Cauliflower-Leek Soup and Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts or: How I spent my Halloween

5 Nov

What do you do when it’s Halloween night, you don’t know anyone to go out with, and it’s cold? You blog-cook!

Earlier I mentioned I had some recipes in mind for this week, and I thought I’d hit the ground running with some tasty treats of the vegetable persuasion. Plus I’ve been eating candy all week in honor of the mighty Ween of Hallows, so some veggies should do the trick of kickstarting the old ticker.

The recipes selected:

Dijon-Braised Brussel Sprouts – Smitten Kitchen

Cauliflower Leek Soup – Green Kitchen Stories

At this point no one should be in the dark about these two sites. Smitten Kitchen is all around AMAZING and Green Kitchen Stories is healthy, innovative and delicious. I wonder what the talk about my blog is “Now Entering Flavor Country….sure is on the internet.”

I’ve been wanting to make a fall-ish soup, but John isn’t a fan of my butternut squash soup (“it has too many onions”…that amount DOES NOT EXIST) so I wanted to venture into new soup territory: Cauliflower. It’s tasty, it’s creamy, it’s low carb….blah blah blah. It’s a winner, and it’s a really easy soup to make!  Sauté up all he veggies (unlike the squash, where you roast all the veggies), add water and chicken broth (there is no broth in the original recipe, I added that for my selfish carnivorous ways), boil until everything is tender, immersion blender time, and you’re in the cauliflower business.  What’s nice about this soup is it uses lemon, which really plays well with the creaminess of the cauliflower. I actually added twice the amount of lemon juice, and then added some healthy “dashes” of sumac (that chili powder-looking spice that’s always on the top of good-quality hummus, it has a really great citrus flavor). Simmer for all the flavors to incorporate, top with…wait, are those old bay seasoned pumpkin seeds baked in my very own oven….and some additional sumac. En-Joy.

No, thank you, Trader Joe’s seeded baguette

While the soup was simmering, I began the brussels sprouts (I’m going to take you back in time). Sidenote: I never knew until just now that it was Brussels Sprouts, not Brussel Sprouts (without the extra “s”). Apparently they’re very popular in Brussels, Belgium, and may have been originated there…coincidence? I think so, yes, definitely, that must be it. 100%. So to begin these bad boys, let’s take some olive oil and butter, and let them dance across the pan:

HAVE you ever seen a sexier scene? Two tasty fats melting and mingling in a hot and sizzling pan. Excuse me, I need to wipe my drool away.

And then cut all the ‘sprouts in half, and put in said sexy mixture. The recipe warned about not over-crowding the pan, so it would be a good idea to do this in two batches. No thank you. I’m an impatient cook (as I’m sure you’ve put together), so I made this work!

Some may call it “over-crowding” of the pan. I call it “time-saving” of my evening.

In order to achieve the brown caramelize-y goodness needed from the recipe, I let the ‘sprouts sit in the pan longer since they…ahem…were a bit overcrowded. But anyhoo: top with some sliced shallots, white wine and chicken broth, let simmer until the ‘sprouts are tender (which took longer then the recipe indicated…I must be being punished for my overcrowding of the ‘sprouts, my apologies Smitten Kitchen). Now, take the ‘sprouts out of the braising liquid, and add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to make a thick delicious sauce (olive oil + butter + heavy cream = tasty and not terrible because it’s just a little bit of everything so I’m not going to feel guilty!), and then drizzle over the ‘sprouts. I had to purchase a container of heavy cream, of course, and might I just say again WHY DON’T THEY COME IN SMALLER CONTAINERS! But it’s alright, we’re using it for weekend coffee, I have a few other recipes I can pop it in, and maybe I’ll just make some more Naughty Rhubarb Scones (minus the rhubarb).

Green Brussels Sprouts on a green plate. Erica, you’ve done it again.

And here, my Halloween feast:

Do you see that pumpkin in the background? I won “Most Scary” at a work pumpkin carving party. I won a gift card to the movies. Most. Successful. Halloween. Ever.

A glass of apple cider (which is always really tasty for about 2 sips, and then it’s just too sweet and makes your mouth tacky), and some candy to top off the meal, because, hey, it’s Halloween!

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