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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Browned Butter Vinaigrette

This is a good salad recipe when brussels sprouts are in season. Any number of ingredients can be substituted with what you have in your pantry or fridge or in your time frame. In fact, the CI website has a number of variations, one with different nuts and dried fruits (apricots and almonds) and one with bacon. You can do some experimenting if you don't have access to the website.


Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Browned Butter Vinaigrette

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Serves 6-7

1/4 c lemon juice
1 T whole grain mustard
1 teas sugar
salt and pepper
1 shallot, halved through root end and sliced thin crosswise
1/4 (or more if desired) dried cranberries or sour cherries
5 T unsalted butter
1/3 c hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped, or toasted walnuts, instead
1 1/2 pds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and sliced thin
1 1/2 c baby arugula, chopped, or endive, or lettuce
4 oz Manchego cheese, shaved or another cheese you have on hand

CI states that a food processor with a slicing blade can be used to slice the sprouts, but that it will be less tender. I'll have to take their word for it, since I used a knife.

In a microwave safe bowl, stir together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and 1/4 teas salt. Stir in the sliced shallots, and cranberries and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave 30-60 seconds until the ingredients are steaming. Stir it once again and try to submerge the shallot and cranberries in the juices. Let it sit out and cool getting close to room temperature.

In a 12-inch skillet melt the butter over medium heat (a stainless steel skillet makes it easier to see the color of the browning butter). Add the hazelnuts. Cook while stirring frequently, until the butter becomes a dark gold brown (depending on your altitude this can happen in a few minutes or may take more like 6 minutes.) Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the shallot mixture. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts and arugula. Using tongs, toss the vegetables with the dressing until it is dispersed throughout. Season with salt and pepper.  Let the mixture remain in the skillet while the sprouts darken slightly. Serve immediately topping with the cheese, or remove to a serving bowl.


When I made this a second time for my small household, I halved it because I don't think it holds well. I'm sure it could be doubled for a crowd, as well.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Spicy Italian Sausage with Polenta

Another use for all the cherry tomatoes from my garden.


Spicy Italian Sausage with Polenta

Adapted from Cook's Country Magazine
Serves 4-5

1 batch of cooked polenta kept warm (cheesy grits can be subbed, see original recipe)

1 pd sweet Italian sausage, either in bulk or with casings removed
1 onion, chopped fine
approx 3/4 pd cherry tomatoes (the recipe calls for 10 oz but I used nearly 1 pd)
2 T chopped jarred hot cherry peppers or pepperoncini plus 1 T of the brine, see note below
3/4 c chicken broth, see note below

Over medium-high heat, cook sausage and onion in a large skillet until lightly browned. Break up the sausage as it cooks. When cooked, remove from the skillet and hold the mixture in a bowl. Retain 1 T of the fat in the skillet and discard the remainder.

Place the tomatoes in the hot skillet and cook without stirring. Allow them to start to brown and then stir in the chopped peppers. Continue cooking for a few minutes until tender. Add the broth, brine, and the reserved sausage mixture. Check for seasonings and add salt if needed. Cook approximately 5 minutes the sauce thickens until slightly and serve over the polenta. Top with basil chiffonade and/or grated parmesan cheese.


I believe using pepperoncini will create a less spicy sauce which may be just what some diners need.

I added some crushed fennel seeds because the brand of sausage I used was light on that spice.

I used water and a few bay leaves as a substitute for chicken broth because I didn't want the added salt.