Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Bacon and Bacon-Jalapeño Jam

Bacon Jam Brussels Sprouts
Almost blackened, the Brussels sprouts are spicy-sweet-tart-crunchy-soft yumminess

Thanksgiving is about tradition, comfort food and family. But it is also fun to shake it up a little, and I just love this dish for the juxtaposition of the traditional (a roasted root vegetable and bacon) and the kicked-up punch from bacon-jalapeño jam with the surprise addition of dried cranberries. The Brussels Sprouts are almost blackened, the jam provides a sweetness and an almost caramelized texture, and the bite of the jalapeño is balanced by the tartness of the cranberries and welcome crunch of the salty bacon.  Yum! It’s almost a spicy Brussels sprout hash, and passed the Grill-Meister test – he who hates vegetables, and especially root vegetables, had two servings! The double-baconizing of these little root vegetables might have something to do with it.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Bacon and Bacon-Jalapeño Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (you may need more)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks
  • 2 slices of very thick bacon, cut into 1/4 strips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup bacon-jalapeño jam (or pepper jelly if you can’t find bacon-jalapeño jam – see below)
  • more salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Line a baking sheet with foil, then put the trimmed and halved sprouts on the sheet and toss with the 3 tbsp of olive, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, then roast for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, remove the sprouts and stir them to ensure that they are roasting on all sides, adding a little more olive oil, if necessary. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, and repeat, roasting for about 5 more minutes until they are mostly browned (it may not take this long).

During the last 10 minutes the sprouts are roasting, sauté the bacon and leeks until the bacon is done to your liking (I like it medium-crisp for this dish). If there is excess bacon fat (more than you feel comfortable with), remove it with a spoon and reserve for another use. Add the bacon-jalapeño jam and cranberries and stir to mix, then add the Brussels sprouts and toss to ensure that it is all mixed together. It will be very sticky and almost caramelized.  Add salt and pepper to taste, serve warm, and get ready for the kudos.


About the Bacon-Jalapeño Jam

Followers of this blog know that it is not commercial and I don’t accept ads or do paid endorsements, but I do share info about products that I use and love. You’ll also have heard of Just Pure Flavors, our local (wonderful) purveyor of fresh, professionally made jams. It’s their bacon-jalapeño jam that inspired this recipe, and I highly recommend it. I found Just Pure Flavors a few years ago at our local farmers market in Tomball, TX (a suburb of Houston to the Northwest), but luckily for you, they also do a booming mail order business. You couldn’t get this jam in time for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is another story. In fact, these jams often end up in Christmas stockings at Glover Gardens.

 

Or Un-“Baconize” and Go Vegetarian

Note to my vegetarian friends – you could make a beautiful and tasty vegetarian version by using pepper jelly (or the Inferno Sauce from Just Pure Flavors) instead of the bacon jam, and substituting olive oil and a mix of dried and reconstituted mushrooms for the bacon. A little bit of ground dried mushrooms would also add a wonderful umami depth.  Let me know if you try it!

fullsizeoutput_1971
Trimmed and ready
fullsizeoutput_1972
Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes before roasting
fullsizeoutput_1973
Stirring after the first 10 minutes
fullsizeoutput_1974
After the second 10 minutes of roasting – getting close!
fullsizeoutput_1976
Bacon and leeks will add a depth of flavor
fullsizeoutput_1977
We usually cook bacon on the gas grill outside
fullsizeoutput_1979
After the final 5 minutes, the sprouts are nicely roasted, almost blackened, and ready to be tossed with the rest of the goodies
IMG_8291
Add the cranberries and jam to the bacon and leeks before the sprouts
fullsizeoutput_197b
All together now – doesn’t it look delicious?
Bacon Jam Brussels Sprouts
A nice addition to any holiday table, or just a weeknight dinner

Just Pure Flavors has inspired quite a few recipes and been mentioned here quite a bit i click here to scroll through them if you’re interested.  I love supporting local businesses, and in fact, this post is in support of Small Business Saturday, coming up this weekend.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Found Recipe: Swedish Apple Cake, or “Äppelkaka” 

This recipe was posted on a Swedish news website (SVT.se) and given to me by my mom’s neighbor after he made the cake – and I think I ate half of it myself.

The quote above is from a friend and colleague’s Facebook page, where she posted a picture of the marvelous apple cake she brought to our Thanksgiving potluck at work last Friday. She was happy to share the recipe when I asked (although she had to translate from Swedish, converting the measurements from deciliters), and added:

“It’s super easy to make, with a sort of a sugar cookie base with apples on top. I use Granny Smiths because of their sourness to contrast with the sweet cake.”

Swedish Apple Cake Cover
Photo credit to my colleague

This cake was terrific! The tart green apples balanced perfectly with the cookie-like base, and the texture contrast between the softness of the baked apples and the slight crunch of the crust was also very appealing.  It was a great dessert for our Thanksgiving lunch at work, and would be a perfect addition to any holiday table.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • Rounded 3/4c sugar
  • Scant 1c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large apples or 4-5 small ones
  • 1 stick butter melted
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice

Cooking Instructions

Core and cut apples into 1/4″ slices. Toss in a bowl with cinnamon. I also add some nutmeg and allspice.

Whisk Eggs and sugar together. Then add flour and baking powder. Mix well. Will be a very thick batter consistency.

Take a spoonful or so of the melted butter and grease a round baking dish. A large shallow tart pan is best but I have also made in a large pie dish as well. Pour in batter and spread. (Tip: spin the pan on counter top to help the batter spread – it will be very thick)

Arrange the spiced apples on top and pour the remaining butter all over the top.

Bake at 350 for about 30 mins or until golden brown. If using a deeper pan, you may need to cover with foil if the top is browned but you can see that the batter is still wet in places.


The only thing that would make this cake better would be to serve it warm with some very rich vanilla ice cream or gelato. But who has room for that kind of decadence after a holiday meal? As made, I can convince myself that this is a healthy dessert because of the apples. Right?

 

 

Glover Gardens “Everything Rub” – Make It Now and Keep It On Hand for … Everything!

Honey-Chipotle Ribs with Chipotle-Fennel SlawI created a spice rub for ribs way back in the spring when I got brave and decided to tackle that venerable barbecue staple (read about them here). They turned out!  I’ve made them several more times and always have a little of the rub left over. I’ve started using it on other dishes, and wow, it is very versatile! A couple of nights ago, it made grilled ahi tuna steaks roar with flavor, and last night, it dressed up simple baked acorn squash. This was an epic accomplishment, because the Grill-Meister, who is not a fan of squash, had two portions!

I’m going to start making up batches of this all-purpose rub for holiday gifts – it’s that good! Spicy from the ground ancho chili peppers and the one-two punch of black and white pepper, slightly sweet from the brown sugar, southwest-tasting from the cumin and rounded out by the touch of nutmeg and coarse sea salt, this rub is a winner! Here are some other uses for Glover Gardens Everything Rub (or any good meat rub that you really love):

  • Mix with a little olive oil, then toss with vegetables before grilling them (think thick slices of onion, rings of bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, corn on the cob – yum!)
  • Toss with Brussels sprouts and olive oil, then roast them in the oven
  • Dust onto thick rings of pineapple, then grill or broil them
  • Season chicken wings
  • Mix with sour cream or cream cheese for a quick dip or spread
  • Spice up pimento cheese
  • Mix with olive oil and walnuts or pecans, then toast them
  • Sprinkle on bacon as it’s cooking to kick it up a notch
  • Mix with ground beef, eggs and some diced onions for a quick meatloaf
  • Toss with olive oil, chopped red onion and halved cherry tomatoes for a quick salad, or mix with oil and cider vinegar for a salad dressing
  • Mix with a stick of softened butter and then chill in a pretty dish for a spicy seasoned butter you can serve with bread or rolls
  • Use as a seasoning for eggplant, as my blogger friend the Pleasant Peasant did
  • And of course, as a dry rub on steaks, pork tenderloin or chops, chicken breasts, or even turkey

Glover Gardens Everything Rub

f42b87bd-14f6-47ff-ac94-720639527258_1-32a2d986853c9f18219d3099123409ae
This is the brand of ancho chile I use
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp ancho or chipotle chilé powder (use paprika if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a small mixing bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients.

Store in an airtight container for up to six months (although it won’t last that long!)

fullsizeoutput_521fullsizeoutput_522

If you make a batch, let me know what you do with it!

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Water, Wind and Land: Metaphors for a Geophysicist (remembrance for Grandpa on his 98th birthday)

My grandfather was an amazing man.  A geophysicist, he was quiet, brilliant, circumspect, pragmatic, a lifelong learner in the fields of math and science and leader in oil exploration – and yet he was so faithfully loving and supportive of a creative like me, his oldest grandchild and just about his polar opposite in terms of interests and passions.

51t9ijqmntl-_sx314_bo1204203200_Grandpa was strong and silent like so many men of his age who served in WWII and saw things they could never describe and didn’t care to remember.  Tom Brokaw called them The Greatest Generation in his influential book of the same name; I just call myself lucky that this first lieutenant in the Air Force fell in love with my grandmother, a divorcé with a tiny daughter, and married her in 1942.

Ruth and Nancy 1941That tiny daughter was my Mom, and this gentle, studious man adopted her as his own, treating her the same as the other children he and Grandma went on to have. I didn’t know Grandpa wasn’t my Mom’s biological father / my biological grandfather for years, and when I found out, it didn’t matter in the least. We were his, and he was ours.

(photos with captions are excerpts from a slide show created by my Dad for my grandmother’s 90th birthday)

Tom Ruth Nancy Steven
Grandpa Grandma Nancy Lucy

A true explorer, Grandpa’s career in oil exploration took him all over the world; he was eventually VP of Geophysics for Superior Oil (now ExxonMobil).  His remarkable career was followed by adventures on the sea, as his retirement began with a 42-foot sailboat and trips that sometimes included lucky grandchildren like my brother and me.

The Sea Urchin

Steve on Sea Urchin
My brother on my grandparents’ sailboat, in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, in the mid-70s; this was an epic 7-day trip I will always remember

fullsizeoutput_196c

The rigors of sailing gave way to land-based adventures as my grandparents mounted an RV in their 70s and traveled throughout the country, visiting national parks and family, arriving just in time for birthdays and births (including my son’s). Their retirement together was rich in experiences fueled by water, wind and land – and love of family.

Tom Ruth RV

Today would have been Grandpa’s 98th birthday. To honor and remember him, I’m sharing the poem I wrote for his funeral in 2002.

Water, Wind and Land: Metaphors for a Geophysicist (for Grandpa)

 

we are all archeologists now

sifting through our memories of you

sorting the bits and pieces we find

to put them back together

in what will become our lasting “mind pictures” of you

sometimes sifting and sorting alone

sometimes together with your other loves ones

turning our memory fragments this way and that

to see where they fit

and make a clearer picture

all of my finds in this archeological dig of grief

are geo-metaphors for a geophysicist:

~ water, wind and land ~

 

for you were not a man of words

you were a man of deeds

of facts

of maps

and plans

 

my dig finds full sails and stormy skies

radars and Lorans

dolphin fish and egrets’ cries

a wood-hulled boat, a lake cabin, a becalming

your thoughtful brown eyes

your “I love you’s” were spoken in geo-metaphor:

~ water, wind and land ~

“help me steer the boat, Kimmie”

“Stevie, let me show you how to tie a slip knot”

“Of course girls can shoot skeet!”

 

for you were not a man of words

you were a man of deeds

of facts

of maps

and plans

 

I dig deeper, contemplative, archeologist-turned sociologist

looking for meaning

and I find you are an underground river

strong, constant, clear and sure

your life’s waters carried bloodlines and love-lines

equally strong

lifelines guiding through shifting sands

~ water, wind and land ~

 

my finds are home-baked bread

and spectacular jams

a well-stocked RV

crossing ferries and dams

Grandma’s letters with your P.S:

“Math and science, math and science!”

recognized clearly – then and now –

as geo-metaphor love, all your best

~ water, wind and land ~

 

you were a man of deeds

of facts

of maps

and plans

~ water, wind and land ~

 

we dig and sort

together and apart

reconstructing geo-you

in the museums of our hearts

~ water, wind and land ~

 

 

love, kimmie

july 2002


Grandpa and me at my first wedding, way back in the 80s. Those pearls were borrowed from my grandmother, one of the many, many gifts he brought her from his world travels.  His finds, which included on the one end spears and art from Nigeria and on the other end, jewelry like these pearls and a gorgeous raw emerald, have been given to all of my cousins. I got the pearls.

Grandpa and Kim 1984

In his later years, Grandpa channeled his natural curiosity and scientific attention to detail into cooking, mostly bread-baking and jam-making.  He made the same recipes again and again, meticulously documenting small differences until he had them perfected.  Christmas stocking gifts in those years were highly coveted jars of his homemade jellies.  I treasure the memory of our long talks about cooking from those days. I also inherited some of his knives and big pots, which I consider to be heirlooms on par with the pearls.

Rest in peace, dear man, and bless you for teaching us about water, wind and land – and love.

16033985_134978855651

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

From the NY Times: How to Deep Clean Your Fridge (just in time for Thanksgiving)

I saw this article, and am committed! Move over, multi-year-old condiments, Thanksgiving is coming! #CleanOutMyFridgePledge #MustMakeRoom

Click here: How to Deep Clean Your Fridge (courtesy of the New York Times)

merlin_109740982_a2c9c85a-e8d7-431a-97dc-9a3480dfe8fb-master768
Photo credit to Karsten Moran of the New York Times

The Yard Misses You! (says the Grill-Meister)

When I travel, the Grill-Meister keeps me posted on happenings at home. I love it when he sends flower photos – they make me feel so connected to Glover Gardens. This week was no exception.  I was in Washington, where it was cold and rainy all week (although I was almost never outside because I was attending a conference), and these pics with the Grill-Meister’s cheery messages provided all the sunshine I needed.

“Frank-biscus is showing off!” (The hibiscus below is named after my Dad; see Death is Life-Affirming: Hibiscus Haiku).

fullsizeoutput_1900

“….So is Mahogany Splendor aka Hollywood Video….” (The Grill-Meister gives nicknames to many things, and calls this unusual hibiscus with the red foliage and velvety maroon flowers Hollywood Video.)

fullsizeoutput_1901

“And Yuletide Camellia sez ‘Don’t Forget About Me!'” (This winter beauty is blooming early this year.)

fullsizeoutput_1902

I love how the Grill-Meister’s shadow is in the photo above, and how he keeps me grounded in the flora of Glover Gardens when I’m away.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Haiku: Colder Days Ahead

 

Fall weather has finally arrived in Southeast Texas, and I’ve been thinking a little about the seasons of the year as a metaphor for the seasons of life.  Perhaps this is because of the death of my father this summer, followed by this first beautiful autumn without him. These thoughts formed the second and third line of the haiku below, which I carried around in my head for days without finding the right opening line. And than I saw this hauntingly beautiful autumn leaves art photo from The Storyteller blog, which almost sang out the first line to me and finished the haiku.

bittersweet beauty:
autumn’s lingering farewell
a foreshadowing

img_0159
Photo by Ray Laskowitz; see the original post here.

Thank you for the inspiration, Ray.

More Glover Gardens haiku is here, and more musings about autumn are here.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook