Sunday, July 25, 2010


Brussel Sprouts. They are arguably the most hated vegetable on earth. Most people seem to hate them. I would say mostly because of the the way they tend to be prepared. And look at how they grow! Weird!!! I love them! If you like cabbage, then you will like brussel sprouts. They do have a similar flavor to cabbage, but they are somewhat sweeter. A plain old boiled or steamed brussel sprout leaves a lot to be desired. I'll eat them because I like them. But anyone who has reservations about these little green orbs will probably never like them prepared this way. If you don't like cabbage, you may as well forget about reading the rest of this blog because you probably will not like any of it. However, if you do like cabbage, or are willing to give the lowly little sprout another chance, you may just like this dish.

I saw a recipe very much like the one that follows on the food channel. I can't remember who made it, but I thought it sounded great and it was! I've made it several times since then.

It's Brussel Sprout and Potato Hash with Poached Eggs. The brussel sprout is in the cruciferious (cabbage) family. And I don't want to turn you off with boring details, but they are also low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese. Who would have thought that something that so many people hate, is so rich in vitamins and nutrients that are vital to us. To make this dish even more nutritious, potatoes provide some complex carbs and vitamin C, B6, Potassium and Manganese. This is a very hearty, low fat, low carb, high protein (the egg) breakfast that will keep anyone going until well into lunchtime -- if you'll only give it a chance. So now that you know more about this vegetable that you may not even want in your kitchen, I will go on to the recipe.

This is a meatless dish, but you can add sausage to the hash if you like. ( It's not quite as healthy). I love this dish. I make a large quantity of it, maybe 8 servings, and keep it in the refrigerator for the week. Then whenever I want, I take a big spoonful of the hash, put it into a small skillet, and break an egg on top of it in a hot skillet. Add a sprinkle of water to make some steam, and cover the pan to let the egg cook until it's just about done. I personally like the yolk a little on the soft side. Of course, you can let the egg poach until it gets as done as you like.


4 -5 medium potatoes- diced
about 10 oz of fresh brussel sprouts (you can use frozen, thawed)
1 very large leek, or 1 medium white onion
1 T. salt
3/4 t. black pepper
3 - 4 T. Olive Oil

Dice the potatoes about the size of a grape. Either nuke them in the microwave, or boil them (like you would for mashed) until they are about half done. They are going to cook a little more later in a skillet.

While the potatoes cook, clean the brussel sprouts by cutting off the bottom and removing any outer leaves that don't look "fresh". Cut the large sprouts in quarters, and leave small ones whole. Dump them all into a bowl of water to rinse. Drain them well and put them all into a skillet over medium-low heat with the olive oil that has been heated.

Add the potatoes that have been semi cooked. Stir well and add the salt. Stir them occasionally while you prepare the leek or the onions. If you are using a leek, be sure to cut it into pieces and rinse it very well to rid it of any sand/dirt that resides between the layers, and then slice into smaller pieces. An onion need only be sliced into thin slices. I used a leek because I had some.

Now add the onion or leek and the black pepper to skillet and let all of this cook on medium low heat until it has softened and browned. Once it's nice and browned like in the picture, it's finished.

Spoon about a cup of the mixture into a small, clean skillet over medium low heat. Make an indentation in the center of the hash, and crack an egg into the center. Add a teaspoon of water, cover the skillet and let the egg steam. It's ready to eat at soon as the egg is done the way you like it. Serve with some whole wheat toast, or no bread at all.

If you make this for a crowd, leave the hash in a large skillet, make 6 - 8 indentations around the skillet and crack an egg into each indentation. Add the spoon of water to make some steam, cover and let the eggs poach. Then just spoon each egg with some hash onto your plates.

You can add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to whole batch too when you add the onion or leak if you think you might like this really spicy.

It's almost certain that there are plenty of you who won't even like reading a recipe for brussel sprouts. After all, some people will NEVER taste a brussel sprout, under any circumstances. If that's the case, then just substitute corned beef for the brussel sprouts and you'll have some of the best corned beef hash you every had. It won't be all that healthy - corned beef has a lot of salt, and it is, after all, beef. But it will be delicious.

So here's my challenge - you HATE brussel sprouts? Try this dish. And if you can't do without some meat, add some canadian bacon (low fat), regular browned bacon, or some pre-fried italian sausage which has been crumbled and drained on paper towels to remove most of the fat. I guarantee you'll change your mind about brussell sprouts!

Here are some links to other recipes I found that deserve some consideration for the lowly sprout.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon:

Brussel Sprounts in Cream:

And if you want to totally freak out your guests, try this one: Bacon Wrapped Sprouts

Here is one I love to make during the time when the sprouts are coming out of the garden.

I saute the sprouts in a combination of olive oil and a little butter. When they are done, sprinkle with some parmesan cheese to coat and let them cook for another minute or two. These simple sprouts are delicious!

You can cut them up into smaller pieces and add to a quiche, add extra leftover sprouts to soups or stews.

Next time, I think I'll share a recipe I saw on a Public TV Cooking Show and tried it out. Chicken and Ginger Stir Fry on Coconut Noodles.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chicken Salad with Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Leftover Rotisserie Chicken can be used in so many ways. I rarely leave Sam's without one to nibble on when I get home. For less than $5.00, we can eat at least 3 meals. We'd already eaten off of it twice and there was enough left to make chicken salad. But I really wanted a green salad tonight. So it was a compromise. In addition to the chicken salad, I made a cucumber and tomato salad too, and piled up both salads on a bed of crispy romaine. There is no vinegar in this tomato cucumber salad, so it's different from your run of the mill salad dressed with bottled dressing.

Mostly this dish was inspired by the fact that I have a ton of cucumbers from the garden. If I don't use them up right away, I've been known to end up tossing them into the compost heap. You can only eat so many cucumbers in a week. But I've learned to make pickles too. I make a Refrigerator Bread and Butter pickle that is spicy and flavorful. No canning for me. These keep well in the refrigerator for quite a long time. I end up giving most of these away too. Two gallons of pickles is a little much for two people. I also altered a zucchini bread recipe to use cucumber instead of the zucchini. It's more of a savory bread. I left out some of the sugar, added a little more salt, and used dill to flavor the loaves.

But I digress. Here's how I made this very satisfying and refreshing salad. Very easy!

Chicken Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers

1 head romaine lettuce - washed, rinsed, cut up and crisped ( put in the frig for about 1 hr after cutting up and rinsing.

Chicken Salad
Rotisserie Chicken - about 2 1/2 cups cut up into chunks
1/2 C. mayonnaise ( alter to taste)
2 t. dried tarragon (about 1 T minced if using fresh )
1/2 t Garlic powder (fresh garlic is too strong here I think)
Mix all the ingredients together and stir well. Set in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
2 small or 1 large English cucumber
2 large Roma tomatoes
1/2 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic - finely minced or pressed through a garlic press (more to taste)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
1/2 c finely grated mozzarella cheese

Cut the cucumber into chunky slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
Chop the tomatoes into chunks also.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Re-season to taste with more salt and pepper if necessary. Set in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the salad by placing a large handful of romaine in the center of a salad bowl or plate. Top the lettuce with a scoop of chicken salad on one side, and a scoop of Tomato Cucumber Salad on the other side.

Garnish - Place several of your favorite crackers around the salad. My husband likes Saltines - I like Melba Toast or Stone Ground Whole Wheat.