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Mirin Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

I’ve reached a goal of sorts, and I wanted to tell you about it. When I started this blog in 2011, it was as a direct response of having to put my 4 month old in the arms of stranger, turn around, and drive to an office.

Tater 6 months I love my job, and I love my babysitter, she has become a part of the family. But at the time, I didn’t know her, she was just the woman who had babysat my friends daughters. If you’ve never had to leave your baby,  it might not sound that terrible, but at the time it felt like a part of my heart was being torn out.

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Every morning when I left her I cried, and my babysitter understood. She has four grown boys of her own, and started watching babies as a way to stay home with them, "I’d worry about you if this didn’t bother you. It’s OK, everyone cries when they leave their babies," She had told me. Somehow, that made me feel better.

I decided to try and find a way to work part time, in order to stay home with her more and maybe, when I decided to have Baby #2, I would be able to stay home longer. For some reason, a blog was my brilliant idea. It wasn’t until after I had fallen in love with blogging that I discovered that the average blogger only makes $40 a month. Although I am lucky enough to make much more than that off my ad revenue, it isn’t enough to quit my job. Even though the income isn’t what I hope, my complete love and utter obsession with food writing, blogging and recipe develop makes up for that. But I needed other ways to make money. Little by little, small job by small job, I’ve been able to nickel and dime my way to part time.

I’m part time!

I only have to go to an office 3 days a week. It really is amazing. One of the ways I’ve been able to do this is freelance writing. I wrote an article last year for Honest Cooking that I was so proud of, I just have to tell you about it. More than 100 food writers and bloggers pitched for only 10 slots in the new Honest Cooking iPad magazine and I was given one of those spots. I was so grateful, but once I got the green light, I froze. Could I do it? Could I really write something I was proud of, that could stand up to the work of real life food writers? Writing this article I was able to prove to myself that I am able to do this. It was a turning point for me, proof that I really can do this. I can move forward in this world I so badly want to be part of. And next time, maybe I wont have to put my infant in the arms of a stranger.

The article I pitched was on a non-profit that I’m a bit starry eyed over. Homeboy industries helps Los Angeles gang members get out of gangs by turning them into chefs and bakers. It’s an incredible organization and for so many people, the only way out of gang life. It is the most successful gang rehabilitation program in the world.

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I spent three days interviewing ex-con, ex-gang members, visiting "urban gardens" spread across East Los Angeles, farmers markets and Homeboy Cafes. I left so inspired, by the people, their stories and the fight they fight daily to pull themselves out of the gangs they were often born into and give themselves and their children a good life.

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So, please, if you have an iPad, please download the app and read my article. It’s a free app full of great food related articles and inspiring stories.

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I also have some Brussels sprouts for you! I love these vegetables, but so far, my husband isn’t a fan. I’ve tried so many methods, braising, bacon fan, roasting and yet he remains unimpressed. Until I poured some Mirin  into a cast iron skillet. It gets a bit sweet and caramelized, giving a new life to there little green guys.

He loved these, more than even the bacon fat version. I hope you do too.

Mirin Brussels Sprouts

Beer and Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Adapted from Claritha's Fried Chicken, Ruth Reichl, Tender at the Bone

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chicken drumsticks
  • 1 to 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups blonde ale
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Yield: 4servings

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a wide bowl. Cover with salt, place uncovered in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove chicken from the bowl.
  2. Rinse the chicken well and clean the bowl to remove all the salt. Add buttermilk, beer and onion slices to the bowl, stir to combine. Add the chicken back in the bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight, 8 to 20 hours.
  3. Add the flour, salt, cayenne, brown sugar, and pepper to a bag, shake to combine. Drain the chicken. add chicken to the bag, shake until the chicken is well coated. Place chicken on wax paper or parchment paper. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour.
  4. In a large skillet melt the vegetable shortening and butter over high heat. Add chicken (working in batches if necessary), cover and lower heat to just above medium. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, turn and cook on the opposite side for about 8 additional minutes or until cooked through.
https://domesticfits.com/mirin-caramelized-brussels-sprouts/

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Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Goat Cheese

Every foodie mom wants to raise an eater. A kid with a profound appreciation for food who can tell you the difference between a Béarnaise and a Hollandaise. 

I love that my two year old’s favorite food is bacon, that she’ll pick the carcass of roast chicken clean if I let her, that she prefers to snack on roasted Nori sheets over Oreos if given the option, but it’s not my biggest focus. I want her to respect food, but I want her to respect people more.

I’m grateful that I have the ability to buy organic whole produce, spend the extra five bucks for the organic free range eggs, that I always make cakes, frosting, ricotta cheese, bread and pasta from scratch, and I’m thrilled that I get to be that type of mom. But I wasn’t that type of kid.

I was the kid who’s family lived pay check to paycheck, who once sorted through boxes of canned food sent over from the local Mission when the funds ran really low, who waited in the 12 passenger van while mom ran into the bakery to buy twenty-cent day old bread so our family of ten could make it through the month. And I never had a friend who made me feel bad about it.

When my seven sisters and I would have friends over on a friday night, and mom would make Bisquick pancakes for dinner, it was seen as charming, not as a cheap way to feed the fifteen mouths that were now at the table.

That’s what I want for Tater. To be able to sit at anyones table and see the food as what it is, a gesture of care and affection. I don’t want her to ask for aged Reggiano to add to the Rice-A-Roni that her friends mom served. I don’t want to raise a kid who wants to add a honey balsamic reduction to ice berg salad mix she is given by the next door neighbor.

I want her to eat what she is served, and feel grateful that someone took the time to offer her food from their home.

I want to raise a kid who would eat boxed macaroni and cheese if that what she is served, and clean her plate, without ever pointing out that her mom makes it from scratch.

And if she is at summer camp and a group of weary, under paid cooks serve her chicken nuggets and tater tots that only made a brief stop in the kitchen after a long ride on a Sysco truck, I hope she is able to see warm food that people took time away from their families to make for her. 

And if someday her mother in law serves her a burnt lasagna that is still frozen in the middle, with Kool-Aid out of plastic tumblers, I hope she say thank you. And I hope she means it.

Food is more than just an experience of taste and the pleasures that it brings, it’s about a respect for those who serve it. Everyone has different abilities, concerns and limitations but we all bring food to those we love with the same motivation, and no amount of foodie intolerance should ever diminish that.

I have the privilege  of spending time and money on the food that I want to serve, but the love I bring to my table is no different than the busy, over worked mother or 5 who serves spaghetti from a jar and a box twice a week.

I want her to be gracious and appreciative, no matter what is put in front of her, thanking her hosts, because others did that for me.

That’s what food is about.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Goat Cheese

3 tbs olive oil

3 cups Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters

1/2 tsp course salt

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

small pinch of cayenne pepper

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled 

(makes 4 side dish portions)

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until hot and shimmery. Add the Brussels sprouts, tossing frequently until browned and fork tender. Turn off heat, add the salt pepper and cayenne, toss to coat. Add to a plate and top with goat cheese. 

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