November 25, 2019

Dear friends,

What are you thankful for this year? We may have to dig deep to find a bright spot on Turkey Day 2019. The world seems to be in ugly mode lately.

I will not contribute to the din. I will simply supply the side dish, bright-green Brussels sprouts sautéed until tender and tumbled in a spicy-sweet glaze. Did I mention there’s bacon?

After I created the recipe, as I was writing this column, I heard Tony mutter, “The best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever eaten.” I looked over at his plate. He had sautéed tofu pillows in the leftover sauce and dumped everything, including the Brussels sprouts, over steamed rice.

So there you have it: Maybe the best Brussels sprouts. Maybe the best tofu stir fry. At any rate, we both wish you the best possible Thanksgiving.

HOT HONEY BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp. hot bean paste ( or sub Sriracha)
1 tbsp. Szechuan chile oil or less if delicate palates are involved
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 slices thick-cut bacon
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Trim and wash sprouts. Cut in halves through stem. Set aside.

In a small lidded jar, combine honey, hot bean paste, chile oil, soy sauce and vinegar. Mix well. Set aside.

In a large, heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal), fry bacon until very crisp. Drain on paper towels. Add the vegetable oil to the drippings in the skillet. When hot, add Brussels sprouts, mostly cut sides down. Cover and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until cut sides are brown and sprouts are almost tender.

Stir the honey mixture again and add half to the skillet, reserving rest for another batch of sprouts. Crank heat to medium-high and stir fry until Brussels sprouts are tender and glazed with sauce, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Mound glazed sprouts on a serving plate or in a shallow bowl. Crumble bacon and sprinkle over top. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

TIDBITS
After I wrote about aging beef at home last week, my friend, Martha, sent me a video of her “favorite wry cook, Chef John of FoodWishes.com.” He covers dry aging in the You Tube video and concludes it’s not worth it. You can check it out here:

What really blew my mind, though, is that someone besides me has discovered Chef John. I love this guy and his cooking videos. He obviously is an old hand who has seen it all in the kitchen and narrates his recipes in a world-weary voice. His techniques are impeccable but what sets him apart are his monotone asides that poke fun at everything.

Chef John can be found at http://www.foodwishes.com. His home page says he is the most popular chef on You Tube. I don’t know about that, but he should be.

THE MAILBAG
From Noreen S.:
For Thanksgiving dinner, I often will toss in a new recipe along with the standards. Last year I added a Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries. It added a nice contrast. For several years now I have added a corn pudding dish that has become a must-have. It’s comfort food to the extreme. It’s a simple toss-and-mix recipe. To cut down on the salt, I use frozen corn and light sour cream.

CORN PUDDING
1 package (8 1/2 oz.) corn muffin mix
1/2 cup (8 tbsp.) softened butter
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 can (15 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained. (I use about 2 cups of thawed frozen corn)
1 can (14 oz.) creamed corn

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine corn muffin mix, butter, eggs, sour cream and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Gently fold in canned corn and frozen (thawed) corn.

Pour into the baking dish and bake 40 to 50 minutes, until center is set.

Dear Noreen:
Corn pudding is a favorite of mine but, oddly, my family never serves it. Maybe it’s time to change that.

From Maryann B.:
For my hubby, a serious carnivore, all meat must be grilled. And all beef must be rare. A friend astonished him with a near-perfect steak cooked and held at rare temp using sous vide techniques…. and then finished on the grill. Santa will be bringing sous vide to our house soon.

Dear Maryann:
Thanks for weighing in. Your husband’s reaction makes me want to try it now.

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