Tag Archives: chili sauce

Asian Brussel Sprouts

Tomorrow is my favorite and only brother’s birthday.  I tease him because we are so different yet our lives seem to run along the same parallels.  Tommy is wonderful.  He rescues me when my dishwasher is falling out of the wall and when my life is falling apart.  He often walks the dog and constantly walks with me through Scripture.  He gives me strength to get up…the kind of strength needed when life knocks you down so hard you can’t breathe.  He doesn’t simply say  “C’mon.  Get over it.”   No.  And he doesn’t judge.  He gently offers two hands to lift me up out of the secluded corners of pain; he softly brushes off the mud of hard knocks and always has soothing words and hope when my soul has been hurt and buffeted.  I lean on him as frequently as he leans on the kitchen bookcase, long and graceful legs crossed, drink in hand, patiently waiting for a taste of whatever I’m cooking.  He is my treasure.  It hasn’t always been this way.  Tommy was separated from our family when he was married.  We missed him terribly but he’s back with us now and we’re damn glad.   He’s the family prankster, always leaving a couple of sweet potatoes and the odd grapefruit on James’ bed pillows as his calling card.  James always came out of his bedroom jubilantly stating, “Uncle Tommy was here!”  When I lived at my parents’ house before Jimmy and I married, Tommy hung a few brightly colored bras of mine and a few pairs of bikini panties on the paddles of my bedroom ceiling fan.  Round and round they leisurely rotated for any and all to see.  He was just pleased as punch at my outrage.  As goofy as he sometimes is, he is equally sharp-witted and highbrow in his humor, right up my alley.  But his heart…his huge, sweet, kind and giving heart is something to behold.  As I type this my eyes sting with tears.  My emotions are so close to the surface; I know my 3:00 tequila has nothing to do with it, I love my baby brother so.  To celebrate his birthday he’s coming over for dinner tonight and one of his dishes will be these asian brussel sprouts.  Because he’ll eat anything and everything, he was given the  childhood nickname of “Pigdog” by our little sister and me.  I happen to know for a fact he LOVES these brussel sprouts.  I have 4 pounds for 3 people.  So happy birthday, Pigdog.  I love you!

I’ve been obsessed with these asian brussel sprouts for a couple of weeks now.  I eat them as a snack they’re so doggone good.  Hot, warm or cold, I think they’re fabulous.  I find most of the ingredients at my grocery store, Publix, but the bonito flakes I picked up at Whole Foods.  Fresh Market probably carries them as well.  The sriracha chili sauce adds a tiny bit of heat so if heat ain’t your thing leave it out.  The honey gives the sprouts a smooth sweetness while the lemon grass, ginger and fish sauce round out this deep flavor blast.  I include any random sprout leaves to the roasting pan as they become crisp and savory during the roasting process much like potato chips.  In retrospect maybe they are best straight out the oven but they’re mighty fine the following day, too.  Hope you like ’em!

Asian Brussel Sprouts

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 pounds brussel sprouts, root end trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 6″ piece lemon grass, cut into thirds and bruised to release flavor
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 generous tablespoons bonito flakes
  • 1 rounded tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Line a large baking sheet with tin foil and lightly cover with non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine trimmed brussel sprouts,  olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss well with your hands until all the sprouts are coated with the olive oil.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes or until the outside of the sprouts are dark and any leaves are crispy.
  4. While the sprouts are baking, combine all the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat.
  5. Cook the sauce for 4-5 minutes until the garlic and ginger are soft.  Set aside until the brussel sprouts have finished roasting.
  6. Remove sprouts from the oven and transfer to a large, shallow bowl.
  7. Discard lemon grass pieces from sauce, drizzle the sauce over the sprouts and toss well with two large spoons.
  8. Serve immediately.

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Old Bay Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

It’s Lent.  A time of reflection and sacrifice.  And frustration.  I mean redemption.  In this house that means no meat.  None.  Not even chicken.  And that’s every Mom’s go-to protein.  Chicken doesn’t even make it out of the freezer for 40 days and 40 nights.  Jimmy and I always laugh at how all we want is super hot chicken wings.  Not fried… baked, to a crispy, bone sucking engorgement.  We have fish and lots of shrimp but after a while defeat and resignation set in and you don’t even try to pretend to be satisfied with panko shrimp, tarragon salmon or deep-fried, cornmeal dusted dolphin.  Jimmy and I are meant for each other because he wants the drumstick part of the wings while all I want is that little, skinny, crispy, wing thing.  But that’s not going to happen for a while.  When I was growing up Lent was absolutely miserable.  Dad and Grandpa would go every Friday to Bahia Mar where, at that time, they sold freshly caught fish to the public.  There weren’t any charter boats, just fishing and pleasure.  They’d bring home some fresh pompano or snapper, cleaned and fileted.  Cynthia and I would just die.  Mama would take that fish, put it in a Pyrex dish, dot it with a little “oleo” and put it in the oven for 45 minutes or so.  Then she’d pull it out and look at it, we’d hear her murmuring to herself, “Well, you never know…it IS fish…I’d better bake it a little longer”.  Half an hour later, “Everybody”, she’d sing out, “Dinner’s ready!!” It was just vile.  Pair THAT with a few boiled wax beans or boiled broccoli florets and a glass of milk and that just about sums up a Friday night dinner at the Wattley’s.  No salt, no pepper, no garlic, no NUTHIN’.  It was grim.  Tonight we’re having cold Old Bay shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce and Caesar salad.  Way better than freshly caught pompano baked for an hour and a half…”oooohhhh, I don’t know…it IS fish.”  I know I make Mama sound just awful but, other than her attempts at cooking, she was really terrific.  She ALWAYS looked like a million bucks, lipstick and jewelry on, not a hair out-of-place.  A rockin’ little figure, too, and that’s after FOUR kids.  We had a carpool for school, and other moms would drive us with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, curlers in their hair and their bathrobes on.  I’m talking about wealthy, socially prominent women, NOT hausfrauen.  And they swore.  They didn’t want to be there, probably had the hangover of death, and they had to drive children four minutes away to grade school.  Mama didn’t smoke.  And Mama never, ever swore.  I remember one argument we had, we were always butting heads, and Mama raised her voice at me and said, “Do you want me to be like those OTHER mothers?  HHHHMMMM?  The ones who use that word, YOU KNOW”.   And she spelled it out, “F-O-U-C-K!”  That’s how foreign it was to her.   She didn’t even know how to spell it, she would just as soon have stood on her head than say a dirty word.  And Mama was the very example of decorum.  Only don’t give her a piece of fish to cook.  So, here’s to a Friday with flavor.  Did I mention how much better Jimmy and feel going without meat?  Unbelievably better.  But no worries.  We’ll be back to cow and pig soon enough.

You’ll want to make your cocktail sauce first so it can chill properly.  It’s unbelievably easy and tastes a thousand times better than bottled stuff.  I love ice-cold shrimp so I prepare both sauce and shrimp in the afternoon to give both enough time in the refrigerator.  I buy the largest shrimp I can afford and try to get the e-z peel ones as they’ve been deveined as well.  One less step for me.  I lean towards pick-up food to serve with it, since your hands get a little damp from the shrimp.  So asparagus chilled with a lemon vinaigrette or haricot vert with the same vinaigrette pair with the shrimp nicely.  Some garlic, whole grain crostini and, baby, looks like you’ve got dinner.

 

 

 

Old Bay Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cocktail Sauce

  • 1 12 ounce bottle chili sauce, I like Heinz
  • 1 5 ounce bottle prepared horseradish, NOT sauce. I like extra hot.
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Mix one half of the chili sauce, 2 or 3 teaspoons of horseradish and the lemon juice.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  Chill until ready to serve.
Old Bay Shrimp

  • 2 pounds of the largest shrimp you can afford, try to get e-z peel.  If e-z peel’s not available you’re going to have to devein but leave the shell on all those shrimp.  It’s a bit of work and you want to leave the shells on as they help keep the shrimp tender.  If you do have to devein, using a small, sharp knife, cut just through the shell, from the outside, starting from the tail to the top.  Carefully pull out the dirt line and move to the next shrimp.  I’d REALLY try to get e-z peel if I were you.
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water

In a medium, non-reactive pot, combine Old Bay, salt, vinegar and water.  Bring to a boil and add shrimp making sure to cover shrimp well with liquid.  Cover, turn off heat and steam ’til tender.   It only takes a few minutes.  Make sure not to boil or overcook.  Oh my gosh, they’re so good!   And cold the next day?  Sublime.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com