Tarnation! #36 and #37: One New Recipe & One Recipe from the Bench

January 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I had to pull dinner from off the bench.  We were supposed to have a meal of roasted vegetables because I’d been eying a recipe for months.

Brussel sprouts,  sweet potatoes, and mushrooms were to be featured.  But what happens when you don’t plan your meals and coordinate that plan with your check of the produce at home and the list for shopping?  Yep.  You find yourself eyeing the River Valley Mushrooms at the farmers market for a very long time before you leave them on the table under the false belief that you have mushrooms at home.

You get ready to prep and realize your mushrooms aren’t fit to be fed to your worms and your sweet potato, you thought you had more than one,  should be planted in the garden since it is sprouting.

Luckily, there is always garlic, olive oil, and pasta in your home.  The last quarter of 2011, this was the fall back dish.  Pasta Aglio e Olio is the new consistent player that always causes the Mister to be very happy and then ask me if I’m in court the next day.   That’s his way of saying the garlic is enough to cause all vampires to stay away.  I respectfully disagree.

The brussel sprouts are fierce!  A bit of wow from the cayenne and an  unbelievable sweetness, that can’t possibly be explained by the kiss of maple syrup.

Hat tip to Martha Stewart and Cook’s Illustrated.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts


2 lbs of brussel sprouts


1T of Water

1 T. Maple Syrup

1/8 t. cayenne

1 t. coarse salt

Preheat oven to 500. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil.  Trim and halve, lengthwise, the brussel sprouts.   Toss brussel sprouts, EVOO, water, and salt in a large bowl.  Spread brussel sprouts onto baking sheet, cut half down.  Cover with foil.  Roast for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and decrease temperature to 450. Meanwhile, mix cayenne and maple syrup in a bowl. Return brussel sprouts, uncovered, to the oven for 9 minutes.  Remove from the oven and drizzle the maple and cayenne mixture over the brussel sprouts.  Return to the oven for a minute to allow the flavors to meld.

Pasta Aglio e Olio


1 lb of spaghetti

6 -10 large cloves of garlic, minced

3 T. of parsley minced—don’t leave this out; it is way more than just garnish

2 t. of fresh squeezed lemon juice

3 T. butter**


1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2c. Parmesan cheese**


Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.

While the water is boiling, heat a skillet over medium heat and melt 1T of butter.  Turn heat to low and add 2 T of EVOO and garlic.  Garlic should be golden in about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat to stop the cooking process.

QUICK: While the garlic is cooking, add 1.5 T of salt to water and add your pasta.  Cook until it’s done.  I loathe al dente because it always tastes like under cooked pasta to me.

Reserve 1/3 c. of pasta water, and an additional 2 T. of pasta water.  Drain pasta.

Add 2 T of pasta water, parsley, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice to the garlic and oil in the pan.

Place drained pasta back into the pot it boiled in.  Add reserved 1/3 c. pasta water, remaining EVOO and butter as well as garlic and oil.  Stir to mix.  Serve and pass the Parmesan.

** Replacing the butter with EVOO and omitting the cheese makes the dish vegan without missing a beat.

brussel sprouts 1-29-12