Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

It's always an unexpected surprise when a side dish becomes the star of a meal. These brussels sprouts are just that. Honestly, I could make a meal of them alone because they're so utterly delicious. 

Roasted brussels sprouts have always been a favorite of mine, but I always end up wanting more of the crispy little leaves that fall off. Then I thought, why not just make a pan full of the leaves, so that it's nothing but crispy sprouts?! 

I added maple syrup for a hint of sweetness, and pancetta and freshly grated parmesan for the perfect punch of saltiness. 

I thought that adding the roasted sprouts to a simply cooked steak and smooth mashed potatoes would be perfect, and it certainly was. Alex was overjoyed to come home to this meal after a long night at the office. I also made my Warm Apple Pie that night, talk about a perfect meal!

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Yield: 4 Servings

1 lb brussels sprouts
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 slices pancetta, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, trim off the very end of each sprout, then pull the outer leaves off. You'll have to keep trimming further up the stem of the sprout to make pulling the leaves off easier. When all of the big green leaves have been pulled, you'll be left with the light green interior which you'll discard (see the photo below). 

On a baking sheet, toss the leaves with the maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper. Finally, sprinkle them with the chopped pancetta and toss the baking sheet into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the leaves are all golden brown. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with the grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


Warm Apple Pie

What is more quintessentially "fall" than warm apple pie? Beside a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, of course. 

You may be wondering why I've photographed a lemon and an orange. Well... they went into the pie! I always add orange and lemon to my apple crisp, so naturally this translated into pie filling ingredients. First, the citrus keeps the fruit from oxidizing while it's macerating in sugar, and it also adds great depth of flavor.

I made sure to add big chunks of apples, rather than thin slices because I hate apple pie filling that's the consistency of apple sauce. 

For the pie crust, I took the crust recipe that I typically use for quiche and added a bit more sugar and a little less salt. Don't even get me started on how delicious it was, the big chunks of apples propped the top crust up so it was extra flaky. 

The pie is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, they smell incredible while baking. Warm Apple Pie was the first of many pies to come this year, but it was certainly a good start! What are your favorite pies to bake in the fall? 

Spiced Apple Pie
Yield: 8 Servings

3 Gala apples, cut into sixths
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into sixths
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 orange, zest and juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
Pie Crust (recipe follows)
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly butter the inside of your pie plate. 
First, place the sliced apples into a large bowl, along with the lemon and orange juice and zest, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt. Stir them all together until they're well combined. 

On a floured board (or your countertop) lay out the dough that's been chilling in the refrigerator. Sprinkle the dough with a bit of flour, so that it doesn't stick to your rolling pin. Roll out each dough until it's slightly larger than your pie plate. Drape the first dough over the pie plate, then carefully tuck it into the edges. In a small bowl, add the egg as well as a bit of water and beat it with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough. Next, add the apple filling. Finally, place the second dough over the top of the apples. Pinch the edges of the two doughs together (the egg wash on the edges should help you do this). Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash, and sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon and sugar. Finally, add six slits to the top of the pie (this will allow the steam to escape the interior of the pie).

Place the pie into the oven for 1 hour, then remove it and allow it to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks cold butter
6 tbsp iced water

In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse it a few times to make sure that the dry ingredients are well mixed. Cube the cold butter, and add the cubes to the food processor along with the dry ingredients. Pulse the food processor eight times. Then one tablespoon at a time, add in the iced water, pulsing the food processor once between each addition. 
Take the dough out of the food processor, quickly form it into two balls (you don't want your hands to melt the cold butter). Wrap the two balls in plastic wrap and place them into the refrigerator for at least an hour (and up to a week, if you're making it well in advance).



Maple Bacon Pizzette

Sometimes when I'm deciding what to make for dinner, I throw together some of my favorite ingredients hoping that they'll taste good together. This pizzette is one of those creations, however it currently stands as one of Alex's favorite meals on the planet. I took a sheet of frozen puff pastry, topped it with some grated parmesan cheese and baked it off. Meanwhile, I also put a few pieces of bacon drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with brown sugar into the oven. While they were baking, I also caramelized half of a spanish onion. Putting these components together creates an incredible dish: flaky puff pastry crust, crumbled maple bacon, sweet caramelized onions, as well as a drizzle of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives- yum!!! This pizzette is perfect as an appetizer for a crowd, or dinner for two. 

Maple Bacon Pizzette

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator over night
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
4 slices bacon
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
1/2 spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp chives, chopped

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your puff pastry onto a baking sheet, sprinkle it with the parmesan cheese, and place it into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until it's puffy and golden. Next, on another baking sheet lay out the bacon slices and drizzle them with the maple syrup and sprinkle them with the brown sugar. Place the bacon into the oven for 15 minutes. 
On your stove top, place a small pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt, once it's bubbling add the sliced onion and kosher salt. Allow them to cook for about eight minutes, turning the onions every couple of minutes to ensure a nice even caramelization. Once they're caramelized, turn off the heat and set them aside.
Take the puff pastry and the bacon out of the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. 
Move the puff pastry to a cutting board, crumble the bacon over it, add the caramelized onions, and finish the pizzette by drizzling it with sour cream and sprinkling it with chives. Enjoy!