Wednesday, November 11, 2009

10 recipes. 10 days. 3 ingredients.


It has a lot to do with 2 meals and 2 burnt hands. Not making sense?  I'll explain.

Not too long ago Jason gave me the gift of Brussels sprouts.  A friend and I stopped by his apartment and we planned to grab a quick bite when he paused at the door with "I've got something for you... it's nothing big, but the moment I saw it I thought of you."  Over to his undersized fridge where he pulls out a tall stalk of Brussels sprouts like it was Mary Poppins' magic carpetbag.  The stalk was large enough to feed, well... Brussels.  He guesses I'm happy with my gift.  I am, afterall, jumping in place while clapping my hands in glee.

It was decided that lunch would be indoors and self-made as there was no time was wasted de-sprouting and prepping the buds of my very own jolly green giant.  This turned out to be no easy task, as there had to be a good 75 - 80 sprouts on this beast (they can have up to 100 per plant).  But with a trio of workers we had those puppies stripped and quartered as efficiently as leaf cutter ants and it was time to cook.

I'd found Jason's largest pan - an ancient behemoth lurking under woks and cast iron.  In went some cut strips of bacon to sizzle and then we piled in the sprouts.   Even with its capacious girth, the pan could barely contain this mountain of cabbage-y goodness.  They were left to caramelize and fuse with the bacon fat, creating a dense, bright complexity that absolves the vegetable of a thousand childhood whines its ancestors endured when they were served at the table.  Add a couple of handfuls of walnuts, and you have reached vegetal bliss.

There was nothing left to do but toss in some cracked white pepper; A slightly prolonged task at Jason's house as he didn't possess a working pepper mill.  His kitchen is full of these charming disparities: a microplane grater but no potato peeler, several varieties of dried gourmet mushrooms... but not a spoon larger than "tea" in any drawer.  It's the kitchen of a lover of finer things, but still the remnants of a busy bachelor who eats on the run. I make a note to start picking up things to contribute to his cabinets to fill the blanks.  I realize now, however, that I have since confiscated (he did offer!) his microplane, thus depleting, instead of adding to his cupboards.  Bad girlfriend!

We sat down to enjoy what I personally feel is the most friendly dish of Brussels sprouts a person can have, and I suddenly thought, just how many ingredients are there in this?  The pepper didn't really count, or the salt I'd added, which just left sprouts, bacon and walnuts3 ingredients.  A simple dish where each element leaves the next uncrowded: a community-share of harmonic flavor.  And an idea for a self challenge was hatched...

Ah, and yes, somewhere along the in the cooking process a glob of hot bacon fat managed to explode onto my hand just as it was closest to the flame while I added the sprouts; a wound which I was destined to repeat just days later as I prepared yet another 3 ingredient recipe... but that story is for tomorrow.

The first recipe will be posted on the 12th (tomorrow), and don't think you've heard the last of the Brussels sprout...

Brussels Sprouts on Foodista


  1. What a great idea! Impressive!

  2. Ok. Well, I can say that I've never had brussel sprouts any other way than boiled-but, I still ate'em! I would like to try this challenge,one day, especially since I have no cash and a fastly decreasing cupboard and fridge, definitely a challenge. Cooking is my first love, I wanna be a chef one day-so show me all your lovely toughts :)

  3. Oh man, I'd love to take the challenge with you...but I'm about to begin a yoga certification course for the next 7 days - ergo, no time for creative cooking :( time for sure!

  4. Omg, I wish I could join, it sounds so interesting! I'll be overseas soon though :( But I'll try to keep this challenge going on my own, make them whenever possible. Heh! Thank you anyway!


  5. Omg. Fun. I'm excited. Can't wait for your posts. Simple cooking is always good! I'll be waiting with an imaginary bouquet of roses at the end of your finish line!

  6. i'd like to do this, but the sort of stuff i cook has too many spices..way over three ingedients. i look forward to seeing what's posted.

  7. oh no! i hope your hand is ok! bad brussel sprouts! or bad bacon...either way, get better! great idea for a challenge - i look forward to seeing your ideas! i also like the photo of the rules. very retro.

  8. I'm so tempted to take this with you, as I am ALL for simplicity, but I have a cookoff competition this Sunday (with a dish that clearly utilizes more than 3). So to take this challenge would be like...breaking lent or something!

  9. As simple as the challenge sounds, when you think about it, it's actually really difficult. I might try that after my exams are over. In the meantime, I'll look forward to your posts :D

  10. Thanks for all the support, everyone! I hope I can make some fun things that'll be useful, too in the upcoming cooking frenzies in Nov/Dec in the states here.

    @Brie - You scolded my brussels sprouts! That had me burst out laughing!

    @ Emma - Yes, I agree that the simplicity is actually really difficult (if you want it to taste good). I'm finding that more and more as I try to think of ideas. Good luck on your exams! :)

  11. I can't do ten days but I make a cranberry mousse by gently heating one cup of canned whole berry cranberry sauce and stirring it until it is the consistency of applesauce. I combine that with one cup of heavy cream that has been whipped until soft peaks form and one tablespoon of either cointreau or cassis.

    A three ingredient, elegant dessert in less than five minutes.

    I have posted two ingredient Spicy Cranberry Sauce and three ingredient Smoky Mashed Sweet Potatoes on my blog

    Good luck with the challenge.

  12. i can't wait to see what you come up with! will be eagerly keeping an eye on your space- and btw, those brussel sprouts look fantastic!

  13. Popped in from SITS! Good luck on your challenge!

  14. this is incredible..I will take up the challenge..but hopefully starting a weekend :)

    good to see you gal..keep it rolling :)

  15. Cooking challenges are a lot of fun. My 6 ingredient challenge was tough enough, but 3 is really a challenge. Good luck!

  16. Ooof! Good luck girl. I am routing for you :-)

  17. Just found your blog . . . what a cool idea!


Thanks for commenting - I'm always happy to hear from you!


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