While cooking, listen to this: Shove It - Santigold
So I'm a little afraid of my kitchen.
"Rina, you write a food blog, what the fuck?"
I know, I know! I should have full kitchen confidence, wielding knives with Benihana flamboyance and blowtorching shit all over the place.
But I'm a little afraid of my kitchen.
And the reason I'm a little afraid of my kitchen is because my oven is old, small and makes a clicking noise every once in a while. It's not not the title character from Alien.
Apparently pilot light gas ovens make odd noises and it's totally normal? I know that now, but when I first moved into my apartment I had no idea. I was home alone having a nice, quiet lunch one day when all of a sudden I heard it.
My mind began to race. Is my oven going to explode? Am I going to be that person people will read about on the news, "Tragedy Strikes: Tiny Oven Takes Life"? Do I abandon my salad and jar of cookie butter and vacate the premises posthaste?
Well, obviously none of that happened because here I am, writing this post, and I would NEVER abandon an innocent jar of cookie butter. My roommate assured me of our oven's normalcy and I have since learned to live with it. Every once in a while, though, I hear it...
...and I'm convinced this is the end.
What exacerbates this fear is when I crank the temperature up to, oh, let's say 500 F. Vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts need to be roasted at VERY high heat so that they can get all roasty and caramelized, rather than limp and upsetting. These are two of my favorite foods, and I love them so much that I put myself in imaginary, not-at-all-real danger to cook them up.
So, yeah, I roast my sprouts at 500 F and cower in the corner but it is WORTH it. What makes it even more worth it is drizzling them with tahina-pomegranate sauce. Even MORE worth it are the crispy panko breadcrumbs and bright pomegranate seeds that go on top of it all.
In a few months I'll be leaving the spot I've called home for the last three years to move in with my partner, and I'll be in search of a kitchen that's made for grown human beings. Maybe I'll find an oven that's strong and silent, but for now, I'll make do with my busted, underdog box of fiery death.
Love and meows, Rina
CRISPY SPROUTS WITH TAHINA AND POMEGRANATE
Yield: 8-10 servings
Active Cook Time: 15m | Inactive Cook Time: 20m
Category: Sides, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Source: The New York Times
3-4 pounds Brussels sprouts
3-4 Tablespoons neutral oil (sunflower, safflower etc.)
Salt and pepper, to taste
tahina pomegranate sauce:
¾ cup tahina
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice from 3 medium-small lemons
⅓ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 Tablespoons pomegranate syrup
1 cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon neutral oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
Prep: preheat oven to 500F and place a foil-lined baking tray or cast-iron skillet on the upper rack of your oven. Trim the ends off of the sprouts and slice in half. Really fat sprouts can be quartered.
Roast the sprouts: toss sprouts with neutral oil, salt and pepper. When the oven is preheated, take the tray out and quickly but carefully add the sprouts, making sure they're all cut side down. Roast for 15 minutes, until the sprouts can be pierced with a fork and the bottoms are a deep golden brown.
Make the sauce: while the sprouts are roasting, add the tahina, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pomegranate syrup to a bowl or jar and mix well. You can do this in a food processor, but we mixed by hand.
Crisp the breadcrumbs: add the neutral oil to a small saute pan and place over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and stir. Immediately add the panko and stir until toasty and golden, about 2 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in a pinch of salt.
Assemble! place the roasted sprouts on a large plate. Drizzle with the tahina pomegranate sauce and top with the panko breadcrumbs and pomegranate seeds. Dig in immediately.
To keep: um, don't. This recipe is best eaten the day of.