Thanksgiving Thursday: Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts

I’m weird, and I’ll be the first person to admit it, but I LOVE brussels sprouts.  (I love hominy, too, so there you go.)  When I ran across the original recipe for this, I just had to make it and once I’d made it, I stuck it right in the Thanksgiving repertoire.  I’ve converted die-hard brussels sprout haters with this recipe.

The original recipe called for freshly roasted chestnuts and while I can say the original recipe is very yummy, I can also say that shelling freshly roasted chestnuts is a humongous pain in the ass.  I really do love them…for a nut or two.  Three-quarters of a pound, though?  I don’t have that much patience.  I don’t think Mother Theresa had that much patience.  So I substituted walnuts and lemme tell ya – it’s still pretty damn nom-worthy.

Note: I thought perhaps the reason I had so much trouble shelling the chestnuts was because of my very Southern background – growing up in Texas, my only association with the nuts was in songs where they’re roasting over an open fire and Jack Frost is taking liberties with your olfactory appendage.  But then I discovered that my very New England-borne-and-raised sister-in-law, Tough Yankee Broad (who is an absolutely awesome cook), has forsaken roasting and shelling the little beasts for similar reasons, substituting them with walnuts or pecans, depending on the recipe.

My confidence has been restored.

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts

serves 6

1 pound brussles sprouts

1 cup unbroken walnut meats

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil.

Trim the oustide leaves from the brussels sprouts and cut 1/4 inch-deep cross in the bottom of each.  Drop them in the boiling salted water and cook until they are barely fork tender, about 7 minutes.

Drain the sprouts and drop them into a large bowl of ice water to stop them cooking and cool.  Remove them from the water, dry, and cut in half.

Add the maple syrup to a 10″ saute pan and warm.  Add the brussels sprouts and bring to a boil.  Quickly add the walnuts and stir in the whole butter.  Saute for 2 – 3 minutes, allowing the syrup and butter to thicken and glaze the sprouts.

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Souffleed Omelet with Cheese and Herbs

Sunday BrunchWell, here it is Sunday and after a mere 42 hours at home, Beloved was off again to see another client. He’s been home a whopping 4 days in three weeks. Well, at least he’ll be home Tuesday night and then will stay here for a week and a half (his younger daughter is coming to visit for 12 days). Then he’ll be off again.

I had to have him at the airport by 12:15 today, so we didn’t have our usual, leisurely Sunday brunch. However, I did manage to cook and we had a nice meal – just much earlier than usual for a Sunday. Beloved really liked this, and it was really a snap to make. There are all sorts of cheese and herb combinations you can use, as well.

Soufflèed Omelet with Cheese and Herbs

serves 4

4 large eggs, separated

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped

1/4 cup grated Stilton with Lemon Zest*

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a large glass mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Without cleaning the beaters, beat the egg yolks with the salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl until thick and light. Fold the yolk mixture gently into the whites.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch, ovenproof skillet over medium heat until it begins to foam. Once the foam has subsided, but before the butter begins to brown, pour the egg mixture into the pan, spread evenly and smooth the top. Let it sit for a few seconds, then shake the pan back and forth to discourage sticking. Cover the pan with a lid whose underside has been buttered to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the cover and sprinkle the top of the omelet with the tarragon and cheese. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the top is set, 3 to 5 minutes.

Slide the omelet out onto a warmed plate, cut into fourths and serve immediately.

*You can find Stilton with lemon zest in the gourmet cheese section of most grocery stores. If it is unavailable, add a teaspoon of finely chopped lemon zest to the omelet with the Stilton, or other bleu cheese.