My Jen
Hot Chocolate
Pesto Capellini
Carrot Pappardelle
Finger Limes
Modern BLT


Brussel Sprout Salad

If you're like me, sometimes Brussel sprouts are just about the best vegetable out there. Something about the nutty flavor that, when cooked right, just melts in your mouth.

I was inspired by a recipe from Lauren of Perpetually Chic on Jen's blog called Fall Harvest Salad but I skipped the squash and romaine and just went for the full on sproutage (ok, yes, I made up that word). It's a hit. For you new cooks - just make sure you don't cook the Brussel sprouts for too long or they will get bitter very quickly. Try to find young, small sprouts since they are much more tender and soften easier.

Brussel sprouts, trimmed**
Dried cherries (or cranberries - cherries are sweeter and softer)
Walnuts, crumbled
Blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 C Olive oil
Sea salt
3 Tbs High quality balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs Agave syrup

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the sprouts with about 1/2 Tbs butter and turn continuously until they just caramelize on the outside. Remove from heat and allow to cool (refrigerate them).

Mix the dressing - oil, salt, vinegar and agave - in a bowl with a whisk. Toss the sprouts, cherries and walnuts with the dressing, then put into a clean bowl and crumble the top with blue cheese (not shown in photo).

** For this I used 3 bags of the easy microwave ones but took them out of the bag since they were already trimmed. If the sprouts are large, halve them.


Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes

Got a party coming up and need some easy hors d'oeuvres? Try these little nuggets...use baby potatoes and wrap them in bacon! You can never go wrong with bacon, right? Even better, try adding different herbs or seasonings for unique flavors. Here I've used fresh rosemary sprigs but there's plenty of alternatives - sorrel, thyme, basil, cracked pepper. It's a superb comfort food in a tiny package!

Also, try different types of potatoes. In this batch there's a mix of red bliss and yukon gold but I'd bet some purple fingerlings would also work great because of the nutty flavor.

2-3 lbs baby potatoes (no bigger than 1 1/4" diameter)
1 lb bacon
Short bamboo skewers or toothpicks (I cut some 6" skewers to about 2")
Rosemary sprigs (or some other herb)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Don't salt it - the bacon will provide enough. Boil the potatoes until just past parboil stage (not fully cooked). Meanwhile, line a baking sheet or deep dish with foil (remember that the bacon grease will drip so have a catch lip). Bring oven to 375°F.

Remove and cool the potatoes in an ice bath. Carefully peel each potato, removing a strip about 1/2"-3/4" wide around it but not removing the entire peel.

Cut the strips of bacon in half. Wrap one half-slice around the potato snugly and then poke a skewer into it to secure. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes until bacon is crisping.

Serve hot with garnish, enjoy the applause.