brussels sprout and fennel slaw

Thank you to the person who cleared up the misconception regarding brussels sprouts. It’s kind of hard to fathom it now, but back in the day, brussels sprouts used to have a bad rap. Poor little green cabbages. They use to be the bane of many a child’s dinner hour.

Today there is no shortage of brussels sprout recipes. My preferred method of enjoying them is definitely roasting:  Add red onion, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and freshly cracked pepper and then finish with a bit of white balsamic vinegar. But brussels are also great uncooked in salads, providing a lovely texture and nice crunch. This brussels sprout slaw is enhanced by the marriage of sweet fennel and a citrus vinaigrette and the results are quite lovely. 

shaved brussels sprouts and fennel in a bowl

 Tossing the brussels sprouts and fennel slaw with the maple mustard orange vinaigrette

 

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herb sweet potato dinner rolls

When I worked in D.C., my office was around the corner from two great steak houses, Smith and Wollensky and The Palm. My vegetarian boss would occasionally treat us to a nice company lunch at one of these fine establishments. She believed The Palm had the best caesar salad in the city. I don’t know about that, not a big fan of caesar salads, but The Palm on 19th street did offer one of the best spots in D.C. to view politicos, lobbyists, and media stars engaging in high stakes deals and/or ethically questionable behavior. 

While The Palm may win for its see-and-be-seen atmosphere (and Caesar salad), Smith and Wollensky wears the crown for selecting and preparing the finest cuts of meat . S&W also knows a thing or two about baking. Their house made doughnuts with liqueur infused jams are stunningly good. And their dinner rolls almost steal the show. Served hot, the pull apart rolls are glazed with butter, sprinkled with and rosemary and dotted with sea salt. 

 herb sweet potato dinner rolls

These herb sweet potato rolls are my take on Smith and Wollensky’s signature. You’ll need to set aside about 3.5 – 4 hours of your day to make them, but I promise they really aren’t that much work! You’ll be mostly just waiting around while the dough rises. You can use this time to run errands, read a book, or go to yoga (Bikram!). I use SAF® Gourmet Perfect Rise Yeast which always results in fluffy, well-risen bread. 

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tuscan kale stew bowl

Before this week, I had no idea what a polar vortex was or the level of fear it could instill in me. It’s no secret I hate winter, but for the first time in my life, I was literally afraid to leave the house because of the temperature. When you wake up to find it’s three degrees outside, and the wind chill makes it actually feel like -20, panic sets in completely.  The only thing I wanted to do was crawl up in front of my space heater and cry and eat soup. 

This Tuscan kale and winter vegetable soup warms you from the inside out. Spicy Italian chicken sausage brings the heat and balances out the natural sweetness of parsnips and butternut squash. Tuscan or lacinato kale is slightly less bitter than regular curly kale and its delicate and lusty nature make it the perfect base for a winter stew. Continue reading→

South Carolina field peas

This New Year’s Day I learned two very important facts about my lineage: 

  1. My great-great uncle went to FEDERAL prison for making moonshine. I’ve known for a while that his illicit corn liquor distillery led to several jailhouse stays, but I had no idea he served time in federal prison. This leads me to believe he was probably a pretty successful businessman, well as successful as one could be getting people drunk off of 200 proof liquor.  Now I know from whence I get my entrepreneurial drive!
  2. My great-grandmother once threatened a woman with an ax. Said woman was after her man and my great-grandmother was not about to have that. Yes sir! She shut that down with the quickness. This sounds just like her, so feisty and not one for taking any mess. Sooooo, to any potential suitors and wannabe side chicks, consider yourselves duly warned. That very same blood runs through me.  An ax – you don’t even want to go there. 

These eye-opening facts were shared over a table full with peas and rice, greens, cornbread, and fish–the family tradition. A tradition I wasn’t sure would continue this year, as this was the first New Year’s Day without my grandmother and dinner was always at her house. But we pulled together and moved the celebration to my aunt’s home, securing our 2014 luck with plates of field peas!

Lowcountry red field peas

 

Red field peas are a South Carolina Lowcountry staple. Sure, black eyed peas are good and they appear in many a Southern-themed dish, but trust me they don’t compare to field peas, which are tastier, heartier, and produce a far superior aroma while cooking. Continue reading→

Red Rocks Park Colorado

Those would be the Red Rocks outside of Denver. What follows are some more snapshots from my adventures in 2013. Yes, it’s now 2014, but I just felt like reminiscing… 

Colorado State Capital - Denver  Beatrice & Woodsley  Chicken Soup  Continue reading→
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