Thursday, 14 November 2013

Charred Lemon Garlic Brussel Sprouts with Chipotle Mayo

With winter fast approaching and academia keeping me busy I've found myself to be stuck in an unfortunate nitty gritty little rut. On the one side, my most favorite time of the year (CHRISTMAS!) is on its way which is fantastic! But unfortunately, due to time constraints, I'm not quite done with fall recipes yet! Rutabaga soup, pumpkin chai lattes, squash and spice loaves, crabapple chutney, bacon and brussel sprout soup these all represent fall to me in the umpteenth degree. And so, it's pretty tragic, I feel like this semester hasn't given me nearly enough time to post a satisfying amount of fall food. Of course, one can argue that no one can ever have quite enough fall food.  Fall food being the delicious little gastronomical niche which combines the fresh harvest of early Autumn and the rich and hot foods that exemplify the best of winter. This mix up provides you one last nostalgic taste of fleeting summer with all the calorie laden oomph! of winter (yes "oomph!" is a word, exclamation mark included).

On this note, I do still have a little bit of Autumn left so it's time to get to it and post some of these yummy recipes up here. Here's one that I absolutely love as a side dish or as party food. These substantial and flavourful brussel sprouts combine sulfurous and green with savoury and spicy punch. The rich airy mayo piqued with some chipotle complements the brussel sprouts and citrus notes of the lemon zest oh so well! Although you may not be the biggest fans of sprouts, give this one a try, you may just be surprised, the speed at which these little mouthfuls evaporate can be quite shocking! 

For the sprouts:
-1tbsp. vinegar
 -A few handfuls of brussel sprouts, say... around two cups?
-Zest of one fat lemon, washed
-One hefty pinch of smoked paprika (sage or rosemary can also be good, shake things up!)
- One fat clove of garlic, minced
-1-2 tbsp. of cooking oil, I'd stick with canola because things are going to get HOT! (sidenote, never use olive oil at high heat, it gets a tad sketchy)
-Copious amounts of salt and pepper, preferably in large chunks, pretend you're seasoning fries

For the mayo:
-Half a recipe of homemade mayo (due to the problems of splitting eggs, I'd suggest making the whole recipe and using leftover mayo on sandwiches or to make some scrumptious salad!)
-1/4 c. of sour cream
-Lemon juice to taste
-2-3 tbsp. canned chipotle, cut up

First up, cover the brussel sprout neatly in water

Sorry for the blur folks, shooting with a prime lens while pouring water is tougher than it sounds!
Add a tad of vinegar (approx. 1 tbsp.) agitate for a bit and let soak. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400!

By the time the oven has preheated, drain the sprouts, making sure to not mix the grit that has likely settled on the bottom of your bowl back into the sprouts.

Halve the sprouts, removing the bottom nibs if they've hardened. As mine were freshly broken off the stem, they were soft so I left them on. Mix halved sprouts into a bowl with oil, salt, pepper and paprika, coating evenly.

Spread the sprouts out onto a baking sheet, making sure (as much as possible) that the sprouts don't touch each other. Slide into the oven, put a time on for 15 minutes.

While the sprouts are cooking, make the chipotle mayo ie make the mayo, add the other ingredients and tadaa, you're done there. I don't have a picture of the mayo making process so instead I offer you this picture of pumpkins.

Yay, pumpkins!

Alright, so you should be done with the mayo now and your timer should be ringing your ear off so remove the sprouts from the oven, flip them all and throw them back in for another 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes have elapsed (you can do some dishes in the meantime) remove the sprouts from the oven and sprinkle the minced garlic and lemon zest onto them before throwing them back into the oven for a final 5 minutes. Why the time lapse you may ask?  Because burnt garlic and lemon tastes naaaasty and high temperature cooking like this is not friendly to such small particles of food!

Ok, now your sprouts should be done and look something like THIS!

They should be less blurry though, don't eat blurry brussel sprouts, they might be dangerous.

 Now you can arrange the little critters on a plate with a ramekin of full of chipotle mayo and happily chow down, like so:

Guest star: Elias' hand


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Vibrant Sweet Chilli Jelly

Here's one to keep you warm throughout the winter! A few weeks ago, had you stumbled into my kitchen you'd have found me feverishly stirring a steaming cauldron of capsaicin laden chillies. I was mixing the fiery flavour of an overly generous crop of chillies (six peppers to a plant? more like sixty!) into twenty six little pots of concentrated happiness and warmth. This jelly is both sour and sweet mixing summery chillies with tart apple cider vinegar and some mellowing sugar and pectin to make a thick jelly that goes soooooo well with strong cheese or smokey charcuterie. This recipe is loosely inspired by Nigella Lawson's own approach to chili jelly BUT made somewhat spicier, so if you like hot, you're in the right place. As well as using more chilies and not seeding them, I also used homegrown chilies and they don't tend to all ripen at once. This led me to use a mix of green and orange chilies making for a nice warm orange as opposed to scary red. While I'm at it, I recommend storing the jelly in a wee 125ml jar and accompanying it with chocolate truffles and a bottle of good red wine in some snazzy wrapping to make one nice gift (Christmas anyone?) it'll certainly be appreciated! If you're feeling particularly adventurous, don't hesitate to try the jelly on good vanilla ice cream or with those aforementioned truffles, don't kick it till ya try it!

**On sterilizing: Always make sure to sterilize all of your jars and tools, while I tend to boil everything some people heat it all in the oven at 250, look it up, do it well and right. Botulism is no joke! Also, when canning always make sure to prep more jam jars than required, better to have more ready than to be stuck with not enough!

-675 gr. long fresh red chilli peppers (do shake out some of the seeds so it isn't too overwhelming!)
-225 gr. red peppers (unseeded)
- 3 kg. sugar 
-1800 ml cider vinegar   
-168g (6 oz.) Pectin Powder

1) Prepare jars and tools.
2) Pass chillies, pepper and about half of the vinegar through a blender until if forms a thick mush, if it does not blend, don't hesitate to add some sugar or vinegar to help the machine do its jobs.
3) Empty blender into a large pot, add all ingredients except pectin, bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
4) Once the liquid has started to thicken into a syrupy mixture, reduce the temperature until no longer boiling, add pectin and whisk in vigorously to prevent clumping.
5) Let sit ten minutes or so before carefully ladling the jelly into jars, seal and store.

Most people describe canning as a way to keep a taste of summer for the cold winter months...well let's just say that with this recipe you can keep a bit of the summer heat too!