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Get ready for my first Thanksgiving recipe post! I will be sharing Thanksgiving recipes here and there from now until Turkey Day. I actually made this side dish last year because I wanted to introduce some more inventive recipes to the traditional spread. I was browsing through Epicurious’ top-rated Thanksgiving recipes and found this recipe for Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots from Bon Appetit.

The preparation is a little different than your traditional brussels sprouts recipe. Instead of cooking them whole or halved, you cut them into shreds. I like this because they seem more cabbage-like and visually help those who aren’t so sure about brussels sprouts. The caramelized shallots add so much to this dish and the apple cider really brightens the overall flavor.

I don’t really understand how brussels sprouts got such a bad rap? I was interested in how they’d be received by my family. (Please note that I wrote this post after I made the dish last year. It’s been waiting a whole year to be published!) The verdict? My mom claims she’s still not a fan (oh well). My grandmother, who is a cabbage lover but never liked brussels sprouts because she had only ever tried the frozen ones, decided that she is a fan. My dad and I, who’ve always liked them, enjoyed this recipe. Everyone at the table at least gave them a try so that’s all I could ask.

If you are a brussels sprouts love this is a great preparation variation to try.

One Year Ago: Sausage, Cheese and Basil Lasagna

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Shallots
(Recipe source Bon Appetit, November 2007)

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water

Directions:

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.

Cut brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add sprouts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until brown at edges, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, about 3 more minutes. Add shallots and mix to combine.

Yield: 8-10 servings

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I can’t even tell you how many times Brandon has asked me to make fried green tomatoes. And it’s not that I don’t love fried green tomatoes, I just don’t fry foods at home. I finally caved when Brandon came home with green tomatoes from his brother’s garden and presented me with this recipe from his Garden and Gun magazine. (Note, if you haven’t read Garden and Gun you must pick up a copy. It is a great magazine!)

I decided to go all out and top them with pimento cheese. Fried green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese were one of the passed hors d’oeuvres at our wedding and were a huge hit.

I was really surprised by how easy these were to make. I fried them in my cast iron skillet. It was relatively painless and didn’t leave the house smelling “fried.” I was very pleased with the final result – the tomatoes were perfectly crispy on the outside and had a great texture on the inside. The pimento cheese topping really took them up another notch!

I admit that I am planning on making these again soon for fried green tomato BLT’s and I can’t wait! Take advantage of tomato season and give these a try!

One Year Ago: Tomato Pie (one of my ALL TIME favorites!!!)

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese
(Recipe source Garden and Gun for tomatoes and Bakin’ and Eggs for pimento cheese)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TOMATOES
4 to 6 green tomatoes, sliced
2 cups buttermilk (not fat free)
2 large eggs
2 cups White Lily (self-rising) flour mixed
1 cup stone-ground (medium) cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Generous pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups canola oil mixed with
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (I just used canola oil!)

FOR THE PIMENTO CHEESE
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pimentos (or chopped roasted red peppers)
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch garlic powder (if desired)

Directions:

FOR THE TOMATOES
Place sliced tomatoes in colander. Salt lightly, and let sit for about 5 minutes to help draw out moisture. Rinse under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.

Prepare wash by mixing buttermilk and eggs. Prepare dredge by mixing flour, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Working one at a time, completely coat each tomato slice in the wash and then in the dredge, gently shaking off excess.

In a cast-iron skillet over high heat, bring butter and canola oil to 350 degrees (use a candy thermometer). Reduce heat to stabilize. Working a few slices at a time, fry the tomatoes until golden brown, turning only once (about 3 to 4 minutes total). Transfer each batch to drain on brown paper bags or paper towels.

FOR THE PIMENTO CHEESE
Mix together cheese, mayo, pimentos, cayenne, salt, pepper and garlic powder if using. Stir together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 first course or side dish servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 17

I was so excited to prepare our Thanksgiving feast with my dad this year. It’s rare that we have the chance to be together in the kitchen and we’ve never cooked the Thanksgiving meal together. This was the first year that Thanksgiving was at my parent’s house instead of my grandmother’s house and while Brandon was in law school we stayed in Birmingham for Thanksgiving due to finals. My mom pitched in with two killer desserts – Sweet Potato Pecan Pie and Apple Cranberry Pie.

We emailed back and forth about the menu for several weeks. We had the main dishes set but wanted to mix things up with the side dishes. I spotted these Creamed Leeks on the Epicurious Thanksgiving Guide and thought they sounded like the perfect accompaniment to our meal. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never worked with leeks before and I was oh so thankful that my dad had taken to the time to watch a video of the test kitchen director cleaning and preparing the leeks for this recipe.

I wasn’t sure how these would go over with the dinner crowd but I was happy to find that they were extremely well-received. I did get several comments on what a different side dish it was (which was what I was going for!) but everyone enjoyed them – some even went back for seconds.

These Creamed Leeks would be a fabulous side dish to any holiday meal!

Creamed Leeks
(Recipe source Gourmet, November 2006)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 lb leeks, root ends trimmed
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from a country loaf, crusts discarded)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided
6 tablespoons(3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (we had other things going on in the oven and couldn’t have the temperature that high so we cooked them a little longer at a lower temperature).

Cut each leek into an 8-inch length, measuring from root end, and halve lengthwise. Then cut crosswise into roughly 1 1/2-inch pieces, you should have about 8 cups). Wash leek pieces in a large bowl of cold water, agitating them, then lift out and transfer to another bowl. Repeat with clean water, then drain leeks well. Watch this video if you have never worked with leeks before.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and pale golden. This should take around 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover the skillet but leave the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Cook for about 12 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer leeks to a gratin dish. Slowly pour cream over leeks and scatter bread crumbs on top. Bake for about 15 minutes, until cream is bubbling and thickened and crumbs are golden brown.

*Notes:
- Bread crumbs can be cooked 1 day ahead, cooled completely uncovered and kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Scatter bread crumbs over leeks just before baking.
- Leeks can be cooked and assembled in dish with cream (but not sprinkled with crumbs) 1 day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered.


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