Forgive me if this is a bit premature. You may not want to think about Brussels sprouts just yet. You have probably been snubbing them at the grocery store, quickly walking by them to get to the late season sweet corn on the cob.
But Brussels sprouts are in season too, since they are best after a few hard frosts. They are small and crisp right now, and begging to be roasted, the perfect vegetable to usher in the fall.
The stunning ground cover of the Lower Faces, at the Jackson Hole Ski Resort.
Aspens in their peak of color make the blue sky appear even bluer.
The classic go-to Brussels sprouts preparation involves tossing them on a roasting pan with olive oil, garlic and salt, then roasting them in a hot oven until toasty and brown. If I'm not too lazy, I'll throw in some crisp bacon bits, or drizzle it all with maple syrup in the last few minutes of cooking.
Cottonwood trees turning yellow along the Snake River frame the Sleeping Indian Mountain, which will soon be blanketed in snow.
A new Brussels sprouts recipe fell onto my lap courtesy of my friend Casey.
She and I share a thing for Brussels sprouts. Around the same time, I had been working my way through the Momofuku cookbook, from which this recipe was taken. Roasted Brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette
doesn't sound particularly inviting. Fish sauce is the extremely pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. It smells even worse than it sounds but lends Thai food its depth of flavor, its richness, its umami.
I like my sprouts a little bit burnt, just like my marshmallows.
Only David Chang, the fabulously successful chef of the Momofuku restaurant empire, would think of pairing stinky little cabbages with an even stinkier sauce. The combination works, somehow, and it is my new favorite preparation for the humble Brussels sprout.
Sleeping Indian from the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, rising up out of the early morning fog.
I love my Brussels sprouts roasted and almost burnt, to bring out their sweet complexity. This dish starts by throwing the sprout halves into a hot frying pan, to get them nicely burnt, and then finishing them in the oven until they are cooked through. The warm Brussels sprouts are then tossed with the Fish Sauce Vinaigrette. The finished dish won't win any beauty contests, but it tastes great, especially alongside grilled pork chops on a bed of curried peach chutney.
Roasted Brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette, in all its humble glory.
Pork chops are rubbed with salt and pepper, grilled and sprinkled with fresh thyme. A sweet and savory curried peach relish balances the salty Brussels sprouts.
Our fall colors are more subdued than the ones I grew up with in New York, but they sure make the mountains and the sky even more stunning.
These photos of Jackson Hole's gorgeous Indian summer are not just for your benefit, by the way. David Chang, stressed from the demands of his success, recently commented in Food and Wine
magazine: "There are days when I think I should give it all up and move to Jackson Hole." (Food and Wine, October 2011, http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/david-chang-vegetarian-korean-dishes
So in a cheap attempt to lure the young Korean chef here, I am presenting our mountains in all their fall glory. He could open a noodle shop, like his Noodle Bar in New York City, and we could feast on ramen with pork belly, Momofuku pork buns, and bacon dashi with potatoes and clams (David loves pork, especially Benton's bacon). He could take up fly-fishing, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing. What do you say, David? Momofuku West?
South end of the Teton Range, framed by the Aspens in my backyard.
In the meantime, I'll be working my way through the Momofuku cookbook, perfecting his ramen broth, attempting his kimchi stew with rice cakes and shredded pork, and finding more uses for fish sauce vinaigrette.
For a printable version of each recipe, click on the file below it.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
In the Momofuku cookbook, by David Chang and Peter Meehan, this dish is prepared with roasted or fried cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. I am a big fan of the cauliflower variation, too, which I've been having for lunch all week.
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts (or 4 cups cauliflower florets, about one head)
- 2 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil, for pan-frying
- 1/2 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-3 Thai chiles, thinly sliced, or a pinch of red pepper flakes
Curried peach chutney goes well with the salty sprouts.
- Combine the fish sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic and chiles (or red pepper flakes) in a jam jar. Shake well to combine.
- Trim the Brussels sprouts of any discolored outer leaves, and cut in half.
- Pat the Brussels sprouts dry with a towel (you don't want any water droplets to splatter on the hot oil).
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven-safe wide 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.
- Carefully add the halved sprouts to the hot pan, cut side down.
- When the cut surface begins to brown, transfer the pan to the oven and roast at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until they tender but not soft. Upon removal, be sure to keep the handle of the skillet covered with a pot holder!
- Toss the hot Brussels sprouts (or cauliflower) with the fish sauce vinaigrette and serve. This is a great side dish to serve with grilled meat and a sweet and savory chutney, like curried peach chutney.
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Curried Peach Chutney
This recipe was inspired by the Gourmet Grilling special issue of Summer 2011. Remember Gourmet, which fell victim to a print-hostile economy in 2009? An avid fan since the age of 20, I still have all my back copies.
Please make sure you are using fresh curry powder that smells bright and spicy, not stale. Thank you.
- 1 Tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 Tablespoon minced, peeled ginger
- 1 teaspoon Kosher, or coarse salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 4-5) firm ripe peaches, peeled and diced
- 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced (drained canned diced tomatoes work well)
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
Peaches and tomatoes are the unlikely partners in this sweet and savory sauce.
- Heat canola oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat.
- Add red onion, ginger and salt. Sauté until onion is soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add curry powder and cook for another minute.
- Add peaches, tomatoes, lime juice and sugar.
- Simmer, uncovered, until the peaches are soft and the chutney is thick like marmalade.
- Serve warm or cold with grilled meats. The chutney mellows and improved with age, so make a day ahead if you can. Makes great leftovers for sandwiches, grilled fish or chicken.
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Fish Sauce: Popular throughout Southeast Asia, fish sauce can be any of various mixtures based on the liquid from salted, fermented fish. It's used as a condiment and as a flavoring, much as soy sauce would be used. Nam pla is the fish sauce of Thailand. The Vietnamese have nuoc nam, the Japanese have shottsuru, and you can find patis in the Philippines. from the Deluxe Food Lover's Companion, by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
I made this cake for the first BBQ of the summer, given by friends brave enough to have an outdoor party in May. Locals clad in down puffies and their very best Uggs traipsed through the snow and mud, laden with pots and platters, salad bowls and loaves of bread. Me, I always bring dessert.
This peach blackberry upside down cake is always a hit, and someone suggested that I blog it for you all. I'm a bit behind schedule, but just in time for the explosion of pristine fruit at the Farmers' Markets.
Local volunteers like Joan keep the Saturday Farmers' Market on the Town Square going strong in its 11th year.
This is peak season for fruit at the local Farmers' Markets, and I bet your kitchen is being taken over by wall-to-wall trays of peaches, blackberries, blueberries, plums and nectarines.
I have set aside a good part of today to "manage" all my Farmers' Market finds. Berries will be washed and dried, laid out on a single layer on baking trays lined with wax paper, and then frozen. Then they will be placed into pint-sized baggies, ready for smoothies, muffins, or an impromptu mid-January upside down cake.
Everyone loves Sloan, who procures the very best produce for the Saturday Farmers' Market on the Town Square, and her own weekend market over by the Movieworks plaza.
I love taking photos at Sloan's market. The wicker baskets of fruit have a nostalgic, timeless quality that reminds me of the roadside stands of my youth.
Sweet late-season corn will be cut from the cob and frozen in baggies for potato corn chowder with bacon, tortilla soup, or roasted summer sweet corn with miso butter and bacon (recipe coming soon).
I bought way too many of these peppers from Sloan, but I'll love having roasted and sliced peppers stashed in the freezer for soups and enchiladas.
Nectarines and peaches will be halved and sliced, frozen on trays, and likewise bagged up and stashed in the freezer.
These gorgeous Asian plums (satsumas I believe) would be so good in a simple tart with an almond crust and a frangipane custard, although they are irresistible eaten out of hand, and there may not be any left over to freeze.
I love bringing dessert to parties. Sharing sweets with friends is one of life's greatest pleasures. Besides, I am not to be trusted home alone with a half-eaten cake. Especially this cake, although it is on the healthier end of the dessert spectrum, with a hearty whole wheat and yogurt crumb and an abundance of anti-oxidant rich berries and fruit. I have been known to serve this for breakfast to my kids, with a dollop of honey yogurt on the side, consoling myself that at least they are eating a serving of fruit.
This cake always comes to mind during Huckleberry Season, which apparently came and went while I was out mountain biking. If you have some huckleberries, you will certainly want to showcase them with this beautiful upside-down creation. If not, just about any fruit will do, and right now I am wholeheartedly addicted to the combination of blackberries and peaches.
It is also very, very special made with cubes of mango, either alone or in combinations with your favorite berry. I have also tried apple, pear, nectarine, and of course pineapple, the classic fruit that started the whole upside-down-cake craze.
Start stocking up on fabulous fruit, and you'll be able to whip up this cake all winter long. All long, long, long winter long. Fruit from the freezer makes winter brighter. Hurry though; the last Saturday Farmers' Market on the Town Square is next weekend, September 24.
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Peach Blackberry Upside-Down Cake
This versatile cake can be made with any fruit you fancy. It's perfect now for ripe, late-summer fruit. It will be just as good in the winter with apples and pears (maybe spiked with some crystallized ginger), or mango and berries pulled from your freezer.
Place frozen fruit in a fine mesh sieve to thaw and drain before using.
You'll need a 10-inch skillet with an ovenproof handle for this recipe, and a large and a medium bowl. Much like muffin batter, you don't want to mix it too vigorously; just mix wet with dry ingredients until combined.
This recipe comes from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday cookbook, which he makes with pineapple and calls Volteado de Piña en Sartén.
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 cups fruit (I used 2 cups of sliced and peeled peaches and 1 cup of blackberries. If using mango, pear, pineapple or apple, cut the fruit into 1/2 inch cubes)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain (not non-fat) or honey yogurt
- Oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
- Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet (nonstick is good, and with an ovenproof handle). Swirl the butter over medium heat until it turns nut-brown. Pour the butter into a medium bowl. Don't wipe out the skillet.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Top with the fruit in an even layer.
Butter is browned in the skillet, then poured into a bowl to make the batter. The solids are left behind, then covered with a layer of brown sugar, then fruit.
You can arrange the fruit in a nice pattern, if you like, or just dump it all in like I do, making sure the berries are evenly distributed.
4. In the large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
5. Add the white sugar to the bowl with the browned butter. Beat in the egg, and the the buttermilk or yogurt.
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix just to combine.
7. Spoon the batter over the fruit in the skillet. The batter will be very thick.
8. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the center is set. Check for doneness with a skewer; you don't want the middle to be gooey (which has happened to me if I use too much fruit).
9. Remove from the oven, keeping the handle of the pan covered with a pot holder, and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
10. Invert a plate over the skillet and carefully flip over the skillet. Voilá. Volteado! Slice and serve.
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Culinary Word: Frangipane. A rich creme patisserie flavored with ground almonds and used as a filling or topping for pastries and cakes.
It's still summer. Even though the moose moved into my backyard this morning like they own the place, like they always do in the fall. I could not see their breath and there was no frost on their backs. Summer moose.
Moose making themselves at home in my backyard.
Summer can't be over, even though the kids are back in school, and a large percentage of my brain is now reserved for keeping track of soccer schedules. There are still lush wildflowers up high on Teton Pass, and I spotted three lone huckleberries today, faded on the bush, but still sweet like summer.
Summer cannot pass without sitting on the too-hot deck with friends who have been exercising all day, sipping icy tumblers of Peaches and Wine. If you weren't aware of this summer rule, relax. It's not too late. Even though there is the slightest discernable chill in the evening air, the deck is still hot, though the sun goes down quickly. Peaches and wine will still hit the spot.
Years ago a friend mentioned that her Grandfather in Italy loved to put peaches in his wine in the summer. He would sip on the cool red wine after supper, and then slurp up the peaches with a spoon. Like peaches in heavy syrup for grown-ups but better, because the peaches get all boozy and fermented after a few hours of soaking in the wine.
My very favorite sunset of the week. Felt, Idaho.
I could never get that beautiful visual image out of my mind: the Italian Grandpa, the perfect late summer peaches, the hot summer evening somewhere on the Adriatic coast, the not too sweet wine. I couldn't help wondering if my own Grandpa had also sipped on peachy wine in Sicily in the summer, and then noisily slurped up the spiked peaches. I can only hope so.
The bull moose likes to keep an eye on the soccer goal, in case any kids dare to come out to play.
This is the simplest recipe I will ever give you. There are a few rules, though. The peaches should be pristine, ripe but firm, unblemished. To optimize that feel-good-summer feeling, it would be ideal if you purchased your peaches at the Farmers' Market, especially if you were able to meander around and whittle away part of a summer day there, with enough time to be picky about finding the best peaches for your wine.
These beauties were found at Sloan's Farmers Market, the weekend market near Twigs.
Then there's the wine, which can be red or white, as long as it's not too sweet. My friend's Grandpa likely used a local chianti. A Spanish rioja is often just right, but avoid a red that is too too big, too fruity, too expensive. You want the peaches to take center stage.
It still looks like summer from the top of Jump Rock, looking down on my best fishing buddy and Phelps Lake, Grand Teton National Park.
A rioja from Spain is my standard pairing for peaches, but tonight I chose a white burgundy, which was dry and crisp, and just a bit grassy. It was perfect for the hot summer night, the chilled glasses, the hot deck, the thirsty friends.
There's still time to take the Tram to the top of the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, and indulge in a waffle stuffed with Nutella.
Jack enjoys a waffle from Corbet's Cabin in the late summer sun, but he'd trade it in a second for a raging powder day.
There's one more rule, perhaps the most important one of all. The peaches must soak in the wine for several hours, so that the wine is able to coax out their sweet summer flavor, and the alcohol has time to seep under their skins. Mix up a pitcher midday; enjoy it as the sun goes down. If you don't polish it off it will be even better the next day, and even more of a dessert, as it becomes thick enough to pour over a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Peaches in Wine
Inspired by Nancy's Grandfather in Italy.
- 4-5 ripe but firm Organic peaches
- 1 bottle dry red or dry white wine
- 2-3 Tbsp. sugar, optional
- Wash the peaches well and blot them dry. Slice each peach in half; discard the pit. Slice each half into 6-8 slices. Place in a pitcher.
- Uncork the wine. Take a sip to determine its sweetness. Pour the wine over the peaches.
- If the wine is very dry, add a few tablespoons of sugar and gently stir.
- Refrigerate for at least six and up to 24 hours.
- When ready to serve, give the wine another gentle stir. Spoon 4-5 slices of peaches into a chilled glass and pour the wine over.
- Now sit, sip, and watch the sun go down.