Tag Archives: Apple cider vinegar

Brussels Sprouts Cranberry Salad

Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries

2015 Winter Salad #1! This is the kind of vegetable-based meal I delight in. Manages to feel healthy and hearty at the same time, and provides a good balance of different flavors and astringencies. One important note: DO NOT overcook your Brussels sprouts. This happens fairly easily; I tend to roast vegetables until quite done and caramelized, but that’s not how these work. You want them crisp but still with a good crunch, so watch them carefully in the oven.

Lots of oven time on these ingredients; save time and dishes by toasting pumpkin seeds and walnuts in large batches ahead of time. You’ll be glad you did for future food forays, or averting hanger after a long work day.

I have alluded to this before, but the time has come (the walrus said [Brussels sprouts are a kind of cabbage, so that’s not totally uncalled for. And Europe had kings at one point])! I am off to Germany on vacation next week. Therefore, do not expect a recipe (or non-recipe as is my tendency) from me in the next fortnight. Do continue to follow me on Instagram, I endeavor to post pictures of fairy tale food and other similar adventures.

Roasting pan of Brussels sprouts salad

If you come, they will build it: lessons in supply and demand from our food giants—consumer demand is changing how large corporations are handling their supply chains, labor practices, and additives. Moral of the story: keep asking for better food.

On another note, how about a suffragette cookbook? Cake against injustice (that’s my kind of subversion…)!

Or, vegetables for justice!

Vegetable-based meal rule number one: start with the vegetable (surprise!). Brussels sprouts are truly excellent roasted, as long as you don’t overdo it (remember last year’s Brussels sprouts with bacon? Nom.)

Rule #2: Add protein: nuts and seeds, in this case (otherwise: a small amount of meat (this can add flavor too); eggs; cheese; tofu; grains like quinoa).

Rule #3 (more of a guideline really, but arguably the most important): flavor! Salt is crucial. Here, cranberries and apple cider vinegar create a sharp contrast, and a little paprika on the pumpkin seeds round it out with a smoky note.

Cranberry Brussels sprouts fall salad
1lb or so Brussels sprouts
A few handfuls of cranberries
Salt and olive oil
A handful of pumpkin seeds (pre-toasted if you can)
A handful of walnuts
A dash of apple cider vinegar

Halve or quarter the Brussels sprouts (depending on size), and roast at at least 400ºF with a little salt and oil until barely tender and crispy, not more than 20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes (or right in the beginning if you want them softer), toss in a few handfuls of cranberries.

If pumpkin seeds are not toasted yet (I usually just do it whenever roasting a pumpkin/squash), spread out on a baking sheet with a little salt, oil, and paprika (smoked or otherwise, depending on preference), and toast in the oven for at least 10 minutes, scraping up and flipping halfway through, until golden and crackly.

Toast walnuts on a baking sheet until fragrant and crunchy, about 5 minutes. This can happen while the Brussels sprouts are in the oven.

When sprouts are ready, toss with a little apple cider vinegar, then mix in the rest of the ingredients, salt to taste, and serve.

Other vinegars, like balsamic, would also substitute if you want something a little richer.

Auf wiedersehen!

Switchel

switchel in mason jar

Before the hot weather entirely disappears, whip yourself up a batch (or two. Or four) of this to swig in the morning, post-exercise, or after work mixed with a little whiskey.

Look for raw apple cider vinegar with the mother, because a) it has more probiotics and b) it might continue to ferment a little and get a little fizzy on its own. No need for seltzer after all!

Also known as haymaker’s punch, switchel is a classic colonial farmer drink (because you need another reason to thank our agrarian heritage), starting to be popularized by homegrown hipsters. There are so many good qualities to this beverage: it’s full of electrolytes and probiotics, can be made entirely with local ingredients, and is also super delicious. I’m not really a drink person, except for tea, wine, beer and the occasional fancy cocktail (not soda or juice, is what I really mean I suppose)—but this is a fabulous exception and one I would like to see proliferate. Bring this instead of lemonade to your next grill session.

Speaking of (sort of) historical dishes, restaurants are increasingly trying to convert traditional cuisines to a modern palate. Inspiration, not replication, they say. I’m most excited about a reinvention and popularization of Native American cuisine, because I think we still have a lot to learn from the people who created dishes directly from this place we now live, instead of bringing in our immigrants techniques and ingredients.

That being said, some of the thing those settlers came up with are fabulous too. Case in point:

Switchel
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (raw if possible)
1/4 cup honey (maple syrup, molasses, or sugar is also acceptable, but I like honey best)
A thumb of raw ginger, or 1 tsp ground ginger, or a combination
A few cups of water (as much as will fit in the jar—you can add more later)
Seltzer

Mince the ginger—large-ish chunks are fine. Combine everything except the seltzer in a mason jar (or other container, but you achieve a retro coolness factor with the mason jar). Shake and refrigerate for a few hours. Strain before serving if you don’t like eating chunks of raw ginger (I find it a little exciting), mix in some seltzer (depending on how concentrated it is), and some whiskey if you want to go the cocktail route, and imbibe at will.

Other additions: mint, basil, elderberry juice, blueberries, or anything you might add to lemonade. Would probably be excellent mixed with kombucha too.

Disclaimer: Photo from Instragram. Taken by me, but has been filtered. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

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#mylifeisarestaurant

Think about your favorite fancy restaurant. Yeah, that one. My bet is that right now they are serving some form of Brussels spouts: roasted, fried, crispy, whatever. By themselves or with bacon, pancetta, sesame, etc.

This is how you make it at home. Just as phenomenal, trust me. I love Brussels sprouts—they are like tiny cabbages, but somehow more flavorful and interesting. They grow in little funny burls on a stalk!

I apparently really like roasting things. Not even just apparently; it’s true. It’s so easy! You just need lots of patience, and a little planning ahead so you don’t get hangry. And to not mind when your kitchen gets all warm (another reason to appreciate the colder weather).

Roasted Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts (1/2lb is good for 2 appetizer servings)
Bacon (about 1/4lb with that amount)
Apple cider vinegar
Salt

Cut the Brussels sprouts into quarters and place in a roasting pan (I used an 8×8 because that’s what I have. Extra could go in a pie dish, if you don’t have other dishes (I’ve been roasting a lot of squash in pie pans lately)). Cut bacon into small pieces and scatter throughout the Brussels sprouts.

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Bake at around 350ºF for a long time, at least 45 minutes, stirring every now and then. They should get browned, crispy, and sizzlely, and the bacon will let go of some of its fat to mix with the sprouts.

Remove from oven and dress with just a tiny dash of apple cider vinegar and a bit of salt—stir it in, it’ll sizzle around in the hot pan. Plate and serve.

I made about the amount specified and ate 2/3 for dinner, planning to save the rest for tomorrow. Then I came home in the evening where it was still sitting out. It somehow disappeared—I didn’t mean to, it just happened. No regrets.