Monday, October 8, 2012

Kitchen Tip: Make Chopping Garlic Easier

When you want to really chop the crap out of some garlic cloves so they form a paste or a fine mince, sprinkle the peeled cloves on the cutting board with some coarse salt. The grains will help break down the garlic and keep the bits from flying around the cutting board as you chop.

When I’m making a marinade with chipotle in adobo along with garlic, as I did tonight, I like to add the chipotle on top of the garlic/salt mix and mince it all together; again it makes the chopping easier to handle, and the flavors will become more mingled. It would be nice to be able to say that the salt serves as a buffer to keep your cutting board from getting stained by the chipotle, but alas, in my experience, any difference in the level of orange-tint saturation is of an almost imperceptible degree.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Roast Sausage With Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato

Gentle reader, I have already shared with you how every autumn, my grief at the passing of summer is tempered only by reminding myself of fall’s pleasures, including squashes, soups, pie, and the kickoff of the New York Rangers hockey season. Well, this year, thanks to the greedy bastards at the NHL and their lockout, I DON’T EVEN GET TO WATCH HOCKEY AND OMG PEOPLE THIS IS CLEARLY HENRIK LUNDQVIST’S YEAR TO FINALLY GET THE CUP FOR GOD’S SAKES AND THIS IS SO NOT OKAY, CAN WE PLEASE FIX THIS ASAP!!!!!!!! Ahem…so, my point is, I must seek consolation solely in autumn comfort foods.

Toward that end, I recently prepared a hearty and satisfying one-dish meal featuring Brussels sprouts—reviled during childhood, when my mom used to steam them whole, but beloved ever since I discovered them in sliced, roasted, caramelized form. Since it’s low-maintenance in terms of prep and cleanup, I often make this dinner for just myself using my trusty Le Creuset gratin pan (thanks, Mom—it made up for all those steamed Brussels sprouts!). But you could also multiply these proportions to feed a family or a crowd, cooking everything in a roasting pan or on a foil-lined baking sheet.

The below recipe should serve 2 people; if you’re both big eaters, add a loaf of crusty bread and maybe a green salad to round out the meal. Depending what sausage you use, this can be delicious with red or white wine or with beer.