November 5, 2012

Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Well if this isn't just the craziest fall. It's the kind of fall that makes you really wish you could hit the pause button and bring everything to a merciful halt. But it's the kind of fall that is exciting in the midst of activity and challenges. I have sung in a world premiere, learned intense organizational elements in an international humanities conference, taught my 1st and 2nd grade choir anthems by Mendelssohn and Maurice Greene. And in six days, I run my first half marathon at the Outer Banks.

It's been a season of personal and professional and even soulful growth. Don't get me wrong - such growth definitely includes cooking. I baked banana bread with Tennessee honey whiskey and a pumpkin chocolate chip cake that sneaked its way into a carry-on bag and all across the country, to a conference in California. I made macaroni and cheese with butternut squash, and a huge pot of chili for my mother-in-law and my dear friend Katy, while all three of our husbands were out of town.

Sometimes you just have to make food for the love of making food. It's like making music for the sheer pleasure of it, rather than for a recording or performance or rehearsal. That's what I have felt like this fall. Undocumented cooking has had its day in the sun.
That said, you must have roasted brussels sprouts as soon as humanly possible. Throw in some shallots and bacon like I did and you have almost a complete meal (made complete ONLY by a side of butternut squash mac and cheese). Put these roasties in a casserole dish topped with parmesan cheese or serve them alongside a healthy piece of steak. Or stick with the vegetarian option, sans bacon (gasp) but with a dash of hot pepper or Tabasco sauce.

Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 pound brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut into halves and quarters
6 strips bacon, cut into thirds
1 whole shallot, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon honey
Chipotle Tabasco sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F and line a cookie sheet with foil. Fry bacon slices until fairly crispy and set aside to dry on a paper towel.

Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and honey. Place in single layer on cookie sheet and roast 15 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning. Add bacon and roast 5 minutes longer. 

Serve hot, with chipotle Tabasco sauce. Rejoice that brussels sprouts, bacon, and chipotle Tabasco have been combined and are in your life. 

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