Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Brussel Sprouts and Tofu and Pomelo, oh my!

Ok. The dinner that I made myself last night might forever strip me of my title as a fat ass. For real. I had wanted to make the two things separately and only when I said it out loud did I realize how horrifyingly healthy/hippy it sounds. Damn it. As I was cooking it I was thinking "WTF am I doing?! Eating this stupid bird food is only going to leave me starving in about a half hour!". Much to my amazement, though, it was TOTALLY filling. Weird. Maybe those stupid hippies are onto something...

On a recent trip to Nevada City with my best friend Susannah and her parents, her mom made brussel sprouts. I hadn't had them in forever and forgot how much I like them! When I saw a pile of them at the farmer's market this weekend, I decided to attempt to make them myself. The ones I got were a smidge pricey, but I didn't really look around for the cheapest, so I might have just jipped myself.

-Olive oil (couple tablespoons-ish)
-3-ish cloves of crushed garlic
-some brussel sprouts (doing great with the measurements with this one, huh?)

Peel a couple layers off each brussel sprout (the dirty yucky looking layers), cut the stems off and cut them in half. I was told that cutting them in half is optional but that they cook better that way.

Heat up a frying pan with the oil with medium heat, add the garlic. Saute the garlic until it's soft but not brown (I failed at this step. Stupid garlic is tough to get right!). Add the brussel sprouts and saute until nice and browned (hey I did that! "browning" or "cook until a nice crust is formed" never seems to work for me, as evidenced below).

When they're nice and brown, but still undercooked, add in enough water to cover the bottom of the dish and come up to maybe half the height of the brussel sprouts. Don't want to drown them OR burn your pan up when you run out of water. Throw in a sprinkle of salt too, to taste. Cover the pan and steam for about 10 mins. In Nevada City it took a bit longer, and 10 mins seemed a bit much for mine, so just keep an eye on them. When a fork can go through the biggest easily, they're done! Drain the excess water and voila!

Grilled Tofu
Next up: tofu! Typically speaking, I'm not a fan. It tastes like NOTHING. I add it to soups and smoothies because it's good for you and tasteless, but I rarely eat it as it's own dish. I was flipping through Isabel's Cantina, though, and it seemed like a super fast super cheap dish so I decided to go for it. This is kind of a bastardized version of the recipe in the book though, so keep that in mind.

Olive oil
1 container of super firm tofu, cut into 1in cubes (I'd go a little smaller to decrease the plain to spiced tofu ratio)
1/2 teas cumin
1/2 teas ground red pepper (or chili pepper or whatever that red stuff is)

After the tofu is cut, dry it out some with a paper towel. Toss it in a bowl with the spices so that all the pieces are evenly coated (Note: don't absentmindedly lick your fingers while handling ground chili covered things unless you want to scrub your tongue with a paper towel and cough for a half hour. I've heard it sucks). Heat a couple Tablespoons of olive oil over pretty high heat and throw the tofu in. The recipe says to turn as needed, cooking until each side is nice and crusty. Umm...mine didn't really get crusty. Heat might not have been high enough or something. The end result was edible, but I'm gonna try to find something a little more convincing next time. The 'crusty-ness' probably would've helped. I'll have to work on that...I feel like tofu needs to be marinated in beef fat or something to make it actually good...you know?

One of my roommates in San Diego introduced me to Pomelo's. It's like a giant sweet grapefruit. So good! Usually giant versions of regular sized things (ie: koi fish) totally freak me out because they look all steroided and crap, but not these. They're kind of a pain in the ass to eat, but totally worth it. The outside looks like a huge green grapefruit. There is a ton of rind, so I'd avoid paying per pound because only about half of it is actually fruit.

Cut both ends off until you see the pink fruit part. Then cut it in wedges. It's easier to eat if you try to cut close to wedges/skin. When you pull each side of the wedge down, like you would an orange, the fruit part just kind of pops out. The skin is SUPER tough, so I wouldn't recommend trying to eat it.


Whit said...

Ew to everything but the fruit. Just plain ew.

Summer said...

It's shameful...I know...

Sally Ashton said...

Worcestershire sauce, a few shakes, in the brussel sprouts...You da man, sum. Check out my blog.

Summer said...

Oh RIGHT!! I had them again at my parents house last night and my dad said to put that in them too. Also pinenuts...

Anonymous said...

No, I put on balsamic vinegar. Close.

Sounds yummy....


Summer said...

Whatever. Sauce=sauce, right? Probably were the 'crappy cook' title came from...

susyash said...

worctershire! THATS what im forgetting!!! i was also inspired to try cooking up some brussels....the first time really didnt work all too well. i mean, they were fine, but nothing like mom's.

here's my problem: both times ive done it now, the oil in the bottom of the pan is gone within like 30 seconds after i put in the sprouts. WTF?

Summer said...

My completely appropriate advise because I totally know what I'm talking about: use more olive oil to begin with. I do that too, but when I was starting them (or something else) for your mom she kept saying "No, more. Add more. Still more" and I realized that I way skimp on the oil and that MIGHT be why I burnt the snot out of half the crap I make.