Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Candied Bacon and Cranberries

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Candied Bacon

Life, right? I had the best intentions of sharing this recipe with you all before the holidays and then whoooooosh there they went. But there is no reason why Brussels sprouts and candied bacon can’t happen now.

If you’ve not jumped on the raw Brussels sprouts bandwagon I hope this salad can convince you. They are great in just about any salad. They hold up well which I always see as a major salad bonus. When slicing my tool of choice is the mandolin (this one is my favorite). When candied bacon isn’t an option I also like to combine some frilly shaved Brussels sprouts with white beans or chickpeas. I always find a crumble of cheese like feta or flecks of Parmesan is nice and toss it all together with a shallot vinaigrette or just lemon and olive oil.

You can find the recipe on the Electrolux site.

Before you leave though can we get real for a moment? I mean I know salads are real but I wanted to check in with you and see how you are feeling about this week? It’s kind of a tough one isn’t it? Last week on my Insta-story I sat with you in a puddle of my honesty and sought your guidance. The only question I could muster was, “What can we do?” What can we do in a world where it feels like hate and division are winning? How can we be a stronger voice for love, peace, and grace in this broken place filled with us; broken people?

Many of you are in the same place I am. Hurting, broken, and at a loss for what we can do to help our country heal. We are in this together and together we can do great things.

There are many great and beautiful things happening right now. Let’s talk about those things. Let’s focus on those things.

Here are a few of my responses to the question, “What can I do?”

First of all I have a renewed passion for gathering people at our table. Long lingering meals where people feel at home in ours. Where one meal trickles on to the next and the food just keeps filling the table. Sometimes this feels too small but I’m constantly reminded of the power of the table and I plan to continue to further invest in that mission.

“We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent.” Bryan Stevenson writes this in his book, Just Mercy. He continues. “I began thinking about what would happen if we all just acknowledged our brokenness, if we owned up to our weaknesses, our deficits, our biases, our fears. Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t want to kill the broken among us who have killed others.” I want to continue to be open in my brokenness and believe in my own healing and forgiveness so I can do the same for others. We are all broken and I believe love to be the only salve.

I get so excited about fostering the community that this site built. Some of you might come here just for the recipes and that’s totally fine, you are welcome. But it’s always been more than that for me. This used to simply be my place of rest and light while deep in the throes of raising young children. It was where my creativity lived while scrubbing crusted cereal off the floors. It was the happy place my mind wandered to while reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the 1,000th time. Part of my day is still spent scrubbing crusty cereal off the floor but they’re also quite capable of doing that themselves. All of that to say now I feel more able to help and serve you all. One of my main goals in this place has always been to inspire you to get food on the table and to enjoy it; the food, the process, all of it. Finding the beauty in the everyday as always been a part of my mission through the recipes, words, and images that live on the site. I’m ready and excited for more of that and to make this place more helpful for you.

The current political climate has ripped the scales from my eyes and revealed the work that needs to be done. I’m sorry for those who have been hurting for a long time while I sat by doing and saying nothing. No more. A friend of mine said the other night that she is tired of cowering and is ready to take up more space in this world. I love that. My voice will be louder and I will take up more space for the purpose of loving and serving the broken (all of us).

There are many incredible organizations to give to and that is, of course, a wonderful action to take right now. Many of you know that a portion of our each sale from our shop goes directly to an organization that we love, First Aid Arts. Right now my heart is bursting at the seams to tell you about a fundraiser that my sweet oldest son has come up with. After reading about mosquitos and how they are the deadliest animal on the planet he was moved to action. He has set a goal to raise $2,000 which will be enough money to provide 2,000 (!!) mosquito nets for families around the world. I’ll be sharing more about this as we continue to think through our fundraising plans. In the meantime feel free to check out his amazing website he and Gabe made. You guys, love bombs are bursting all over the place!! This, this gives me so much hope and happy, gushy feelings.

Finally, in that Insta-story I mentioned earlier, my new friend Shaina from Shaina Saw had the amazing idea of flooding the Internet with images of love on Friday (or maybe all week). She suggests “family, weddings, children, accomplishments, stores. Whatever love means to you. All day. We don’t buy in to the negativity. We project the values we hope to see in our country.” Damn. You guys are amazing. I love this! Who’s in? We’re using the hashtag #sharethegood so we can all follow the love train. Let’s let that be the prevailing message.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Candied Bacon

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Candied Bacon and Cranberries

Find the recipe here.

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Cauliflower Tabouli

Cauliflower Tabouli

Gabe recently suggested we come up with some sort of rating system for our dinners. Not as a way of judging my successes and failures in the kitchen but rather to celebrate the rare times when everyone cleans their plate. Because it is just that; rare.

Each member of the family represents a star or point so if everyone liked the meal we could say it’s a five-star meal. Bonus points for healthy recipes because you know, it’s not too hard to please everyone with pizza – actually even that is a battle (unless it’s the White Pie with Bacon at Delancey – we all agree on our love for that pizza).

Five-star meals are few and far between in our family. Maybe yours too? This person over here doesn’t like onions (and just like that there goes about 90% of what I cook), over here we have the self-proclaimed picky eater who will painstakingly pick out anything green, and this one will not like it unless it’s candy coated or a bowl of rice and beans. Gabe, fortunately is easy to please or he just keeps quiet. Either way I’m okay with it. When he suggested said rating system it was after the surprising victory of a five-star meal with loads of extra bonus points for being extremely healthful (so much green stuff)!

Cauliflower Tabouli Cauliflower Tabouli

I rarely let my one or two star scores keep me from cooking the food I want or feel my family needs but as I’m sure many of you can relate to, it is tiring cooking for a tough crowd. So we celebrate the meals that leave us all satisfied and I tuck away their cheers and kind words for the many other days when the answer  to “what’s for dinner?” is met with grimaces and tears.

Our most recent victory came from Tess Master’s latest book, The Perfect Blend. You guys, I’ll be honest, I am not one to get behind super “healthy” eating. I don’t jump on the new year’s resolution band wagon, I steer clear of paleo, and am never one to shy away from butter. My idea of healthful eating is consuming real food made from real ingredients and if sometimes a few Cool Ranch Doritos get in there – well, it’s not the end of the world. But I found myself folding down the corner of so many recipes in Tess’ book because they are unique, creative and frankly they just sound delicious.

I have never before been tempted to turn cauliflower into rice but the stunning image and long list of colorful ingredients in Tess’ Tricked-Up Tabouli convinced me. Because I’m terrible at following a recipe I didn’t do exactly as she said but I loved the result. I used what I had on hand and followed the idea and served the salad alongside chicken kofta meatballs with a feta and yogurt sauce (I’ll share that recipe soon). Okay and yes, I also made pita. Plates were clean. I knew the meatballs and the pita would be a winner but the salad received glowing praises as well.

The piles of herbs and mix of color and texture lured me in. She added hemp seeds but I didn’t have any on hand, I also think I quadrupled the amount of dill and definitely added the pickle. Next time I’ll throw in chickpeas even though Ivy claims those are her worst enemy bean. Hey, that’s fine, I’m happy with four stars.

Cauliflower Tabouli Cauliflower Tabouli

Cauliflower Tabouli

From The Perfect Blend by Tess Masters

 

I’ve kept Tess’ original ingredients as written but as I mentioned I played around with the quantities of things a bit based on what I had in my kitchen (I also didn’t bother seeding the tomatoes or cucumber). I left out the hemp seeds, used less parsley, more dill and didn’t use the allspice.

 

From Tess: With cauliflower rice stepping in for cracked wheat, the classic Middle Eastern salad goes raw and grain-free. Loaded with hydrating, alkaline ingredients, this version is a cleansing superstar. Its aromatic elements—herbs, allspice, and lemon zest—enliven the sweet fruits and vegetables. The pickles come in with crunch, tanginess, and probiotics; the red pepper flakes stimulate digestion and help flush your system. For the most balanced flavor profile, consume the tabouli as soon as it’s dressed. If you’re not serving it right away, chill the salad and the dressing separately, and combine just when you’re ready to serve.

 

SERVES 6 TO 8;

DRESSING MAKES 3⁄4 CUP (180ML)

 

1⁄2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

 

4 cups (200g) firmly packed finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (about 4 large bunches)

 

2 cups (340g) seeded and diced tomato

 

2 cups (300g) peeled, seeded, and diced English cucumber

 

1 cup (140g) ribbed, seeded, and diced red bell pepper

 

1 cup (80g) finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)

 

1⁄2 cup (75g) diced red onion, plus more to taste

 

1⁄2 cup (20g) firmly packed finely chopped mint

 

2 tablespoons finely chopped dill

 

1⁄2 cup (70g) shelled hemp seeds

 

1 teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste

 

1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground

 

black pepper, plus more to taste

 

dressing

 

1⁄3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil

 

1⁄4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

 

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

 

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)

 

3⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice, plus more to taste

 

optional boosters

 

1 1⁄2 cups (270g) cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce/425g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

 

1⁄2 cup (80g) diced dill pickle

 

1⁄8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

 

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until finely minced. The cauliflower ‘rice’ will resemble couscous. You should have about 3 cups.

 

In a large bowl combine the cauliflower, parsley, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, red onion, mint, dill, and hemp seeds. Add to that any boosters you’d like. I highly recommend the addition of pickle.

 

Tess suggests: To make the dressing, throw the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, allspice, and the red pepper flake booster into your blender and blast on high for about 30 seconds, until the dressing is emulsified and the garlic has been completely pulverized. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to evenly combine. Add the salt and pepper and tweak the lemon juice, allspice, salt, and pepper to taste.

 

Instead of using the blender I drizzled the olive oil and lemon juice directly over the bowl of ingredients then simply tossed it all together. I forgot to add the garlic but next time will not make the same mistake. Add the salt and pepper then taste and adjust as needed.

 

Serve immediately for the best flavor. Leftovers will keep in the fridge but the vegetables will leach water so it’s best to eat it all right away.

 

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