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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flatbread Pizza with Spaghetti Squash, Pear, Brussel Sprouts and Balsamic Drizzle

Okay that's a very long name for a food, but no real easy to shorten it so there you go.

Though I took a short sabbatical from posting, food is never far from my mind and I'm looking forward to bringing you some new fall dishes and dessert treats as we go into the holiday season.

But to start, brussel sprouts...they really are the most adorable little mini cabbages!  Teeny and delicious and very fun to cook with.  So the inspiration for this pizza came from the flatbread appetizer I'd mentioned last time. Made one or two K2 alterations and voila! Something new and exciting.

Flatbread Pizza with Spaghetti Squash, Pears, Brussel Sprouts and Balsamic Drizzle
Since this is a pizza recipe, I don't have exact measurements for everything, just adjust the amounts to what you like and go from there.

Flatbread rounds
Olive oil
Spaghetti squash, roasted and "spaghetti'd"
Brussel sprouts, quartered
Pear, sliced thin
White cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced


Spaghetti Squash -- cut the squash in half, scoop out the guts, bake at 350 degrees (face up) for 30-40 minutes.  Take a fork and scrape the insides out to spaghetti it.

Brussel Sprouts -- quarter the sprouts and dry fry them (no oil or coating) in a non-stick pan for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender (and not zombified).

Pear -- slice the pear very thin (1/8") and dry fry them in a non-stick pan for 2-3 minutes or until almost translucent.

Balsamic Vinegar -- in a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup balsamic to a boil, allow to boil for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to reduce.  Set aside and let it continue to reduce in the pan away from the heat. You can use whatever type of balsamic you'd like, I actually had a sample bottle of Cranberry Pear Balsamic that really did the trick.


I brushed my flatbread with olive oil to give it a minimum coating and add some moisture.

Then I laid my pear slices down, sprinkled them with the shredded white cheddar.

Next I added the brussel sprouts and covered it all with a thin layer of the spaghetti squash.

Finally, I drizzled a moderate amount of the balsamic reduction across the top of the pizza.

Baked at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, though you can do less time or more time depending on how done you like your pizza.

All that's left is to slice and enjoy.

Little shout out here to my friend Bethany who served as guinea pig on this my latest culinary experiment.  It got a two thumbs up so I think you're going to like it too.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Good and Good For You: Brussel Sprouts

Okay, I've got to be honest with you, I've never been a big fan of the brussel sprout. Despite it's adorable teeny weeny cabbage cuteness, there was just something so green and healthy and green about it that as a child I avoided them like little mini plagues.

Well a couple of weeks ago, I was at one of my favorite dining spots, a lovely wine bar with an ever-changing menu, and for one of their selections that evening they had a flatbread with shaved brussel sprouts, grilled spaghetti squash, phaeta, and toasted almonds with a balsamic drizzle. Un-for-get-able. Loved the flavor combo so much it made me want to try it at home so that will be coming at you in the next post.

But in the meantime, I wanted to reexamine these brussel sprouts (pronounced with a hint of condescension). And guess what, they turn out to be very good for you.


Brussel sprouts are a cruciferous veggie like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.

They are chocked full of sulforaphane, a compound believed to have strong anticancer properties. The compound acts as a detoxifier and helps the body clear itself of potential carcinogens.

Sulforaphane in combination with the veggie's high fiber content contributes to reducing bad cholesterol as well as removing toxins that contribute to aging.  

Brussel sprouts are a good source of vitamin A, C and K. 

Though it is recommended that heart patients taking anticoagulants should not eat excessive amounts of brussel sprouts because vitamin K helps to clot blood.

Like other cruciferous veggies, brussel sprouts contain indoles (organic compounds) which are being studied for their affects on cell repair which makes them a great anti-aging veggie treat.

When you buy brussel sprouts, you want to choose those with tight, bright green heads, avoid any with yellow on the leaves.

It is best to cut the stem off up to the base of the leaves and to score them deeply once or twice to help ensure that they cook through.

They don't need long to cook, 5-7 minutes depending on your method. Brussel sprouts can be boiled, grilled, roasted, steamed, or stir-fried. Boiling tends to leach out the nutrients that make them so good for you while roasting them brings out their best flavor.

DO NOT overcook brussel sprouts! This cannot be emphasized enough. Because they basically turn into a zombiefied version of themselves -- they turn grey, get mooshy, smell bad, and take on a much less than pleasant taste.

Brussel sprouts DO taste best, though, when serve with apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, mustard, Parmesan cheese, bacon, meaty nuts (like almonds, pine nuts, chestnuts or pistachios), brown sugar, and/or pepper.

So...yum, let's give these veggies a whirl.