Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Furikake, Fish Sauce, Peanuts and Lime

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GO EAGLES! Lol, just kidding I don't really watch sports. It's just Sunday night (while I'm writing this) and I'm curled up on the couch with Reuben watching the Philadelphia Eagles plays the Dallas Cowboys. Reuben should appreciate this enthusiasm though.

It's so cold. Are you cold? We just got back from a weekend in Tahoe and it was COLD up there. Like legitimately below freezing and there was snow on the ground. Reuben forced me to climb a snow and ice covered mountain and I'm still try to figure out how I am still alive writing about brussels sprouts. I'll do a quick little recap of our weekend soon, but here are the highlights: I like mustard now, I had the best matcha latte of my life, and I beat Reuben in Padiddle. We are back in San Francisco and I'm still freezing. Curse old but cute apartments and their crappy heating! I'll live.

Anyways, how is your Thanksgiving menu planning going? Are you going full turkey? Chicken? Duck? Tofurkey? At the Cho/Young/Yee family Thanksgiving we would likely have turkey, chicken, duck, AND a ham. NO LIMITS. I doubt there is a tofurkey within the Cleveland city limits. The turkey is for tradition, and my mom always tells me that I'm really the only one who enjoys turkey... Mom, you're CRAZY. It's so good! More turkey legs for me then... The chicken is for everyone because my grandma makes this amazing steamed chicken that is similar to a Hainanese chicken. The roast duck has a permanent spot at the table because it is freaking delicious, and the ham is always present because my aunt brings one every year. The sides are typically mashed potatoes, some form of noodles, a Chinese soup, and some stir-fried Asian veggies. Maybe some mac n' cheese if I'm around! If it wasn't already obvious to you, we are Chinese and my mom (head family chef) likes to create a fusion menu. One year my mom made a sticky rice stuffing and it was soooooo good. But you probably won't find sweet potatoes with marshmallows or green bean casserole at our dining table!

I've grown to appreciate the balance of American traditions and Asian traditions/twists. I mean, I live in world where mashed potatoes and sticky rice can appear on the same plate. It's pretty much what I'm all about. But really, my whole life has pretty much been about bridging the gap between growing up as a 90s kid but also a first generation Chinese American. I'll talk more about this later... you're here for brussels sprouts right?

These sprouts are the perfect combo of a classic side dish with some pretty powerful Asian flavors. They are inspired by the B Sprouts from B Star (on Clement St.) and I love them so much! At B Star the brussels sprouts are deep fried and then tossed with furikake, fish sauce, popped rice, and parmesan. YUM! I decided to roast these suckers, because I don't want to open the dangerous gate to deep frying just yet. Feel free to fry them if you're into that though. I've perfected the method of getting crispy brussels sprouts from roasting. Do this and you'll forget what a deep fryer even is! The trick is making sure that the sprouts are really dry. Towel dry or air dry them, whatever you got to do. Wet sprouts equal soggy gross sprouts. Then the second trick is peeling back the outer leaves and even pulling off a few of them. Don't throw them out though! These essentially become crispy and salty brussels sprout chips in the oven.

The sprouts are then flavored with Furikake (a sweet and salty seaweed and sesame seed mixture), fish sauce, peanuts, and lime juice. It may sounds just a little weird but I promise you that all the flavors work beautifully together. It's salty, a little sweet, a tad sour, and addictively crunchy. It's like a little bit of Thanksgiving in Thailand! If fish sauce scares you, it shouldn't. I think you're probably just scared of the name. The smell is a little intense but the flavor isn't. It's one of my favorite secret ingredients to add to a dish for that extra umami kick. I recommend using Red Boat Fish Sauce, because it tastes great and doesn't actually smell terrible!

These sprouts are quick to come together and will be a fun new addition to your Thanksgiving table! Honestly, I'm going to be making these for dinner all cold weather season! Going to order more fish sauce now...


Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Furikake, Fish Sauce, Peanuts and Lime

serves 4-6

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Let's prep our brussel sprouts. Cut off the woody ends of the sprouts. Wash them and cut them in half lengthwise. If there is a little dirt under the leaves, give those a quick rise too. Towel dry them to make sure they are as dry as they can be. If I have time, I leave them on a baking sheet for 30 minutes to an hour to air dry. Peel back and rip off a few of the larger outer leaves of the sprouts. These will get so amazingly crispy!

2. Arrange sprouts and leaves on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Toss to evenly coat all the sprouts. Flip over sprouts so that the cut side is facing down, touching the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until crispy and golden.

3. Removed from the oven and immediately toss with remaining 1/2 tsp salt, fish sauce and the juice of 1 lime. Transfer to serving dish and top with crushed peanuts and furikake. Serve and enjoy!

Materials:

1.5 pounds of brussels sprouts

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp + 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp Fish Sauce 

1 lime

1/4 cup crushed peanuts

1 tbsp furikake

Vietnamese Style Pork Chops and Coconut Rice

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Hey! Happy hump day, guys! We are going to make it! 

Quick Unimportant Updates: Reuben and I watched Ratatouille over the weekend and it was wonderful! Next Food Network Star is back on and my desire to try out/practice has been reignited. I think Giada would be into me. Russell Sage tapped out on Naked and Afraid XL and the the women who watch this show (is it just me?) rejoiced! Ever since Reuben started @beermeatsbread, we've been collecting the beer cans in a nice clean bag and handing them over directly to the sweet old asian ladies/gentlemen that collect cans. You should do it too! It makes them so happy and their happiness will make you so happy!

My Love Hate Relationship with SF Update: Lately, I've been really overwhelmed/overstimulated by downtown San Francisco. My new work commute and new office location is a lot more "active" than it was before. The bus I take now is more cramped with a constant flow of people squeezing on and off. I walk right through the tourist center downtown to get from my bus stop to work and there are so many crazies! There is woman at my bus stop that hisses at everyone. And ugh. The smells. This past week alone (it's only Wednesday) I've see some nasty (I mean real nasty) things doing down on the block my new office is on. I'll spare you the details. I don't know if I'm just being a wimp or if anyone else who works downtown feels this way, but it's just a lot! I cry a little inside when I have to leave the safety of my Inner Richmond apartment... jk... but sort of.

I've talked about this before, but I'm an easily over stimulated person and I have to really work on including daily routines and rituals into my life that calm and center me. SF stresses me out. I juggle a lot of random passions and I don't want to give up any of them. I try to be a good friend/girlfriend/daughter/sister/niece/cousin. I hate disappointing or saying no to anyone. A lot of times, I feel like all these things pull me into every direction, but I just want to stay wrapped up in my blanket... alone. Sometimes, my emotions get the best of me, but I try my best to keep my mind balanced and in check. Although, this overwhelming feeling is the reason why I paint and cook. It's how I focus my thoughts and relax. Chopping vegetables and watching watercolors move on paper is so cathartic. Mental health and wellness is so so so so so important and I wish more people made maintaining their own mental health a priority!

If I told you mental health included making pork chops, would that make you take it seriously? 😜

Just a little perk! These pork chops are juicy and pack a flavor punch after some sweet caramelization in the pan. But, the unexpected star of this plate is the coconut rice. It is incredible! I want to take a nap on a bed of this coconut rice and never take the bus downtown again! For real though, this rice plate is I'mgoingtoinhalethis good. It's just like those giant meat and rice plates you get from your favorite Vietnamese place. I'm sure this will be on my dinner menu rotation if we move out of SF into the rural Ohio countryside. Aaaa the dream.

Make a pork chop, paint some flowers, dance your pants off, run 10 miles, watch Say Yes to the Dress, do what you got to do to keep your mind in tip top shape!


Vietnamese Style Pork Chop and Coconut Rice

serves 4

Step:

1. Start by making your coconut rice. Add rice to the bowl of your rice cooker or pot and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Add coconut milk, water, brown sugar and salt to the rice and mix to combine. If cooking in a rice cooker, cover with lid and simply press "cook" and wait until it pops to "warm". If cooking in a pot, bring the pot to a boil and then cover with lid and reduce to a simmer on low heat. Cover and allow to cook for 40-45 mins. In both instances, once the rice is done cooking fluff with a fork of rice paddle and cover again to sit for another 20 minutes. The rice will still seem really wet, but after 20 minutes it will be light and fluffy.

2. While your rice is cooking, mix together shallots, garlic, brown sugar, fish sauce, dark soy, rice vinegar, and black pepper.

3. Season your pork chops on both sides with salt and poke them with a fork to help the marinade soak in. Transfer pork chops to a gallon size ziplock bag and pour your marinade into the bag. Seal bag and allow the pork chops to marinade at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

4.  Heat up oil in your skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Once hot, add your pork chops in to the pan. 2 can normally fit. Sear on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove pork chops from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

5. Serve pork chops with coconut rice and some refreshing thinly sliced cucumbers!

Bonus step : sear some green onions in the skillet with the leftover oil and pork drippings and serve with the meal... so good!

For Pork Chops:

4 - 1/2" Pork Chops

1 finely chopped small shallot

3 finely chopped garlic cloves

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cucumber thinly sliced 

green onions - optional

 

For Coconut Rice:

2 cups Jasmine Rice (my fav)

1 - 13.5 oz can coconut milk

3 cups water

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt