There is cooking inspiration all over our house right now. Our cookbook collection has grown a lot this past year, and already some more in the first weeks of this year. Cookbooks live by the side of our dining table, and others are stacked on a tall bookcase in our living room. They’re on the coffee table and on my nightstand. I came back from Miami with a small tower of Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living magazines. That most recent BA issue is fueling the fire for my current obsession with braises and stews (and sauces!) I need to set aside some time to read through my Gourmet collection.
Too much inspiration. Is that a thing? I mean, I love having this food library we’re building, but where to start? This Florida “winter” with a meager string of cold fronts gave way to record-breaking January days in the 80s. One day it’s soup. The next it’s salad.
Danny and I are trying to have more recipe dates, where we basically sit on the couch with a pile of books and magazines and a couple of laptops between us to sift through the pinned, the bookmarked, the dog-eared, and the new. The lists grow long and unruly, but planning the week’s meals is a smart move if we can keep it going.
This is the latest from our recipe to-do list, a roasted brussels sprout salad with red cabbage and nuts. Danny’s choice. I love roasted brussels sprouts, but I was somewhat skeptical about this recipe because nothing seemed too special about it. I was in for a surprise.
First, it’s lovely and colorful from the red cabbage, but the combination of flavors lures you back for more. The sprouts are caramelized and crispy on the outside, and the cabbage adds crunch. Sweet, plump cranberries are perfect beside them, and a mustard-honey dressing mixed with spices brings it all together with a slight sweetness. That first bite was so good I nearly forgot to add the cheese. Crazy, right? This is a good one. Can’t wait to make it again. That is, after we knock out some other recipes on our list.
roasted brussels sprouts with red cabbage and nuts
If like me, you already love roasted brussels sprouts, you’ll love this fresh take on them. The cabbage adds color and crunch, and everything is tied together in a slightly sweet dressing. Plump cranberries and toasted nuts kick it up another notch. As for the pine nuts, let me just say they’re a bit crazy expensive, and the cashews already in my pantry were completely delicious here. I reduced the amount of cabbage so it didn’t overwhelm the brussels sprouts.
1/2 cup pine nuts or cashews
1 pound brussels sprouts, quartered
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
1/2 teaspoon pure chile powder, such as ancho
1 to 1 1/4 pounds red cabbage, very thinly sliced using a mandoline (or a steady hand and a sharp knife)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, thinly sliced
Heat the oven to 450°F.
Spread out pine nuts or cashews on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 3 minutes. On a large baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until slightly browned, crispy, and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice in a small bowl with the honey, mustard, cayenne pepper, and chile powder. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss the cabbage with the toasted nuts and cranberries in a large bowl. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a small skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Pour the garlic and hot oil over the cabbage. Add the brussels sprouts and toss. Pour in the dressing and toss to coat. Mix in the cheese and serve immediately, though it was still very good the next day straight from the fridge.
Serves 4. Adapted from Food & Wine.