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Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Closed Door and Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts

My last post was over a week ago. I have been wanting to write but my thoughts haven't come together enough in my mind to form a post. Sigh! Like I said previously, I cannot chose when to write a post. The post chooses me. One would think, that a one day trip to Chicago for work, on a Tuesday, that even included a solo lunch break visit to Navy Pier would make for an interesting story. Alas, not for me. So I patiently waited for the moment to come to me when I could write again.
    I began today, Thanksgiving Day 2013, with a 5K run. What a great way to begin a day and what a great story for a blogpost. One would think, anyway! As I was driving back home from the run, I willed my mind to think, to form words that I could put on paper. Should be easy right? Not for me. But I didn't have too much time to dwell on whether I would blog or not. I had to get Thanksgiving dinner ready.           
Once I had put my apron on, turned on the music and popped the turkey into the oven, I started working on the sides. The first side I made was Dijon braised Brussels sprouts. I began by slicing the sprouts. This act of slicing the sprouts put me in a zen state of mind. It is when my mind is in such a state that a post is usually born. I could feel my mind going into blogpost writing mode. I started thinking back to the last time I had made this dish. In my mind's eye, the season when I had last made this dish looked like Spring. Or was it last Fall? I could not decide which. So I decide to focus on the bigger picture and think of what was significant about the last time I made this dish. I could feel myself walking through the halls of my memories and trying to push open the door to the room which held memories from that evening for me. But alas, that door would not open. As I moved on to browning the sprouts on the cut side, I forced myself to push harder against the door to open it. But I had family visiting and a six year old niece to chat with, so an unopened door would just have to wait. Sometimes it may be best to leave a closed door just stay so anyway!
            Turkey coma must have gotten the better of me on Thanksgiving day as I was typing this post, because here I am two days later trying to wrap up this post. In case you are curious, I did not sleep two days straight. While I am capable of it, it is just that I am finding time this evening to write again. We just finished decorating the house for Christmas. That always leaves me feeling so warm and happy. A perfect time to write. And in order to just maintain this happy state of mind, I am not going to try to force open any closed memory doors.
             I began today with a 5 mile walk along Katy trail. I have so much to share on that but those thoughts do not belong in this post. They need a post of their own. I will conclude this post by saying just how thankful I am for everything in my life. I hope you are having a wonderful and blessed holiday season as well. My hugs and good wishes go out to those having a rough time this holiday season or those who are away from home.

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don't fit in one layer, don't fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]
Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels (leaving the sauce behind). Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.

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