Sunday, September 09, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Pancetta (Page 579)

RECIPE #25
  • Date: Sunday, June 24, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B


This recipe came off a list I generated using a random number generator. I try to make something off that list every week. We love both Brussels sprouts and pancetta in our household, so this one was an easy choice from a list that contains other things like Creamed Oysters on Toasted Cornbread (toasted cornbread=yum, but creamed oysters... we'll see). Anyway, I picked this one a few weeks back. I halved some Brussels sprouts then tossed them with minced pancetta, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and roasted them until they were tender. When they were done roasting, I put the baking sheet on the stovetop, then stirred in some water to deglaze the pan. This dish was pretty good. We weren't quite as enamored with it as we expected to be, but neither of us could exactly put a finger on why not. My special gentleman just said, "It isn't as good as it should have been." I think it would have been better with more olive oil and more garlic. It just wasn't as flavorful as I would have hoped. That said, we did enjoy it!

The recipe is here.

25 recipes down, 1081 to go!

My special gentleman and I are organizing a math conference that will be held here in East Lansing in late October. It's a weekend conference, with talks on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday night we will host a conference party at our house. We've actually never had a party with more than 25 or so people in this house. But I am confident that many more will fit. We don't have a final list yet of conference attendees but it is looking like at least 60 people will be there -- possibly quite a few more than that. The current plan is to have casual dinner food at the party on Saturday night, cooked by yours truly. It's possible the plan will change, especially if the number of participants grows much larger! I have made dinner for 60 before, and one thing that I have learned is that preparing dinner for 60 requires a lot of freezer space! I will need to make some things that can be prepared in advance and frozen (particularly because on Saturday I will be at the conference all day!). We have two freezers: the one attached to our refrigerator and a small extra freezer in the basement. I think it is enough freezer space for what I have in mind. Or more accurately, it would be, if both freezers were empty!

To say that they are far from empty would be an understatement. In our house, when you open a freezer door inevitably food falls down upon you. I like to freeze things. In particular, there are often Book leftovers, and those often end up in the freezer. So both our freezers are bursting at the seams. Some of the food has been in there a while. But in preparation for the large amount of food that will be prepared for the party, my special gentleman and I have starting eating our way through the freezer. Every couple of days I take a few containers of food and move them to the fridge to defrost. Then we have to eat them or they will go bad, and that imminent threat does appear to be enough to entice us to eat the food. In the last week we've had: carrot soupsalt cod chowder, carrot ginger soup, lobster bisque, stuffed pork loin, roasted fresh hamstuffed turkey, chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, blueberry muffins, salt cod fritters, etc -- all out of the freezer. We're doing well. There are still LOTS of things left in there to be eaten, but both freezers are starting to look less packed.

Yesterday for lunch we heated up some salt cod fritters and stuffed pork loin. The fritters were pretty tasty, as they had been when we first made them. The pork loin wasn't great. A few bites in my special gentleman asked, "Which pork is this?" I speculated about when I had made that pork and who we had eaten it with. I was confident that it was some pork we ate with Helen and Charles about a year and a half ago. My special gentleman, on the other hand, insisted that it was a pork dish I made years ago in Indiana. I assured him that it was not. Would I really have moved a pork dish here with me from Indiana? Apparently, yes. The beauty of this blog is that such disputes can be easily settled. He pulled up a picture of the exact dish we were eating. The date I made it: September 20, 2009. In Indiana. To be fair, my special gentleman was living in Michigan at the time, so I probably sent the pork back with him one weekend so he would have something to eat. I don't think I actually moved with it when I left Indiana! Eating 3 year old pork? A little gross I guess. It hadn't gone bad or anything. Even if I had moved with it, I certainly would have kept it frozen with a good cooler and lots of ice. So it wasn't rotten, but the flavor and texture had degenerated a bit. Perhaps it is a good thing we are clearing out some things from the freezer! Next on the agenda: goosemiso soup, and chicken b'stilla. Oh, now that I think on it, both the miso soup and the b'stilla dish were also made in 2009!


2 comments:

Karen Shaffer said...

The brussels sprouts certainly look good! Maybe I'll try them with your suggested modifications.

You are so ambitious to take on dinner for 60 at your house! If you need extra freezer space for a short term, you could always do coolers (borrow some from friends, etc.) and use dry ice. I think that'd hold for a while.

That said, I'm trying to eat out of my freezer now, too...need to clear some space...

Teena said...

Yes, coolers will likely be involved, although I am hoping to do some of the cooking well in advance, in which case coolers are going to help me!