More Brussels Sprouts

I’ve been on a brussels sprouts kick for a few weeks now. I tried a recipe from 101 cookbooks on Christmas Day and it was another keeper. A bit on the sweet side with the apples and maple syrup, if you like that sort of thing. I skipped the tofu since I made it as a side dish.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Apples

1 large, crisp apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
1 lemon
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
a scant tablespoon of maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
12 ounces (3/4 pound). brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons

Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lemon.

Heat oil in a large skillet with a bit of salt. Stir in the garlic, wait a few seconds, now stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.
Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts – gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts.

Serves 2 – 3 as a main, 4 as a side.

Altoid Brownies

David Lebovitz’s recipes NEVER disappoint. This recipe is no exception. I immediately added it to my “to try” list when he first posted back in November. Chocolate and mint are 1 of my all-time favorite flavor combinations (right up there with chocolate and peanut butter). I followed the recipe more or less exactly. The resulting brownies are extremely fudgy and very minty (I did add peppermint extract). Note: Altoids are not vegetarian so feel free to sub another type of mint if you so choose.

11 ounces (315g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
8 ounces (215g) unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120g) packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pure mint extract
1 to 1½ packages of Altoid peppermints, (80-120g), crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line the inside of a 9 by 13-inch, or similar sized baking pan, with foil. Butter or spray lightly with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

4. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, over the heat, whisk in both sugars. Remove from heat and whisk in three of the eggs completely, then whisk in the other two, along with the vanilla and mint extract, if using.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture and the Altoids over the top and using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined; there might be just a trace of the flour in places. Do not overmix.

6. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Like most brownie recipes, it’s best to err on the side of underbaked than over.

Serving & storage: Once cool, wrap the brownies well. These brownies are even better the next day. Since the recipe makes quite a bit of brownies, extras can be cut into squares, wrapped, and frozen for a few months.

Merry Christmas

It sounds like most folks have received their Christmas Cards. Here is the shortlist.
This was the first real set of shots taken with the D90 using the kit 18-105mm lens. Lucy was in her Christmas dress and in the back porch in natural diffused light for most of the shots with prompting from parents. The ornament Santa was a recent gift from Granny. Danika was taking some backup shots with the D50 and the ever-reliable 50mm lens.