I am here today to tell you about an unsung hero. A vegetable that has gotten a bad rep my entire life that deserves to be treated better. One that is tastier than most when properly prepared. I’m talking about the brussels sprout.
When I see these beauties at the market on Saturday or Sunday morning, I’m going in for the kill. And if they’re on sale, I’m buying extra. Mike and I tend to fight over the leftovers and sometimes take turns bringing them for lunch the following day if there’s only a few. He even brags about this recipe to complete strangers.
I’m not here today to brag about this recipe–even though it’s delectable. I am here to help you love brussels sprouts and to help you easily welcome a new delicious side into your routine meals if you aren’t already familiar with them. If you are familiar and you make them some other way and they’re delicious, I believe you. But I will still insist that you try them this way.
And so without further ado, this post is short and sweet, and so is the recipe.
1 bunch brussel sprouts (trimmed, halved if they are larger than cherries or grapes)
5 garlic cloves, smashed with the skin still on
2 heaping tbsp. bacon fat
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Methodology & Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Whisk together garlic, olive oil, honey, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Pour brussels sprouts into a large baking dish and pour mixture over the top. Toss to coat. Top with a tablespoon of bacon fat on each side of dish. (If you have a cast iron pan, start these on the stove over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes and then move to the oven.)
Bake, tossing occasionally, for 40-45 minutes or until brussel sprouts are tender and some of the leaves have caramelized with the honey and started to char. If some of the leaves or edges are a little dark brown or black, this is a good thing! You have not burned the dish. You have nailed it.
Serve with anything from pork to baked cod as a side dish. (Look for recipes for both entree options in the near future.)
Super Bowl Sunday is easily one of my favorite days of the year. It used to be for the commercials and the halftime show, but now I crave the final day of the NFL season from August through February. This year, though, it’s a bigger game day than usual. This year Paul Pierce will play his final game in the Boston Garden—as a Clipper, but nonetheless. I spent the afternoon reminiscing about Celtics moments that involved Pierce and the history of my favorite player in franchise history. If you’re feeling nostalgic and/or if you are a fan of basketball in any capacity, I suggest you check out this clip.
I am always nostalgic when it comes to mentions of Paul Pierce. The first game he played in Boston wearing a color other than green—during his time with the Nets—brought tears to my eyes. The welcoming from the fans after mere months away from the team and the montage of moments played on the Jumbotron were awesome. I remember standing on the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston in 2008 when they won the finals. The crowd went totally insane when he came by on the duck boat, carrying the MVP trophy and puffing a cigar that had been gifted to him by Red Auerbach. I cried then, too. And I’m not even a little bit embarrassed. The Celtics are my team and Paul Pierce was my favorite Celtic to root for. I’m finally starting to feel all the feels again with Isaiah Thomas embodying the spirit of Boston, but he’s not even close to having an edge on The Truth. If there is a chance to attend his retirement ceremony—which I pray will be at the Garden, in Celtic green—I will be there. And I will try like hell to get to Springfield when he is inevitably inducted into the HOF—again, hopefully in that lucky green. Tomorrow, even though it is not the last game of his career, tomorrow I will have to say my fan farewell.
For the past few years I’ve been making spinach and artichoke dip from scratch for Super Bowl Sunday, but this year I felt like having chili and cornbread. I’ve made a couple of different types of chili in the past, but this one is an RI Food Snob (RIFS) Original. It will be the first of, hopefully, many recipes that will bear the RIFS tag as I mess around and/or ‘riff’ on different things going forward and make them my own.
So, without further nostalgia or sadness, I give you the Game Day Chili.
1 orange bell pepper or 3 baby bell peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper or 3 baby bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-14.5 oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1-15.2 oz. can sweet corn
1-32 oz. container low-sodium chicken broth
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
1 bottle of beer (lager or ale)
2 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground (red) cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. chili pepper flakes
½ tsp. dried thyme
Salt + pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese
½ c. scallions, chopped
Methodology & Instructions:
1. In a medium sauce pot or Dutch oven, cook ground beef over medium-high heat with chili pepper flakes and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper, making sure to break beef into smaller bits. (Not listed as an ingredient, I used about 1 teaspoon of olive oil to flavor the beef without creating extra grease. This addition is optional.)
2. Once the beef is cooked through, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon to drain most of the grease from the meat and set aside.
3. Add garlic, onion and peppers to the same pan and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Stir in thyme, paprika, cayenne and cumin. Add an additional 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Most of the fat/grease should be absorbed at this point, be sure to stir continuously so nothing burns.
5. Scrape any bits sticking to the bottom of the pan with wooden spoon and add beer, stirring continuously to deglaze the pan. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until most of the beer is absorbed.
6. Stir in both cans of tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing the juices to thicken. Add the beef back into the mixture as well.
7. Drain the can of sweet corn and add it to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
8. Add the chicken broth and and tomato paste, stir well and bring the chili to a simmer.
9. Simmer 25-30 minutes or until the chili becomes desired thickness.
10. Serve topped with cheddar cheese and scallions, or whatever toppings you may like!