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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cooler Temperatures....finally

It's been one heck of a long, hot summer. Temperatures in the 90's for most of the time. It makes me lethargic, sleepy, and downright grumpy at times. You know the feeling? It is so hot and humid outside that it literally takes your breath. Not to mention that I have black interior in my car...ouch!!

So, we've had some warm days this past week, but nothing like the summer. It's been nice to think about my personal change of menu. So long to all the main meal salads that I've been having over the summer. Welcome to more hearty dishes that will keep me warm throughout the day. Soups, stews, gratins, and casserole dishes will be a nice welcome and change to the routine. Normally, I wait until the first frost to make these foods, but I just couldn't wait!

The store is full of every kind of pumpkin and squash that is imaginable, cabbage, broccoli, and my "petite cabbages" better known as Brussels Sprouts. Am I the only person that will get a craving for Brussels sprouts? I saw the beautiful little mini cabbages (well, they sure do look like one don't they?) sitting in the basket at the market and it took no time at all for me to gather a pound or so for dinner! I like them in cream sauce with bacon, steamed with lemon, or pan sauteed with butter.

I probably had a pound of the little gems! I cut them in half and slowly sauteed them in unsalted butter until they were a light golden brown. I just used enough butter to coat the pan. After they were golden, I added the juice of one lemon and about 1/3 cup of water, put a lid on the pan and let them steam until just tender. I like them to be cooked through, but not mushy!! After they are tender, I drained them and shook off the excess water. To the frying pan, I add a few tablespoons of unsalted butter, the zest of one lemon, pepper, salt, and a touch of red pepper flakes. I put them in a bowl and grated fresh Romano cheese on top! I'm sure they would be good on pasta, but I'm a purist (sometimes) and just wanted the Brussels sprouts. If you don't think you are a fan of this little green gem, try them with this method. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar