Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Dried Cherries

Embarrassing fact: I've been saying the word balsamic wrong for years. Yup, some made up word that resembles "balsamic" but has a few extra letters in has been rolling off my tongue since before I could cook. 

"What kind of dressing are you making?" Oliver will ask. 

"Balslamic," I'll say, absent-mindedly. 

"What kind of dressing?" he'll ask, holding back giggles. 

Now I know. Now I pause, think about it, and annunciate through the second time: "Bal-sa-mic". He erupts with laugher before going about his business. 

No matter how you say it, balsamic reduction is a magical condiment. It takes only one ingredient but transforms into a syrupy drizzle that is somehow sweet and savory all at once. By simmering balsamic vinegar slowly, it's harsh astringent qualities burn off. What remains is a slightly acidic, deep colored sauce that's good on everything from fresh strawberries to brussels sprouts. 

Dried cherries add a tart sweetness to this recipe that complement the flavor of the balsamic reduction, and the pecans add a rich crunch. This recipe gives brussels sprouts a whole new flavor profile. Coating each sprout in a balsamic reduction make this dish seem impressive but to be honest, balsamic reduction is pretty much the easiest condiment to make. 

I know the mixture of brussels sprouts, pecans, and dried fruit is more suited for fall, but I'm jolting forward for the day because Royalty Pecan Farms is hosting it's annual Royalty Pecans Recipe Challenge. Since I'm always up for promoting real ingredients, I wanted to jump in on the fun! Here's to fresh ingredients and food that makes you feel good! 

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Dried Cherries

Serves 2-3

 

1 pound brussels sprouts, halved

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted

Salt & Pepper

 

1. Whisk together the balsamic, dijon, and honey in a small sauce pan. Bring to a slow simmer on the stove.

2. While the vinegar reduces, heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and brussels sprouts. Stir occasionally, allowing brussels sprouts to sear on each side. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sprouts begin to crisp and are cooked through. Remove from heat. 

3. Check on the balsamic reduction: it is ready when it has reduced to about half (1/4 cup), and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once it is ready, pour it over the cooked brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Stir in half of the cherries and pecans, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Transfer the sprouts to your serving dish, and top with remaining cherries and pecans. Serve warm.

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3-Ingredient Matcha Ice Cream (Paleo & Vegan)

Phew. If you haven't noticed, summer is here. Not the way summer is here on June 21st. Not the way summer is here on the last day of school. Summer is here like it's been pushing high 90s every day this week and not a cloud has come to cool us off. 

This week in the Front Range… via Weather Underground

Forgive me, but due to the heat our regular scheduled programming is going to be interrupted by a completely different recipe. In this weather, I have absolutely no desire to write about anything vaguely warm. As a result, I'm skipping the post I had planned on publishing (a recipe for Swedish Meatballs in Paleo Mushroom Gravy) for this: 3-ingredient Matcha Ice Cream. 

If it's as hot where you are as it is here, I think you'll understand. It's easy and fast. It's sweet. You don't have to touch the oven or the stove. It's a green tea pick-me-up in your afternoon. 

This particular ratio of coconut milk to banana made for one of my creamiest paleo ice creams yet. What's more, it's egg-free, vegan, and AIP-friendly, so you can share it with pretty much anyone! Not that you'll want to…the two of us polished off the entire bowl in one day! 

I've decided that when it's this hot, ice cream for dinner is actually a valid choice. (But I promise, as soon as this heat wave passes, we'll get to those Swedish Meatballs!)

3-Ingredient Matcha Ice Cream (Paleo, AIP, Vegan, Raw)

2 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup canned coconut cream (full-fat canned coconut milk will work in a pinch, too!)

2 tablespoons matcha powder 

 

Place all ingredients in the jar of a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. Once the ice cream maker is done, eat on the spot (or scoop the ice cream into a air-tight container and freeze for later enjoyment). 

Note: If you do not have an ice cream maker...

• Use frozen bananas and cut the coconut milk in half. Blend and eat! It will be more like soft serve and not quite as rich, but is a quick-fix.

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Paleo "Cherry Garcia" - Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

We lived on Elm Ave street until I was six. The house on Elm had a hot tub in the back and a cherry tree in the front. It was a tricycle ride away from a small french bakery that sold chocolate mice filled with mousse & Boulder's last real butcher shop. 

The cherry tree was big then but now it consumes the front yard. The house is the same dull tan color, but the tree is so profound it doesnt seem quite as bad. The butcher shop is long gone, the bakery replaced by an Egg & I.

The cherry tree was good for climbing year round, but the best was when it finally produced those plump red fruit jewels. Tree climbing went from a mediocre only-child pass time to a full on job and mission. It only took a nibble to learn that sour cherries aren't the sort of thing you pick and eat. Sour cherries look like standard Bings but a bit smaller, and the minute the tart juice hits your tongue, you know its better to wait until they've undergone a pie-transformation. 

The kitchen sat in the back of the house. On top of a pile of phone books, I remember pushing the cherries through a silver machine that popped the pit right out. I was in such awe of the pitting process that I completely missed the pie making. The next thing I knew, those cherries were sitting under a buttery lattice crust. 

Since I wasn't paying attention, this recipe is not for that pie. Instead, it's for a different summer favorite: Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Done paleo, dairy-free, and egg-free.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

A Paleo spin on the classic Ice Cream flavor!

Yields: 4 cups   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 bananas, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin (vegan option: agar-agar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped chocolate

Directions:

  1. Place the coconut milk, almond milk, bananas, and vanilla in a blender. Blender on high until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup of cold water over the gelatin. Set aside and allow allow the gelatin to bloom, about 5 minutes. Then, pour gelatin mixture into the blender and turn it on high for one more minute.
  3. Pour the ice cream mixture into an ice cream maker, if you have one. (If your ice cream maker decides today is the day to have technical difficulties, like mine did, or if you do not have an ice cream maker, that is fine. Transfer the mixture to a sealable container, such as a pyrex loaf pan with a lid.) When the ice cream maker has 5 minutes left add in the cherry and chocolate. (If you are not using an ice cream maker, add the cherry and chocolate to your container, mixing in gently).
  4. When the ice cream make is done, transfer the ice cream to a air-tight container and place in the freezer. (Or just put the lid on your container and pop the whole thing in the freezer. In you are not using an ice cream maker, you may want to check on the ice cream periodically (every few hours) and give the mixture a good stir, breaking up any big ice crystals that may form).
  5. Once the ice cream has set, use an ice cream scoop to serve! Letting the finished ice cream sit at room temperature for a few minutes will making the scooping process easier.

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