Brussels sprouts

Adventures With Fish Sauce

by Anne Maxfield on February 26, 2018

Accidental Locavore Fish Sauce Do you use fish sauce?

If you think about what goes into it, you might never use it, but you’d be missing out on an important ingredient in a lot of Thai and Vietnamese dishes to name a few. It’s that umami flavor you get that you can never quite figure out.

It’s made from fish, left out in the hot tropical sun to ferment—sounds yummy right? FYI, it smells pretty much like it tastes, so you don’t want to be inhaling a lot of it. Just sprinkle on whatever you’re making and enjoy (it’s surprisingly good on Brussels sprouts).

There are lots of different types, Red Boat being one of my favorites, but it’s hard to find in this area, so I ordered it from Amazon. No big deal.

Except…

I got a notice in my post office box that there was a package and some damage. Since it was before the holidays, I was terrified that my cousin’s box of incredible homemade jams had broken.

But this was worse.

Much worse.

Suddenly all the really terrific ladies at the post office, were not looking happy.

And I was beginning to feel like Public Enemy #1.

One of them, went to get my “damaged” package. Coming back, she was trying to hold it as far from her face as she could. As she approached, I immediately understood why. This package was wet and dripping into a plastic bag. And it stank!

Really stank. Like fish left out in a tropical sun.

Oops. My fish sauce. Oh s**t.

Somehow, somewhere, someone thought the best way to ship a glass bottle of fish sauce was to put it in a cardboard Priority Mail envelope and (literally) toss it in the mail.

I gathered up my courage, (and the future of all my mail) apologized profusely and asked if I could refuse the package.  I also promised never to order any more fish sauce by mail, so she reluctantly took it to the back room—as far from patrons as possible and said it would go back.

They said it took most of the day to get the stink out of their office once the package had been sent back. I went on Amazon and complained and got my money back, but the damage was done.

I’ve promised June and Pattie no more stinky stuff by mail and we’re back to being friends again.

Oh, and the bottle of Red Boat? I bought it at Kalustyan’s and took it home on the train.

 

 

 

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Magic Sriracha Sauce Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on January 15, 2018

Accidental Locavore Sriracha Sauce With SproutsThis magic sauce came about when I was looking at Tracey Medeiros’ The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook recently. Her Brussels Sprouts with a Creamy Sriracha Dipping Sauce was one of the recipes that jumped out at me!

Two things we really like—Brussels sprouts and Sriracha, seemed like it would be a great dish, but if you’re not a sprout fan, just skip down to the sauce. Serves 4:

Brussels Sprouts:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 3 garlic cloves (medium sized), minced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • Salt and pepper

Creamy Sriracha Sauce:

  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

Accidental Locavore Sauce With SproutsPreheat the oven to 400°. Lightly grease or cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Put the sprouts on the baking sheet cut side down and bake for about 20 minutes until they’re golden brown.

While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, make the sauce. Stir all the ingredients together until well combined.

Serve the Brussels sprouts with the Sriracha sauce on the side and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Sriracha Magic SauceMy Verdict: It took a while to actually getting around to trying this, because one day we had a lot of sprouts, but no mayo. Then I made mayo, but we’d eaten all the sprouts. Finally, I got it all together we loved it!

I used olive oil on the sprouts, instead of coconut oil and they were fine. I might try coconut oil the next time, just to see what happens. For the garlic powder, I used my new fave from Rockerbox Spice Company. It’s pure dehydrated garlic and really makes a difference!

After tasting the sauce, I added more Sriracha and horseradish to give it more of a kick.

Little did I know that Frank made the sauce his go-to for every sandwich he’s made since then. We think it’s going to be great on burgers—just haven’t done that yet. And don’t tell anyone, but it’s terrific as a dip for potato chips. Try it and let me know what you think. Brussels sprouts optional.

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What–No Turkey? My Top 6 Recipes for Thanksgiving

by Anne Maxfield on November 20, 2017

Accidental Locavore My Slow Roasted Duck for ThanksgivingThe other day, I was talking with a friend about Thanksgiving and comparing notes on what we were planning. Since there’s still time to add or subtract dishes, here are a few that have, or will, grace my table. Which ones look good to you?

  1. Slow Roasted Duck: As some of you know, this is not my favorite holiday, mostly because turkey is my least favorite poultry. Since it’s just the two of us (so far), we decided that duck was a much better choice. This one takes a while, but you only have to check it once an hour and it’s delicious! If you want to get fancy, you can make an orange sauce for it by melting some marmalade on low heat with a splash (or two) of orange vodka or Cointreau and another big splash of maple syrup.Accidental Locavore Orange Sauce for Duck
  2. Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions: my mother has always insisted on having creamed onions at Thanksgiving. This dish combines them in a great way and the added touch of horseradish makes it a big winner in my book! Unlike my friend Zhu Zhu, I have no problem buying frozen pearl onions. Life is too short to spend it peeling.Accidental Locavore Stalk of Brussels Sprouts
  3. Cranberry and Dried Apricot Confit: I’m a sucker for dried apricots—the slab ones from Trader Joe’s being my favorites, so if I can stop snacking on them long enough to cook with them, this is almost as good as eating them out of the package. If this is too tough, the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag works fine (add some orange or tangerine zest to make it special).Accidental Locavore Cranberry Confit
  4. Butternut Squash Soup: Not being a huge fan of winter squashes, I make an exception for this soup. It goes from pretty good to great with the addition of Gruyere-covered toasts. If you’re lazy or pressed for time, a slice of toasted baguette and some grated cheese will be just fine. If you’re super lazy pressed for time, forget the toasts and just sprinkle a little blue cheese on as a garnish. The saltiness of either cheese cuts the sweetness of the squash.
  5. The best mashed potatoes ever! This was billed as a recipe for potato salad, but take my word for it, they’re just amazing mashed potatoes. Cheese, butter and potatoes, what’s not to like? It does require use of the oven, but since it’s probably the same temp as your turkey, just sneak some ramekins in somewhere.Accidental Locavore Raclette Potatoes
  6. What, no desserts? Although my husband has asked for yet another batch of Nancy’s cookies, I think it’s time to turn traditional and was thinking either a pumpkin pie (which the paper of record says is better made with winter squash) for Frank, or an apple galette that caught my eye in Bon Appétit, but then I saw this recipe for a caramel and chocolate tart from Dorrie Greenspan’s new book and it was as good as it looked (maybe better)!Accidental Locavore Caramel Tart

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Brussels Sprouts Gratin

by Anne Maxfield on February 6, 2017

As much as the Accidental Locavore likes  Brussels sprouts any way, every now and then, you need to mix it up, dress them up.

Cheese is always good.

And knowing how to do a béchamel sauce (which technically becomes a mornay sauce with the addition of cheese) is handy for a lot of things—mac & cheese, croque monsieur, etc.

Serves 6

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

For the Mornay sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (warmed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese (2 ounces)

For the Brussels sprouts:

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

For assembling the gratin:

  • 2/3 cup finely grated aged Gouda (2 ounces)
  • Smoked flaked sea salt, such as Maldon or regular sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°.

Make the sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture bubbles slightly but has not started to brown, about 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in milk. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking often.

Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Blanch the brussels sprouts: Place in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of water and cook, covered, for 4-5 minutes until just tender.

Assemble the gratin: In a lightly greased gratin pan, add the Brussels sprouts.

Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts and sprinkle with cheese and a pinch of smoked sea salt.

Bake until bubbling and golden, about 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

 

My verdict: This is a great dish for those who may be on the fence about Brussels sprouts. Like bacon, cheese makes everything good.

Hmmm…speaking of bacon, a little cooked and crumbled would probably go really well in this.

We really liked this. It’s a great side dish to something simple like a steak. You can easily substitute almost any cheese for the smoked Gouda, or even a combination, if you’ve got stray scraps in the fridge.

Topping it with Parmesan and/or breadcrumbs would also be delicious. Just think of it as a Brussels sprouts version of mac & cheese (and it will seem almost healthy).

 

 

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