Tag Archives: Bacon

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hard Cider

 

Growing up, I didn’t eat a variety of vegetables. Most of my green vegetable consumption consisted of iceberg lettuce smothered in ranch dressing or green beans out of a can sprinkled with salt. Oh, and steamed broccoli was my side dish of choice going out. I just wasn’t exposed to much.

 

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But then I went away for college and all that changed. I ate asparagus, zucchini, artichokes, spinach. So many new foods and so many new preparations! I’m pretty sure I grew up thinking that I disliked vegetables, but now I firmly believe that one much taste a food in a variety of different preparations before concluding you actually dislike the food itself. One vegetable I think many dislike is the Brussels sprout. I don’t blame people for disliking it. It’s bitter and smells a little like gym sock, especially when steamed. But I don’t steam my Brussels sprouts. No, the tiny cabbage has become one of my favorite cruciferous vegetables (steamed broccoli with melted butter and salt still wins), but I either roast or braise mine! And when you pair Brussels sprouts with the salty savoriness of bacon and sweet tang of hard cider, you’ve got a great fall side dish! And just in time for the weather to turn cold. Smile

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Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hard Cider

Serves 2-4

1 lb Brussels sprouts
3 large shallots, sliced
3 large rashers of bacon, chopped
1/2 bottle of hard cider
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and sliced shallots and allow the bacon fat to render out and the shallots to become soft and fragrant.

In the meantime, using a knife or a slicing blade on a food processor, slice the Brussels sprouts into shreds.

When the shallots are soft and bacon fat fairly well rendered out, turn the heat up to medium-high and add the shredded sprouts. Saute for several minutes at this higher heat. When the sprouts are bright green (after about 3-5 minutes), pour in the hard cider, stir, and allow to cook down until there isn’t any cider pooling in the pan (a few more minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.

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Is there any food you disliked growing up but learned to love?

Fear not the bacon!

 

Notice anything different? I’m finally on my own domain! I also have a new header! So check it out if you’re reading this from an email or RSS feed!

 

Today I skipped choir rehearsal to stay home and hang out with Edgar, who was home sick, but able to be up and about by the time I got home. I didn’t feel like putting a lot of effort into dinner, so I got the idea (after watching Edgar pull out the eggs and bacon) to wilt some rainbow chard and top it with egg and bacon. Then I had the bright idea to use bacon fat to cook the spinach!

Did you know I keep bacon fat in an old honey jar in my fridge? This is about five months’ worth of grease. Lovely, huh? It lasts for eons in the fridge.

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I obviously don’t use it much, just like I don’t use butter all that much. I really should, though. Did you know that bacon fat has a greater percentage of unsaturated fats and a lower percentage of saturated fats than butter? Plus, bacon grease is cheap to acquire and imparts a lot of flavor! It’s certainly nowhere near being a considered a health food, but really, fear not the bacon! I rendered this stuff from the uncured bacon I get from Paidom.

So back to dinner. I sauteed the chard in the bacon grease and sprinkled it with parmesan cheese, then added some crisp bacon pieces, and topped it all with an over-medium egg I fried in about a teaspoon of more bacon grease. Yummm!!

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Quick and easy. A simplified Southern dinner!

 

How do you feel about bacon and using bacon grease?

Bacon and Avocado go together like Peanut Butter and Banana. Plus! The Question of Alcohol

 

Speaking of bacon…

It makes the perfect salad.

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I’ve said before that I’m not big on salad, but just like I prefer nutty/fruity/cheesy salads, I LOVE avocado-y/bacon-y salads!

This baby had romaine, spinach, a boiled egg, BACON, avocado, some bits of deli turkey, parmesan, and some pomegranate arils for a sweet crunch.

I guess some would call this something of a cobb salad. Or a turkey club sandwich. I call it an awesome lunch. Fo shizz.

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30 Day Challenge
Day 3: What are your views on drugs and alcohol?

Hmm, well this being a healthy living-oriented blog, I would imagine my response to drugs would be pretty cut-and-dry. Obviously anything illegal I’d consider a no-no on many levels.

I also try to limit any other pharmaceuticals. It’s not that I have a moral issue with them, but I don’t think they should be the primary fix for a problem. I’d rather address health issues by natural means than pop a pill. Plus, (and I’ve heard rumors that it’s because I’m a redhead) I build resistance to medications VERY quickly. If I take ibuprofen three times in one week, by the third time, it doesn’t really work anymore. And acetaminophen and asprin have never really worked on me. I like to look at pharmaceuticals as “last resorts” or “supplements” when natural means (nutrition, rest, etc.) aren’t enough.

When it comes to alcohol, I see things a little differently.

I grew up in a family that didn’t drink ever. And that’s alright. I never felt the urge to drink growing up. I don’t believe that drinking is a sin, but drinking can be a habit that spirals out of control quite easily. It can be controlling without really taking on the title of an “addiction.” Just like I easily go overboard with sugar and “dry carbs,” someone else can go overboard on occasion with alcohol. Or just like someone who eats emotionally, one can drink to drown their sorrows. Neither of which I recommend.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called, The Screwtape Letters, which is entirely written in the form of one “head demon” (Screwtape) writing letters to a lesser demon (Wormwood) as to how he can successfully derail a particular man away from God. When I first read the book, this particular passage struck me as uniquely profound, and I still refer to it when explaining my stance on the use of alcohol:

“You are much more likely to make your man a sound drunkard by pressing drink on him as an anodyne when he is dull and weary than by encouraging him to use it as a means of merriment among his friends when he is happy and expansive. Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on [God]’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it was His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable.”

I had my first “drink” while visiting an Episcopal church while in college. They held communion every Sunday and always used real wine.

I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to “swig” wine, and my throat burned for quite a while.

Besides that time, when I first started getting interested in cooking I decided to start experimenting with cooking wine. Yes, the vile, sodium-laden abomination toward grapes. But hey, we start somewhere, right? I didn’t care to drink before the age of 21, and when I did turn 21, I make it my personal mission NOT to go drinking to celebrate my birthday, simply because I think that’s overrated and cliché. I did have my first “real” drink about 2 weeks before my 21st birthday while hosting a fancy roast beef Sunday dinner with my roommate. I used a Cabernet Sauvignon to braise the meat, and we also served it with dinner. I could barely drink it. I forced down four tiny sips and gave the rest to Edgar! The roast was amazing, though. 😉

Since then I’ve had and enjoyed various different types of wines and tasted a few weird beers (pumpkin ale, anyone?) more out of culinary curiosity. I have developed a bit of a taste toward some wines, but I usually can’t finish a whole 6 oz glass, and that’s perfectly alright with me. I think I prefer cooking with it, but I do enjoy it occasionally as a drink when the mood strikes, which happens maybe once a month. And in the spirit of my C.S. Lewis quote, it’s only when I’m enjoying relaxed merriment with a very small group of very close friends or in the comfort of a cozy evening with Edgar. If anything, having to sip a drink slowly helps me slooooow dooooown and enjoy the moment instead of being a spastic hostess. Hah!

 

Did you grow up in a house where alcohol was tolerated? Encouraged? Discouraged?

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