinner…….

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Parmesan 

Ingredients
2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed, trimmed and cut in half
4-5 slices of thick cut bacon or 4 ounces of pancetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup parmesan cheese

Directions
1) Partially cook the brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 4 minutes. Drain.

2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon/pancetta and sauté until beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes.

3) Add the garlic and sauté until pale golden, about 2 minutes.

4) Add the Brussels sprouts to the same skillet and sauté until heated through and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5) Add the broth and simmer until the broth reduces just enough to coat the Brussels sprouts, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve.

Thank you April for sharing!!  This may end up on my Christmas dinner menu!  So do you have a favorite dish that you make every year for the holidays?  I am off to wrap presents and do some last-minute shopping!  Have a GREAT weekend.

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Easy Peasy Recipe: Arugula Pesto

Ever had a hankering for something that just won’t leave?  This week, I needed pesto in a bad way.  Let me emphasize, I NEEDED pesto like Donald Trump needs a haircut — in the worst way possible.  This is surprising because I normally am not a huge pasta fan.  The occasional bowl of spaghetti and meatballs passes by my table, but for the most part, pasta isn’t a huge component of my rotating menu at the house.  I don’t know if it was the warm weather and sunshine or having a week off from classes, but I felt the need for pesto’s green nutty goodness.

But then upon examination, I think the hankering came from the fact that I had about a ton of arugula in the fridge thanks to a trip to the farmer’s market while I was hungry.  Having tired myself of salads, I remembered this quick and easy recipe for arugula pesto that I had seen in various ways while in culinary school.  While traditional pesto uses basil, this pesto capitalizes on arugula’s spicy qualities and plays then up with a bit of red pepper flakes.

ARUGULA PESTO

INGREDIENTS

– 4 cups (packed) arugula leaves (about 6 ounces)
– 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
– 1/4 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

PREPARATION

Blend arugula, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese in processor until almost smooth. With machine running, gradually add olive oil; process until well blended. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes:

– The pesto can be made ahead of time. Cover and let stand up to 2 hours at room temperature.  If storing in a refrigerator, cover pesto with a layer of olive oil and it will last up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

– Walnuts vs. Pine Nuts:  You can make this pesto with either walnuts or pine nuts.  Personally I find pesto made with walnuts have a grittier texture which I do not like.  However, taste wise, walnuts bring a certain earthiness while pine nuts bring a fresh and you guessed it, “piny” quality to the final dish.  Both are delicious, so test it out and see which you prefer.

Don’t forget to enter the give away to receive the tea set I used in my Mother’s Day tablescape!