I got pickles, homemade vinegar, cured meats, photography lighting equipment, wool socks and a wool sleeping bag for my birthday.
Birthday gifts can be very telling, don’t you think?
I like food. I like to document my food. I like to adventure. And I like to be warm while doing it. There’s really not much more to me. Great job on the presents everyone! But really though, don’t these pictures look nice?!
Can you tell a difference at all?
Because I can!
I’ve been having a very good time playing with my new (and first ever) lighting equipment, acting like a total professional while I cook. Except that I caught my hair in the lighting umbrella not once, but three times. I need a haircut (and to be less clumsy) if I’m going to try and multitask at this high of a level.
Our kitchen is on the second floor and has always been weird and dim with minimal windows, so having these bright white lights on while slicing and dicing is a-okay with me. I’m fairly certain cooking by bright lights will take away the majority of my Wisconsin winter blues. I’ll get to play in fake sunshine after the sun goes down at exactly 4:32 p.m. Not too shabby. I just need someone around to keep me from walking into things.
In other birthday news, I had a fabulous birthday weekend. I took two days off from work because I’m a bit of a birthday brat and I was lucky enough to squeeze pretty much every single person I love into the span of four days. We traveled all over the state wining and dining, spending time with both my and Carrot’s side of the family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely exhausted, but it was such a wonderful time filled with hugs and smiles and laughter and booze and absolutely insane(ly painful at times) amounts of food.
The greatest (of many good) meal(s) was on my actual birthday. My Carrot knows how I like to be spoiled on my birthday and he won the best husband award by taking me out to a restaurant I’ve been dying to try for (literally) years. We devoured four perfect courses and drank two cocktails each. Our seats at the dimly lit bar were super romantic with a view of everything. I love to observe the casual restaurant interactions taking place all around me. The smile on my face when we left was ridiculous I’m sure.
We got home from all the weekend adventures yesterday and I didn’t even want to look at food. I wanted to ignore food for the better part of the day and give my bloated tummy a rest. Then, after several hours of disregarding all the snacks in the house I wanted something delicious, but light. Despite having a sauce with butter in the name, this salad is light and refreshing with so much citrus and just enough bitterness from the charred Brussels and grapefruit zest. The toasted walnuts bring an earthiness and crunch without feeling heavy. This creation is a new fave and should become probably become a staple on your November table. Your family won’t know what hit them.
How about you all? How were your weekends? I know there was a lot of heavy stuff in the news. I hope you and your loved ones are well. And if they are, I hope you are holding them tight.
Lots of love and light,
BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH GRAPEFRUIT BUTTER SAUCE
Takes 50 minutes
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large red grapefruit
2 teaspoons sugar
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons champagne (or white wine) vinegar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper until well-coated. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes until crisp and well-browned. Shake the pan after 20 minutes of roasting for more even browning.
While the Brussels sprouts roast, make the butter sauce. Juice the grapefruit and then strain to remove all seeds. You should end up with about 1/2 cup. Reserve 1 teaspoon freshly, finely grated grapefruit zest.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon grapefruit zest. Cook over medium heat until reduced to a thick syrup. This will take about 10 minutes, but watch and stir every couple of minutes.
In a second small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, shallot and vinegar. Simmer gently over low heat until reduced by half. Add cream and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add butter a tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly and adding each piece before the previous one has been completely incorporated. Once butter has all been incorporated and the sauce is smooth and creamy, add grapefruit gastrique (that grapefruit juice and sugar mixture that you let reduce down) and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place warm, crispy Brussels sprouts with toasted walnuts on a plate or bowl and pour sauce evenly over them. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and remaining grapefruit zest.
Try to share. I’m serious. I did not want to share.