shaved brussels sprouts salad with wild rice + apples

shaved brussels sprouts salad with wild rice + apples | The Clever Carrot

One of the things that I love most about cooking, is that you never stop learning.

I freelance as a recipe developer which means I get to create and test out different recipes for clients. It’s hard, meticulous work that I find very interesting. Last year it was all about the brussels sprout. I tested what felt like hundreds of recipes, which seriously stunk out my kitchen. It was to the point that when I went out in public, I felt like there was a cloud of green stench wafting behind me (which there probably was). In any event, I learned a lot about these little green baubles…

My new favorite preparation is to shave them.

shaved brussels sprouts salad with wild rice + apples | The Clever Carrot

You can do this with a mandoline, but it’s a lot easier (and faster) if you shred them in a food processor. Some of the leaves will fall off whole, which looks nice in the finished dish as well.

I sauté the sprouts without coloring them too much, just enough to soften them a bit. From there, you can make all kinds of things; brussels sprout pasta with garlic, vegetable spring rolls, slaws, and even add to soups like minestrone. I chose to do a quasi-harvest salad with wild rice and apples. There’s leftover butternut squash in there too, but it’s not essential if you don’t have any (one less thing you have to cook, right?) It’s all about using up what you’ve got.

I serve this warm or at room temperature with a maple-bacon vinaigrette.

shaved brussels sprouts salad with wild rice + apples | The Clever Carrot

Tips:

  • You can shave the brussels sprouts ahead of time by storing them in an air-tight container. Place a paper towel on top to absorb any extra moisture.
  • If you have a lemon handy, squeeze some over the apple slices to prevent browning. If you are making this in advance, add the apples and vinaigrette right before serving.
shaved brussels sprouts salad with wild rice + apples
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 c. cooked wild rice
  • 1 large apple (I used Macoun), thinly sliced*
  • ½ c. dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 c. cooked butternut squash (optional)
  • 1 lemon
Maple-bacon vinaigrette
  • 4 slices of bacon (I used Applewood smoked bacon)
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup + more to taste
  • 1 heaped tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • salt & pepper
*If you have a lemon handy, squeeze some over the apple slices to prevent browning. If you are making this in advance, add the apples and vinaigrette right before serving.
Instructions
  1. For the rice: Cook the wild rice according to the package instructions. Spread out onto a rimmed baking tray to cool. Set aside.
  2. For the vinaigrette: Combine the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper, and add extra maple syrup to taste.
  3. For the salad: Using a small knife, trim away the ends of each brussels sprout. Any leaves that fall off whole (and are not bruised or damaged), set aside. Process the sprouts in a food processor fitted with the shredder blade. Set aside.
  4. In a large saute pan, warm a splash of olive oil over moderate heat. Dice the bacon into ½ inch pieces and saute until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Remove all of the bacon drippings from the pan, reserving 1 tablespoon for the brussels sprouts.
  5. Add the shredded sprouts, plus any whole leaves to the pan. Saute over medium-low heat until soft, yet not colored, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
  6. Add the shallots and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until everything is soft and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer the brussels sprouts to a large bowl.
  8. Add the rice, apple slices, cranberries and butternut squash (if using).
  9. Top with the reserved bacon.
  10. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to combine. Add additional vinaigrette and seasoning as needed.
  11. Server warm or at room temperature.
Notes
*You can prepare the shaved brussels sprouts ahead of time by storing them in an air-tight container. Place a paper towel on top to absorb any extra moisture.

gwyneth paltrow’s oatmeal raisin cookies {vegan}

gwyneth paltrow's oatmeal raisin cookies | The Clever Carrot

So Gwyneth Paltrow wrote a cookbook…

And I bought it.

When I was pregnant with my 2nd child, I found myself drooling over her cookbook right in the middle of the store. The photos were just beautiful. Maybe it was a weird pregnancy thing, I don’t know- but I bought the book right away.

The first recipe I tried were her oatmeal raisin cookies. They’re made with nutritious spelt flour and brown rice syrup. If you’re unfamiliar, brown rice syrup is a thick, all natural sweetener usually found in baked goods (i.e. chewy granola bars). The flavor is rich and buttery tasting.

brown rice syrup | The Clever Carrot

Speaking of butter, this recipe is butterless. No eggs either. It’s a vegan cookie.

Yikes, vegan?!

They must taste like tree bark.

Actually, no. These cookies are totally ‘normal’ and you would never know that they were vegan unless I told you. And by the way, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with vegan food. Blame it on that one bad recipe that ruined it for the rest of us…

In fact Gwyneth says, “These are my absolute favorite healthy treat.”

I have to agree.

gwyneth paltrow's oatmeal raisin cookies | The Clever Carrot

When I think back to when I bought the book, it wasn’t a weird pregnancy thing afterall. I was going on instinct. I’ve made several of her recipes with great success. These cookies are a big hit!

gwyneth paltrow's oatmeal raisin cookies | The Clever Carrot

 * If this is your first time making this, stick with the original version (below) before making any adjustments. Sometimes vegan recipes are not as flexible with substitutions. I’ve tried almond flour, gluten free flour, agave syrup etc. and still find that Gwyneth’s version has the best texture and flavor!

Recipe adapted from ‘My Father’s Daughter’ by, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Edit 2/10/13: For a twist, try adding 1 (mashed) overripe banana to the recipe. I made a batch like this and they were devoured in minutes!

gwyneth paltrow's oatmeal raisin cookies
 
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Serves: 18-20
Ingredients
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats (not instant and not steel-cut), divided
  • ½ cup white spelt flour
  • ¾ cup whole spelt flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small pan (without oil) toast the walnuts until golden brown and fragrant. Stir constantly so that they do not burn. Transfer to a bowl an set aside.
  3. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with water to plump them.
  4. Meanwhile, finely grind the toasted walnuts and ½ cup of the oats in a small food processor. Combine this mixture with the remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Mix together the wet ingredients (and banana if using) in a small bowl and add to the dry-ingredients bowl. Stir to combine.
  6. Drain the raisins and fold them into the batter.
  7. Drop the mixture using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon onto the baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

maple-candied bacon

Maple-Candied Bacon | theclevercarrot.com

If you invited me to a cocktail party, I’d bring this.

Sweet and smoky bacon…

Maple-Candied Bacon | theclevercarrot.com

slathered in pure maple syrup with a crisp, candied crust.

It takes only 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes in the oven. I even foil the baking sheet a million times for easy clean up.

Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is getting the bacon out of the bag.

Maple-Candied Bacon | theclevercarrot.com

Maple-candied bacon makes a great hors d’oeuvre (is that how you spell it?) to serve with cocktails.

Any leftover bits can be thrown into salads and of course, there’s always the BLT.

Maple-Candied Bacon | theclevercarrot.com

Just a little warning my friends… these candied beauties are hard to resist!

maple-candied bacon
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb. good quality bacon, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Wrap a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, add the maple syrup, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, Kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
  4. Add the bacon to the bowl and toss gently with your hands. Make sure that all of the slices are evenly coated* See note below.
  5. Place the bacon in a single layer onto the wire rack.
  6. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes. The bacon will be a bit brown, but will most likely need to bake for another 10-15 minutes. It should look slightly dark (not burnt) and crispy. If you take it out too soon, the texture will be chewy. Be patient!
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the rack. Don't let them sit too long or else they will stick.
  8. Once cool enough to handle, you can break the bacon into chards (you'll have about 32 pieces). Alternatively, you can leave them whole.
  9. Serve at room temperature.
Notes
*Note: When using a full pound, the bacon mixture will seem a bit dry when tossing with the glaze ingredients. This is how it's supposed to be. Additional sauce is optional, but not necessary.