Video Demo: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

A favorite Thanksgiving side dish of mine. Salty bacon, acid from the cider vinegar, and a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup, with shallots – that are good with anything.

  • Bacon, 5 slices, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • Brussels Sprouts, about 30 ea
  • Shallot, 2 ea, minced
  • Maple Syrup, 2 tbl
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 tbl

Cook bacon until crispy, reserve bacon fat. Cut stem from sprouts, cut in half, and par cook in salted boiling water. Chill in ice bath, and remove from water. Heat bacon fat over medium heat. Dry off your sprouts very well or they will splatter in the pan and make a tremendous mess. sear until nicely brown, then flip the sprouts, add the shallot, and cook until the shallot is translucent and the sprouts are brown on both sides. Add maple syrup and cider vinegar to deglaze the pan, and then continue to cook reducing the liquid until it is syrupy. Turn off heat, add bacon to pan and toss to coat.

Par cooked sprouts being seared in bacon fat

Video Demo: How to make an Omelet | Kale and Mushroom Omelet

Here is a step by step video on how to make a basic omelet. The technique takes a few tries before you perfect it, but becomes second nature quickly. The hardest part I think, is knowing when to flip, not the flip itself. You can add anything you like, I’ve kept it simple here for the sake of focusing on the technique, rather than creativity.

  • Eggs, 3 ea
  • Butter, ~1 tbl
  • Button Mushrooms, 1 ea, very small dice
  • Kale, 1/4 cup, chopped finely
  • Parmesan Cheese, ~1/4 cup
  • Zhug (optional, for garnish)

Heat pan over medium heat, add butter, and saute mushrooms until tender, seasoning with salt. Add kale and saute one minute. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork, then add to pan. Turn heat to medium low, and, with a rubber spatula, lift the sides of the cooked egg and allow the runny egg to go underneath and cook. Keep doing this, tilting the pan and lifting with the spatula until there is no more runny egg. Continue to leave the omelet in the pan over medium low heat, until it becomes very loose in the pan, and flip to cook the other side. Don’t try to flip it if it doesn’t feel loose enough in the pan. Once flipped, turn off the heat, and add cheese to one side, then, using the spatula, be very careful to slowly fold the omelet in half. If you are careless, it will break at the “seam.” Plate up and garnish with zug, pesto, or anything else you like.

The finished omelet, topped with zhug

Video Demo: Carrot Soup with Ginger, Chile, and Fish Sauce

Another simple fall/winter soup recipe demo video. Carrots are relatively cheap so this is an approachable low budget option. Fish sauce is one of those ingredients that makes a dish stand out but is hard for people to identify. I like to use it as my secret ingredient. I have garnished with sour cream and zhug. You can add something with texture if you want, or some fresh cilantro.

  • Carrots, 10 ea, small dice
  • Coconut oil, 2 tbl
  • Red Onion, 1 ea, julienne or small dice
  • Garlic, 6 cloves, minced
  • Ginger, 1-inch piece, peeled, and grated
  • Red Chile, 1 ea, minced
  • Curry Powder, 1 heaping tbl
  • Chicken Stock, about 5 cups
  • Coconut Cream, 16 oz
  • Fish Sauce, 1tbl+

Start by heating coconut oil on medium high heat, and saute carrots until browning begins. Add red onion, sweat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red chile. Saute for another 2 minutes, then add the chicken stock, then coconut cream. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes to ensure everything is tender. Next, puree the soup in batches if using a standing blender, or with an immersion blender. Season with salt as needed, as well as with more chicken stock if the soup is too thick. You can add additional fish sauce as a seasoning agent to add even more flavor.

Video Demo: Pan Fried Green Beans with Smoked Paprika

A very simple recipe, just a handful of ingredients, any of which you may already have on hand! This recipe uses a little more oil than usual to get that “fried” preparation.

  • Green Beans, about 30ea, washed
  • Onion, 1/4ea, julienned
  • Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
  • Smoked Paprika, ~1tbl
  • Olive Oil, ~3tbl – enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan
  • Salt

With heat on high, add the olive oil to the pan and cook the beans until wilted and brown, about 6 minutes, seasoning with salt. Add the onion, then after a minute the garlic, and continue to cook until the onion is soft. Turn the heat off, and add the paprika to the hot pan. The hot oil will toast the spice and it should smell very aromatic. Set aside and serve warm.

Side note – If you leave the pan on the heat for too long the paprika may burn and become very bitter.

Chipotle Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • Eggs, 8 ea
  • Mayonnaise 2 tbl
  • Mustard 1 tbl
  • Chipotle Purée, 2 tbl
  • Chives, Smoke Paprika for garnish

Begin by hard boiling the eggs. The way I do this is as follows: Put eggs in saucepot in COLD water. Turn heat on high. Once the water begins a steady hard boil, set a timer for 8 minutes. Once the eight minutes has expired, transfer to an ice bath. Once cool, peel the shells off.

Cut the eggs in half and separate the yolks from the whites. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, chipotle puree, and season with salt and peppers to taste. Once mixture is smooth, fill the egg halves with mixture. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, and then garnish with chives cut on a bias.

World Cuisine – Chorizo Stew

I used to work at a resort for a chef who was well versed in various types of world cuisine. We had a version of this dish on the menu regularly as the resort was located in the state of Washington and we had nearly an endless supply of fresh seafood. Usually we would add crab legs, but I had purchased these high quality mussel meats a while back and had wanted to use them up in something. This seemed like a great option for them. I had thought about purchasing some fresh mussels too, because I think it looks better and is more authentic, but I live in an inland state and did not feel it was necessary. Many variations of this kind of recipe will include saffron, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I left it out. And a note about the wine, make sure it’s white and on the drier side. Anything you like to drink using those guidelines will go well in this recipe. Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 links chorizo
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, white parts chopped
  • 3 heaping tbl smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chile de arbol
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 bottle dry white wine
  • 32oz chicken stock, low sodium
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 heaping cup mussel meats
  • chives, garnish
  • sour cream, garnish
  • salt

Begin by placing a large saucepot on medium heat. Remove the chorizo(1) from the casing and start to saute and brown. When that is about half cooked, add your onions(2), and scallion whites(3) to the pot. Continue to saute for another 4-5 minutes until the onions are nice and soft. In the second picture you can see ‘fond.’ Fond is caramelization and contributes immensely to the finished flavor of the dish. You can add some water to the pan if you’re worried about it burning. Add the paprika(4) and chile de arbol(5), and toast the spices for one minute. Then, add the garlic(6) and saute for another minute. Add the tomato paste(7) and stir well, and continue to cook for two more minutes. The mixture will be quite thick and be sure to stir often so as not to burn it. Next, add your wine(8). You’ll want to cook this for awhile to reduce and concentrate flavor, and also to burn off the alcohol. Simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add your chicken stock(9) and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Add your diced potatoes(10), and heat until they’re about three quarters done. Add your corn(11) and mussel meats(12). Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Turn off the heat and enjoy! Garnish with sour cream and chives, or the green parts of your scallions. The broth should be rather intense so the sour cream is a nice way to balance that out. This soup will keep well and continue to get better the longer that it sits in the fridge.

Stuffed and Baked Peppers!

In an effort to cook meals ahead of time for eating through the busier days of my week, I had an idea to make stuffed peppers. Not only are they delicious, but filling, and versatile.

In the picture we’ve got red bell peppers, the mirepoix (celery, carrot, and onion), as well as garlic, apples, feta cheese, organic ground turkey, pancetta, and cooked lentils. Clean up your peppers by cutting them in half and then pulling out the stem, seeds, and white pith.

With a little olive oil, start by sweating the pancetta on a medium low heat. You want to slowly render the fat from the pancetta without burning it. Then add your carrots, onion, celery, apple, and garlic. Add some salt, pepper if you like, and any all purpose seasoning of your choosing if you have one on hand. I used a garlic and herb seasoning that went well with this recipe. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add your cooked lentils and stir them to coat in the flavorful oil. Then, add about two tablespoons of smoked paprika. After toasting the mixture with the paprika for about two minutes, take off the heat to cool down.

Once the mixture is cool, add and mix well into your ground turkey mixture. Season the mixture with a little more salt as the ground meat will need some. Once this mixture is well combined, you’re going to begin stuffing your peppers. Fill each pepper with a heaping amount of filling. This will shrink a little bit. Bake the peppers at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the peppers are cooked through. If you’re unsure, you can use a foodsafe thermometer and check to see that they have reached 165F near the center.

Par baked peppers

Next, youll want to top them with a good amount of feta cheese, and broil them to perfection. This is the best part as the cheese browns, and they are hot and ready to eat!

https://www.instagram.com/alexmealpreps/

These will keep well for about 3-4 days in the fridge, and make for a filling meal at any point during the day. They travel and heat up well if you’re taking them to work. There is a little work involved, but they taste great, and are a great low budget option if that’s what you’re after.