Brussels Sprouts and Cam Newton….Really

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and all I can think about is Brussels sprouts and Cam Newton… Not a likely combination, I know… But I have sprouts I need to cook and Cam Newton to swoon over. I’m not into football that much. Crazy huh? Given the fact that I live in a football city, state… And if you don’t watch college football  you will not understand our love for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide… Roll Tide Roll! The Tide won The National Championship for the 2015 college football season…again.  Great victory for the University of Alabama, Coach Nick Saban and of course the players, coaches and staff. They earned it!

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And I know what you’re thinking, Cam played college ball for Auburn University and that’s one of our big rivals in the state.. Right, he did and  they are, but that’s  not important.  #rolltide  *photo courtesy of Instagram*

What does any of this have to do with Brussels sprouts?….Absolutely nothing! It’s Super Bowl Sunday, Cam the cutie is quarter backing for the Carolina Panthers and I just need to cook these Brussels sprouts.

Well if you haven’t figured out by now.. Maybe I have a crush on Cam.. Just maybe. I mean he does have a lot in common with the Brussels sprouts… well maybe not. But for those of you who actually want a comparison, here you go. Brussels sprouts are healthy and good for you. They are an excellent source of vitamins b1, b6, c and k. They are packed with lots of nutrients such as folate and potassium to name a few.  Cam the cutie does a lot in the community, he’s handsome and he has style… I guess that means he is good for us too…..Ladies you can relate, no?…. yes?….maybe?…. Ok, tried. Just sit there and look at this picture and thank me later.. I mean football is a great sport! Go Cam.. Oops I mean panthers! *Photo courtesy of his Instagram @cameron1newton*

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Okay… So now that I’ve gotten your attention, back to the sprouts. I’ve recently found a new love for these little green goddesses. I like them steamed, oven roasted and my favorite, pan roasted with bacon and balsamic vinegar, specifically my new found love espresso flavored balsamic vinegar that I picked up from Simply Infused. If you haven’t read my post about my visit there, please do so!

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I rinsed and dried the Brussels sprouts. I prepped the other ingredients which were green onions, chopped garlic clove, and I chopped up about 4 strips of thick cut bacon and some other yummy goodies. I reserved a little of the bacon grease… And then the magic happened … The birth of pan roasted sprouts with bacon and espresso balsamic vinegar. That first bite… I’m just saying… O.M.G.!

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Well now that you know about my perfectly healthy (no pun intended) crush on Cam and my perfectly healthy love for Brussels  sprouts, I hope you find the humor in all of this, I know I did!  Enjoy Cam, I mean the super bowl and add in some Brussels sprouts to your all star party foods line up. As always follow me on Instagram and  Twitter @chefpleshette and on Snapchat @thechefp.

Family, food and fun–Enjoy them all ❤️

Ingredients:

4 strips thick cut bacon

reserved bacon fat

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 cup of dried cranberries, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a  large skillet using medium to high heat until it is crispy. Place cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the grease. Reserving some of the fat in the pan. Then rough chop the bacon. Add the butter to the pan an melt over high heat.

Add  to the pan the onions, garlic and Brussels sprouts and cook stirring occasionally. Then drizzle the espresso balsamic vinegar , reduce heat slightly, cooking the Brussels sprouts until they are golden to dark brown in color or about  8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add in the chopped cranberries and bacon, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve them family style on your favorite platter or individually as appetizers with toothpicks or skewers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Love for Oils and Balsamaics

As a chef, flavor is everything to me. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a tasting at Simply Infused Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Room situated in the town of Mt Laurel, in Birmingham Alabama. It was love at first site!… Literally. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner I decided to profess my love (did I just say that?)… or at least unleash my inner foodie about how much I love this place!

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The staff was super friendly and very knowledgeable about the olive oils and balsamic vinegars. In fact, I had so much fun with them, learning and tasting that I was there almost 2 hours!.. and I could’ve stayed longer… Let me tell you, if you are a chef, a home cook, foodie or just love trying different flavors, you absolutely need to go visit and shop..now… well after reading the this blog, you should go check them out! Did I mention I love this place?…

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They have over 50 variety of oils and balsamics to taste,  and trust me I tried everyone, with an exception of maybe a couple of them and that’s a BIG maybe. They offer a variety of single varietal oils, special gourmet oils, fused and infused oils, dark balsamics and white balsamics. The oils comes from different regions in the southern hemisphere, such as South Africa, Australia, and different peaks of the year such as spring,when the Italian, Greek and Spanish oils are abundant or the freshest.

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After tasting several blends, I chose to pair together an olive oil from South Africa, a single varietal FS-17 and a dark balsamic vinegar in the flavor  of Espresso. The FS-17 oil is is an extra virgin oil that is very herbaceous, robust and spicy. It is full of antioxidants. So not only do you get lots of flavor, you get lots of health benefits.  The Espresso Balsamic vinegar is a rich, sweet dark coffee flavor that adds a huge burst of  flavor to chicken, pork and beef. It will also be a great addition to stews and desserts.

I decided to make Espresso Balsamic Flank Steak with Sauteed Green Beans and Potatoes. It was so delicious and full of flavor… I mean I can still taste that espresso flavor paired with the steak. I marinated the steaks using  the FS-17 Olive Oil and the Espresso Balsamic Vinegar. Once grilled and served, they were a hit… at least there were no left overs… at all!

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and then after the magic happens……………….

 

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See, this is what you can create with these flavorful and herbaceous oils and balsamics. The possibilities are endless… Stop in and check them out, you will not be disappointed. They also offer cooking classes and tastings. Contact Cheryl Harper the owner or anyone of the staff members at 205-408-4231 or on Facebook SimplyInfusedMtLaurel.  I hope to see you there. Happy Cooking!

Espresso Balsamic Flank Steak

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves. minced or chopped

1 tbsp ginger, minced

1 tbsp, shallots

3 oz, Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

3 oz FS-17 Olive Oil

16 oz Flank Steak

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp ground black pepper

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients to make a marinade, reserve some for sauce to drizzle.

Place steak inside freezer bag along with the marinade and marinate 4-6 hours.

Remove from freezer bag, and place the steak on the grill. about 3-5 minutes each side (or longer based on your preference).

Remove steak from grill. Let it rest covered for about 20 minutes before slicing.

While the steak is resting, take  he reserve marinade and put it in a small sauce pan, reduce until the sauce thickens.

Cut the meat on the bias, drizzle sauce on top and serve with your favorite sides.