Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad (with Vegetarian Option)

Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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A Caesar salad using brussel sprouts. Ingredients marked as optional if you are making this a vegetarian recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (approximately) brussel sprouts, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, shredded
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
  • 4 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, grated
  • 3 slices of prosciutto (optional)
  • (if have omitted anchovy paste and Worcestershire: 1 tsp capers, with brine, smashed into paste)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps parmesan flakes, for garnish

Directions

Slice the brussel sprouts thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife. Either in a blender, or a bowl with a whisk, mix the shredded garlic, anchovy paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, and lemon juice (and capers, if you’re going vegetarian). Whisk/blend until fully mixed, then slowly add the olive oil, mixing well as you add. Finally, mix in the parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the sprouts with the dressing and set aside for 5-15 minutes. On a grill set to 350ºF/175ºC, or on a pan set to medium heat, cook the prosciutto pieces for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, let cool, then cut into small pieces. Add the prosciutto to the salad and toss. Top with parmesan flakes and fresh ground pepper. Serve.

And now for the details…

In my last post, we had a juicy burger… this post is the accompaniment to that burger. What goes really well with burgers? Coleslaw. But I didn’t feel like coleslaw at the time, and I had brussel sprouts that needed to be used, so instead, the brussel sprout Caesar was born!

The texture in this salad is more similar to coleslaw, but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite keep as one, as we unfortunately found out. The next day, the brussel sprouts had that limp, almost soggy texture that lettuce gets when it’s sat in salad dressing for too long. Not my favourite. So eat this salad on the same day to avoid that!

We start out with prepping the brussel sprouts. Mine were a little forlorn by the time I pulled them out of the fridge to use, so I needed to trim the ends and remove some of the exterior leaves that had gone a bit yellow. I used a sharp knife to get the brussels nice and thin. If you have one, you could use a mandolin. There’s always the option to use a food processor too, but I find the slice on those is much thicker, and not the texture I was going for.

Next we make the salad dressing. Mix the anchovy paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, lemon juice and garlic cloves. If you’re making this salad vegetarian, skip the anchovy paste and Worcestershire, and instead add 1 teaspoon of capers with some of the brine, mashed into a paste. Whisk all the ingredients together until fully mixed. Alternatively, you can add all the ingredients to a blender and blend them together.

Once the ingredients have been well mixed, start slowly adding the olive oil, whisking constantly, to allow the dressing to become a homogeneous mix. The mustard acts as an emulsifier here, so it will help to ensure that the oil doesn’t start separating from the rest of the ingredients once the dressing sits.

Finally, we add the shredded parmesan cheese. If you ware whisking, give this a pretty vigorous mix to help break apart the parmesan a bit to get a slightly creamier texture to the dressing.

Wait until you have mixed in the cheese to add your salt and pepper, since the cheese, anchovy paste, and Worcestershire (or capers) are quite salty, so we want to wait until now to do a taste test, then add salt and pepper to your taste preferences, mixing well. Then, we add the dressing to the brussel sprouts.

Mix thoroughly, then set aside for 5-15 minutes to give the brussels some “soak time” in the dressing. While we are waiting, we can cook the prosciutto (obviously you’re going to skip this step if you’re going vegetarian). I cooked the prosciutto on the grill at medium heat (~350ºF/175ºC), since it was already going to cook the burgers, but you can use a pan on the stove heated to medium heat, and cook the prosciutto for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat, then let the pieces cool, and cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle them and the parmesan flakes over the salad.

Give the salad one last toss, top with some more fresh ground pepper, then serve.

Happy eating.

Juicy Grilled Burger Recipe

Grilled Burger recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 700g/1.5lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 burger buns
  • Burger fixings (e.g. burger in photo: caramelized onions, peanut butter, bleu cheese, spicy mayo, onion jam, tomatoes)

Directions

Mix the raw ground beef with the egg, Worcestershire, mustard, shallots, salt and pepper until fully mixed. Split the meat into 4-6 parts (6 will be 1/4lb burgers, 4 will be 3/8lb), forming into patties. Press a small indent into the middle of the patties with your thumb to avoid “puffing” of the middle. Place on a grill heated to ~400ºF/205ºC. Cook on each side for 7-9 minutes, flipping only once, until fully cooked in the middle. Serve immediately, with buns and fixings.

And now for the details…

I’m not sure what the weather it is like in the part of the world you are in right now, but for us here in Calgary, Canada, spring is in the air, which also means its time to get back to grilling. There are a few brave souls who grill in the winter, but needing to shovel snow to access our grill is not something I’m interested in…

And what better food to kick your grilling into high gear than the hamburger? A nice big, juicy burger, topped with your fixings of choice? Yum.

In this recipe, I am using all lean ground beef. I have heard/read about adding in some fatty ground beef to up the juiciness factor, but to be honest, I am too lazy to get that specific. If you want to give it a try, please feel free to give the suggested 80% lean / 20% fatty method a whirl and let me know if the effort fo measuring/mixing is worth it in taste 😛

We start everything off by mixing the meat with the egg, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, shallot and salt and pepper. I did not measure the S&P, that’s up to your preference. For ours, I used about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the same of pepper. Keep in mind when you’re adding your salt that the Worcestershire is already fairly salty and we are adding a full tablespoon of it to the meat. Best method to mix all these ingredients? By hand. You could use a mixer or wooden spoon if touching raw meat grosses you out (I have a few friends who are anti-touching raw meat), but by hand allows you to get a good mix in without overworking the meat. Yes, it is possible to overwork ground beef. If you mix too much, it will actually cause the meat to compress, giving the patty a tougher, rubbery-like texture.

Next is time to form up your patty. You can divide the meat up into four or six roughly-even parts, depending on how big you want your burger patties to be (and how many people you’re serving!) Six parts will give you six quarter pounders. When you are forming the patties, it is the same as when we were mixing, don’t squeeze the hell of out of the meat when you’re forming the patty. Just use a light squish to make sure they stick together; it’s not an attempt to beat the Hydraulic Press Channel… Use your thumb, and press a little dimple or divot into the middle of the patty. This will help to keep the patty from “puffing” in the middle while its cooking, and result in a more even burger.

Next is grill time. Preheat your grill to medium heat, somewhere around 400ºF/205ºC. Place your patties on the grill, close it up, and let them cook for 7-9 minutes. Avoid the temptation to press the patties with your spatula/flipper, which presses/pushes the fat and juices out of the meat, resulting in a drier burger. Once the first 7-9 minutes are done, flip the patties and let them cook for another 7-9 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers at 160ºF/70ºC. I know some people are fans of a pink inside to their burgers, but I like them well-done. Really, unless you are grinding your own beef and have full control over the handling of the meat and sanitizing of the equipment, I don’t know that I would go with a pink inside.

Finally, assembly time. Tons of options here, you could have all the fixings ready, and leave it up to the folks eating, like a burger buffet, or you could preassemble and serve. While the typical fixings are ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. might I suggest toppings a bit off-course? The toppings on ours were inspired from a burger I had in Ottawa, Canada a few years ago. They called it the “PB & J” burger, and I’ve been mildly obsessed with peanut butter on burgers ever since. In this burger, I used a caramelized onion jam for the “J”, and crumbled pieces of bleu cheese, but I’ve tried it with fig preserves, or with grape jelly, and both were also delicious. I would recommend adding the PB as soon as the burger comes off the grill. It get a little melty and oozy and is so good. I also used a little spicy aioli under the patty before placing it on the burger bun.

Top the burger off with some caramelized onions and tomatoes and you are ready to consume!

Happy eating.

Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted Garlic Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 6 bulbs garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 Tbsps butter
  • 1/2 shallot or 1/4 small onion, minced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4-5 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 Tbsps brandy
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pinch of dried tarragon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, crushed into large pieces

Directions


Preheat oven to 350ºC/175ºF Set garlic bulbs in aluminum foil or dish with a cover, drizzle with the olive oil. Place in oven and cook for approximately 1 hour. Allow to cool until early handled. Remove cloves from skin. Melt butter in pot. Add shallots and cook until just softened. Add the potato and garlic, stirring. Add the broth, brandy, wine and tarragon. Bring the soup to a light simmer for 20 minutes. Either blend in pot with a handheld blender, or blend in regular blender in batches, until smooth. Return to pot, add the sour cream and parmesan, stirring in completely. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in bowls, sprinkle the hazelnuts on top and serve.

And now for the details…

Hiya folks. Sorry for the huge delay between posting. I’ve ended up with a relapse of my concussion, and as a result have been trying to limit my screen time to reduce my symptoms. Since I do need to stare at a screen all day for my job, the blogging has taken a bit of a backseat of late. BUT! I think things are starting to turn, so I am going to be spending a bit more time putting together posts. I’ve had plenty of time to cook, so I’ve got a lot of content in backlog! I just need to get the stuff I have written down into posts!

With that, let’s talk about today’s recipe. A roasted garlic soup. This luscious, velvety bowl of deliciousness is so comforting and luxurious-feeling with ultimately fairly inexpensive ingredients (minus the booze and nuts). It plates really nicely too, so you can impress your dinner guests by serving this as a beautiful (and delicious) appetizer. Y’know… when we’re able to have dinner guests again (*silent tears*).

To get this recipe started.. we need to roast the garlic. This part is super simple, just place the garlic in some tin foil (or a covered oven-proof dish if you’re not wanting to use foil), drizzle it with the olive oil, seal the package up, and place it in a 350ºF/175ºC oven. If you want to make it easier to access the garlic later, you can cut tops off to expose the very top of the cloves before drizzling with the olive oil, but I don’t really find it all that easier. Bake the garlic for approximately an hour.

When the garlic is cooked, remove from the oven, open the package up and let the garlic cool until cool enough to handle. Then, remove those delicious little nuggets of roasted cloves from the skin and set them aside.

Next, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the shallot or onion, and stir until just softened. Add the potato, and stir until the potato is coated with the butter. Next, add the garlic, broth, brandy, wine and tarragon, stirring well. In the recipe I suggest adding a pinch of tarragon. For any cooking beginners, you may ask: how much is a pinch? Well, if you were to reach into your spice jar and pinch a small amount of the spice between your index finger and thumb? That’s about a pinch.

Bring the soup up to a light simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Next is how we get that nice, smooth texture. If you have one, you could use a hand blender to blend the soup right in the pot. I prefer to blend in a blender so the soup is soup-er smooth (yes I did that). If you have a smaller blender, you might have to do this in batches.

Once blended, return the soup to the pot, and add the sour cream and parmesan cheese until fully mixed. Can you use regular cream here? Absolutely. I just didn’t have any and going to get some just doesn’t seem like a necessary trip.

Finally, serve, topping with the hazelnut pieces, a drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan cheese, and serve.

Happy eating.