Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

December 19, 2010

Gilding the Lily; Formidable Brussels Sprouts & Eating Memory

In some way or other, left over food items inspire the best of meals. Here I was with a package of frozen Porcini Tortellini, a pair of sweet Italian sausage, two slices of thickly cut bacon, and a recently arrived package from Germany with Nürnberger Lebkuchen.*

Any one who follows my blog knows that I don’t like sweets. So why am I suddenly salivating over chocolate covered gingerbread cookies? It's a case of eating memory. The Lebkuchen recall going shopping with Father at the Christmas market in Osterburg, Germany, buying Nürnberger Lebkuchen, the traditional Christmas cookies, baked in Nürenberg for hundred of years. Around Christmas a friend sends me a package with Nürnberger Lebkuchen: Chocolate Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Almond Lebkuchen, Lebkuchen-Sterne (stars), Chocolate Lebkuchen-Herzen (hearts), Honigplätzchen, and Spekukulatius. I select one after dinner, relishing every bite.


Porcini Tortellini with Sweet Peas and Italian Sausage
Bacon-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Wine: Cantina Zaccagnini 2006
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Dessert: Chocolate Lebkuchen

The Tortellini dish all but cooked itself. I cooked the pasta as directed, sautéed the sausages, cut them into small pieces, and tossed them into the cooked pasta. To add color, I added precooked, small peas.

For years I ignored Brussels sprouts, thinking it a boring vegetable. Of course, it wasn’t the vegetable that was boring, but that I didn’t know what to do with them. I have since cooked Brussels sprouts in various ways. Preparing them with bacon is the best. (With an apology to my Kosher daughter-in-law.)

Recipe: Brussels sprouts

½ pound small, fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices thick bacon, cut into thin strips
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper
¼ cup chicken stock

Parboil the Brussels sprouts in boiling water for 5 minutes, plunge them into cold water, drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the bacon until crisp. Toss in the garlic and sauté until golden. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the stock and raise the heat. Let simmer until it reduces just enough to coat the Brussels sprouts.


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