Bacon and Brussel Sprouts Pizza

It’s nearing that time of year when brussel sprouts are in season and everyone brings them as a side dish to a Thanksgiving meal. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy brussel sprouts, especially when they are paired with bacon. So recently there was a plethora of brussel sprouts at the grocery store and I decided to pick up a handful. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, with the exception of sauteing them, or roasting them in the oven and offering them up to my wife and kids, and then I thought, well, let’s make a pizza!

Bacon and Brussel Sprout Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped,  cooked until just slightly crisp
  • 7 brussel sprouts, sliced in half
  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 1 cup of your favorite pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp reserved bacon grease

Start by heating a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook just until the bacon is just slightly crisp as we will finish cooking the bacon on the pizza in the oven. Pour the bacon grease into a bowl and set it to the side.

Wipe out the skillet with some paper towel being careful not to burn yourself.

Return the skillet to the stove and place it back on medium heat. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the reserved bacon grease into the skillet, and then add the brussel sprouts. Season with a bit of salt, and cook on medium heat just until slightly tender.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

How to make a bacon and brussel sprouts pizza

Remove the brussel sprouts and wipe out the skillet once more time.

Drizzle in more of the bacon grease into the skillet. Take your pizza dough and gently stretch it into the skillet. Spread the pizza sauce onto the dough, season with the cracked black pepper, salt, and Italian seasoning. Top with the mozzarella cheese, lay the brussel sprouts on top, and shower with the bacon. Lay the red onion on top as well.

Place the skillet in preheated oven, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the top is nice and melted.

Using a spatula, lift the pizza out of the skillet, and slice and serve.

The flavor combination is awesome. It’s everything you expect with the bacon and brussel sprouts but in pizza form. The red onion and the tomato sauce really adds that perfect punch to the pizza as well, and if you have never made pizza in a cast iron skillet before, well, I highly recommend it. Hope you enjoy!

Grilled Cabbage

I know, grilled cabbage, right? The thing I love about simple ingredients is that they might surprise you when you tweak them a bit. Typically I either stir fry or boil cabbage, but then the thought occurred to me when I was grilling some pizzas on my Kettle Pizza not too long ago. Why not throw some cabbage on the grill, get a bit of char on them, and serve it as a side dish? Years ago I did this with romaine lettuce and made a salad out of it and whoa was it ever awesome. Grilling lettuces, and cabbage really turns it into a whole new beast and elevates the flavor like you won’t believe.

Grilled Cabbage

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, quartered
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Salt, to your liking

Yep, that’s it, well, including a grill. A charcoal grill, preferably.

Start by heating your coals, and get them nice and gray. Lightly oil your cleaned grill grate, and lay the quartered cabbage on the grill, over indirect heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until you get a nice char on the cabbage and that it has cooked through. My preference is that you still have some crunch to it to add a bit of texture as a side dish. Remove the cabbage from the grill and drizzle with olive oil and shower with some kosher salt.

Nothing gets easier than this. It’s light, crisp, and super awesome as a side dish for about any meal. Consider it a basic salad and you are good to go. Hope you enjoy!

 

Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce – Nam Jim Jaew

I am a huge fan of Thai dipping sauces. Not only Thai but also Vietnamese. There is something about the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spice that when served with sticky rice or grilled meat, well, let’s just say it is a game changer. I’ve made some pretty darn good sauces in the past such as the Thai shallot sauce, the Thai Three Sauce, or the classic Thai dipping sauce, but this sauce in particular really stands out. It’s known as nam jim jaew and what separates it is the additions of toasted rice and spring onions.

Nam Jim Jaew with Grilled Beef

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup, or preferably tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp ground red chili
  • 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tsp toasted rice
  • 2 tbsp spring onion, thinly sliced

Now typically you would use tamarind pulp for this recipe, however I was out and decided to use pomegranate syrup as it yields the same texture and sourness to the dish. Did I mention it was just as awesome? Regardless, add everything to a small mixing bowl, and with the back of a fork, mix everything together, ensuring that the palm sugar thins out.

How to make Nam Jim Jaew

Add the sauce into a small serving dish and serve alongside any grilled meat. This stuff is addicting. I was actually eating it by the spoon, and I’m not kidding about that. I probably used about 5 different spoons as it was hard to hold back. When paired with the grilled beef, well, you are just going to fall in love. Hope you enjoy!

Cilantro and Basil Pesto with Gnocchi

I just wrapped up my garden not too long ago as we have been hit with cold weather in Wisconsin. It’s sad in a way because all of us that live here know what that means. Winter is on its way. We had a really successful harvest this year, which was awesome. In the last few years I found myself heading to the farmers market every Saturday morning, but not this year. We had an abundance of tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, beans, watermelon, strawberries, and fresh herbs. It was excellent to say the least.  This year I had a huge plant of basil, and as I was looking at breaking it down, I immediately knew what I was going to make; pesto. With that said I also realized I had a bunch of cilantro, which I normally do, and decided to make a combination of cilantro and basil pesto, only to be used with gnocchi, one of my wife’s favorite dumplings.

Cilantro and Basil Gnocchi

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, cleaned
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Homemade or frozen gnocchi, cooked

To a blender, or food processor add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, almonds, and parmesan cheese. Blend until you have a smooth sauce. If you want a thinner sauce, drizzle in more olive as you are blending the ingredients.

To the warm gnocchi, take a tablespoon or so and begin mixing it into the gnocchi until you have a nice, well incorporated blend.

The end result is everything you love about a basil pesto with a great vibrance of the cilantro. The cilantro really adds a great pop to the pesto. Give this one a shot and let me know what you think.

 

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