From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Brussels sprouts - raw & roasted

Temps fell on Friday into the 20s with snow. With forecasts only in the teens and more snow for Saturday, thought I'd spend some time in the kitchen.

A local market always has the best Brussels sprouts around this time of year (I think they come from Canada) so I buy them by bag.  Some are as big as tennis balls, firm and crisp.  I've always wanted to try sprout slaw/salad so started with that.

I halved the sprouts, and cut them into 1/4" ribbons. 

Then I added some fresh grated carrots, chopped walnuts and dried cranberries to the bowl.

Like I said, I've never made this before so was free wheeling it.  I added a little salt, some cracked black pepper and some whole mustard seed.

For dressing I fell back on my go-to brand Marzetti's fat free sweet-n-sour salad dressing.

Time for taste test.  I'm actually NOT a big cabbage fan and truly don't enjoy cole slaw so was a tad concerned.
Nibble.  Oh wow!  I had accidentally duplicated the flavor profile of my very favorite eat-out salad from Applebee's :  Asian chicken salad!  I couldn't believe it!  Luckily I had some frozen grilled chicken breast in the freezer and quickly seared some up.

I dressed the salad with chopped chicken and some crispy rice noodles and just a touch of soy sauce.  It was so good.  And waaaaay cheaper than eating out.  Woohoo!

I then roasted the rest of the sprouts: split then spread on a half-baking sheet (cut side up) that had been spritzed with EVOO.  Then spritzed the sprouts, sprinkled with roasted garlic granules and paprika and roasted them on the top rack in a 425F oven until the edged had crisped and the centers were just tender.

Since I had a hot oven going I also delved into the bedroom closet and picked out the 2 smallest butternut squash from my stash.

I roasted butternuts last year and while they were good, it left no real impression.  I do know that, ultimately, while the skins are okay to eat, I didn't enjoy them that much when I ate them.

So this year I not only peeled the squash but I chopped them thinner. 
Like the sprouts they got the EVOO spritz but that was all.  Same high heat on the top rack.  They had a lot of moisture so I had to open the oven now and then else they would have just steamed, not roasted.

In about 20 minutes the squash was butter soft and the bottoms browned.  I had a quick sample of one of the more browned pieces and it was a flavor explosion!  Have you ever had French fried sweet potato?  Well, THESE. WERE. BETTER.  I couldn't stop eating them. LOL

I planned to make roasted squash soup for Sunday and expected I would have to use the blender to puree the squash, but it was so smooth that a little whip with a fork did the trick.  I can't wait for my company to enjoy the soup!

I had taken extra pains last summer to ensure that the 3 squash plants had lots of water and extra (organic) fertilizer while they were growing out of the compost pile.  I have NEVER had such success both in size, quality, and easy closet-keeping as this batch is.  You can bet those seeds are keepers.

When I first pulled the squash out Friday I thought, Oh heck.  What am I going to do with 6 squash?  Now I'm thinking, Oh heck, I've only got 4 squash left!  LOL

P.S.  With some leftover mashed squash I made a few savory breakfast patties. :-D

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  1. You are getting very creative with your cooking. I am not a Brussels sprout fan, but I think cooking the squash in the oven like that sounds very good. I have had sweet potato fries and they are very good.

    Be sure to tell us about the Sunday soup dinner.

    1. Yeah, after a while you get tired of eating the same stuff, or preparing the stuff the same way. One of the reasons I love living here is that there is a REAL winter and some indoor downtime to play around like this. Soup has been moved to Sunday. Today the driveway is socked in and at 12F I'm not moving the snow off until Monday when it will be near 30.