~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Grape Tomatoes and Black Olives

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Grape Tomatoes and Black Olives... Every so often my parents will send me a package of "things" that I may need. If they know that I particularly love something... well, they can give loads of it, to last me quite a while. They love to give... it's their language of love. I suppose it would be easy to overlook their generosity, but I know full well they are on a limited budget. And to me, the gifts mean that much more...

So when my parents came over for a visit a couple of months ago, they asked me if I needed anything.... trying to take advantage of their limited luggage allowance. My parents happen to live in an area where international stores abound, so I thought to ask for some olives... just a package of black olives(the ones with the pits). It wouldn't take too much space, I thought. But I should have known better. They didn't just bring me a package, but quite a few packages... enough to last me through the winter, spring, and maybe summer:). But I didn't mind, I'm more than grateful for their love towards us.

Now because I had plenty of olives, I decided one day to marinate some of the olives.... in some olive oil, a bit of vinegar, dried chile flakes, and a small amount of dried onion flakes. This way I'd have some plain olives... and some flavored. While I was marinating the olives and placing them in jars, I realized that time had quickly flown by.... and I hadn't the thought of what to make for lunch that day. There really wasn't any leftovers that I could reheat. So I decided to incorporate some olives in the lunch dish for that day... I didn't see why I couldn't. But what sort of dish..... that's when I opened my fridge, took a quick inventory, grabbed a few items, and got to work. The result of my "scrambling about", trying to fix lunch, brings me to this dish I'm posting today.

I loved the dish so much, that I made it again... just so that I could post it:). Granted the first time around I made the dish, my husband liked it better... that's only because I added some bacon:). The second time I thought to go "lighter" and omitted the bacon... still delicious. So feel free to make the dish with or without the bacon. You can also opt to omit the olives if you don't have any on hand, or even omit the Parmesan cheese. And if you don't have any bell peppers on hand,... well, you can omit them too. The dish still works even though it will change somewhat, but it's a great alternative when you have limited ingredients. A great side dish that can be used next to some pan fried fish, chicken, sausages etc...

I've also turned this dish it into a simple, yet satisfying meal, just by simply adding a sunny side up egg on top. Love how the soft yolk runs down the vegetables and sort of makes a "sauce". Quite delicious I thought. The dish is also pretty quick to prepare.... and a great meal for those days you want to limit the carbs. Loved this dish for its simplicity and great flavor.... I especially like the grape tomatoes in this dish as it brightens the dish with just the right amount of tanginess.

I thought it best to post this recipe before this winter "commodity" goes out of season. Funny, how the winter vegetable that I once cared not for... has slowly creeped up to be a favorite of mine:). Hope you enjoy...

Tip: Try substituting the brussels sprouts with cauliflower... for a different take on this dish.

~Even though, I used to throw away the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts, I now end up making brussels sprouts chips with the leaves(as you would kale chips, omitting the salt). They do end up tasting slightly bitter(depending how tender the outer leaves are), but we don't mind~.

You will need:
1 pound brussels sprouts
3-4 slices of bacon, cut in strips, optional
2-3 TBS olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1 red jalapeno, minced, optional
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2- 2/3 cup black olives, optional
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsps lemon juice
extra olive oil, for drizzling on top, optional
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

1. Wash and remove outer leaves of sprouts and cut in half. Dice onion, bell peppers and bacon(if using), mince jalapeno pepper(if using) and garlic. Set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season water with plenty of salt... I usually season as I would pasta water.

3. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain under cold water.

4. If using bacon: cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until brown but not crisp, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. You can pour out all of the bacon fat from the pan...or use some(or all of it) to sauté the vegetables....the next step.
If not using bacon: Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add olive oil.

5. Add onion (to the olive oil or bacon fat, if using)and cook... stirring often, until soft, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes or so. Add minced garlic and diced peppers... and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until peppers soften a bit. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. You may want to add a tiny amount of water/wine to deglaze pan if it's needed....I had a bit of water clinging to the brussels sprouts after I drained them and that helped with deglazing my pan.

6. Increase heat to medium-high, add the brussels sprouts and grape tomatoes. Cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until sprouts are tender and tomatoes are warmed through, about 3 minutes or so.

7. Add olives, and bacon(if using) and lemon juice and toss. Drizzle a bit of fresh olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese(if using)... you can likewise use some crumbled feta, or omit the cheese altogether, making the dish dairy-free.


Lizzy said...

This looks AMAZING! I am definitely going to try this one out :D

Speranta said...

Ellie,vreau sa incerc si eu reteta ...imi place cum arata ,sunt sigura ca este si gustoasa!

O saptamana placuta iti doresc!

Ellie said...

Thanks, Lizzy! Hope you enjoy the dish as much as I did:)...and thanks for stopping by.

Speranta, Merita incercata reteta...este usor de facut si gustaoasa. Si poti sa o faci si fara bacon:).
Iti doresc si tie o saptamana frumoasa!

~~louise~~ said...

Guilty! I do the same thing to my daughter. One time, before plane restrictions were so cumbersome, I packed mozzarella, ricotta and locatelli in my suit case to bring to Idaho. You can imagine the "stink", lol...

GREAT combination of flavors, with or without bacon. Thanks for sharing, Elllie...

Ellie said...

Louise, That's too funny, I suppose that's what mom's are for:)... it's sweet to see how much we're loved, though!
The " stinky" incident reminds me of a similar incident I heard happening to my brother's friend when they were in college(years ago)...out of state and and living on their own. After a holiday weekend, they would come back with all sorts of "goodies". One time his friend was given a large bottle of fish sauce... and when he retrieved his luggage from the carousel,... well, you can imagine what happened. Bottle had broken and he didn't know how to hide:)...

It was good to hear from you. Thank's for stopping by:)...

Susy said...

This dish looks delicious!! the colors of it are amazing!

I do not buy much brussels sprouts because no one at home loves it I dont know why? Maybe I should just try different dishes to see if they get to love it? Gotta try this one!

Mihaela said...

Ellie, I saw your recipe and I remembered I have some brussel sprouts in the fridge, which I forgot about... ups :) The combination of brussel sprouts, tomatoes and olives sounds very interesting. You were talking about marinating olives, I buy from a local store an homemade olive salad, with green and black pitted olives, pieces of white onion and celery, and some oregano. I never made it, it's easy just to buy it, when the onions and celery marinate in the oil and olive brine it's so good.

Ellie said...

Susy, It is trial and error with getting someone to like brussels sprouts... but I think if they are cooked correctly, maybe there might be a chance:). I do know that overcooking the brussels sprouts will give off that sulphuric smell that can be unappetizing for some. Look at me, it took forever for me to like them. So there's hope:) Thanks for stopping by...

Mihaela, Oh, I love to marinate olives... there are so many variations, that it's fun to make and you never get tired of them:). And like you said you can combine different olives( green and black)... great idea with the oregano. Sometimes I'll add squares of feta cheese, and if I have roasted peppers, I'll add them too. Makes for a nice and easy mezze appetizer. Thanks for stopping by:)...

Eve said...

Delicious! I wanted a recipe that combined sprouts with lemon and olives and this was PERFECT!

Ellie said...

Eve, Aw, that's great! SO glad you enjoyed it!... Appreciate you stopping by and sharing your feedback. Thanks a bunch... made my day:)!