Wednesday, February 17, 2010

all you need is love

Transitioning between two cooking zones- from brisk, sunny Florida to icy-grey New York.
Our delayed flight gave me ample time to finish the book I was glued to Just Kids, the memoir by Patti Smith about her early days as a young struggling artist in NY City and her creative partnership with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. I am a huge Patti fan so I was presold on her message, but the book is truly great. Smith really captures the creative experience from inspiration to realization. The struggle for young artists to break through with their art and gain recognition is huge. Her book is a moving tribute to her late friend Mapplethorpe who shared with her his passionate commitment to their artistic pursuits. And at times it seems they lived on nothing but that loving commitment.

Why am I going on about this? I guess it got me thinking about inspiration and love. I came upon this little comment on a facebook post yesterday. It is a recipe by cookbook writer Denise Landis.

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sherry-Butter Glaze, by Denise Landis: Trim sprouts but otherwise leave whole. (If they are large, cut a shallow X in the bottom of each one.) Melt a generous amount butter, add brussels sprouts, stir until lightly browned all over. Add chopped toasted pecans and toss for a minute, then throw in a generous splash of sherry (dry or cream...I like the sweetness of cream sherry). Immediately cover, turn heat to low, and cook just until sprouts are tender in the center but not overcooked (don't let them turn gray!). Serve hot. But honestly, I eat them straight from the fridge, cold, the next day...

Denise and I attended the same High School. I just love the way she wrote this recipe, so simple and so obviously filled with love for cooking. Maybe I am still coming off a Valentine's day high, but I am feeling all gooey for passion and the commitment to doing things we care about deeply.

My lovely and brilliant friend Ali sent me a photo today of her weekend spent in the kitchen with her husband and a group of friends cooking up a storm. They included my pumpkin ravioli and a few other recipes I have made with Ali. Her joy at trying something new was infectious  and I asked her to allow me to share the photo:
The beautiful Ali in red.
As I am writing this I am stuffing my face with Brussels Sprouts. As usual I strayed a bit from the instructions. I happened to have the oven on at 425 degrees so the sprouts cooked in there rather than pan roasting. The pecans were left whole rather than chopped and I didn't have any sherry so cognac was substituted. The sprouts cooked up in about 15 minutes and are DELICIOUS!!! Denise is really on to something here. So good and there will be none left for me to eat cold tomorrow!

I LOVE Brussel Sprouts! And I am going to make this one tomorrow. It is right up my alley! Though I have to admit, the wine pairing had me stumped. Brussel Sprouts are extremely hard to pair with wine and I really couldn't come up with anything that seemed appealing to me. So I thought, and I thought, and came up with what I think would be a wonderful idea for an impromptu get-together with friends!
Tapas restaurants are "in" these days, popping up all over the place. And, Sherry is of course an obvious staple at these establishments. I envision a night of tapas at my home - olives, cheese, almonds, Denise's Brussel Sprouts, among other delicacies - paired with a variety of Sherries. Especially this time of year. A lit fireplace, friends, and delicious, simple fare, and of course Sherry, sounds like the perfect night to me.
A Sherry would be the natural match to the Sherry and pecans in this recipe. Right now, I have an open bottle of Alvear Carlos VII Amontillado Sherry which I have enjoyed sipping these cold winter nights. This is what I'll use for the Brussel Sprouts tomorrow night, and sip it alongside the dish! I am predicting a winning match!
For those of you unfamiliar with Sherry, Amontillado is an aged Fino, and can be dry or off-dry (a little sweet). The Carlos VII is dry, and is light chestnut in color. It has a wonderful bouquet, and a nutty flavor with hints of fig.  A 500ml bottle will run around $20. 

note from Deb- Sherry seems like the obvious and excellent choice as it is 
called for in the recipe. I really want to make this one again (and again!)
and I  will use sherry next time (although the cognac was fantastic). 
Amanda you will LOVE the sprouts. I went to bed last night craving more!

1 comment:

  1. Deb, Joanna and I were discussing your yummy blog the other night! She is a devoted fan, and talks you up among her bowling alley chums as well as with her sisters. Thank you for your delictable inspirations!!



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