In which I am not sure I am going to be able to make this decision…

Oh gosh, I unearthed some serious gems during my recipe tear out purge. I am on a tear this week. Despite the summer temperatures that are heating up the kitchen and softening butter in seconds, I am pretty pumped for some cooking. And between experiments I will be re-washing all the dishes that I washed during the water boil order, since going through the cabinets has alerted me that a lack of running water makes washing dishes inefficient. I am so glad that’s over.

Simon Hopkinson's roasted chicken

This chicken project is not working out exactly the way I hoped. Every single one I have tried has been pretty good. I am not sure I will be able to pick a clear winner. There is not that much difference in the crispiness of the skin and the meat is all great and tastes mildly of whatever I stuff the cavity with. This one was delightfully lemony. What I am discovering? Roast a chicken. Anyway you can. They are easy, they make the house smell good, they impress company, and they generally provide lots of leftovers. What’s not to love? For this one, which is a Simon Hopkinson recipe that I found in Saveur, I rubbed the chicken with a half a stick of butter, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and stuffed it with tarragon and lemon. Pardon my French, but that is a bum load of butter. I think it may have been unnecessary. Look.

butter much?

I am not sure what the point was. Amazingly? The Joel Robuchon recipe (that I never discussed for lack of pictures) asked for a WHOLE STICK of butter on one chicken. I was flabbergasted. Anywho, this was good, but not one half stick of butter better than any of the others, so perhaps I’ll try a brine next time.

What I really want to share with you is one of my favorite vegetable dishes of all time. And it goes a little something like this:

delicious little baby cabbages

If you know me, you are likely aware of my love for miniature versions of big things. Like babies in grown up clothes, for instance. And this little tiny miniature husky that someone in my neighborhood has. I wouldn’t want it to live with me or anything, but I love to see it. There was also this little pony on The Soup this weekend that was amazing. So brussels sprouts are perfect for me. Especially when they are sliced and cooked with bacon and shallots.

bacon, shallot, sprouts, garlic, butter, perfection.

It really couldn’t be easier. The brussels sprouts and shallot are sliced thin, bacon is sauteed until it renders its fat, then the shallots and brussels sprouts are added and sauteed quickly until the sprouts brown and the shallots are soft. Then you add a clove of garlic that’s been minced and a tablespoon or two of butter. It all takes about 10-15 minutes and it is really really good. The sprouts are crunchy, the shallots are soft and the bacon is salty. The butter and garlic tie it all together. Try it. You will rethink brussels sprouts. I promise.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallot (serves 4 as a side dish)

3 slices bacon sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 package brussels sprouts, trimmed, outside leaves removed, sliced thin

1 good sized shallot sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbls butter

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat until the bacon browns and renders fat. Add the brussel sprouts and shallots and saute, stirring frequently until brussel sprouts are browned and tender and shallots are soft, 6 -8 minutes. Turn the heat to low, add garlic and butter and cook, stirring for about a minute until the butter melts. Serve.

mmmm mmm

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