Wednesday, November 21, 2007

sauteed brussels sprouts

Well, it’s the night before Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what happened between October 31 and today, but whoo-boy did it go fast. I look back and all that I can clearly remember is working a lot, getting’ down at a couple of bar mitzvahs (I vaguely recall something about tequila shots) all this peppered with infrequent gym visits and some hours, not nearly enough to my liking, spent in the kitchen under the glowing artificial light. I’ve been talking to my lens a lot too – I’m trying to make it do things it’s simply not designed to, and alas, this awesome, great lens will someday be mine, but for its hefty price tag, not just yet. And a good flash would be a great thing too, but also in due time.

For a Russian expat, I took to Thanksgiving like a fish in water. Our first year in America, I made my mother have a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner. We cooked our turkey, but unfortunately, in our ignorance and poverty, we used only a pop-up timer cooking a free turkey that my Dad received from his employer. Needless to say, the turkey (being free and pumped with hormones and whatever, in addition to the timer that guarantees your turkey will be dry) tasted like pressed wood chips and we decided that Americans were silly for having to consume this crap year in and year out. And yet, we persisted in cooking the turkey each November, never quite getting the desired results until I found that magic recipe – that silver bullet. Oh, I’ll be writing up about that too.

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For various reasons, the holiday has been a favorite of mine, not the least of which is because my favorite foods are served at the dinner table. But really, a holiday that has nothing to do with shopping, or presents, or the ever-growing consumerism – a holiday that focuses on togetherness and gratitude, what’s not to love? For years now, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving dinners for friends, first in college, and then later in New York. Each year the party would grow larger and larger until last year, when it all culminated with a thirty-one person feast! And this year? Well, work got the best of me. I’m sad to report, that I am one tired radish. And so I didn’t want to make plans, or commit, or host or do anything. I wanted to play it by ear and a few days ago KS and I decided to have a Thanksgiving for two. Just us, the turkey and a few other favorite dishes of ours. We’re very excited and we can’t wait to make all that delicious food. In fact, the cranberry sauce is already hanging out in the fridge, waiting to meet its turkey.

I hope you all have a wonderful, delicious and comforting holiday. I wish you all moist, juicy turkeys, flavorful stuffings, oozing, delicious pies. Below is one of my favorite recipes for Brussels sprouts, which I’ll be cooking up tomorrow, albeit in a different form, but this dish, which can be prepared minutes before you sit down to dinner, makes for a delicious side. Happy Thanksgiving!


1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed, dried and sliced in half
3 shallots
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
olive oil
good, aged balsamic vinegar

In a non-stick ridged skillet, heat up a few teaspoons of olive oil and cook the shallots until limp and transparent. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté on high heat until the ‘grill marks’ are imprinted upon the Brussels sprouts. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for another 6-8 minutes until the vibrant green color turns yellowish. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and serve with fresh cracked pepper and sprinkled salt.

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5 Comments

  • 1
    tracy said:

    if I had my way, I’d lick that spoon. Yum!

    November 22, 2007 1:11 pm
  • 2
    Cakespy said:

    Oh, this is awesome! There’s a hippie grocery store that offers something VERY similar by my house (their version has pecans too though), and I have become addicted. Much better to make batches myself! Thank you!

    November 25, 2007 6:29 pm
  • 3
    clumsy said:

    I just made these for tonight’s dinner—I love the balsamic in there.
    Hope your intimate Thanksgiving was wonderful!

    November 26, 2007 7:04 pm
  • 4
    yulinka said:

    I remember those years of super dry turkeys. Our first year in the U.S. my mom got one from her employeer. We couldn’t figure out why Americans insist on eating turkey (as well as sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie–my parents and I thought those were pretty awful, too). Later, when my mom was more comfortable reading in English, she found some pretty good turkey recipes in the paper. These days we brine the bird, which the whole family likes. And my mom and I are sweet potato/pumpkin converts. Tastes change.

    November 27, 2007 2:08 pm
  • 5
    ann said:

    Yay for Brussel’s sprouts! Yay for two-person Thanksgiving dinners! I hope it was lovely and relaxing!

    November 29, 2007 8:41 am

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